”I’ve heard that colour can help with my baby’s mental development, but I’m not sure what they can and can’t see at different ages. Can you explain the science?”

Your home is your baby’s entire world for the first few months after they’re born. So it makes sense that it should be a visually stimulating space that will encourage their mind to expand and explore.

According to AzkoNobel{*} research, over 40% of parents believe that colour is important to a baby’s development. But what can they actually see and when?

Here, we explain the five key stages of your baby’s visual journey.

For the first few weeks after they’re born, babies can only see up to a distance of about 20 to 30 centimetres – just far enough to make out your face when you’re holding them.

The fuzzy stage

For the first few weeks after they’re born, babies can only see up to a distance of about 20 to 30 centimetres – just far enough to make out your face when you’re holding them.

Their colour vision is also quite limited, so they respond most strongly to high-contrasting colours such as black and white.

Which paints?

Y8-DN.00.11 / 00NN 05/000
Y1-ON.00.87 / 50RB 83/005

By the time babies reach one to two months old, they have learned to focus their eyes and track objects or people that move around in their line of vision.

The following-you-with-their-eyes stage

By the time babies reach one to two months old, they have learned to focus their eyes and track objects or people that move around in their line of vision.

Make sure you choose toys in high-contrasting colours that they will be able to make out.

From about two months old, babies start to be able to properly make out different colours, starting with the primary colours of red, yellow and blue.

The dawn of colour

From about two months old, babies start to be able to properly make out different colours, starting with the primary colours of red, yellow and blue and gradually becoming more sophisticated until they can tell the difference between things like red and orange.

This is the stage when it’s most important to expose your baby to as many different colours as possible.

Which paints?

C8-B6.51.30 / 98RR 12/480
O7-T5.49.35 / 47BB 14/349
G8-F5.72.71 / 40YY 48/750

At five months old, a baby’s vision has become so well developed that they can even distinguish between subtle shades, such as pastels.

Things are getting clearer…

At five months old, a baby’s vision has become so well developed that they can even distinguish between subtle shades, such as pastels.

Introducing more subdued shades into their toys and nursery décor can help them to get to grips with these new colours.

Which paints?

O1-T1.08.79 / 30BB 63/097
Q3-WN.02.77 / 10RB 65/042

By the time a baby reaches eight months old, their colour vision is almost as good as an adults and they can recognise different and objects across a room.

Nearly there!

By the time a baby reaches eight months old, their colour vision is almost as good as an adults and they can recognise different and objects across a room.

Make sure you decorate your baby’s room with lots of interesting things for them to look at, encouraging their mind to explore the world around them.

Top tip

Don’t forget to paint your ceiling – your baby will spend a lot of time staring up at it once their long-distance vision starts to develop, so why not give them something interesting to look at?

Get the look with these colours:

Y8-DN.00.11 / 00NN 05/000
C8-B6.51.30 / 98RR 12/480
O7-T5.49.35 / 47BB 14/349
G8-F5.72.71 / 40YY 48/750
Q3-WN.02.77 / 10RB 65/042

Featured colours