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How to Warm Up a North Facing Bedroom (7 Tips)

North facing bedrooms are often dark and have a cold ambiance due to the lack of natural light that they are exposed to throughout the day.

So how do you warm up a north-facing bedroom to make it feel cozier and more inviting?

To warm up a north-facing bedroom, use warm colors like oranges, reds, and yellows in a flowing design; add lighter window treatments, layered lighting, 2000K – 6500K daylight bulbs, slimmer furniture, a mirror opposite the window, and a wallpapered accent wall to increase the brightness.

The rest of this article explains how to warm up and brighten your north-facing bedroom in 7 steps in more detail.

Related: how to design your bedroom on a budget in 5 steps.

7 Ways to Warm Up a North Facing Bedroom

Follow the 7 steps below to make your north facing bedroom feel warmer and brighter:

1: Choose a Warm Decor Palette

The minimal light that enters a north facing bedroom will carry cool undertones – counteract this by selecting an overall palette with warm colors.

For example, using oranges, reds, yellows, and combinations of these colors both on the walls and throughout the decor can create a feeling of warmth and a more uplifting and inviting ambiance.

Warmer colors with a higher saturation are perfect for large, north facing bedrooms because their bold and encroaching feel can make the room feel cozier, less spacious, and more vibrant.

For smaller north-facing bedrooms, you can use warm colors with lighter hues and less saturation to avoid making the room feel too overpowering – use bolder colors sparingly as an accent color in a smaller bedroom to add selective emphasis and avoid a chaotic feel.

You should also take into consideration specific sensory requirements, such as choosing the right bedroom colors for individuals with autism if required.

Be Careful With Cool Colors and White

You’ll typically want to avoid cooler colors like blue, green, and purple in large quantities in a north-facing bedroom because they tend to accentuate the colder ambiance.

However, if you don’t like the idea of using warming colors in your north-facing bedroom, try using duck egg blues, dusty pinks, and pale grays combined with natural elements – such as timber flooring or accessories – for a subtle way to add more color and keep your room looking light and fresh.

And whilst white can reflect light to brighten up your room, too much white can make the room feel cold and clinical; whilst also creating a blank canvas that can highlight scuffs and scrapes more readily than a bedroom with a more colorful decor.

Try layering different tints like chalk-white or ivory on the walls, and use sheepskin rugs and large, knitted throws with naturally colored cushions to create a lighter ambiance that doesn’t feel too detached.

The Brave Option: Paint Your North Facing Bedroom a Dark Color

Whilst using warming colors is the ‘safe’ option for warming up your north facing bedroom, the contrarian approach is to embrace the darkness and use a darker color scheme.

To do this properly and avoid making your bedroom feel like a cave, opt for base colors with rich pigments like a deep green, blue, purple, or gray.

Find a color with less black in the base as this will prevent the light from being absorbed.

You can then use lighter tints and even white to create selective accents to draw the eye and create depth – with woodwork, throw pillows, and accessories being ideal candidates.

Dark walls will also make any color you bring in through artwork, accessories and furniture be a focal point of your space.

Gloss paint can be used sparingly to reflect light for greater contrast too.

If you have a television in your bedroom, mounting this on the dark painted walls can almost hide it from view and prevent it from drawing attention.

Related: how to decorate a small bedroom with dark colors (properly).

2: Let Your Design Flow

Regardless of the palette that you choose for your north-facing bedroom, the design should flow throughout.

More specifically, there should be a clear overall palette that leads from the front and is accompanied by furniture items, accessories, artwork, and plants that add color and uniqueness.

If you have an en-suite bathroom, then you should also consider allowing the ambiance to flow by choosing a cohesive color scheme and using similar material finishes as appropriate.

Related: how to match your bedroom and bathroom decor in 5 steps.

3: Use Lighter Window Treatments

Whilst sleeping in a blacked-out room is recommended for better sleep [1], this can still be achieved without the need for bulky curtains – blinds and shutters can block out light at night and also allow light in during the day.

If you feel that your bedroom won’t be complete without curtains, then choose a set in a light-weight fabric.

Sheer curtains that you can pull right back into the corners of the room won’t obstruct the window or light coming through. 

Another option is roman or Venetian blinds; not only will these do their usual job of blocking out light when required, but they look neat and tidy when they are open and take up minimal window space.

Remove Clutter From Your Window Sills

To let in the most amount of light during the day, you should remove clutter from your window sills and the surrounding area.

For example, you can move your house plants into the corners of the room or place them on your shelves and bedside tables.

4: Layer Your Lighting

Layered lighting means to use multiple lighting sources to create a well-lit and visually balanced space rather than just relying on a single lighting source.

Use can use layered lighting to make your north-facing bedroom feel warmer and brighter by combining multiple light sources such as your main light, dimmer lights, bedside lamps, table lamps, candles, and even the natural light that’s reflected from the floors, walls, and ceiling.

You can add and remove more light sources as you see fit to make your bedroom feel lighter and brighter in the day and at night.

The video below discusses how to layer your lighting to make your dark room brighter:

INTERIOR DESIGN | The Best HACKS to Brighten a Dark Room

Switch to a Dual or Multi-Way Outlet

Start with a bright white bulb in your main ceiling pendant if you have one. 

It’s unlikely your overhead/central light will be the main source of light, especially at night-time, often being used to light the way to the switches of bedside lamps. 

However, during the day, this can be useful in adding substantial lighting to the room – particularly if there is a workspace, desk area, or dressing table in the bedroom.

One way to make optimum use of your central ceiling light is to change the fitting to a two-way or even multi-way outlet.

This will allow you to have two fittings, one on either side of the bed, and two extra sources of light.

A glass pendant will disperse the light fully – or opt for a minimalist Edison bulb which will appeal to form and function.

Use Daylight Bulbs

Choosing the right kind of bulb is also crucial for creating the right kind of ambiance.

Use a daylight bulb with a higher color temperature of 4000K (cool white light) to 6500K (extra bright) and a CRI of 80% to create a bright atmosphere in your north-facing bedroom during the day, and use lighting with a color temperature of 2000K (cozy) to 3000K (comfortable) to create a warmer feeling in the evening.

Another option is ‘full-spectrum lights’ – these are a particular type of daylight bulbs – and although they are more expensive, they are often recommended to people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), as they provide up to 96% perfect color rendition.

Create Diffused Lighting With Floor Lamps and Downlights

Using floor lamps (with a light or clear shade) and/or downlights can create a warm and cozy ambiance that’s particularly relaxing in the evening.

Selective use of LED’s can also create a more colorful feel in an otherwise dark room that can help you drift off to sleep at night.

5: Opt For Slimmer Furniture in a Lighter Color

Bulky furniture in dark colors will absorb the light, so opting for slimmer, low level items when selecting pieces such as sideboards, consoles, and bedside tables will allow the light to bounce around the room and make your north-facing bedroom feel warmer and brighter.

For example, furniture with a marbled or mirrored finish will reflect the light and brighten the space, whilst incorporating natural materials such as lighter cherry wood will reinforce brightness.

Related: 9 ways to make a small bedroom look bigger with furniture.

6: Place a Mirror Opposite the Window

Adding mirrors to your north-facing bedroom is a surefire way to make it feel brighter because it will reflect the light and can also make the room feel bigger.

If your north-facing bedroom does have a window, situating a mirror opposite the window will reflect the most amount of light – the bigger the mirror the bigger the reflection.

Even if your bedroom doesn’t have a window, you can still place mirrors around the room to enhance the brightness of your ambient lighting.

You can also make use of wardrobes with mirrors in them or even place a mirror on the back of your door to spruce up the design of your door.

7: Reflect Light With a Wallpapered Accent Wall

A subtle way to reflect light in your north-facing bedroom and make it feel brighter is to create an accent wall around the head of your bed using wallpaper with a texture that tends to reflect light.

You can also emphasize the presence of your accent wall by opting for a minimalist metal frame headboard that won’t soak up the light like a larger headboard would.

Related: how to decorate your bedroom using Feng Shui (balance energy).

Conclusion: Use Warm Colors and Lighting

The most effective way to warm up and brighten your north facing bedroom is to select a warm color palette and then layer your lighting, use daylight bulbs, and reflect light using mirrors to increase the brightness.

Related: how to arrange your furniture in a square bedroom for style and functionality.


Sources and References

[1] BBC – The Plague of Light in Our Bedrooms. Accessed 25/1/21.

Image Attribution and Licencing

Main image: ‘Warm Rustic Bedroom’ by Madeline Forsberg (Getty Images) – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.

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