Since most North Facing rooms do not receive direct sunlight, the quality of light is more blue influenced and this has a cooling effect on the colours you have in that space. For example, a grey or a pale blue or even an off-white is going to appear to have a blue-ish cast and you may find yourself commenting that the room feels cold and uninviting. The upside to North Facing rooms mean that the light has less glare and shadows and is more evenly balanced. This means north facing rooms are great spaces in which to do activities such as office work, computer work, and artistic pursuits such as painting, sewing, crafting. North facing light is also very calming in a bedroom.
If your goal is to liven up your North facing space and take away the coolness, then consider using colours which are very saturated. Saturated just means that it has more colour pigment in it. Types of saturated colours that work well include deep blues, ochre yellows, intense oranges, pinks and warm reds. You can also try an intense green/yellow in combination with accents of intense raspberry.
In the North Facing bedroom below Kevin Gray Interiors used a deep blue with accents of ochre yellow and brass to give warmth. We also used mirrors flanking the bed to reflect both the natural light coming from the windows on the opposite side of the room and to reflect the light from the bedside lamps.
If painting your entire room a saturated colour is too much for you or innappropriate for the architecture, consider painting the walls a warm mid-toned cream or mid-toned warm neutral as illustrated by Farrow and Ball's 'House White' on the wall in the bottom most photograph below.
Kevin Gray is a residential interiors specialist, who has more than 20 years experience in the interior and architectural design industry.