Darkroom wall and ceiling color
I am in the process of building a darkroom for B&W and I am getting to the point where I'm thinking about wall and ceiling colors. I am thinking about painting the wall behind the enlarger flat black. I'm thinking about painting the opposite wall, with the sink a medium gray (a few shades lighter than battleship gray). I have a Thomas safelight that will be turned off while working with the enlarger. I also have two other Kodak bullet type safelights that will be used constantly. I have not decided on a color for the ceiling. I have read comments on this subject in the past but I don't recall where. Any feedback would be appreciated.
Flat black is a good idea behind the enlarger, I would paint everything else, walls and ceiling, white. Bounce the safelight around and you'll be much happier.
All over matt white in my darkroom, I like white. It makes no odds if you haven't got light leaks.
Also white helps a low power safelight give better illumination.
All black, obviously, makes no sense. The rest depends a lot on what you're trying to achieve:
flat black around the enlarger, everything else yellow or better orange
2. Most Comfortable
flat black around the enlarger, everything else white
Don't forget to attack the source of unwanted light before you decide how to eliminate what you cannot prevent. In other words, light-tight doors, windows, enlarger, good safelights. Test your safelight condition!
By the way, I'm not a big fan of the Thomas safelight. It bothers me to have a safelight in the middle of the room that bounces the light off the center of the ceiling. I'm always working in my own shadow that way. I like to have small safelight right above where I need them, instead.
A background color that provides contrast against other objects in the room is safer to move around in when it's dark. If the walls are too dark you will have a harder time picking out objects in your way as you walk or move around. In the darkroom, you are essentially moving around in the shadows.
Even if you don't use white, any color that is somewhat lighter than the things in the area will make it easier to move around in those shadows.
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I went with flat black all around the enlarger, some more flat black walls that I will probably paint white (low priority), white walls, and ceiling.
I know a fellow who painted his whole darkroom safe yellow, but the environment made him physically nauseous, so he went to flat black around the enlarger, and the rest white.
On the paint around my sink I topcoated the flat paint with Varathane Diamond acrylic, so that it is easy to clean.
Wasn't there a very long involved thread about this very thing in the recent past.
Originally Posted by ralnphot
It's right next to the ones about the best developers, best paper, best film, and "is it ok to put my film through carry-on AP scanners".
Originally Posted by ralnphot
As for the topic, in my experience black and grey are functional in their way, but light colors or white make life in the darkroom much easier.
I have a mixture of white painted walls and unpainted wood walls and ceiling. During the next remodel/revision I'll do black around the enlarger, and some light color elsewhere.
Around the sink and wet areas, a color that allows fixer spots to show up is nice (i.e. not white).
White or light floors are nice too, so that you can position negs in the carrier without holding it over your head, or resorting to the white lights.
All black is safest and probably overkill in most cases. I like Ralph's suggestion the best. His photo showing the black cloth material around the enlarger is really a very good idea.
I plan to use a light gray floor, white ceiling, black around enlargers, yellow on other walls. Individual safe lights located where their light is needed.
The Thomas Duplex safelight is interesting but working in the shadows while the thing is humming would grow old very quickly.