How to Coordinate Colours with Your Natural Light

October 18, 2017
Love sapphire but don’t know which room in your Toronto house to use it? Wild about sunset orange but not sure how it will look in your west-facing living room? When it comes to choosing colours to match the natural lighting of a room, your design professional at ColourWorks Painting Design understands directional light and colours and can help you choose the best combinations.

The science of pairing colours with the natural light of a room is a complex one. The basic principles are easy enough to understand: if no light is reflected from an object, it appears black but if all of the light is reflected, it appears white. Colours are reflected from an object to the eye, which is then interpreted by the brain. If you paint a bright, eastern room a warm cream colour, it will appear washed out during the sunny parts of the day. If you paint a shadowy northern room that has heavy tree cover and a deep blue, it will appear midnight blue.

If you’ve ever picked a favorite colour and excitedly painted a room, only to find it appears lackluster, faded or even dated in style, you may have run into a natural light conflict. That’s why it’s so important to consider the light before progressing with a colour palette. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Natural colours with warm undertones: white with a slight yellow hue, non-yellow creams, buffs, tans, beiges, putty, light gray, iced baby blues – these colours look great in northern-facing rooms which give cool tones the spotlight. If your northern room gets great light, choose a deeper hue. If the room is shaded, a lighter colour will make it expansive and inviting. However, dark colours can also expand a room, if done correctly. If you’re looking for a lively feeling, a great colour is the answer. * Remember, northern exposure light adds blues to a colour.
  • Light, dark or medium colours: pewter, blue-greens, grays, moody gray, bold red, spectacular blue, chocolate, cappuccino, pumpkin, forest green, grass green – these colours can handle the bright sunlight and changing light of the southern-facing room. Whites with cool undertones will balance with the long hours of sun and can be paired with a dark colour or a beautiful gray. Try looking at your choices in that room for a few days all day long to see how the light changes things. * Remember, southern exposure light adds yellow or white tinges to a colour.
  • Light colours with blue tones: powder blue, watery green, tinted whites, soft grays, slightly muted green-turquois, coral, pinks, lemony yellows – these colours complement an eastern-facing room. With bright morning sunlight and more faded light after that, this room can handle some colour that is more muted while adding interest. This colour choice doesn’t look washed-out. * Remember, eastern exposure light adds green to a colour.
  • Vibrant colours with warm undertones: terra cotta, burgundy, reds, warm whites, pink, pumpkin, cayenne, sea glass green, lemongrass yellow, creamy yellow, oranges, creams, natural nut, khaki, ivory, misty green – these colours are amazing in western-facing rooms. Depending what time of day you tend to spend the most time in your west room, you can decide whether to cool it down a little with a colour or warm it up and enjoy the full blaze of the evening light. * Remember, western exposure light adds orange to a colour.

Get your free consultation today!
To plan the right colours to complement the light that your house enjoys, call us today at (416) 920-4482 or email us to schedule your free consultation with our talented ColourWorks designer. From there, our professional painters will expertly apply the gorgeous palette to make sure your favorite colours come to life in every room.

Free Toronto Painting Estimate

Need a painting estimate or have a question or comment about our services? Call 416-920-4482 or contact us today.

Serving Toronto & the GTA

Our service area includes the Beach, Bridle Path, Cabbage Town, Distillery District, Don Mills, Downtown Toronto, East York, Etobicoke, Forest Hill, Lawrence Park, Leaside, Markham, North York, Riverdale, Rosedale, Summerhill, Scarborough, Thornhill and York Mills neighborhoods.

Find Us On



Mailing Address: 4 Shrewsbury Sq, Toronto, Ontario M1T 1L2