Creative Director at Little Greene reveals the one shade that works in every type of light

Different lighting can make or break a room – but with this one shade, you simply can’t go wrong

Little Greene French Grey painted living room
(Image credit: Little Greene, French Grey)

While we’ve all got folders of shades we’re lusting over on Instagram, color experts urge us to tread with caution before we bulk buy. How that glorious hue looks on the walls of your favorite influencer or designer might not look the same in your modern home – and this comes down to one thing – sunlight. 

The positioning of your room has a significant impact on how a particular hue appears on your walls, as while north-facing rooms make paints feel cooler, south-facing spaces give colors a brighter, mellow tinge. Meanwhile, West and East facing rooms experience a sharp shift in sunlight throughout the day, meaning your paint of dreams can look almost unrecognizable during cocktail hour than it did over your morning coffee earlier in the day. 

The debate of how to overcome this natural predicament has divided designers; however, according to Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director Little Greene, there is one color that can work in every type of light. The color in question is French Grey

Little Greene French Grey works in every light, grey painted living room

(Image credit: Little Greene, French Grey)

How does light affect paint color? 

Before revealing how French Grey works in every type of room, Ruth explained more how the position of a space influences our favorite shades, urging us to consider the ‘orientation,’ and the ‘direction of light entering a room,’ which ‘completely alter the appearance of your color choice.’ 

She continues:‘South-facing rooms experience warmer light, so shades can appear more yellow,’ while in north-facing rooms, ‘colors tend to appear consistently flatter and cooler than they would do [when] bathed in natural light,’ Ruth explains. 

‘Bolder colors will change depending on the orientation of your space too, so if you have a particular paint in mind, consider its base tones,’ she adds. 

See: Gray living room ideas - how to get this shade right

Little Greene French Grey works in every light, living room painted in grey

(Image credit: Little Greene, French Grey)

What makes French Grey different? 

It may seem like all shades can fall victim to the sun, but as Ruth reveals, one shade can work well in all kinds of rooms, whatever its orientation. 

Because French Grey is a ‘middle tint’ shade, it will look good in all light, Ruth explains. ‘Made from a mix of pigments, it contains a little blue and a red [so] it adapts well to different light settings,’ she says. 

See: Grey living room ideas - interior designers share tips for using this moody neutral

Why else should we choose French Grey?  

French Grey's ability to look great in every type of light is certainly appealing, but that isn't its only quality, as Ruth expands: 'It is often the case that the oldest shades are the most popular and timeless colors. French Grey, is one of Little Greene's most popular shades and is actually a Victorian tone, but due to its incredible versatility, it has remained ever popular.'

Little Greene French Grey

(Image credit: Little Greene, French Grey)

'To create subtle nuance between walls and woodwork, use a differing scale from the same family, for example, French Grey Pale on the walls combined with French Grey on trim,' she adds. 


You can pick up French Grey from Little Greene and rest safe in the knowledge that it will work on your wall, no matter where your room is facing. 

Ruth has just given us all the reason to paint our walls grey, in case we needed another excuse anyway.

Megan Slack

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, well-being stories, and celebrity-focused pieces.

Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US whilst studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site.