HomeThe Best Paint ColoursColoursThe 13 Best Paint Colors for a North-Facing Room

The 13 Best Paint Colors for a North-Facing Room

Posted on January 23, 2021 by KylieMawdsley

Paint Colors for Rooms with Northern Exposure

Have you ever walked into a room and gotten the chills? Even a well-decorated room can look cold and uninviting if the exposure has been ignored, which happens ALL the time – and I’m here to stop it.

The challenge with north-facing rooms is that they don’t get direct sunshine throughout the day. Sure, if you have mixed exposures – north-south, northeast, or northwest –  you’ll get sun at certain times. However, for a room with DOMINANT northern light, you have a pretty consistent cool gray (gray-blue) light.

North facing room that feels cold and uninviting




North-facing rooms with low light most often have small windows. However, the low light can also be caused by an overhang/patio above the window, a close neighbor, or dense landscaping that blocks the natural light from coming in.

Best dark room paint colour, Benjamin Moore Knoxville Gray, blue green gray color blend. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint

North-facing rooms naturally have a grayish light with a subtle blue cast. A north-facing room without much natural light can suffer from being more shadowed and dealing with the gray undertone of the natural light offered – giving the room a more shaded and cold look. And be sure not to confuse ‘shadows’ (which need sunlight) with shaded – shaded means grayed-out.



Bright north-facing rooms tend to have large or multiple windows with no patio/landscaping blocking the flow of natural light. But beware, just because these rooms are ‘bright’ doesn’t mean they’re warm-looking.

This next photo shows a room with a pretty warmth – but that’s courtesy of the light bulbs, not the exposure! Look at the room to the right of it, and you’ll see the cool cast of the natural, northern light coming in.

Open layout kitchen, dining room, living room, warm grays and greige. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, Brittanica Warm quartz countertop, shiplap (2)

A north-facing room with A LOT of natural light will have the same grayish cast but at least have the support of ‘adequate amounts of light’ to counteract the gray cast and brighten things up. However, the natural light itself can slightly wash out (gray out) some paint colors due to the color of the light while slightly enhancing cool tones such as blue, green, and violet.

You can also have a northeast-facing room or a northwest-facing room (seriously, it never ends). These rooms are ninjas and can change their look throughout the day as the sun shifts from east-west (read more HERE).

Sherwin Williams Antique White, north facing foyer, Sherwin Alabaster white wainscoting, dark wood flooring and some trim. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

How to Pick Colors for Rooms With 2 Exposures

Northern light can wash out some paint colors

Designers often use warm paint colors to balance the visual temperature of the room and counteract that cold, gray exposure. While cool colors can be great accents, too many cool tones can double the effect of the already cold exposure and won’t add any balance or warmth.

Warm colors and undertones will help create balance in a north-facing room

Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White, best off-white paint colour. Bathroom with Quartz Cambria Wellington, free-standing white tub. Kylie M INteriors Edesign


Now that we’ve got the basics down pat let’s look at some COLORS!

Best paint colors for north facing rooms, northern exposure, light cream, beige, gray, green, blue and more. Kylie M, colour expert



Navajo White is a light, warm cream paint color. Cream is a yellow paint color with a neutral base added to calm it down. Northern light can ‘calm down’ the degree of yellow in a cream paint color, while the remaining yellow can help to counteract the northern light a bit.

moore navajo white with entryway decor ideas including large overside metal clock and black armoire for storage

  • Navajo White will wash out a bit on a well-lit wall (as shown in the above photo) but holds itself well in average light. In a darker room, it will add warmth but will need some artificial light to come to life.
  • The LRV of Navajo White is 78, meaning it’s off-white. Not sure what LRV is? You shouldn’t pick a paint color WITHOUT it (read more HERE)!
  • If you want MORE warmth without stretching right into yellow, try Sherwin Williams Casa Blanca.

Modern farmhouse style country dining room. best cream paint colour, Benjamin Moore Navajo White. Kylie M.


FULL Paint Color Review of Benjamin Moore Navajo White



Winds Breath is a color that doesn’t get NEARLY enough recognition. Personally, it’s one of my favorite muted, warm neutrals.

Winds Breath contains a range of neutrals, but not enough to fully commit to one in particular – depending on your space, you might see flashes of cream or beige, accompanied by whispers of gray. This gives this awesome paint color GREAT flexibility.

It’s also a great choice if you want warmth but don’t love traditional shades of cream and their commitment to yellow. Winds Breath nods at cream without jumping in the butter tub.

Living room and dining room, dark wood floor, Benjamin Moore Winds Breath off white paint color on walls, Kylie M Interiors Edesign

  • With an LRV of 69.59, Winds Breath is on the higher end of the light range – winking at the off-white range.
  • While Winds Breath is definitely muted, there’s still enough warmth to add some balance to cool northern light.
  • If you’re looking for COMMITTED, legit warmth, you might want to step into the cream world a bit further.



Paint Color Review of Benjamin Moore’s Winds Breath



Gentle Cream is rich enough to add warmth to your space without weighing it down, as it’s still in the light range of paint colors. This heavy cream’s yellow-orange base will help balance out your cool northern light without looking overly colorful on your walls.

Living room with south west facing exposure and rock fireplace with mantle. Benjamin Moore Gentle Cream. Kylie M E-design

In a north-facing room, the undertones will be a bit less obvious than in a south-facing room, and it’s more likely to settle as a warm but neutral-looking paint color – keep in mind, the undertones/color will come up a bit more once the sun goes down (Elton John style).

  • The LRV of Gentle Cream is 72.0, putting Gentle Cream in the ‘light’ range but bordering on the beige world – it’s the darkest cream on the market (Read more about LRV).
  • I’ve used Gentle Cream in my home in north and south-facing rooms and LOVED it in both!
  • Sherwin Williams Creamy has a more muted, less yellow-cream look. It can fall a bit flat in northern light but can work for those who want a VERY…very modest approach.
  • Sherwin Williams Antique White is a touch less colorful and more grounded but has a similar approach and LRV.
  • Sherwin Williams Casa Blanca is a more cheerful shade of cream without diving too far into yellow.

FULL Color Review of Benjamin Moore Gentle Cream 



Not everyone is ready for the rich beiges to come back in style, but sometimes beige is JUST what a north-facing room needs. Luckily, there’s a wide range of modern, trendy beiges, including Natural Linen.

Natural Linen is a light shade of beige, but a calm base tones it down, so it’s not as golden as its predecessors. Natural Linen centers on an orange undertone (as beiges tend to do) but has a nice balance of warmth so that it doesn’t cater hard to orange-yellow or orange-pink.

Sherwin Williams Natural Linen, warm taupe beige carpet, bedroom. Best neutral paint colour. Kylie M Edesign

FULL Paint Color Review of Sherwin Williams Natural Linen

  • Natural Linen is a popular choice for those with homes from the late 90s and early 2000s, as it often suits finishes from these years.
  • Whereas more grayed-out beiges and tans can suit south-facing rooms, northern exposures appreciate a little (or more) added warmth.
  • Benjamin Moore Muslin is similar to Natural Linen but a touch more colorful.
  • Sherwin Williams Kilim Beige is a beige with more noticeable orange-based warmth.


SAMPLIZE offers peel-and-stick paint samples that are AFFORDABLE, EASIER, and made with each brand’s REAL PAINT!

  • samples arrive ON YOUR DOORSTEP in 1 DAY
  • they’re more affordable than the sample pots/rollers/foam boards that are needed for traditional paint sampling

natural linen, samplize, peel and stick paint color sample

Visit the SAMPLIZE website HERE



If you’re looking for something beyond the everyday neutral and love green, Grassland could be the hue for you.

Grassland is a light-medium depth shade of green with a subtle, slightly greige warmth. On those super flat, cloudy north-facing days, Grassland has enough color that your room is interesting but not SO green that it’s overwhelming.



  • Sherwin Williams Ancient Marble is like a lighter version of Grassland
  • For greens that are a touch more vibrant and have less yellow, check out Sherwin Williams Softened Green and Liveable Green – just remember, north-facing light can make them look that bit cooler.

How natural light and light bulbs affect paint colour. Kylie M Interiors Edesign. Sherwin Williams Liveable Green best green paint colour

Sherwin Williams Liveable Green



Ballet White is a perfectly muted cream. While it has a touch of yellow for warmth, its neutral base calms it down, leaving enough warmth to balance some cool northern light.

Warm off-white paint colour, similar to Benjamin Moore Ballet White. Shown in dining room, arched mirrors. Kylie M Interiors CLIENT PHOTO

Paint Color Review: Benjamin Moore Ballet White

  • Notice the subtle warmth of a color like Ballet White in the above photo – juuuuust right.
  • You may need to jump into the cream range if you want MORE warmth than white Ballet White offers.
  • Sherwin Williams White Duck is a bit lighter and less warm than Ballet White.
  • Sherwin Williams Shoji White is the kissin’ cousin of White Duck and another great comparable.



Many of my Online Paint Color clients want warmth without dipping into beige, tan, or cream. This is when I introduce them to Edgecomb Gray. Edgecomb Gray is a beautiful blend of gray and beige with an almost creamy undertone. Along with Winds Breath, it’s another popular option for those of you who want a neutral color that’s not overly warm OR cold.

HOWEVER, with its LRV of 63, Edgecomb Gray might be too dirty and drab for a north-facing room that isn’t well-lit. Make sure it’s light and bright enough to support your paint color visually!

Entryway and open layout hallway, living room, catwalk, painted Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray with Pure White trim, wood floor. Kylie M Edesign (1)

In a north-facing room, you CAN expect Edgecomb Gray to lean MORE to the gray side than the creamy beige, without ever losing its warmth entirely…

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray Baby Fawn in different lighting, dark room, bright room, wood floor, vaulted ceiling. Kylie M Interiors Edesign client photo

  • Edgecomb Gray is among the most POPULAR colors on the paint market right now (along with Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray).
  • Sherwin Williams White Duck (isn’t the same as Edgecomb Gray but has similar neutral intentions)
  • Benjamin Moore Winds Breath is kiiiind of like a lighter version of Edgecomb Gray.



While I generally avoid cool colors in a north-facing room, I love Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue and Woodlawn Blue. Their increased CHROMA (color) brings your walls to life!

Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue, best blue paint colour. Antique distressed dresser and decor. Kylie M INteriors E-decor and ONline Design, Colour expert

Why can Wythe and Woodlawn work where other cool shades of blue fail?

Wythe is a beautiful blend of blue-green-gray (pretty balanced). Woodlawn Blue is a blue-gray with a wink of green in it. And even though blue and green are BOTH traditionally cool colors, adding green to blue can make it look softer and more inviting! So, schlong story short, if I were to pick a blue for a north-facing room, I would pick a blue with green in it.

The 8 Best Blue-Green Paint Colors

 The 2 Types of Blue Paint Colors and How to Use Them

Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue, best blue paint colour. Guest bedroom. antique furniture. Kylie M Interiors E-decor, design and ONline Colour Consulting services

  • These colors will be at their best in a north-facing room with moderate (or more) natural light.
  • Any cool color in a north-facing room must be supplemented with warm wood tones and texture.
  • Sherwin Williams Rainwashed is similar to Woodlawn Blue but has a bit more green mixed in.



If you want a more noticeable shade of green (compared to Grassland), Guildford Green’s warm glow will help balance the cool gray of your north-facing light.

This is because Guilford Green is a warm green – a green-yellow. An earthy, organic, greige backdrop calms Guilford Green down, but not NEARLY enough to make this color look even CLOSE to neutral.





You can also look at Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, a WARM color but definitely the most ‘gray’ on this page.

Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, master bedroom, reclaimed wood headboard, chandelier. Pink rose accents. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consulting, decorating blog

Revere Pewter is a light, warm gray (can be considered a greige in some rooms) with an earthy green undertone. In a south-facing room, it’s more inclined to lean into its warmth. However, in a north-facing room, it’s more likely to lean back into gray a bit, and the odd time can pick up the other cool gray undertones.

Revere Pewter in living room with muddy undertones. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint consulting. Client before photo

  • Revere Pewter has an LRV of 55.1, so it’s closer to the light-medium range as it has a good depth. For this reason, I would be more inclined to use it in a reasonably well-lit north-facing room vs. a dark one. If your room is too dark, Revere Pewter can look a little shabby.
  • Sherwin Williams Colonnade Gray
  • Sherwin Williams Worldly Gray
  • Sherwin Williams Amazing Gray

Again, colors like these need GOOD natural light to come to life!



This is another great color for those who are naturally averse to warm paint colors but are learning how to balance their north-facing rooms.

Traditional shades of beige get a bad rap, as they’re reminiscent of the Tuscan-style trend of the early 2000s. Aesthetic White is NOT that kinda beige.

Primary bedroom, Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White, best off-white beige paint color on walls, White Dove trim and ceiling, white linens, toss cushions, wicker lamp, ikea side tables, Kylie M Edesign (2)

Instead, Aesthetic White is an off-white beige with a subtle dusting of gray, taking away any overt golden edge. However, there’s still enough passive warmth to stop your room from looking cold and uninviting.

FULL Paint Color Review of Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White

  • If you LOVE beige and want its warmth on your walls, Aesthetic White might not be warm enough. You might then jump back to the likes of Sherwin Williams Natural Linen and Kilim Beige.



Moderate White is a great color for those who want more visible warmth on their walls without the weight of a traditional beige. This is because Moderate White has an LRV 74, making it an off-white paint color.

Sherwin Williams Moderate White, best beige paint colour, south east exposure, bedroom. Kylie M Edesign color expert

With its higher LRV, Moderate White will wash out in a well-lit north-facing room. However, in a room with low or moderate light, it offers a pretty, passive glow.

  • Moderate White centers itself on an orange undertone but is flexible towards some orange-yellow and orange-pink surfaces.
  • With its slightly gray base, Moderate White doesn’t look too peachy like some beiges can  (mind you, this can be open to perception.)

FULL Paint Color Review of Sherwin Williams Moderate White



Gibraltar Cliffs is one of my favorite paint colors. However, regarding north-facing rooms, I consider it a great ACCENT WALL option.

Paint colour palette including Sherwin Williams Collonade Gray, Anonymous in powder room and Benjamin Moore Gibraltar Cliffs feature wall. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, online paint color consultant

Gibraltar Cliffs is on the right side of the photo, above the window

Not everyone loves warm paint colors, but understand how warmer shades offer a warm respite to a cool, north-facing room. This is where a color like Gibraltar Cliffs comes in handy. You can paint your walls a warm, neutral paint color, then add this beautiful blue-green-gray for personality and depth.

And Gibraltar Cliffs isn’t the ONLY great cool accent wall color; I’ve got an awesome assortment of medium to dark shades of green, medium-depth blues, as well as navy blues!

Sherwin Williams Night Owl, Stone Hearth on ceiling. Dark green paint color moody bedroom



Having a room with more than one exposure can be tricky. However, once you understand which exposure matters the most, it’s easier to focus on the best paint colors for your space. Check out this blog post on ‘how to pick paint colors when you have two exposures.’


North, East, South, West – which paint color is the best?

The 8 Best Blue-Green Paint Colors

Can I Paint My North Facing Room White?

Can I Paint My North-Facing Room Gray

The Best Paint Color for East-Facing Rooms

The Best Paint Colors for South-Facing Rooms

Let me choose your colors for you!

The best paint colours for any room from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams. Popular Edesign blogger Kylie M Interiors. Diy decor and design advice. Market


Check out my affordable Online Color Consulting Services!


Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors Edecor and Edesign

Originally written in 2014, awesomely updated in 2023


  1. Yes, Linen White is also a very lovely warm colour! 10-20% is such a nice subtle tweak that it shouldn’t change too much, but will give it a wee bit more ‘oomph’. I’ve found that at 20%, those who don’t really ‘pay much attention’ don’t even notice the difference.

    Thanks for asking!


  2. Kylie, I love reading through your posts. Would you say there is a comparable color in the Sherwin Williams line to the Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue and Wythe Blue? I have an east facing room with low natural light and am drawn towards the blue green tones. Thanks!

    1. Post

      Hi Katie! You have to check out SW Quietude as it’s VERY similar to Wythe Blue! I might lighten it by 25% though if it’s a darker room, just to lift it a touch.
      SW Copen Blue is similar to Woodlawn, but not quite the same – same with Rainwashed. Copen and RAinwashed both have a wink more green in them than Woodlawn.
      Hope that helps!

      1. Thank you very much Kylie! I’m also now considering Tradewind after watching your color review video as you mention it has a touch less green in it than Rainwashed. It sounds like I can’t go wrong with either color!

        1. Post
      2. All this information is so valuable to me since the living room and master bedroom in our new home will face north to take advantage of a lake view.

        How about Palladian Blue in a north facing bedroom?

        1. Post

          Hi Nancy, Palladian is gorgeous, but it will be quite coooool feeling in a north facing room. If you’re a fan of cool colours/looks it would be lovely!

          1. Thank you for your reply! I only just now saw it, which is good since I have to choose my paint colors soon. Would Palladian be cooler feeling than Woodlawn in a north facing room?

  3. Thank you for this article! I love the idea of Navajo white in my north-facing kitchen. But, will it work with cabinets painted with BM Pashmina or should I try another neutral?

  4. Post
  5. I would love to see a post with color recommendations for northeast facing bedrooms. Both of our smaller bedrooms are in the front of the house and face this direction. I painted one of the rooms Sleepy Blue (SW) and it looks great. I’d like to paint the other room a blue/green color. I’m finding that any blue/green color I pick looks exactly like the Sleepy Blue color. How can I get a good contrast without going to cold in color?

    1. Post

      Hi Tara! You might find some of what you’re looking for in this blog post here… https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/how-to-choose-paint-colours-for-a-room-with-2-exposures/ I also have a lovely one on the Best Blue/Green Paint Colours… https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/8-most-popular-blue-green-paint-colours-mix-sherwin-williams-and-benjamin-moore/

      Hope that helps in your search! If you’d like some one-on-one help, I do have a fun E-design service, where I hand-pick 3 fabulous colours for you and your room! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/online-decorating-design-services/

  6. I love reading your blogs! You’re so helpful in guiding us amateurs. You’ve recommended all Benjamin Moore colors in this article. What recommendations do you have for north/northwest facing rooms in Sherwin Williams colors? Thank you.

  7. Kylie, I’ve been struggling to pick a color for my north facing living room since I moved in two years ago. I kept returning to this article, and finally put some color on my walls: Northampton Putty! During the day, it looks a bit like the photo in this article, a nice complex beige. But in the evening when the light is low, a lovely greenish hue emerges. The color is rich and warm. I just love it! I have an alcove by the window that I painted Valspar Withered Moss, which complements it well. Thank you!

    1. Post
  8. Hi, thanks so much for this advice. I went with Gentle Cream in a small, dark, northwest-facing room that faces the brick wall of the next buildimg – just painted today! – and, as creamy and warm as it is, it is still just a bit gray in this room – and it’s the height of a summer afternoon! Anything even a jot less warm would have been a sickly green-gray, no doubt, so you saved me. It is soothing and cozy. Granted, it’s cloudy, so I’m really looking forward to how it looks in clear conditions and also at night.

    1. Post

      AWESOME, that is exactly what I love to hear! And comments like yours really help other readers make their choices, so thank you for that!

  9. Kylie,
    I have a family room where the back wall with fireplace faces north and the windows coming in are on the East. I want to change the wall color and mantle and back shelves which are cosmopolitan wall and Galveston gray mantle. Looks too gray and dark with rest of open floor plan. My hall which runs from west to East is skipping stone with the Galveston gray railing. I just found out that dark chocolate goes with skipping stone and was thinking of changing railing to that. Do I need to change hall and family room or just family room or maybe just railing and mantle. Would one of these warmer colors work. If so which do you recommend?

    1. Forgot to mention couch is taupe and rug is beige with red and gold and green accents. Please let me know how to warm up the room. Would like to go more beige but not sure what will go with skipping stone.

    2. Post

      Hi Elaine, thank you for commenting! I do try to offer as much complimentary advice on my blog as possible, but otherwise, I try to refer to my Online Consulting, so that I can take a look at the room and its lighting and other features! If that interests you, I will be opening it up again after Christmas! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/online-decorating-design-services/ When it comes to picking paint colours, its sometimes best for me to see photos of the room so that I’m not just picturing it all in my head as you have a few things going on between couch/rug/accents/exposures!


  10. Thank you thank you thank you! I have painted my north facing master bath three times in the last month. With each color it still looked bluish and cold and I couldn’t figure out why. Your article on warm creams gave me new inspiration and just what I was looking for. I’m one of those people who loves yellow undertones. This past year I jumped on the gray bandwagon for the living areas in my home and have not been truly happy. After the holidays I will be going back to the warmer colors by using the creams that you so expertly describe. I have enjoyed all your articles and have learned much about color. Your articles are informative as well as fun to read. Looking forward to reading more of them!

  11. I think I have read this blog post ten times trying to figure out colors for our new house. It’s staunchly north/south facing with only two rooms having additional east/west windows…phew. Do you have a post about colors for dimly lit baby nurseries? 🙂 Appreciate your work!!

  12. Hi Kylie!

    We just bought our first house and getting ready to repaint the whole thing! I’m loving your blog and YouTube videos! I have some south facing rooms but the windows are completely shaded by a large oak tree that blocks all of the direct sunlight. Do I apply the “north-facing” rules to these rooms and choose a warm color?

    1. Post

      That is a FABULOUS QUESTION. I would still consider it south-facing, but maybe put a bit less pressure on wanting to level off those ‘warm sun rays’. This means you can focus most of your attention on your interior finishes and POSSIBLY the big oak that may cast some green light in your room?

  13. Hello! There is a beautiful dark green bedroom in the beginning of this article under THE TWO TYPES OF NORTH-FACING LIGHT. Do you know the name of this paint?

    1. Post
  14. Kylie,

    I’ve been pouring over your blogs and inspirations for weeks. Thank you for all of the useful information. I’ve selected Beach Glass for my primary bedroom which has SW exposure. My main color is Dove Wing and my interior doors will have Whale Gray on the side facing out to the hallway. I’m having issues with my Guest BR/Office color which can be seen from the main living area through the pocket doors right off the entry. It faces North under a covered porch and will have white oak flooring with a natural stain. I had thought Woodlawn Blue or Feather Gray would be beautiful and calm, but now I’m not sure. That room has to contain a piece of furniture that has rich red and brown undertones. Should I stay with either of those selections? If not, can you suggest a better combination? My contractor works with Benjamin Moore paints.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More Posts

Meet Kylie

Thank you for visiting!  I'm so glad you're here!  Come on in to learn a little more about me!