How light is affecting your room

Following on from our previous post regarding the psychological effects of your colour choices, we are now addressing how light, specifically natural light, impacts these decorating decisions.

Your chosen colour scheme will likely change dramatically from daylight to evening. However, if you find you have an abundance of natural light, this rule does not always apply although it should still be taken into consideration. When this is the case, the colour palette can be wider and more dramatic, including a variety of deep colours.

When choosing a colour for any type of space it is important to ask yourself when you use the room most, morning or afternoon? This will help tailor your colour choice to suit the type of light you most often experience.

North facing rooms receive very little natural light so consider using a rich, luminous colour range to create warmth and bring the room to life. To achieve this try golden yellows and rosy pinks, these will aid in creating that cosy, welcoming atmosphere despite lacking a warm glow of sunshine. For a more subtle look, greys and whites with pink, gold and yellow undertones will work well. This type of space can be challenging to decorate due to the cooler, more harsh light you receive from the north.  This makes it a little more difficult to create the illusion of light and space. This is especially true in small areas with little natural light, in these cases it can benefit the space to embrace the darkness and create a dramatic, cocooning interior. Opposite to that of east and west facing spaces, it is best to avoid light colours with green, grey or blue undertones as the northern light tends to pull out the cooler tones within a colour. If you are aiming to maximise light and space, try light neutrals with warm undertones. A good tip is to hang a mirror on a window facing wall, this will reflect any light the room has.

A south facing space is more forgiving than others and so will suit most colours. This type of room utilises direct sunlight to represent colours in their truest form, therefore it is considered the ideal light source. Direct sunlight maintains a neutral balance between both warm and cool light. When choosing a colour for a south facing room consider the space you are working with, is it quite compact, or a large open space? If you are working with a small area, pale shades work best to really maximise the feeling of light and the space you have. Rich shades also perform beautifully, especially when space is no issue. Regardless of this, choosing between light or dark hues also depends largely on the atmosphere you wish to create.

East facing rooms face their dose of sun in the morning. This makes them very good for bedrooms and breakfast rooms. One benefit is that an east facing living space will maintain a pleasantly cool temperature during warmer climates. In an east facing space, it is important to create light whilst retaining some warmth within the room. Colours that achieve this are pale duck eggs, these hues come alive in the morning sunlight. Within an east facing room the light will often change dramatically throughout the day. Blues, greens and other cool tones are ideal to prevent this space from becoming gloomy as the day goes on, these types of colours will retain some light and vibrancy as the day draws to an end. Bright colours will also appear more subdued in the evening light.

West facing interiors are at their best in the evening. Use this to your advantage by injecting warm, sunset colours. The light in this space will be cooler in the morning, however be prepared for i to fill with dramatic light in the afternoon and evening. Similarly to east facing rooms cool colours with hints of blue, green and violet will help to balance the intensity of the sunlight in this space. In contrast to this, trying a shade with red undertones will enhance the evening sun, bringing additional warmth to the interior. Despite all this, if you are more a fan of neutral colours, white walls – white being a natural light reflector – will flatter furnishings of any colour.


Try to bear this in mind when you next come to choosing the colours in your home or business.

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