ask the experts3 min read

The best neutral paint colours for a dark & north-facing room

Neutral bedroom with retro decor
Neutral bedroom via Unsplash

WordsFrankie Marqueé


​​News flash: choosing colours for north-facing rooms is actually seriously straightforward. Got yourself a room that’s north-facing? Discover what our colour consultant Sam has to say about choosing the best neutral paint colours for dark rooms that face north.

You can also check out our advice on how to brighten up a dark room.

Understanding how the light hits your dark, north-facing room

First things first, it’s wise to understand what you’re dealing with, for knowledge is key when choosing colours for a north-facing room. Natural light affects the way we perceive paint colours in a big way. It brings out its undertones, it throws light, it drops shade.

“In a northerly room, you’re going to get less direct light on the whole, and the light that you do get has a habit of drawing out a paint’s cooler tones and casting soft shadows”

Sam Bramley

As an example, a white grey paint like White 01 with its grey base will look especially cool in a north-facing room. Similarly, Beige 02 will come out on the cold side and is best avoided here.

How to select the perfect neutral paint colours for dark, north-facing rooms

When it comes to paint colours for north-facing rooms, there are two schools of thought here – to brighten or to run with the darkness.

Remember, no matter how dazzling the white is that you’re pondering, it’s never going to turn a dark room into a floodlit one. Paint is clever, paint is an illusionist, but it can’t change the laws of physics. That being said, choosing the best neutral paint for a dark room can lighten and brighten it to a degree. If you want to know how to brighten up a dark room, a yellow-based neutral is your friend here, like White 03 and White 05 with their creamy base notes.

If you’re keen to embrace the dark side, then follow the cues of your northerly room’s reduced light and pick out a darker neutral that’ll act like a blanket over the whole room. “Go with the indirect light of a north-facing room and be bold with hues that are rich in pigment to create wrap-around cosy feels”, suggests Sam. In neutral speak, Greige 02 paint, we’re looking at you.

Need tailored-to-you colour advice? Speak to our colour consultants Tash and Sam and find the best colours for your home, no matter what compass point they face.

The best neutral paint colours for dark rooms

Strictly speaking, neutrals are your whites, your off-whites, your beiges, your greys and by extension, your greiges. But we all know that there’s plenty more than one sort of white and greys come in fifty shades and counting according to some. So when it comes to neutral paint for dark rooms, where do you begin? Let’s break it down, starting with whites and beiges where a biscuity base is always best.

Then to greys and greiges, where the secret stays the same – keep things warm and wholesome whether that’s through a hint of brown in the base or soft-as-you-like purple below the surface.

Check out Grey 03 for our ultimate warm light grey paint.