The secret to choosing the perfect colour scheme for your home

These are the best shades for north, south, east and west-facing rooms, according to an expert. By Sam Wylie-Harris.

Sam Wylie-Harris
Tuesday 30 April 2024 07:30 BST
There are certain colours suited to certain spaces in the home (Alamy/PA)
There are certain colours suited to certain spaces in the home (Alamy/PA)

With a vast library of paint colours at our fingertips, fancy finishes and so many takes on trending colours such as blue – from cool, to light and airy, to muted, to deep – now here’s a conundrum to puzzle our paintbrush.

As Sarah Lloyd, paint and interiors expert at Valspar puts it: “Deciding on a paint colour for the spaces in your home can be difficult, especially as natural light changes throughout the day, meaning the appearance of the colour also changes too.”

Moreover, she says light can be so influential, the same colour will look different from room to room, so it’s important to pick the right colour for your walls.

“Whether the room is north, south, east or west-facing, there are certain colours that will be better suited to certain spaces than others,” says Lloyd.

To help you navigate those colour charts, these are the colours to select, depending on the situation….

North-facing rooms

“North-facing rooms get the least amount of light,” notes Lloyd.

“Paint these rooms with colours that will brighten the space, and keep it nice and airy.

“Warmer blush tones are best for north-facing rooms, and can also be incorporated through curtains, pillows and throws.”

She continues: “Beige shades are also great colours for opening up the space and giving it a ‘refresh’. As well as the walls, use beige on the ceiling and skirting boards for an up-to-date colour drench effect.”

Colour drenching has become a popular interior design technique and consists of taking one dominant colour and using various shades of it in a room, across different surfaces and features, explains Lloyd.

“Incorporating this trend can create visually stunning and dramatic effects and also make a room feel brighter, more cohesive and even more spacious – perfect for north-facing rooms.”

It’s essential to choose the right paint finish, says Lloyd, as this will make a huge difference in the overall look of the space.

“While matt paint absorbs light, gloss paint will often reflect it. A soft sheen paint will work best in north-facing rooms, as it will reflect the light, brightening up the space and making the room look bigger.”

Perfect paint choice: Soft sheen, beige blush, colour-drenched across walls, ceiling and doors.

South-facing rooms

In contrast, south-facing rooms receive the most amount of light, and you don’t need to factor in the sunrise or sunset, says Lloyd, as there is a good amount of light exposure for a long period of time.

With this in mind, she says cooler tones such as blue and grey look great in a south-facing room.

Blue is on trend in 2024, and it’s a versatile colour that’s easy to style and can be used in many different ways to create a variety of moods and styles.

“When using blue, for a harmonious look, consider balancing the colour with neutral furniture such as bedside tables and cabinets, or accessories like lamp shades and vases.

“This combination adds depth while maintaining a sense of calm,” she adds.

While a solid grey paint will look super stylish when offset by white furnishings, such as drapes, candles and small ornaments, especially as the light shines through, says Lloyd.

“As south-facing rooms have enough light, choosing a matt finish is perfect to balance out the brightness and bring a warmer tone. A matt finish is also good if there are any imperfections on the wall that need hiding.”

Perfect paint choice: Matt finish, using cooler tones such as blue – paired with neutral furniture.

East and west-facing rooms

“East and west-facing rooms tend to get the same amount of sunlight, just at different times of the day,” highlights Lloyd.

“So it’s important to understand when you’ll be using the space the most and base the colour choice, and paint finish, on this instead.”

If you’re using these rooms throughout the day, she says it’s best to stick with neutral colours.

“White, grey, and brown can all provide a sense of ease and warmth in the home, setting an inviting scene, no matter the time of the day.

“Painting walls with light neutrals such as cream and taupe is best to brighten the room and add an airy feel to your home.”

Depending on your style, Lloyd says to accentuate these spaces with oak wardrobes, tables and desks, to create a rustic feel – and an environment that feels comforting and relaxed, even more so, as the days get longer, suggests Lloyd.

Otherwise think white-on-white with creamy accents for Scandi-style or minimalist decor to help bounce the light around, making the most of warm, natural light in the morning; or late afternoon and early evening.

Perfect paint choice: Finish depends on how the room is utilised, but stick to neutrals to ensure a warmth setting throughout the day.

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