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Top Tips for Tricky Light in Living Rooms

Top Tips for Tricky Light in Living Rooms

From the latest trends to our personal tastes – not to mention the practicality of certain shades where sticky fingers and muddy paws are involved – there’s a lot to consider when choosing a living room color. The question of light, though, is quite often overlooked – or, more specifically, the direction it’s coming from.

Whether your living room faces north, south, east or west, Farrow & Ball's color experts are here to help with a few of their favorite shades to suit every aspect, plus top tips for embracing (or outwitting) the light in your living room! Scroll down to learn more.

*Live in the Southern Hemisphere? The advice for north and south facing rooms is simply reversed, while the advice for east and west facing rooms stays the same. All information from Farrow & Ball. 

North Facing Rooms

North facing rooms* tend to make colours look cooler and harsher, so rather than get embroiled in the difficulty of trying to fake more light and space into these rooms, Farrow & Ball's Color Consultants recommend going all in with a deep, rich color. Dramatic, cocooning interiors were simply made for north facing spaces, with hues like Duck Green, Deep Reddish Brown, Brinjal, and Vardo fitting the bill perfectly.

Duck Green No. W55: a smart deep green.

Brinjal No. 222: a sophisticated aubergine.

Deep Reddish Brown No. W101: a deep earthy brown.


Vardo No. 288: a rich teal.


Inchyra Blue No. 289: a dark blue grey.

mahogany 2

Mahogany No. 36: a dark and rich brown.

South Facing Rooms

Those of us lucky enough to have a south facing aspect* will have rooms filled with warm light for most of the day. Because this makes everything appear more golden, pale tones look especially beautiful in these light-filled spaces, and you can get away with cooler colors if you wish.

Ash Grey, for example, will appear much greener in north facing rooms, while the warmer light of a south facing space will render it more of a true, soft neutral. Cool Pavilion Blue or Cromarty look fresh and breezy, while greyed shades such as Blackened or Peignoir take on an added softness, and the creamiest neutrals – like Orange Colored White – take on a delicate glow.


Ash Grey No. W9: a relaxed green-grey.


Blackened No. 2011: a cool white.


Peignoir No. 286: a romantic grey pink.


Orange Colored White No. W5: a warm cream with a hint of orange.

pavilion blue

Pavilion Blue No. 252: a delicate green blue.

Cromarty 285 example

Cromarty No. 285: a muted green grey.

East Facing Rooms

With an abundance of bright light in the morning that becomes more muted by the evening, your choice of color for an east facing living room will largely come down to the time of day when you’ll be using it most. If it’s the evening, don’t be afraid to opt for a more intense wall color, like Scotch Blue or Imperial Purple, whose indigo undertones work in harmony with the bluer light that appears later in the day.

These rich tones are also at their most glamorous in firelight and candlelight, making them a great backdrop for cozy nights in. For a shade that looks at home any time of day, try a warmer blue like Pale Powder or Teresa’s Green, which is fresh in the morning and soothing in the evening.


Scotch Blue No. W24: a deep, intense blue.


Imperial Purple No. W40: a rich deep purple.


Pelt No. 254: a deliciously deep purple.


Pale Powder No. 204: a gentle aqua.

teresa's green

Teresa's Green No. 236: a fresh aqua tone.

green blue

Green Blue No. 84: quite simply green blue.

West Facing Rooms

West facing rooms get most of their light later in the day, and our color experts have two methods for making the most of it. The first is to opt for a warm wall color that embraces and enhances those last few golden rays – on-trend rosy pinks and warmer neutrals like Middleton Pink and Setting Plaster.

If you prefer a more neutral look, go for the opposite approach. Slipper Satin, a perfect chalky white, or Shadow White, with its hint of grey, will both look cooler in the morning but work to soften the warmer light later in the day, making them great all-round options.

middleton pink

Middleton Pink No. 245: a delicate pink.

setting plaste

Setting Plaster No. 231: a dusty plaster pink.


Smoked Trout No. 60: a warm mushroom.

slipper satin

Slipper Satin No. 2004: a chalky off-white.

shadow white-3

Shadow White No. 282: soft white with a hint of grey.


Shaded White No. 201: a light grey beige.

Discover these paint colors and many more at Palette Home! Give us a call or stop by.

(804) 716-1742  |  5813 Grove Ave. Richmond, VA 23226   —   Open Monday-Friday 9:30 - 5:30 & Saturday 11:00 - 4:00

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