How the Natural Light in Your Space Affects Color Choices


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When choosing color with a client the first thing I do is determine which direction the windows in their space are facing, which tells me what the natural light in each room is. This, along with the amount of light available,  is one of the most important factors when considering color selections!


Clients aren’t always aware what a difference there is in north, south east or west facing room,
so I’ve been playing around with a photo so you can see how light changes color…


The light from the North –
north facing rooms are the darkest in the home.
Although most artists prefer to use this light because of it’s consistency through the day,
it will cause everything in the space to appear, and feel, cooler.
Adding warm hues through paint and accents are important to make the space feel welcoming.






The light from the South –
south facing rooms are brightest in the house.
These spaces, like north facing rooms, have consistent light all day –
the difference is it is a warmer, bright light that intensifies any color placed within it.
Unless you love the energizing effect of intense hues, use softer tones here.






The light from the East –
these rooms obviously light up in the morning,
and that means determining what time of day they will be used most frequently.
The light from the east is bright and white, and tends to wash out color,
so a more saturated palette may be used here.
If the space will be used more in the afternoon or evening,
a warmer palette will help to balance the lack of natural light.



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The light from the West –
the afternoon/evening light from the west tends to be orange based.
If the space will be used during these times, you will definitely want cool tones here for balance.
Morning use of a west-facing space will mean that more warm tones
can be used without becoming overwhelming.






Very rarely do buildings face a direction squarely, and often there is windows on multiple walls,
so usually rooms receive a combination of light.






This is the reason you have to bring paint swatches home to check out how they appear in your space!

This is also the reason that quite often designers will swatch the paint directly on various walls in the space, just to ensure they like the combination of color and light.



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I hope that helps you when thinking about a new palette for your home 🙂

I should mention that climate also has a big effect on light – generally speaking, in a sunnier clime, the more intense and cool tones work well, whereas places with long grey winters should really stick with lighter and warmer palettes.

Perhaps that is another post! Will work on that one for you… x am

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