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Nobody wants their home to have a lousy interior. No matter how good your house looks from the outside if your decor isn’t warm and inviting your house is going to be no different than a haunted house. Cold, dark, and unwelcoming. Now you might be thinking that I’m exaggerating but take a moment to think about a house or a room that is underlit, dull, and cold. No thank you! You and I together are going to make sure your house never looks like that!
Northern rooms are like green skittles. You don’t want them, but when you buy a house or an apartment, you can’t exactly avoid it. You also can’t slap some white paint on the wall and call it a day. Contrary to popular belief, white isn’t exactly the best choice for such rooms. But what if I told you that there is a way you can make your north-facing room warm and inviting? It sounds impossible at first but I have a feeling that as you get to the conclusion, you’re going to change your mind.
How does light impact paint colors in north-facing rooms?
Northern rooms are one of the trickiest rooms to decorate because it casts a cool light all through the room. That tends to dull all the colors in the room and make things look pale and cold. Which happens to be a big disappointment when compared to your otherwise well lit and decorated house.
You don’t get a lot of sunlight in the north-facing rooms. So instead of covering the light up with over the top bright colors that are just going to make your room look crowded; the best way to decorate such a room is to embrace the light. The light in these rooms tends to be grayer and has a blue cast on your room as the sun only hits the room when it’s about to set or is lower in the sky.
The two types of north-facing rooms
There are two types of north-facing rooms. And both of them need different colors and decor depending on the amount of light that streams in through your windows. So let’s have a quick look in order for you to have a better understanding
1. North facing rooms with a lot of natural light
So if your room is facing north and has a lot of light, it is safe to assume it’s because you have a lot of windows. And nothing that is blocking the stream of light in your house. But that still doesn’t mean your room will look warm. I will look less dull and gray with all the ‘light’ but there will still be a blue cast over your room. You will get a little warm light in the morning if your room is facing northeast and some in the evening if your room faces in the northwest. Honestly, it never ends, the lighting keeps changing. Hence its best for a color that doesn’t dim your room
2. North facing room with less natural light
If your room has less natural light it typically means that you have fewer windows in the room. This will make your job a little more difficult as the shadows will be deeper and duller in the room. Your room will have more pronounced gray shadows and a blue cast. Hence in rooms like these, you have to make sure you get the accurate color and add in some generous amount of artificial light as well.
Reasons the room may have less natural light
If you have windows but you still don’t have enough light in the room it can probably be because of an overhanging patio on the outside of your room, tall trees, or close neighbors. Hence if you have a manmade structure in your houses such as a patio or a pergola, it is advisable to shift it somewhere else in your backyard so that it doesn’t obstruct the light.
Solutions(other than paint) to improve the lighting
If you don’t have a lot of natural light, you don’t need to worry. There are still ways through which you can chase away the blues and grays in your room.
- Remove any man-made obstruction As we discussed earlier, if there are any man-made obstructions in your house or backyard that might be interrupting the light flow then it’s advisable to get rid of them.
- Add a lot of artificial light When you can’t get any natural light, why not just add some artificial light? If it’s a dining or living room then you can add a nice warm chandelier. But if you’re budgeting, then you can also settle for some cute pendant lights, floor lamps, and sconces on the wall.
- Let the light stream in Don’t hinder the light by adding some heavy looking curtains. Keep the room light by adding some sheer curtains or blinds. Not only are they pocket friendly, but they also don’t crowd the already dull room.
- Keep the decor airy: You can’t crowd a room that is exposed to cool light with excessive over the top furniture. Ensure that the decor is light, airy, and minimal.
Rule of thumb for choosing the best paint colors for north facing rooms
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s talk about a few points you absolutely need to keep in mind before painting your northern exposed rooms. These tips are basically a cheat sheet to a relatively warmer and welcoming room so make sure you don’t skim over these.
Light Reflective Value
LRV is very important to consider when it comes to rooms like these. The rate of LRV tells us how reflective and light the paint will appear. Hence if the LRV is high then the reflection will be higher. For rooms that are exposed to northern light, you want to make sure that the base paint that you are choosing has an LRV of 60% or more. Reflection is good for more cool-toned rooms.
Now you have to remember that paints like these will not give you more light, they will just reflect light. Hence you need to make sure there is enough natural or artificial light in the room.
Don’t add cool-toned paints
It is normal for someone to think that since there is a cool cast in the room, it will pair with cool-toned colors better. But you couldn’t be farther away from the truth. Sometimes having a cool-toned color can double the effect. So make sure you are choosing warm undertones.
Avoid pure white
While whites generally open up space and make the room feel light and airy they actually do the opposite in a north-facing room. Since they have a gray undertone, when hit with a gray cast, they turn even duller.
By now you should be pretty well acquainted with the basics of a room that is exposed to northern light. So let’s get to the main crux of the topic. Enumerated below are 11 paints we think are the best fit for your rooms.
1. Antique White
The color is exactly what the title says it is. It is an antique white that you would probably find in a vintage store in Pennsylvania. It has a Parisian feel to it. Even though it says white, the color is more of a light tan with undertones of yellow. Hence it makes it a neutral warm color which would be perfect to balance out all the grays and blues. You could pair this with some moulding and you will have a room that feels as if it’s out of the 1980s. This soft wash of a color pairs well with both natural and artificial light
I know that we told you to avoid cool-toned colors but this one is actually pretty neutral. It is light enough to be in a northern facing room. Instead of magnifying your shadows, it will actually balance it out. This color is very apt for rooms like these as it changes tones during the day as different lighting hits it. It looks more bluish during the day and grayer as the dusk sets. Hence you don’t have to worry about it looking too flat or dull.
3. Lenox Tan
This color really gives you a farmhouse feel. It has a rich golden beige look and has nice warm undertones to cancel out all the blues and grays. Since this color is a little on the darker side we can get away with a medium LRV. If you have a northern room that is relatively well lit, this color will be accentuated even more. Its earthy undertones ensure that it looks more neutral rather than golden. You can pair this color with some light wood tones for an added farmhouse effect.
4. Edgecomb Gray
If you want something that is on the more white and neutral side but doesn’t make your room to look cool; I think you’ll like this color. It has a mix of warm and cool undertones which makes it this really cool greige(a mixture of gray and beige.) This color is going to make sure that your room doesn’t get washed out by all those shadows and remain neutral at the same time. This color also gives you the opportunity to add some bold pops of color as it’s pretty decor friendly and pairs well with almost anything.
5. Revere Pewter
While this is still a warm color, it is still infused with a lot of grays. And hence it’s perfect if you’re looking for something that is gray and won’t dull your room. This is definitely a unique color and one of my favorites. It has a tendency to shift as the light hits it and shifts between looking warm and gray. This definitely one of the colors that have the most gray in this list. Pair this paint with some warm artificial lighting and watch it come to life.
6. Grecian Ivory
Finding a paint that had green undertones light enough for a northern facing room is challenging. But I think we have the perfect color for you. Grecian Ivory has subtle green undertones mixed with some beige which gives it a really sophisticated and timeless feel. It pairs well with a variety of colors and will make your interior designing job easier. It reminds me of a light version of taupe. Since the green is relatively subtle you can add some natural greens around the room to enhance it a bit more.
7. Gentle Cream
Gentle Cream is another tan looking color with undertones of yellow and orange. It is a stunning color and does not look too colorful or overpowering in a room. Gentle Cream does not get as much warmth as it does in a south-facing room so the colors get perfectly balanced out. It is a classic tan that is going to revamp your space and make it feel floaty and airy as opposed to small and confined. This color is versatile and works for all rooms from north to south. So if you’re looking for a consistent base color throughout your house, this is an ideal choice.
8. Agreeable Gray
We have another elegant greige option and this one is from Sherwin Williams. Agreeable gray is one of those grays that look gray even after having a warm undertone. This color is light enough to neutralize the room and make sure it doesn’t get too dull. And still remains a stunning shade of gray. It’s one of those colors that truly shine once you swatch it as opposed to seeing it on the website.
9. Jersey Cream
Nothing like a bright color to liven up a dull room. This color will instantly uplift any north-facing room. It has undertones of both yellow and orange and one of the highest LRVs we will cover in this list. It’s as if it was made for rooms with cool and underlit rooms. The warm tones in this will easily counter any gray or blue shadows. Hence if you are someone who loves warm colors that make you feel as if you are near the ocean, Jersey Cream should do the job
10. Window Pane
We usually avoid recommending cool-toned colors for an already cool lit room; if warm undertones are not your cup of tea this cool-toned gray should do the job for you. Cool undertones of blue will not work in a room exposed to northern light but Window Pane has undertones of green in it. Having green undertones will balance out the shadows in the room without the walls looking like warm neutrals.
11. Northampton Putty
Northampton Putty will probably be one of the darkest colors on this list. It is a super unique and different color. It looks beige but is also deepened by green undertones. Hence it will not only balance out the shadows but will also give some character and depth to your room. If you are looking for something on the darker spectrum of neutrals, this quintessential dark beige color with a hint of green should suit your needs perfectly.
With this, we conclude the article. We have covered a wide array of topics under the umbrella of north-facing rooms. By now you should be able to gauge the amount of light you get in your room, how to enhance the lighting in your room and how to choose a color that will best match the needs of your room. Now you will never have to take a color consultation for a north-facing room!