Bright sunny room

How light affects our favorite colors

Find out how to choose the right colors for your room depending on the type of light.

It’s amazing how the same color can look completely different depending on the light that’s shining on it.

The way a room faces, the time of day and whether the light is natural or artificial all play a huge part in how a color will look on your wall.

Take a look at our handy guide to help you choose the right paint for the right light.

Rooms that get all-day sunlight

These are the easiest rooms to decorate. They tend to be bathed in subtle light for the majority of the day, so practically anything goes.

Why not take advantage of the natural light and go for pale tones that will bounce light back into the room, creating a bright, airy feel? Golden hues will add to the sun-kissed effect, while light blues will give you a cool, calming scheme. 

That said, bold, rich hues will look wonderfully vibrant in this sort of light. If you’re worried about picking the right shade, get a sneak preview of how it will look on your walls with our Dulux Visualizer app.

Which colors?

ZN.02.80 / 10RR 75/039
CN.01.83 / 10YY 72/021

Rooms that get the morning sun

Blue room

Rooms that catch the sunrise see the most variations in light throughout the day. At dawn the light has a slight pinkish tinge to it, which quickly turns more blue as the morning progresses. Later, once the sun moves on, the room may feel quite shady.

To make the most of your room at all times of day, paint the walls in a pale blue or green – the room will come alive in the morning sunshine but will still feel fresh and light in the afternoon.

Which colors?

S0.10.50 / 90BG 25/079
H6.05.78 / 10GY 64/065
S0.09.30 / 90BG 10/067

Rooms that get the late afternoon sun



These rooms will generally be cooler in the mornings then warm up later in the day, so go for sunny yellows to create a bright, welcoming morning space, or cooler shades for a soothing place to relax later in the day – pale greys are a good option for this.

As long as you steer clear of blue undertones, the room will feel warm enough in the mornings and light and airy in the afternoons.

Which colors?

F6.42.60 / 50YY 42/490
FN.02.82 / 98YR 78/041

Rooms that don’t get much natural light



Rooms that don’t get much sun at any time of day risk being a bit cold, so it’s a good idea to choose warm hues to stop the room from feeling too chilly. Using a burnt orange or rich gold will warm things up, as will neutrals with undertones of red.

To help make your room feel brighter and more spacious, why not try our Light + Space Matt paint [LINK TO PRODUCT]? Its light-reflective particles reflect up to twice as much light back into your room, compared to our conventional emulsion paints.

Which colors?

D6.40.35 / 70YR 13/259
D9.41.49 / 70YR 27/404

Rooms lit by artificial light

Aqua and white walls
  1. Yellow light bulbs and candlelight bring out the best in warm hues like reds and oranges. That’s why red is such a popular choice for dining rooms, TV rooms and other spaces that tend to be used in the evening.
  2. White light bulbs give off a light that’s closer to daylight, making your color choices more versatile – you can go as pale or bright as you like and the colors will look great.
  3. LED lights tend to give off a bluish glow, which you can embrace with cool pastels for a contemporary look, or counter with warm yellow hues.

Which colors?

Q2.49.25 / 26BG 09/247
ON.00.87 / 50RB 83/005

Once you’ve chosen your color, test it out by painting a few pieces of A4 paper and placing them on different walls in your room. This way you’ll get to see how the color looks when the light changes throughout the day

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