Here's the question:

What range of wall color options would be generally considered aesthetically viable for a room with colored light bulbs?

What are some of the reasons it's not on topic? Is it because of the nature of the specified hands-on application (painting a wall for home improvement, not art)?

Would it make a difference if the question were about:

  • LED bulbs interacting with painted pieces in general?
  • How to best light your artwork?
  • How to best choose a palette for your sculpture that's suited for a LED bulb's spectrum?
  • A straight color theory question about LED interaction with pigment-based palettes?

With the ways that this question is off-topic, can we create guidance for how to make good, on-topic color-theory or color-selection questions?

Possibly helpful:

Here's an example of a question that was very specific about selecting colors, down to the brand and what colors they needed to be matched to: What Faber-Castell Polychromos color codes do I need to paint this?

Purely a color theory question: What is a split primary palette?

Question about how surrounding color affects appearance: Dim lighting with colored pencils

  • Took me a while to realize this was here... I'm so used to being notified by the system on the sites I care about. :)
    – Joanne C
    Feb 26, 2017 at 17:56

2 Answers 2


My reaction to it is that was a home improvement question as opposed to an arts & craft question. Arts and crafts does tend to have a commonly perceived definition in as much as if you see kids sticking macaroni to a paper tube, you're going to call that arts & crafts, but if you see somebody rolling paint onto a living room wall, you're going to call that home improvement.

In the end, are we looking to accept any question involving aesthetics regardless of use? That seems a rather broad increase in scope to me. I think we might be better served in better qualifying what constitutes "arts & crafts" here. In the definition on Area 51 it was "traditional artwork and handmade items" and I take that to embody some commonly accepted understanding of traditional in this context, but that can be regional and so buttoning it down may be helpful.

As an aside, to your list for would it make a difference if... Absolutely yes. Context is important, I think, and it is reasonable to understand how light interacts with art and our perceptions of color, both when making it and when displaying it.


I think a big part of the problem is that the question includes so little detail about the the situation. If we had more information about what type of colored bulbs (christmas lights, orange bug control bulbs, black light, a blue bulb in the overhead fixture on Mondays and a red bulb on Tuesdays, etc.) and the expected use of the room to be painted, it becomes much easier to respond.

My responses would be completely different based on whether the room will be an exhibit space in an art gallery, a teenage boys bedroom, a sewing room, a laboratory, a baby's bedroom, etc.

And of course, aesthetically viable begins to skew into subjectivity, whereas a question that included the ultimate use and activities within the room can allow responses that have some fact behind them (and will probably skew towards colors that look better aesthetically as well).

If I was writing the question, I would phrase it more like:

I have three lamps in my bedroom, and I like to alternate between using blue and red bulbs on different days. My bedroom walls are currently painted bright yellow, and my Mom says that she gets a headache every time she walks into my room, and has told me that I have to repaint the walls or use regular light bulbs.

I am not sure how to select colors that are less likely to cause headaches for my mother. Where can I find information about selecting a palette that will work with both the red and blue bulbs?

  • 1
    Just as an FYI, LIFX is a specific type of smart LED bulb that has 16 million color possibilities, which is where the particular questions comes from.
    – user24
    Feb 25, 2017 at 0:17
  • Gotcha...I hadn't seen the original question, and so misunderstood exactly what the question was asking about. (I did wonder about all of the suggestions regarding LED bulbs). Sorry about that.
    – magerber
    Mar 2, 2017 at 17:19

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