It’s important to understand how lighting impacts your paint color. Natural light can be particularly tricky to work with. Depending on the direction your windows face, a color’s appearance can dramatically change. To better understand how directional light impacts paint color, we want to suggest paint colors that will complement the natural light found in your home.
East Facing Rooms
A room that faces east will be filled with bright morning light that is generally cool in tone, before the light fades, leaving the room somewhat dimly lit in the late afternoon hours. When choosing paint colors for an east-facing room, consider saturated cool tones such as greens, blues or violets. For a sophisticated neutral hue, try the gray family. These shades will make the most of the morning sun but will still be appealing as the light dims over the course of the day.
West Facing Rooms
While dimly lit in the morning, a western facing room comes alive in the afternoon sun, illuminating the room with rich, golden light. Because of its lack of light early in the day, it can be tempting to choose a warm, rich paint color, but these same colors can be overly bright once the late afternoon rolls around. A great solution would be to choose lighter versions of your favorite warm colors, such as cream or pale yellow. These rooms can also benefit from the use of a cool, clear green, which will counter-balance the sun’s warm light in the afternoon while keeping it bright earlier in the day. For smaller, western-facing rooms, consider choosing a soft white to add a sense of space.
When it is time to choose a paint color, a southern facing room presents both a benefit and a challenge. These sun-drenched rooms have more variation in natural light throughout the day than any other room in the house, which means that color choice should be considered carefully. Rich, warmer colors in the yellow family can be too bright in a southern facing room that has an abundance of windows. Save the overly warm or jewel-toned colors for rooms with less natural light and consider choosing paint colors with cool, blue undertones such as a light gray.
The coolest of the rooms in terms of natural light is the north-facing room. With a full day of indirect light, they can sometimes feel dark and less inviting. A north-facing room will benefit most from avoiding any colors with cool undertones such as green, blue, lavender, or gray. A few great shades to try would be a warm cream with a slight yellow undertone or a golden-wheat. These rooms can handle a rich accent wall in a bold red or deep orange.
Consider testing paint swatches on your walls to see how the color changes throughout the day. As the sun passes through your room, you will get a better idea of how well that color will work at various times of the day. Knowing what kind of natural light your room will be exposed to will go a long way toward choosing a paint color you will enjoy all day.