The best 15 neutral paint colors for north-facing rooms

Neutral paint colors, like gray, beige and tan are a great way to add a subtle warmth to north-facing rooms that have a lot of cool light.

One of the best ways to ensure that you have a color scheme that will work with the furniture and other décor elements in your room, is to choose neutral paint colors.

These neutral colors make a good backdrop to build the rest of your design around and for you to create a comfortable ambience within your rooms.

However, even in terms of a neutral color scheme, the lighting in the room and the tone and intensity of this light, can influence the way that colors interact with each other and appear in different rooms.

The biggest factor to influence the lighting in your room will be the orientation of the room. If your room is a north-facing room, it will get a cooler, diffused natural light that you will need to take into account when planning your design.

Fortunately, there are many different neutral colors that work well even in this northern exposure, and they will help you create an inviting and interesting interior design for these north-facing rooms.

The benefits of choosing neutral paint colors for room designs

Choosing the paint colors for any room design can be one of the most exciting, but also one of the most complicated steps in the interior design process.

There are various factors to consider when you are choosing paint colors for a room, which will ensure that you end up with a design that looks great and suits your personal style.

Many people decide to use neutral paint colors for their interior designs, because they are so versatile. Neutral paint colors can function as the perfect base for your room design.

Neutral colors tend to be very subdued, and they blend well into the background color scheme of a room.

This allows you to build on this neutral base with brighter colors and accessories, and be bold in your accents, furniture, and art, without having to worry that the room will feel too busy.

A neutral color scheme can also help you to create a calming atmosphere in any room, because they are such soft colors. This can help you to cultivate a warm feeling and atmosphere within your house.

Even though neutral paint colors are so versatile and popular, colors like grays, beiges, tans and creams can still have varying undertones and hues, which could contrast or coordinate within different designs and rooms.

This is why it is important to consider all of the other design elements before you make your final paint color choice.

How lighting can affect color

Lighting is one of the most important design elements to consider when you are planning a room’s color scheme, because it can have a considerable effect on the way that paint colors appear once they are in the room.

This is also why paint colors sometimes look completely different when they are actually painted on your wall, than when you picked them out in a store.

The orientation of the room you are designing for, will affect the lighting in the room. In order to determine the orientation of a room, you will need to figure out what direction that the natural light in the room is coming from.

This can be done by using a compass, real or digital, to determine the direction that the main window in the room is facing.

The four main orientations – north, east, south, and west – will have the biggest influence on the way that natural light interacts with your room.

These natural lighting conditions can be summarized as follows:

Room orientation Light undertone Amount of natural sunlight
South Warm High, intense sunlight
North Cool Low, diffused natural light
East Warmer in the mornings, cooler in the evenings Higher in the mornings, lower in the evenings
West Cooler in the mornings, warmer in the evenings Lower in the mornings, higher in the evenings

From this information, it is clear that rooms with northern exposure can be quite tricky to design for, as you will need to compensate for the cooler natural light in them.

The natural light in north-facing rooms is a diffused and indirect light, which means that all colors will appear less saturated and shadows and contrasts between colors will be less noticeable, as a result of this.

Regardless of whether you are working with bright or neutral colors, this cool light will accentuate cooler undertones in these colors and neutralize warmer undertones.

This will affect the way that the entire design looks at the end of the day, and that is why it is important to choose neutral paint colors that have been proven to work well in north-facing rooms.

The best 15 neutral paint colors for north-facing rooms

Best gray paint colors for north-facing rooms

Although gray is a popular interior and exterior paint color, gray colors often have cooler blue or purple undertones. This can make it tricky to find a gray that will not end up looking too cold and dark in a north-facing room.

The cool-toned natural light in rooms with northern exposure will accentuate other cool undertones in the room, which can make the overall color scheme feel much colder.

If you want to avoid creating an overly cool color scheme, but you still want the modern edge of a gray color, it is best to choose a warmer gray paint color for your north-facing room.

Warmer undertones, such as yellows and browns, can help to counteract any cool undertones in the type of natural light you have, and help to balance your overall color scheme.

Examples of these warm gray colors that work well in a north-facing room include:

Shade Brand Color code Color swatch
Balboa Mist Benjamin Moore OC-27
Skyline Steel Sherwin-Williams SW 1015
Gossamer Veil Sherwin-Williams SW 9165
Agreeable Gray Sherwin-Williams SW 7029
Pale Oak Benjamin Moore OC-20
Rodeo Benjamin Moore 1534

Best beige paint colors for north-facing rooms

Beige is a good paint color choice for north-facing rooms, as it is still a fairly neutral and unassuming color, but is slightly darker and more intense than a cream or off-white color, while still adding warmth to your room.

When you use a beige paint color in a room with northern exposure, the warm undertones in your paint and the cool undertones in your lighting should cancel and balance each other out.

Subsequently, your beige color will appear slightly more subdued than it would in a room with southern exposure, but the room will also feel less cold. Beige paint colors add warmth to any room, but are still neutral enough not to overpower your entire room design.

Some of the most popular beige colors to use in north-facing rooms include:

Shade Brand Color code Color swatch
Shaker Beige Benjamin Moore HC-45
Accessible Beige Sherwin-Williams SW 7036
Straw Earthborn
Maybe Maggie Earthborn
Kilim Beige Sherwin-Williams SW 61906

Best tan paint colors for north-facing rooms

Tan paint colors can easily feel outdated, however, when these colors are paired with lighter white, cream and other natural colors, you can achieve a very modern monotone look.

Since it has so much warmth to it, tan paint is a popular choice when it comes to north-facing rooms. Tan paint colors mostly have brown and yellow undertones, which work well to balance any overly cool tones in your color scheme.

Tan colors are also darker than beige, which makes this color more noticeable in north-facing rooms, where colors can often be less saturated as a result of the indirect lighting.

Some of the best tan paint colors to use in north-facing rooms include:

Shade Brand Color code Color swatch
Natural Tan Sherwin-Williams SW 7567
Lenox Tan Benjamin Moore HC-44
Northampton Putty Benjamin Moore HC-89
Softer Tan Sherwin-Williams SW 6141

Final thoughts

Neutral paint colors are always a popular choice when it comes to both interior and exterior paint choices.

These colors often provide homeowners and designers with a fairly unassuming background, which will not interfere or clash with other design elements in the room.

The versatility of neutral colors is what draws most people to this choice, but even with this versatility, there are certain neutral paint colors that work better than others in specific rooms and designs.

When you take the cooler, diffused lighting of north-facing rooms into account, this can also lead you in the right direction in terms of neutral paint colors which will work well in these rooms.

There are several different gray, tan and beige colors that are best when you want to add warmth and a bit of color to your north-facing room design.

These colors will help to balance the cool and warm undertones in your room design, for a more subdued and comforting ambience, overall.