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How to tell if your room is north, east, south or west facing

WordsMegan Lambert

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Never. Eat. Shredded. Wheat.Great for remembering your orientations, no use when it comes to determining them. If you need to know how to tell if a room is north, east, south or west-facing then you're going to need a compass (hang on, Columbus, your phone has one). Aim at the largest windows in the room and whichever way the dial points: that is the orientation of your room. If you're lucky enough to have a double (or even triple) aspect room, then you'll be getting light from several angles. All this means more flexibility with the colours you can opt for when decorating. That said, there are more intuitive ways to tell the orientation of a room. In this blog, we're going to help you find out how, and which colours to use in a variety of room orientations.

North facing rooms

North facing rooms get the least light of all four orientations. If you've got a north facing room, you're unlikely to have light pouring in at any time of day. But don't worry, it's not time to put your house on the market just yet, there are plenty of clever tips and tricks to make a north facing room seem brighter and more inviting.

To begin, you’re going to want to avoid anything with a blue or grey undertone, as this will make it feel cold and a little unwelcoming. If you want to keep things bright and airy, go for a lighter colour with warm red or yellow undertones, like our White 03, Beige 01, or Pink 01. Looking for a splash more colour? Try Yellow 02 or Green 01. Alternatively, if you want to create a cocooning effect, you can experiment with some warm, dark colours, like Green 05 for a more dramatic look. You can make things feel cosier with soft furnishings and gentle lamp lighting.

For more inspiration, read our advice on the best neutral paint colours for a dark & north-facing room or check out all our colours for a north facing room.

South facing rooms

On the other hand, if you get a good amount of light throughout the day, you've hit the jackpot. It's south facing. The prime orientation, the virtues of which estate agents across the land extoll, south facing rooms receive bags of natural light. There won’t be any sunrise or sunset, just a good amount of natural light from morning 'til evening. Lucky you, you can choose just about any colour you like. A south facing room can tolerate almost any colour palette, so go wild.

The light tends to be warmer, so you can go for cooler colours than you usually would, like a blue, green, or greige but you can really go as light or dark as you want. Alternatively, using pale tones like gentle pinks or a soft teal is a great way to maximise the feeling of space. You've got your pick of the lot, but some of our favourite looks in a south facing room include White 01 or Grey 02 for a neutral look or for a splash more colour, try Pink 03, Red 03, and Teal 01. The take-home? If you're going to go bold, do it in a south facing room.

East facing rooms

If the sun is streaming through your windows first thing in the morning, you've got yourself an east facing room. Great if you're an early bird and a winning combination in a bedroom, but if mornings aren't your thing, it might be time to invest in a decent pair of Venetian or roller blinds). As always, think about what time you're going to be using this room. A soft Blue 02 looks gorgeous in an east facing bedroom — you can get away with it because the morning sunshine prevents it from being too cold. On the other hand, light in the mornings means you'll have little in the afternoon. If your living room is east facing, then you'll want to look for warming tones, like a Pink 01, Pink 02 or even a gentle Green 01. Looking to inject some character? You can always tear up the rule book and go dark. Our Black 02 and Green 04 steer clear of being overwhelming thanks to their warm undertones.

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