Best Paint Colors For North Facing Rooms

Here we share our best paint colors for north facing rooms including top picks and how to brighten the design.
Master bathroom with griege paint and freestanding tubIn every home there are four faces: north, south, east and west. Sometimes when buying a house you do not have much control over where the bedrooms, bathrooms or kitchens are in relation to these faces.

The direction the rooms are facing directly affects the amount of light, and type of light that is brought into the space. This is why some rooms are better for photography, or doing certain activities than others.

Using this knowledge to your advantage and selecting brightening wall colors or certain hues and shades will help make the best of the situation. Some of the different ways to balance these in your favor are described below. [toc]

Lighting Influence On Northern Exposure Rooms

North facing home office with sherwin williams summer white paint and wainscotingEach side of the home has a different type of exposure to the elements, especially lighting, through windows. Rooms that have northern exposure are often the darkest of the home.

These rooms have a gray or neutral light to the room, due to the lack of any direct natural lighting. It instead gets the light that is bouncing off of other outdoor items and the indirect lighting of the area.

This makes it the easiest light exposure to paint and select a color for since it is a more consistent lighting versus changing at different times of the days and especially having extreme highs and lows during the day, or even seasons.

Northern exposure rooms give a cooler feel, so a contrasting warm paint color can even out the space. It is best to not contrast too much, as it can seem harsh. Using cool colors with warmer hues ties both of those elements together.

Light Reflective Value (LRV)

Bedroom with light gray paint and modern light fixtureBy definition the Light Reflective Value is a measure of the visible light as well as the usable light that is reflected from a surface when illuminated by a light source. In simpler terms the Light Reflective Value is how much light can be used when reflected off of another item.

Each color has a different Light Reflective Value, and even every finish or brand of paint can be different. Typically this light value is listed on the paint chips to help with the decision process. The light can reflect off of a number of things, flooring, walls, and furniture.

Based on the colors and finishes the light reflective value of the room can change. For paint on the walls, the color and the finish can affect the value. For a higher reflective light value using a glossier paint and a lighter color is best.

Top Paint Colors For North Facing Rooms

Bathroom with sherwin williams agreeable gray paintAgreeable gray bathroom paint color.

The top paint colors to paint a north facing room are the neutrals of warm whites, creams, beiges, khakis, light browns, warmer grays, and greiges. For adding some color to the space it is recommended to use some warmer greens, like olive, and warmer blues.

Using lighter colors as the neutrals lightens up the space and allows for the use of darker accents if so desired. The neutrals paired with an accent color incorporate some interest without overwhelming the room.

You can use one of the available paint color apps for help matching your favorite colors.

Paint Colors To Use For North Facing Rooms

Sherwin williams snowbound 7004White Neutral: Sherwin Williams 7004 Snowbound

Sherwin williams pavestone 7642Beige Neutral: Sherwin Williams 7642 Pavestone

Sherwin williams colonnade gray 7641Greige Neutral: Sherwin Williams 7641 Colonnade Gray

Sherwin williams brainstorm brown 7033Brown Accents: Sherwin Williams 7033 Brainstorm Brown
Sherwin williams aquaverde 9051Blue Accents: Sherwin Williams 9051 Aquaverde
Sherwin williams inland 6452Green Accents: Sherwin Williams 6452 Inland

What Color Is Best For North Facing Room?

The best color for you to use in a north facing room is going to be the above mentioned Sherwin Williams 6452 Inland as the green accents paired with a nice medium tone neutral Sherwin Williams 7642 Pavestone as the main paint color.

This pairing uses cool colors to play on the lighting that is cooler on the northern sides of the home. The pulling in of a warmer hue of a green links the cooler and warmer tones to keep a cohesive design.

Using just one of these colors with similar colors in the flooring or the décor of the room can also be a good choice as well, if getting two colors is not in the budget. Using just a neutral paint color allows for being more creative with the furniture or artwork that is used in the room.

How Do You Brighten A North Facing Room?

North facing kitchen with sherwin williams colonnade gray paintAs mentioned above, the north facing rooms are going to be darker and typically miss the golden hour, this takes away and natural brightness that could be desired. Some ways that one can brighten up this space are listed below.

Warming the space up – Using a brighter, warmer color can open up the space in a northern facing room. Additionally, if you are looking to create more of a statement in a north facing room, using a warmer, deeper, darker color can warm up the space and contrast best with a lighter neutral.

Lighting the Room – In north facing rooms the lighting is limited as the sun doesn’t face towards the room, which causes a darker space, and even a need for artificial light. This can be best when incorporated with layers of lighting, such as paint colors, lamps, wall hung or ceiling hung lights.

The wattage of these lights play a big part in brightening up the room. In rooms with desks, cabinets or shelves, it can be super handy to add lighting under the shelving or cabinets to add an additional layer of lighting to brighten the room.

Scandinavian living room with antique white paint colorPlaying with the light reflection – Playing with the light reflection value of the paint selected can help brighten up a room significantly.

The paint can have a finish of flat, eggshell, semi gloss or glossy. Each of these finishes have a different type of light reflection, the glossier, the more light will bounce off of it.

The right paint finish paired with the color selected (A lighter and brighter color helps the most) can help make the room brighter and feel more airy and open versus dark and uninviting. – interior designer Savannah.

Paint Colors For North Facing Rooms Infographic

Best Paint Colors For North Facing Rooms Infographic

For more related content visit our article about the best paint finish for a living room.

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One Comment

  1. I have a north-facing living room with low light which makes the room grayish shaded. But the neighbors on the other side have a lime green balcony (the brick of our houses are brown) so in the afternoon/evening the light is reflected in that house, casting a Maleficent-coloured shade straight through my living room and the bricks give a warm glow to it. Right now I have base white on the walls, I tried warm white in the beginning but it just looked dirty because of the reflected light. What colour should I use to make the room lighter?

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