What color should I paint my new darkroom?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Loose Gravel, Aug 25, 2003.

  1. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    I'm about to paint my new BW darkroom. It is 9x12 with 7'6" ceilings. Textured drywall. What color do you like?

    I've been in black darkrooms, grey DRs, white DRs. I have white now and it is fine, but dull. I've been thinking of painting the ceiling a midnight blue and then the walls either a warm white or neutral grey. I think too strong of a color on the wall might throw off the color in my prints, but I don't know. Only going to paint it once.

    Thanks
     
  2. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    If you are doing color work then for sure paint them black or neutral grey. If only B&W then GTO Judge Orange would be my choice.
     
  3. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    My darkroom is painted dark red Almost redbrown and I find with the orange/red light it gives the room a wonderful glow to work within. My print review area is med/dark grey so that I won't be fooled after drydown.
     
  4. veriwide

    veriwide Member

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    Hmm... If a tree falls in a darkroom and no one is there to taste it, does it have a smell?
     
  5. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Depends. Is it a Pine, Shoe or Family?
     
  6. RAP

    RAP Member

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    How about wall paper? Do they make one with a photography theme? Maybe a pattern made out of digital cameras? :D
     
  7. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    I should have saved all my throw-aways and used them as wallpaper.
     
  8. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  9. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    You could always Just thumb tack all you negs to the walls. This would save neg starage space and you won't need neg sleeves anymore and just think all your negs are right there you could just pluck it from the wall and stick it in the enlarger!
     
  10. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    I use all those "free" AOL et c. disks....
     
  11. steve

    steve Member

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    Paint the walls an off-white. You'll be able to get a much better distribution of the safelight with no effect on the paper as the safelight will be very diffuse the light is actually very weak but more evenly distributed. I've worked in a number of different darkrooms painted: grey, red, and white.

    White is by far the easiest to work in (for me) because of the more even safelight level. Paint the area in back of the enlarger flat black, or hang a piece of black cloth on the wall to absorb light that might be reflected from the area around the easel or escaping between the carrier and the lamphouse.
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Mine's white, with fire-engine red behind the enlarger. The floor is dark to help me ignore all the crud I drop on it...
     
  13. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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    In mine, everything is white, except for flat "battleship gray" behind the enlarger. Steve's got it right... the safelights (they're SAFE, right?) diffuse throughout the room, so moving around is lot easier. (And safer for your toes if you're in stocking feet).

    Think about how much time you actually have the lights turned out in a typical session.... sometimes the light is on, more than it's off. Checking print contrast, changing negatives, tweaking that formula, making notes, finding that pencil, mopping up that spilled beer. etc. A white room makes those important things a lot more pleasant to do.
     
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  15. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    My darkroom is neutral grey and works just fine for me.
     
  16. BobF

    BobF Member

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    I've got bright white walls, ceiling, floor and window coverings. As much white as possible with black velvet behind the enlarger only. With old eyes I need as much light as I can get and with all three safelights on I have tested totally paper safe.

    As an extra bonus I've got a ceiling full of hundreds of glowing stars moons and constelations that were left over from when it was my teenage daughters's room. I do have to wait half an hour to load film because I don't trust those stars with film till they fade.
     
  17. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  18. steve

    steve Member

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    Off-white is Zone V with plus 2 stops exposure.... :^)
     
  19. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I'm going to be moving into a new darkroom (my girlfriend has an extra bedroom at her house and I only have to pay to help w/ the electricity/water bills--long story why the carpet is already ruined and I only get half of the room). Anyway, my girlfriend wants to paint the room a soft red which is fine for me and will let me paint a different color around the enlarger, but would prefer it to not be black. Ole, I'm curious about the fire engine red... is there a certain red paint color that will mimic the effect of a safe light? Is there a certain pantone number? I'm thinking of taking one of the uni jr. red safelight bulbs up to lowes and having them match the color... any thoughts?
     
  20. lee

    lee Member

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    I'm curious about the fire engine red... is there a certain red paint color that will mimic the effect of a safe light? Is there a certain pantone number? I'm thinking of taking one of the uni jr. red safelight bulbs up to lowes and having them match the color... any thoughts?

    Jeremy,
    I don't know about the red but the white will change color of the walls to the color of the safe light and make the room brighter. That is the reason for making the darkroom's walls white. In my mind I think the darker colors would kill any light you would have going for you.

    lee\c
     
  21. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    As long as it doesn't reflect blue and green too well, just about anything can be used. My main reason for choosing red was to bring in some more colour to what was painted in standard 1970's kitchen colours (that's what it was) - anaemic blue and hospital green. Any reflections form the red area around the enlarger will be sucked up at once!

    With the whole room in soft red you shouldn't have that problem...
     
  22. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    wow, I must be growing some of Aggie's blonde :D
    I feel quite dumb, of course it doesn't matter what color the walls are, the light from the safelight will still be red!

    oh, well, it will still proabably be red due to the house belonging to my girlfriend and her wanting it red (it's also used as her sewing room and art studio). I think I'll stick with a dark red around the enlarger as that will match better with the red of the room and as I said before, she has crossed black off the list.
     
  23. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    You can always go the black drapery on the wall routine for the enlarger. Or a standalone divider painted black to go behind will work as well. It can be made of cardboard or matboard to keep the cost down if need be. Even better hang a black velvet Elvis picture behind the enlarger.
     
  24. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    Thinking of a nice pale orange or red myself. But the Elvis pic sounds good.
     
  25. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I like the "Velvet Elvis" idea - it's the first time I've heard about a practical use for one!

    :tongue:
     
  26. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    Mine is all painted flat black. Small light leaks do not bounce around in there and there is no reflection back from stray light from the enlarger. Also - I have learned the hard way about using any kind of hanging cloth - Like Elvis - dust and fibers tend to fall off into the air. My air purifier seems to help with it though.