Your social media feed has most likely been bombarded by the story that apparently broke the internet last week: #TheDress. What is the debate surrounding this dress and why on earth is this story appearing on a home improvement blog? Keep reading! We’ll solve the mystery for you.
The story began when Tumblr user Swiked, also known as Caitlin McNeill, posted a photo of a bodycon, striped lace dress and began asking friends to help her end a long-winded debate on what colour the dress was. The photo divided viewers into two colour camps: blue and black or white and gold.*
The reason for the debate – and why some people see the dress in a different colour – is how the human eyes perceive colour. You see, “light enters the eye through the lens – where different wavelengths correspond to different colours – it then hits the retina in the back of the eye where pigments fire up neural connections to the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes those signals into an image.”**
In the case of #TheDress debate, the lighting and the contexts of the dress directly affects our visual perception. Since eyesight is different for every individual, light can often change our perception of colour. According to Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist who studies at Wellesley College, “What’s happening here is your visual system is looking at this thing, and you’re trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis,” he says.
“That’s why people’s eyesight either discounts the blue side, which means they see white and gold, or they discount the gold and see blue and black.”
The question remains: why does this matter to us everyday people, or when we’re renovating our home? Well, we applied this concept to the matter of choosing paint for your home. If light and context can drastically impact the appearance of the colour, what does this teach us when it comes to looking at paint chips? We presented this question to some of our clients who are experts when it comes to colour.
Kaileigh Donelle from Brock Doors and Windows shared her experiences with us when she was helping out a friend who had just painted one of his walls a coppery beige colour. The colour was odd at first and she was inclined to let her friend know not to use the colour elsewhere in the house. However, by the next day when she saw the colour in morning light, she loved it.
She suggests when picking out a colour to paint your walls, consider what it will look like next to other colours in your home or how prominent coloured furniture or paintings can change how the colour itself looks. Examine the appearance of the paint in both daylight and nighttime lighting to truly see the difference.
Tara Lindsay at Decorium has this to share:
Choosing the right paint colour is a process. Takes patience, time and discussions with your spouse or whoever else in the household is old enough to actually care about the colour on the walls.
Colour is what sets the tone for your home or workspace. It’s so important when choosing a paint colour to take at least 3 colours that you are drawn to and test them out on the walls in your space. (Side by side and on ALL walls in the room). Live with this for 3-4 days before you make your final decision.
The colour you see in the store is not the way you will see it in your home. One needs to take into consideration the undertone of the colour. Warm colour family VS the cool family. These undertones will impact the reflection in your space and the overall look and feel. Many factors need to be taken into consideration. Natural day light (which will show the truest colour) pot lights, overall lighting in the space, flooring, mirrors, furniture and wall decor. Depending on the lighting in the space one may go for a darker shade on one wall and a shade lighter on the adjacent wall. The paint colour will appear differently based on how the light is hitting the wall or object.
Light will definitely change ones perception of colour and therefore if these simple steps above are not followed, one will find them wanting to repaint in a matter of no time.
The truth of the matter
Who’s curious to know the true colour of the dress?
The original poster – Caitlin McNeill – had attended a wedding and saw the dress in person and revealed the dress is in fact…drum roll, please…blue and black.