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How to lighten a dark, north facing room

27th September 2021

North-facing rooms can be some of the trickiest to decorate. Colours that would usually appear fresh and bright can look duller in these areas of the home. So how do you lighten a north facing room?

Firstly, you could embrace the dark, cosy feel of the space and paint your room in a deep, cocooning shade. After all, no matter what paint colour you choose, the room is still going to face north! Warm, jewel-like shades are especially perfect for north facing rooms (check out this post for more ideas).

But sometimes we crave a bright, open feel, which is best achieved with a light paint colour and some clever tricks. If you’re keen to lighten your north facing room, then check out these simple suggestions:

  1. 1. Don’t just opt for brilliant white

Sounds strange, but picking the brightest, whitest paint shade won’t necessarily help your north facing room feel any lighter or more inviting. That’s because the high level of titanium dioxide used to make white paint appear really bright can sometimes cast an almost blue-ish tone. In north facing rooms this blue tone can appear cold and stark, so it’s best to steer clear of pure brilliant white.

  1. 2. Choose a paint colour with a warm undertone

Off white and neutral paint colours with a subtle yellow or red undertone will add warmth to a space. Colours like Sandy Castle or Marbles carry a warmth that makes them perfect for north facing rooms. Check out this blogpost for more of our favourite neutral paint colours for north facing rooms, or take a look at our online Colour Guide.

Sandy Castle is a warm cream paint colour that is ideal for north facing rooms

Sandy Castle is a warm cream paint colour that is ideal for north facing rooms

  1. 3. Reflect the light

Mirrors are one of the simplest ways to make small rooms appear larger. So if you have a north facing space that feels dark and cave-like, use mirrors to lighten the room. For maximum effect, try situating mirrors adjacent to a light source such as a window or lamp.

  1. 4. Think about your ceiling and trims

The ceiling and woodwork colour can play a large part in the ambience of your space. North facing rooms often benefit from a cohesive approach, especially if your walls are painted in a light shade. By painting the skirting boards and ceilings in the same colour, you can achieve a seamless, airy feel. If you have a low ceiling with dark beams, we have some simple ideas on how to lighten wood beams here.

  1. 5. Opt for lightest shades by a window

Painting your interior window frame in a pale colour can help reflect light into the room, even if your walls are a different shade. It doesn’t need to be white, but a warm neutral colour will help to bounce the light around the room.

Warm, off-white and neutral paint colours are perfect for north facing rooms

  1. 6. Consider your furniture

Dark coloured furniture can contribute to the gloomy feeling of north facing rooms. Light woods and furniture painted in pale colours will help counter this – our Eco Chic is perfect if you fancy giving your dark furniture a lift! To help lighten your space further, choose furniture with tall legs (so you can still see the floor) as this will create the illusion of more space, which can in turn make the room feel lighter.

  1. 7. Get your lighting right

Last but not least, having the right kind of lighting can make the world of difference to dark rooms. Some artificial light feels cold and stark in north facing light, but likewise choosing a bulb that is too yellow can make a room feel heavy. A soft natural light, and in particular daylight bulbs, will help maximise light in your north facing room. A variety of lamps will also help to create pools of ambient lighting.

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