How to Paint a North-Facing Room?

It’s time to paint the house.

Drive to the paint store, choose the colors that fascinate you, and hey presto!

Pick the paintbrush and let’s do the painting. Right?

Well, that’s not it. It’s more complicated than you think.

There are more reasons to this, but for this specific blog post, I’ll focus on paint colors and the north-facing room.

Here’s how to paint a north-facing room.

First things first.

What is it About North Facing Rooms?

Well, the answer is quite simple.

North facing rooms don’t really get exposure to direct sunlight.

They might have sunlight, but it’s indirect sunlight, reflected from, maybe an adjacent building.

This type of light is cooler and darker – mostly gray undertones – than the light in other rooms. So, it’s easy for the space to feel cold and gloomy.

The result is that even fresh colors will look dull.

And interestingly, the light is constant, so the room feels the same throughout the day. Whether it’s early morning or in the afternoon.

How do we paint such a room?

Or is it doomed to be a chilly, dark space for life?

Read on!

How to Paint a North Facing Room?

Well, painting really has no color “rules”. What might work for one space might not work for another.

But for the north facing room, it’s best to go for lighter shades with warm undertones.

“Lighter” refers to the paint color’s brightness, which is measured by the light reflectance value (LRV).

Black has a zero LRV while white has 100%.

So, what’s the trick?

In north facing rooms, choose a color with higher LRV with warm undertones.

The key is to get the undertones of colors on the warm side of the spectrum to add that warm, cozy feeling to the rather chilly, dark room.

Warm undertones include yellow, red, pink, brown, green, etc.

Let’s start with off-whites.

What are the Best Off-White Paints for North Facing Room?

The best off-white paints for north-facing rooms have red, brown, yellow or pink undertones.

Navajo White

Navajo white is a warm, cream paint with subtle yellow undertones.

For the north-facing room, Navajo white adds a sense of warmth and coziness, more so when paired with a source of artificial light.

Ambient lighting “tones down” the yellow undertones and the remaining yellow balances out the coolness in north-facing rooms.

Mineral White

Mineral white is a stony-off white color that’s ideal for north-facing rooms because it lacks those plain white undertones.

It brightens the room but still exudes a warm, calm feel.

How about accenting with one agreeable gray wall?

Cloudy White

Cloudy white is a stunning, soft and subtle off-white with creamy tints.

Its warm undertones are ideal for countering the cool northern light.


Cream has got just enough yellow undertones for that warm off-white effect.

The yellow is slashed by the grayish light in north facing rooms so that it’s just enough to bounce the little light in the space.

Can I Use Simply White Paint in the North Facing Room?

Simple white has an LRV of 91%. It’s a clean, crisp white with a warm touch.

It might look simple, but it’s one of the paints many designers recommend for north facing rooms.

And it’s especially good for the north facing kitchen.

Incorporate a warm umber red or a grayish-green accent wall for that contemporary look.

Is Pure White Good for North Facing Room?

The popular opinion is that you should paint a dark space white.

However, interior designers like Emily Henderson will tell you that painting a dark room white just doesn’t work.

White reflects natural light.

And because a north-facing room has very little sunlight getting in, white will have almost nothing to reflect.

Therefore, at the end of the day, the space will feel even darker.

So, steer away from pure brilliant white. Off-whites with warm undertones are the key, as I’ve mentioned earlier.

Let’s now focus on the bedroom. How do we paint those north-facing bedrooms?

North Facing Bedroom Color Schemes to Consider

We start with an expert’s tip.

According to home interior expert, Becks Shepherd, steer away from shades of black and muddy brown in any north facing rooms.

The grayish light will make such colors look cloudy.

So, which colors should we consider for the bedroom?

We definitely don’t need our bedrooms looking too bright for our brains to relax when it’s time to sleep. Nor do we want the room looking darker than it already is.

Try one of these.

Grayish Beige

Gray is really not the color for north facing rooms. But the color combination of gray and beige – grayish beige – is fantastic.

It has more warmth than pure gray, and it’s deeper than beige.

The earthy undertone is ideal for counteracting the cool northern light.

It will also inject warmth and life into the room and still retain that contemporary look.

Agreeable Gray

Agreeable gray comes with grayish, brown and purple undertones.

It’s considered a warm-toned paint and will make your room look modern.

Dark Paint Colors

Ditch the idea that you shouldn’t paint a north-facing space with a dark color.

For the north facing bedroom, one of the ideas is to go for dark paint colors. They convey a comfortable, cocooning feel – ideal for the bedroom.

They absorb light and make the bedroom look cozy, especially those with less black in the base.

Inky blues and deep aubergines are fantastic for the small-sized bedrooms.

Does green work well too? Read on!

Green Paint Colors for North Facing Bedroom

The light that comes in the north facing room tends to bring out the darker undertones of most colors.

So, if you’re to paint the bedroom (or any other north-facing room) green, avoid cool greens.

Go for a slightly mustard green, forest greens, earth greens or deep green with yellow undertones.

The green color creates a relaxing feel that’s perfect for a warm, cozy bedroom.

How about incorporating an accent beige wall?

Photo by Alexandra.