Skip to Content

11 Best Paint Colors for South Facing Rooms to Harness Natural Light

Knowing the best paint colors for south facing rooms will help you choose the right hue to harness natural light for a vibrant and inviting living space.

One of my favorite lazy afternoon pastimes is lying on the sofa in my living room. Because it’s south-facing and has large windows, the room is filled with natural light, which shifts over glowing wooden furniture and crimson Persian rugs as the day passes.

The joy of a well lit south facing room is that you can paint it any color, but therein lies the problem: how do you decide on the best paint color for a south facing room?

The best paint colors for south facing rooms range from neutrals to cool and warm colors. Choose soft neutrals, like white and gray, or cool toned blues and greens that temper harsh natural light. Choose warm earth tones of yellow, orange, and terracotta to enhance a sunny room.

Another of my favorite lazy afternoons is browsing paint colors online or in a well stocked hardware store. Dreaming about colors is almost as much fun as finally painting the room.

But having too large a choice of paint colors is as tricky as being faced with only a few colors. Let’s look at the ideal paint colors for south facing rooms.

Modern teal living room with text overlay that reads, "Best paint colors for south facing rooms".


Related Articles:

How to Choose the Best Paint Colors for South Facing Rooms

Because south facing rooms are bathed in sunshine in summer and have abundant natural light year-round, most paint colors will look attractive.

To help you narrow down which paint color to choose, consider these questions:

  • What time of the day do you plan to use the room? Will it be in the intense afternoon sun or in the twilit evening?
  • How will the room be used? Is it the main bedroom or a sunny family room?
  • What atmosphere do you want to evoke? For example, do you want relaxed tranquility, vibrant playfulness, or sleek sophistication?
  • Will the room match an existing color palette and design aesthetic?

Once you’ve noted answers to these questions, you can choose your paint color.

What are the Best Paint Colors for South Facing Rooms?

Rooms with southern exposure are sought after because of their coziness and brightness, ideal for bedrooms, living rooms, or studies. The quality of light means most paints will show their true, vibrant colors.

However, the flip side of all that light is that some colors will look washed out and flat. In contrast, others are visually intense under harsh mid afternoon sunshine. What should you opt for?

Soft Neutrals

The effect of sunlight bathing south facing rooms is that colors can appear yellower than under other light. Many designers, therefore, recommend choosing lighter colors with cool undertones (like blue, green, violet, or gray) to tamp down the yellowness and soften the bright heat.

#1. White

Modern kitchen with white wall.

The first option is to go for white to play up the gorgeous light in the room. The challenge, however, is that white can be dazzling and harsh under bright light, so it’s best to choose a neutral white or off-white.

Softer shades of white with a blue undertone will neutralize the yellow cast of sunlight, enhancing and reflecting light for freshness. South facing kitchens and bathrooms look clean and sleek in white, perfect for a minimalist or Scandi feel.

Try one of these gentler white paint colors for your south facing room:

  • Vanilla Milkshake by Benjamin Moore
  • Fresh Kicks by Clare
  • School House White by Farrow & Ball
  • Not Totally White by Paper And Paints

#2. Gray

Gray bedroom.

If you love neutrals, consider gray for your south facing room. While many interiors experts suggest that gray’s time has passed, the color has a classic timelessness. Choose a gray paint color with a blue undertone – I’d go so far as a blue-gray or violet-gray, especially for a bedroom or nursery – or a green undertone.

Gray’s adaptability means light and dark shades are attractive as the light transitions from day to night. Its versatility allows you to pair it with any color or keep to the slick monochrome of gray and white.

Choose one of these charming gray paint colors:

  • Silver Drop by Behr
  • Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore
  • Warm Pewter by Dulux
  • Morning Fog by Sherwin-Williams

Cool Naturals

Because south facing rooms are flooded with warm light, you can indulge a love of colors on the cooler end of the spectrum: greens, blues, and violets. In the yellowish light, cooler shades look neutral, unlike warm tones that shimmer with heat.


South facing rooms are the perfect vehicle to indulge your love of green. The sunlight flooding these rooms brings out the yellow undertone in all shades of green, so you can range across the color wheel from uber trendy sage through medium-toned olive to moody ivy.

#3. Sage

Sage green wall and a plant in a basket.

Pale and delicate sage green can function as a cool neutral in a south facing room without appearing washed out. This soft gray green infuses a room with tranquility and natural charm, pairing beautifully with cream and dusty pink in vintage-style powder rooms and kitchens.

Sage’s versatility adds a playful touch to the most traditional navy dining rooms, while darker shades ground eclectic interiors.

These are my favorite sage paint colors:

  • Bitter Sage by Behr
  • Saybrook Sage by Benjamin Moore
  • Money Moves by Clare
  • Cypress Garden by Dutch Boy
#4. Olive

Living room with olive green walls.

Olive green is earthier and more organic than sage, with greater intensity and depth. With its gray-yellow undertone, olive works equally well with rust, yellow, and red as it does with white.

This gutsier color is a little harder to live with than sage: if you’re tempted, paint a statement wall before committing to a whole room.

Once you’ve seen it, you’ll realize that olive is the perfect backdrop for many looks: an English country library with dark wood and leather chairs, a farmhouse style kitchen, shiplap and all, or a stunning industrial living room.

  • October Mist by Benjamin Moore
  • Green Smoke by Farrow & Ball
  • Olive Sprig by PPG
  • Evergreen Fog by Sherwin-Williams


Cool blues are perfect for sunny south facing rooms, with their gentle serenity and elegance. This popular color is chameleon-like, changing with the moving light of the day and remaining beautiful throughout.

Traditionally used in bedrooms and bathrooms because of their associations with peace and the hypnotic effects of trickling water, clear sky blues and moody teals are appropriate throughout the home.

#5. Sky Blue

Living room with sky blue walls.

Softer and lighter blues work well as neutral anchors for various color schemes. Wash the walls of a nursery or dressing room with a dreamy sky blue that’s fresh and breezy rather than toothless pastel.

Reach for one of these delicate blues:

  • Breath Of Fresh Air by Benjamin Moore
  • Worn Denim by Dunn-Edwards
  • Borrowed Light by Farrow & Ball
  • Breezy Beach by The Spruce
#6. Marine Blue

Blue room.

Experiment with more intensely pigmented blues, using them as neutrals despite their richness. Moody blue walls bring tranquility to busy spaces like living rooms and kitchens, creating a cool, water-inspired space.

Nod to Greek island holidays in a blue and white palette, or go full eco-chic with green accents, leafy plants, and natural textures.

These marine blues always remind me of sky, sea, and coastal vacations:

  • Navy Masterpiece by Benjamin Moore
  • Caribbean by Glidden
  • Marine Blue by Little Greene
  • March Wind by Pratt & Lambert
#7. Blue-Green

Bathroom with blue green walls.

Combining the best blue and green, these gorgeous colors are perfect for rooms with southern exposure.

Aqua, turquoise, ultramarine, and teal are rich enough to balance the brightest sunlight without fading or overheating and fill your room with airy space.

A south facing room is your opportunity to go for a more adventurous shade, in the confident knowledge that it will look beautiful.

Step out with one of these blue-greens:

  • Thunderbird by Benjamin Moore
  • Pistachio Ice Cream by Dunn-Edwards
  • Composed by Sherwin-Williams
  • Turquoise Tint by Valspar

#8. Lavender

Lavender walled room.

Interior designers regard light purples like lavender and lilac as cool colors because of their intensely blue or gray undertone. Along with last season’s dusty pink, these gentle shades are new neutrals, appearing in interiors from laundry rooms to conservatories.

Consider painting your south facing room a lovely purple, whatever aesthetic you choose: it works as perfectly in a Scandi kitchen as in a glamorous living room.

Layer these cool lavender shades with sage green, sky blue, and earthy taupe:

  • Powdery Mist by Behr
  • New Age 1444 by Benjamin Moore
  • Tranquil Sea by Dunn-Edwards
  • Peignoir by Farrow & Ball

Earthy Warmth

If warmer colors are more your style, lean into the sunshine gold of your south facing room, enjoying the riot of color often seen in hotter climes. Intensely pigmented oranges and yellows shine under sunlight, with the darker reds and browns offsetting the overwhelming brightness.

Embrace the earthier tones for mature serenity and elegance.

#9. Yellow

Yellow walled room.

Yellow is an unfailing mood lifter, whichever shade you choose. Warm colors are energizing and cheerful, perfect for busy, functional spaces. This season’s yellows are earthy and spicy, with rich saturated color, suitable for Boho living rooms and charming boudoirs alike.

Dive into the sunshine with these yellow paint colors:

  • Good As Gold by Clare
  • Wild Wonder by Dulux
  • Pineapple Flan by Dutch Boy
  • Sunflower by Sherwin-Williams

#10. Orange

Room with orange wall and white chairs.

While orange may make you think of Halloween pumpkins, it’s a delectable color all year round. As with yellow, the trending orange shades are intensely pigmented and rich.

Warmth radiates from an orange room, sparking utter joy. Keep the paint matt and of excellent quality to avoid it looking cheap under unforgiving sunlight.

These are the earthiest orange paint colors:

  • Adobe Orange by Benjamin Moore
  • Sweet Potato by Dunn-Edwards
  • Orange Clay by Glidden
  • Earthen Jug by Sherwin-Williams

#11. Terracotta

Minimalist room with terracotta wall.

The gorgeous reddish shade infused with orange, brown, and pink is having a renaissance. Terracotta has stepped out of the seventies and eighties, reborn as a sumptuous, lush, exotic shade.

It’s warm and bright enough to accent neutral palettes, but it can be gentle enough to work as a neutral. Infuse your south facing room with this rich color and layer the warm tones.

These shades of terracotta are trending:

  • Wild Orange by Dutch Boy
  • Red Earth by Farrow & Ball
  • Rosa Palido by ECOS Paints
  • Terra Cotta Trail by Valspar

Final Thoughts on What Color to Paint a South Facing Room

The abundant natural light of south facing rooms means that almost any color will work. If the light is too bright and dazzling, tone it down with a soft white, gray, sage, olive, blue, or turquoise. To take advantage of the golden sunshine, turn to warm, earthy yellow, orange, and terracotta tones.

Pin graphic of a teal living room with text overlay that reads, "Best south facing room paint colors".

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.