After putting together several paint guides in the past, I can’t tell you how many people email me about paint colour suggestions. The truth is that as my recent repertoire covers either Dulux Supermatt White (not Brilliant White) and Crown Sail White I feel I’m not at the top of my game when it comes to offering advice on swatches. This my friends, is where you come in.

Our very own Laura dropped me a note recently asking for my thoughts on how she should tackle the south facing living room:

We have a fairly average size south facing Victorian terrace lounge. The room has been knocked through to our dining room, which sadly leaves little room for creative furniture configuration, however, a huge bay window and high ceilings mean the space is very bright, and airy. We’ve recently had a new window fitted, and so the space is in need of a paint update, and to be honest after four years of brilliant white we’re more than ready for a change. Light and bright is the general theme of the house, so I’m not sure we should do anything too drastic, even though going dark fills me with excitement. All the rooms in our house are painted white with the exception of the dining room, which has our favourite Cole & Sons Woods wallpaper, and Pavilion Grey walls. Being completely open plan downstairs, the lounge has to work with the aforementioned dining room. We’re also not in the position to invest in a new sofa just yet so the colour has to work with our dark grey and hugely uncomfortable sofa, as well a white glass fronted cabinet which will be moved in to replace our current shelves.

The Current Space

In my opinion Laura can have anything she blinking well likes as the luxury of south-facing means the space will be bathed in light for much of the day. I think the reason brilliant white can be overwhelming when you have a southern aspect is that such a huge amount of daylight streams in that it can make a room feel a bit washed out, especially around mid day.


So should Laura go light, mid or dark? Well if opting for a light shade then do bear in mind that such a huge amount of warm light will amplify the undertone. Using pale shades with a yellow, orange or red undertone and may overpower the space with a warm glow so best to go for one with a cooler base. I’m thinking Crown’s White Glove may be a good one to try if Laura wants a very subtle change to the brilliant white.


The same applies for a mid-tone too – a grey with bluish undertones would be really effective in toning down the brightness of the space. A shade such as Farrow and Ball Dimpse would also complement the Pavilion Grey in the dining room. However I did mention to Laura about taking the Pavilion Grey right the way though the space.


Even though I haven’t been brave enough to go a dark shade (other than on my snug shelving and fireplace which you can see above), I think Laura’s lounge would look stunning painted in a dark hue. Again one at the cooler end of the spectrum which would be cosied up with all the warm light.

I’d also encourage Laura to splash out on a few testers and paint large sheets of paper to hang up in her lounge. Particularly in south facing rooms, the level of light dramatically shifts during the day and one shade that looks perfect in the morning can be less so by the late afternoon.

Now I realise I haven’t been particularly helpful in pinpointing particular shades and that’s where I’d love it if you came in. Have you used any coolish shades in any of your south-facing rooms? What do you think would work in Laura’s living room? If anyone would like me to attempt to do a similar post for other aspects then please shout.