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Colour by compass

April 12, 2021

Unless you love the look of stark white walls, most of us like to introduce a little bit of colour to our homes. Did you know, however, where each room faces – north, south, east or west – can drastically impact how a colour looks?

Unless you love the look of stark white walls, most of us like to introduce a little bit of colour to our homes. Did you know, however, where each room faces – north, south, east or west – can drastically impact how a colour looks? Whether you have a free license to paint walls, fancy hanging wallpaper or are adding colour with temporary art, colour mistakes can be avoided with some advance planning. 

One direction

Your first step should be identifying which way your rooms face. You can download a compass app to almost every smart device to help you establish which direction you’re dealing with, or use the compass that comes with Google Maps for a quick start. 

If you want to know which direction your entire property faces, simply stand at your front door, looking outwards, and read which way the compass points. If you’re trying to establish which way a particular room faces, stand in front of the window that is your biggest source of natural light and read the compass from that position.

North facing rooms

These tend to let in cooler light and can feel cold if your colour choices have blue, grey or green undertones. Colours with cream, yellow and orange hues will help make these rooms feel warmer, as will rich, darker shades. In fact, north facing rooms look great with deep red accents.

South facing rooms

These rooms are often filled with a warm, soft light from sunrise to sunset, therefore you can use blues and cool greens without the room feeling too cold. South facing rooms are also the place to experiment with pastels, although any colour tends to work when the natural light is slightly golden.

East and west facing rooms

When you’ll mostly use these rooms should dictate the colours you choose, as they can switch between both cool and warm natural light depending on the time of day. It’s common for west facing spaces to feature cooler light in the morning and softer light in the afternoon – the opposite is true for east facing rooms.

Save stress with samples

The calibration of our phone and computer screens rarely depict colours as they appear in real life, so anything you see online should only be used as a guide. The most accurate way of deciding which colour is for you is by obtaining samples – tester pots of paint, wallpaper cut offs and fabric swatches. 

Try and get enough so you can create four samples of each colour you have in mind, then stick a sample of each to every wall in your room (use something like 3M Command’s no-residue adhesive strips if you’re worried about damaging the wall). You’ll be amazed at how different the same colour looks in various places, as shadows and other furnishings will influence their tone.

Look into the light

To make sure you really love a colour, check the samples under different light conditions. A pale pink, for instance, may look almost white in the morning, like bubble gum at lunch and more orange in the evening. Plus, don’t forget to alter the light source too – natural light with curtains/blinds open, at night with curtains/blinds shut, with overhead artificial lights on and with just side or lamp lights too.

If you’re looking for a new home that’s a blank canvas ready to make your mark – or you’d like a property that’s already decorated with pops of colour – get in touch for a list of available homes.

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