The best colors for north-facing rooms — designers say to embrace these to create "serene, cozy sanctuaries"

The best colors for north-facing rooms will warm up any cool space

The best colors for north-facing rooms are useful to know. Here is a living room with beige walls with wall art prints on, a dark green velvet couch, a cream armchair, a gold lamp in the middle of them, and a peach rug
(Image credit: Snug Sofa)

Finding the best colors for north-facing rooms is key if you want to warm up your room and give it a glow that the sun won't.

We've asked interior designers what colors they pick out to make a stunning splash in this space. Think light creamy white, warm and rich earthy terracotta, and gentle yellow. Basically, if your place doesn't have the Mediterranean's sunshine, you can simply bring its gorgeous color palette to it.

If you want to choose the best paint colors for your home, keeping in mind the direction of each room is key to making it truly shine.

The best colors for north-facing rooms, according to pros

Once you've learned how to paint a room, you can then move onto choosing a shade that is perfect for it, such as colors for north-facing rooms.

Our experts have recommended specific shades throughout, which we have shopped wherever possible.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.

1. Warm neutrals

A living room with beige walls with wall art prints on, a dark green velvet couch, a cream armchair, a gold lamp in the middle of them, and a peach patterned rug underneath

(Image credit: Snug Sofa)

If you don’t want to constantly switch up your paint color, picking a neutral shade that will work with all interior design ideas is a brilliant move.

“Opt for soft neutral colors like soft whites for north-facing rooms,” suggests Nina Lichtenstein, principal designer and founder of Nina’s Home Design.

Alternatively, you can also go for a gorgeous warm white to add warmth to the room,

“One of my go-to recommendations is a creamy white like Benjamin Moore's Simply White,” explains Ryan Fitzgerald, design expert and owner of Raleigh Realty.

“It has just a whisper of yellow undertones that gently brightens and enhances the natural light,” he says.

In terms of what to swerve, Nina suggests avoiding stark whites, as they may appear too harsh in rooms with limited natural light. 

2. Soft pastels

A sitting area with pink striped wallpaper, four plates on the wall, a wooden sideboard with cakes and teacups on it, a cream boucle arm chair and a brown circular table

(Image credit: Lust Home)

Don’t panic — even in north-facing rooms, you can still bring a pop of gorgeous personality into it.

Nina explains, “Introduce gentle pastel shades like soft blue and blush pinks to infuse a north-facing room with color while maintaining a tranquil ambiance.”

She adds, “These warm pastels add depth and personality without weighing down the space.”

One of our favorite blues is Farrow and Ball’s Borrowed Light, which is aptly named for bringing brightness into north-facing rooms.

3. Gentle yellow

A kitchen with a white and yellow grid splashback, a wooden shelf above it with plants and vases on it, and a gentle yellow cabinet with drawers and cupboards

(Image credit: Hyperion Tiles)

For those searching for the best paint colors for small bathrooms or kitchens, we’re into the idea of bringing in sweet and cheerful colors.

“For kitchens and bathrooms, counteract the lack of light with gentle yellow or warm off-white tones — think Benjamin Moore's Muslin,” says Ryan.

“The sunny disposition makes these practical spaces feel open and airy,” he adds.

Ryan suggests grounding these with mid-tone greige cabinets or accent walls to add a beautiful balance to the space.

4. Rich terracotta

A small bathroom with terracotta and white walls, a rectangular mirror, a wall sconce, and a standing wooden anity with a white basin and gold faucets, with a sage towel next to it

(Image credit: Burlington)

Turn your home into a Mediterranean-inspired oasis by opting for  terracotta, which is a stunning color for north-facing rooms.

Ryan says, “If you want to go a little bolder, consider earthy terracotta shades that effortlessly infuse radiant warmth.”

He continues, “I think Benjamin Moore's Brick Red has a lovely golden orange undertone without veering into primary pumpkin territory.”

You can either use this on accent walls or paint smaller strokes to highlight architectural detailing in your home. Helpfully, this is also one of the best colors for south-facing rooms, so you can grab a whole tin for your house if you like.

5. Sage green

A bathroom with sage green and white dotted tiles, a shower, and a sage green sink unit with pastel pink tiles around it and a blob mirror above it

(Image credit: Crosswater)

Whether you’re looking for spring interior design ideas or not, reaching for nature-inspired colors for north-facing rooms is a lovely way to bring the outside in. 

Pale greens and blues evoke a sense of serenity and freshness in north-facing rooms. 

“I like to choose sage greens to create a calming atmosphere in your home,” Nina says.

She adds, “These colors work particularly well in bedrooms or bathrooms, where a tranquil ambiance is desired.”

For those looking for green small bathroom ideas, sage green would look great either painted on a vanity or across all the walls.

6. Greige

A bedroom with greige walls, a pink bed with light gray throw pillows and a brushed gold standing lamp above it, and a marble round table to the left

(Image credit: Bridgman)

While dark grays are the worst colors for small spaces and north-facing rooms, warmer grays are a sophisticated alternative.

“For a living room or bedroom, I love velvety greige paint colors which create an incredibly cozy, inviting ambiance,” Ryan says.

One of Ryan’s favorites is Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Mist, which is one of those shades that will go with anything.

“Add in layers of warm textiles, natural wood accents, and pops of cheerful color through artwork or accent pillows,” he continues.

7. Metallics

A room with silver metallic walls, a rectangular silver standing full-length mirror, and a gray armchair to the left of it

(Image credit: Melody Maison)

Go for major glamor by picking a paint color with shimmery shades, so you can make your whole place look beautiful and bright.

“Metallic or satin paint will help bounce light around the room, enriching your north-facing room,” suggests Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight.

“Pair these up with mirrors to add even more reflectiveness, which is also a great way to make a small room appear bigger,” he adds.

You can also bring in a mirror with a silver border for the best of both worlds, such as the Jamie Young Co. Arch Mirror from Saks.


Both our experts also recommend grabbing sample pots and creating swatch boards to test your chosen shades at different times of day, before leaping a full tin.

“With a little bit of planning and know-how, you can absolutely embrace those north-facing rooms as serene, cozy sanctuaries rather than dark holes,” Ryan finishes by saying.

If making your room look current and fresh is important to you as well, you may also want to find out the interior design color trends for the year.

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.

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