Natural light is one of the best qualities a room can have. With plentiful sunshine streaming in through the windows, your space will instantly look a little larger and more inviting. Good natural lighting conditions also mean you don't have to worry about the wrong interior paint color making your room look gloomy. So how do you narrow down your many options?
Using earth tones is a great place to start. "In rooms with lots of natural light, I like to ask clients what they see on the other side of their windows," says Robin Burrill, CEO and principal designer at Signature Home Services. "In most cases, the answer is 'lots of green!' Bringing that green inside with a light green paint selection has become a more popular choice for many, and I love that it has! Bringing nature indoors lifts our mood and increases attention, just like natural light does. So going green gives you a double dose."
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Of course, this is only one approach. Read on for more color ideas for naturally well-lit rooms.
How to Choose Paint Colors for a Bright Room
While a bright room can pull off almost any paint color, no matter how dark or bold, you might want to steer away from colors that feel too fiery in the light. "Although I love deeper blues and grays and other colors in a bright space, I veer away from red, burgundy, or orange wall colors, as they often feel to heavy and oppressive in a light-filled room," says interior designer Kathie Chrisicos, the founder of Chrisicos Interiors. If these are the colors you love best, try incorporating them in smaller doses, through trim or textiles, or maybe even a bold statement couch.
Ultimately, the best paint color for you depends on the mood you're hoping to create in your space. If you want to play up the sunlight, go for a bright yellow. If you'd like to create more of a sunset effect, try peach or pink. And if your style is a little moodier, look to grays and blues, which can filter the light like clouds on an overcast day.
One of the best parts of a room with natural light is the opportunities it affords you in terms of decorating. "Rooms with natural light are the perfect spaces for some of my favorite selections seen at market this year: texture, texture and more texture!" Burrill says. "Picture it: Dining room chairs with bronze studs running around the back, a lamp with thick rings of gold wrapped around it, new throw pillows with fuzzy and funky textures. Natural light helps you appreciate the beauty of these selections, making them perfect for the best-lit spaces."
Before you make your final decision on a paint color, it's a good idea to use paint swatches to see how your selection appears at the brightest time of day, as well as in the mornings and evenings. The paint will look slightly different in each of these lighting conditions, and you might find that a color you like during midday is not your favorite in the evening while you're relaxing on the couch.
Want more inspiration? Here are some of our favorite shades for beautifully bright rooms.
15 Paint Colors for Rooms With Lots of Natural Light
White paint reflects the sunlight, allowing you to take full advantage of your naturally bright room. It also creates an ideal foundation for pops of color, like the semicircular olive green headboard in this bedroom. The warm white area rug covers a black floor to soften the contrast, creating a cozy, minimalist vibe.
Get the look: Sherwin-Williams Pure White
Neutral paint colors will always welcome the light. This open-concept kitchen and living room glows in various shades of beige and tan. The walls are a soft beige, contrasting just slightly with the blonde wood ceiling and cabinets, as well as the greige flooring and cream rug. With so much light coming into the room, this simple palette allows it to feel even brighter.
Get the look: Clare Like Buttah
3. Light Pink
Pink doesn't just accentuate the sunlight — it also adds a sweet vintage touch. This soft shade can also be made more modern with the right furniture and accent colors. In this room, a light pink is paired with black and mustard trim and a teal couch. The overall effect is surprising and sophisticated.
Get the look: Benjamin Moore Candy Stripe
4. Light Blue
Balance the warm sunlight with a cool light blue paint. This shade creates a moody atmosphere while still allowing a room to feel large and bright. Pair it with other cool colors, like gray, green, and bright white, as seen above. Tan plaid pillows add a bit of warmth.
Get the look: Farrow & Ball Hazy
Not all rooms can pull off a dark, moody palette. But with lots of natural light, you have more opportunity to play with color. In this kitchen by deVOL, greige walls and a white ceiling balance inky black cabinets. If you're not ready to go this bold, the warm undertones of greige will look equally elegant alongside lighter-colored accents.
Get the look: Glidden Sharkskin
Using a pop of color on an accent wall is a great way to bring life into any room. In a room with a lot of natural light, your color choices are practically endless, but lighter shades will keep the room feeling airy. The subtle lavender accent wall in this nursery tones down the starkness of white, adding a bit of softness to the baby's room.
Get the look: Behr Fanciful
7. Electric Blue
The sunlight streaming in through the windows will make bright paint colors really pop. In this room, two similar colors — electric blue and a slightly darker royal blue — have been paired for a tonal effect. Yellow, brown, and gold-colored accents make these stunning colors shine even brighter.
Get the look: Sherwin-Williams Blue Chip
8. Olive Green and Blush
Pretty much any shade of green will to look great in a room with a lot of natural light, because of how much it feels like bringing the outside in. You can use olive green as the main color in a room or as an accent for a neutral color like white or gray. If you want to have a little more fun, though, take a cue from this kitchen and pair it with a soft blush.
9. Forest Green
Just as there are many shades of green in nature, there are plenty to choose from for your home as well. If you prefer a deep, dramatic shade, consider forest green. In this bedroom, just one accent wall completely changes the mood of a white bedroom.
Get the look: Sherwin-Williams Cascades
If you want to move one step beyond neutrals, try painting your walls a soft shade of peach. This color has all the warmth and versatility of beige, plus a little more personality. In this living room by Dabito of Old Brand New, a peach accent wall provides the perfect backdrop for artwork and a couch full of colorful pillows.
Get the look: Behr Peach Shortcake
It takes lots of natural light to pull off darker colors like navy blue without turning your room into a cave. So if you have the right conditions, you might as well take full advantage. In this room styled by Sarisa of Indigo Leopard Home, dark blue walls are livened up with bright, playful furniture and a large checkerboard rug.
Get the look: Clare Goodnight Moon
12. Sage Green
Set a relaxing mood by painting your well-lit room sage green. Like olive and forest green, it evokes nature, but in a softer way. This shade is so versatile and unobtrusive, it's practically a neutral. And it works beautifully in nurseries like this one because it's a soothing pastel that your child won't age out of.
Get the look: Farrow & Ball Vert De Terre
All of the shades in the yellow family will soak up the incoming sun, so you really can't go wrong. Choose a slightly muted highlighter shade like the one in this modern nursery by 2LG Studio for a playful, modern look. Or if subtle is more your style, go for a soft butter yellow.
Get the look: Sherwin-Williams Fun Yellow
You can pretty much never go wrong with white paint, but in a bright room, you may be better served by choosing an off-white shade. While a bright white can make the sunlight feel oppressive, a cream or grayish white will have a softening effect. To keep the room from feeling too sterile, accent with natural wood and a friendly color like the blue used for the kitchen cabinets and island above.
Get the look: Benjamin Moore White Opulence
Like the clouds outside, gray paint has the ability to soften the harsh glare of the sun. If you'd like to tone down the natural light in your room, there's no better color. Choose a pale gray like the one in this children's room by Mainstreet Stockholm for a subtle effect.
Get the look: Behr Lunar Surface
Paint Colors for Bright Rooms
There are endless possibilities when it comes to choosing a paint color for a room with tons of natural light, whether you want to play it up or tone it down. Light colors will warm up your room and really make it shine, but if you're fond of darker shades, the large amount of light you're working with means you have the perfect conditions for them. Some of the best colors include:
- Light pink
- Light blue
- Electric blue
- Olive green
- Forest green
- Navy blue
- Sage green