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Colour Know-how: How lighting can affect your wall colours

Get the knowledge you need to harness your home’s natural light and pick the perfect shade for your room’s ambience, first time

Light can have a huge impact on the mood and feel of a space as it plays differently with every colour, depending on the time of day and the direction the room’s windows are facing. Follow our colour know-how guide to help you choose the perfect shade for your room.



South-facing rooms like the one above enjoy intense, warm sunlight all day long, so most colours will work well. Pale pastels will bounce light around, creating a spacious and airy feel: try cool bluey greens for calming living rooms and bedrooms, or yellow hues for happy kitchens.



The light streaming into north-facing rooms can be cool and blue-toned. For lounges, bedrooms and kitchens, warm neutrals and pinks will reflect the light and stop it feeling gloomy. Go for terracotta undertones to create an intimate atmosphere.



These rooms receive warm sunlight in the morning and cooler, shady light later on. Enjoy throughout the day by painting in pale blues or greens – their soft, soothing quality will look beautiful in any room, morning, noon and night.



Thanks to the setting sun, west-facing rooms are dramatically lit in the evening. Depending on what the room is used for, go for pale greys to keep it relaxing; or warm, earthy palettes to create an invigorating space. Avoid painting with blue shades, which can make west-facing rooms feel cold.


Artificial light

Halogen bulbs give off a clear white light that won’t distort paint colours, while incandescent bulbs produce a yellow light that intensifies warm tints – perfect for living spaces. LED bulbs are a versatile option, with many shades of white light available to suit any setting.


Use a tester


To get the best results and find colours to suit your home’s natural lighting, paint a small test area of the room you are decorating to see how your chosen colour looks in different lights. A top tip is to paint onto A4 pieces of paper, stick one piece of paper onto each wall and then check on them at different intervals during the day.

For an easy, mess-free way to see how your chosen colours will look, order your Dulux colour tester here.

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