I did little researching on this subject:
It's amazing how many different products COULD contain optical brighteners, including the very product we use to make photographs ourselves. (see page 9)
I think the first step in this research should be to confirm if the paint OP plans to use indeed contain Optical Brighteners. If the answer is no, then there is no concern. If yes, if it will actually be sufficient to cause problems in photographic processes. My guess is no but without some firm data, we all be guessing.
OP is really asking not about wall color, so I'd suggest he'd start there.
My walls are pretty white. No problems in my personal darkroom. (other than reflection of light leaks from my enlargers)
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
A lot of shared darkrooms are painted black, because it is always difficult to control what light others may spill.
I wouldn't worry a lot about brighteners that respond to UV, unless you intend to use poorly shielded, UV light emitting light sources (and if so, why?)
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I use a colour anaylser as an exposure meter and moving around in front of the enlarger whilst taking readings does effect it (not much but it shows up on the readings). I've never worried about it but maybe I should buy a black t-shirt for darkroom work!
Originally Posted by AgX
The colour of the wall is the colour the walls reflect!
Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick
"People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.
Originally Posted by Steve Smith
I knew someone was going to catch that. Could I wiggle out of it by saying that the OP was really asking about UV-induced fluorescence? Naw, that's too far of a stretch. I'm just an idiot...
"When making a portrait, my approach is quite the same as when I am portraying a rock. I do not wish to impose my personality upon the sitter, but, keeping myself open to receive reactions from his own special ego, record this with nothing added: except of course when I am working professionally, when money enters in,—then for a price, I become a liar..."
— Edward Weston, Daybooks, Vol. II, February 2, 1932
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Well I guess my original question was not an issue. Thanks.
Seem to have started a hare, though. Once in my school days I painted a darkroom flat black. Never again. It was so gloomy. I want light and lots of it, safe when that's needed, otherwise white light. Good points about enlarger leaks, though. Mine is quite well behaved, but a flat black section around it would be a good idea. This is a new build dedicated darkroom shed, so I can decorate it how I like. No bathroom ducks.
Not if they're black. Except black isn't a colour, I mean color. Oh hell, none more black.
Originally Posted by Steve Smith
That's just, like, my opinion, man...
Just checked all the white walls in house: no optical brighteners applied. Maybe the adding of brighteners is a more recent trend.
AgX, how do you check? Here in the UK, everything sold as Brilliant White (as opposed to just White) has optical brighteners. (Strangely, it also fades to a very dirty looking yellowish-white as it ages.)
The publication I have from Kodak for darkroom design suggests painting the room light green, light gray, or white for comfort and even safelight illumination.