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Add brightness and warmth to north-facing rooms with these popular paint colors

There are several paint colors that can help to add brightness and warmth to north-facing rooms, where the natural light can make the room feel cold and dark.

North-facing rooms are usually some of the rooms that feel the darkest and coldest in any house in the northern hemisphere.

These rooms with northern exposure can affect the way that different colors look in them, and your interior design will need to be adjusted to compensate for the unique lighting conditions.

There are several design tricks that can help you add some warmth back into your north-facing rooms, but paint color is one of the best ways to create a cozy environment in these rooms in your house.

The lighting in north-facing rooms

The lighting in your house can vary from room to room, depending on the orientation of the room and the artificial lights that you have added to each room.

When it comes to natural lighting, north-facing rooms are often the worst off, and the most difficult to work with.

In north-facing rooms, the windows face a northern direction. This means that this room will get reflected, not direct light, from the north.

You can also tell the orientation of certain rooms in your home from the compass direction on the plans of your house.

Since north-facing rooms get indirect natural light, this is often a diffused and cold light. Real estate agents, designers, and homeowners often describe north-facing rooms as being darker and colder because of this light.

Winter months, especially, can accentuate this cooler light and make these rooms feel colder. There are, however, not only disadvantages to the lighting in north-facing rooms.

The light in these rooms, though low and cold, is a diffused type of natural light, which makes for a very calming look that stays consistent throughout the day.

There are also many different ways to decorate a room with northern exposure to counteract this cold and dark look.

Tips for decorating north-facing rooms

True north-facing rooms can often feel like they have very low and cool-toned light, which is not the ideal condition when you want to create a warm and cozy design in this room.

Fortunately, there are several ways to enhance the warm and homely feeling of north-facing rooms.

These will help you to create this warm look and feel whether you are designing for a living room, dining room, bedroom, or any other room in your house.

One of the ways to make the light in your north-facing room feel warmer is to add some warm light into the room.

In order to counteract the colder undertones of the natural light in this room, you can add warmer-toned incandescent lights to your room.

easAdding different light fixtures that have lights around the 2800 Kelvin range can help to add a warmer glow to your space.

A different approach to this darker north-facing room dilemma is adding mirrors and reflective surfaces to your space to reflect as much natural light as possible.

These mirrors will reflect the natural light from the windows and bounce this light throughout the room. This will brighten up the room, but will also increase the amount of cooler light within the room.

The most popular way to counteract the gloomy feeling in a north-facing room, is to use certain paint colors to add warmth and brightness to the room design.

These low-light conditions mean that north-facing rooms can handle colors with a bit more punch than other orientations would, and you do not have to be subtle in your paint color choices.

11 Best paint colors for north-facing rooms

There are several different approaches you can take in terms of which paint color achieves the best final look in a north-facing room.

Bright paint colors for north-facing rooms

The Light Reflectance Value (LRV) is a scale that measures how much light a color reflects back into the room.

This scale ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 being the purest white that reflects back 100 percent of the light that shines onto it, and 0 being pure black, which would reflect back absolutely no black.

One of the most effective ways to brighten up a dark room is to use paint colors that have a high LRV and will, thus, reflect a lot of the light in the room – making it feel brighter.

However, even when a paint color has a high LRV, this does not necessarily mean that this is a color that will look good in a north-facing room.

These high LRV colors should still have some warmer tones to help neutralize or warm up the cooler tones in northern light.

Some of these bright and warm paint colors that will work well in north-facing rooms include:

1. Mascarpone by Benjamin Moore

This color is slightly warm but does not look like yellow when it is in your room. This will help to cast a subtle warm glow across the room.

2. Majestic Mauve by Benjamin Moore

This is a very subdued mauve, which is very versatile and will give a unique look to your north-facing room.

3. Navajo White by Benjamin Moore

This is a very creamy white color that will really help to brighten up a room that feels too dark.

4. White Dove by Benjamin Moore 

White Dove is a warm off-white color, which gets slightly toned-down by northern light to form a very subtle neutral backdrop of color.

Gray paint colors for north-facing rooms

Gray paint colors are a popular choice to add a modern twist to any room. It is worth noting, though, that every gray paint color will have undertones which could really change the way that a certain color looks once it is in a specific room, like a north-facing room.

This is why it is important to choose gray colors that have warmer undertones when you are planning to paint in a north-facing room.

Warmer undertones will help to keep the overall color scheme from feeling too gloomy and cold.

If you choose a gray color with cool undertones, the cool light will accentuate these undertones, which will make the whole room feel colder; this is not conducive for creating an inviting and comfortable room.

Some examples of warm, gray paint colors that will work well in north-facing rooms include:

5. Revere Pewter by Sherwin-Williams

Revere Pewter color is slightly warm but does not look like yellow when it is in your room. This will help to cast a subtle warm glow across the room.

6. Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore

This is a very warm gray color, which can add some brightness to a north-facing room.

7. Gossamer Veil by Sherwin-Williams

This color is a sophisticated and modern shade of gray, which is warm enough to work in a north-facing room.

8. Cat’s Cradle by Earthborn

This is a very warm, dark gray color which will add a touch of drama to a north-facing room. Darker colors can be used to play into the low light in north-facing rooms, for a cozy and ambient look.

Green paint colors for north-facing rooms

Rich colors like emerald and other natural greens can easily enhance the warmth of a room and make it instantly more welcoming and cozier.

Green colors can also help to add some personality to your room, if the warm, bright and gray colors seem to make your north-facing room feel dull and uninspired.

However, it is important to choose green colors that have a warmer, yellow undertone, rather than colors like green-grays or teals that can end up looking too cold.

Some examples of green paint colors that will work well in north-facing rooms include:

9. Chimichurri by Benjamin Moore

This green color has pronounced yellow undertones and is a unique shade that will even work for an all-over wall color in north-facing rooms.

10. Hobby Wood by Earthborn

This is a very strong and rich green color that will stand out in a room where colors tend to get washed out.

11. Bancha by Farrow and Ball

This is a modern take on an olive paint color, and it will help to create a cozy, warm and natural feeling in any room.

Final thoughts

In rooms with northern exposure, it can often be tricky to develop a design and color scheme, since the natural lighting in them can be so cold.

There are, however, strategic design tips to help you to counteract both low lighting conditions and a cold feeling within these rooms.

Color plays an important part in the overall look and feel of a room, and one of the most impactful ways to add color to a room is through paint.

There are several bright, gray and green paint colors that will work well in and enhance the atmosphere of north-facing rooms.