Lighting is the most important design tool in any space and, if done well, will really bring a north-facing space to life. The type of lighting you choose will depend on the function of a room and when it is used. So, north facing kitchens and bathrooms will need plenty of good ‘task’ light to ensure you can see what you’re doing at any time of day. Well positioned directional downlights will do this most effectively; avoid grids of them on the ceiling and instead decide where you need the light and position the fitting accordingly.
The problem with downlights however (and with pendants in the centre of a room) is that they cast a very even, flat light which is hopeless for creating atmosphere. So, particularly in the evening, you will want to supplement the task lighting with other forms of lighting that create pools of light and shadow. It’s this ‘accent’ lighting that provides interest and atmosphere.In a kitchen, accent lighting is likely to take the form of wall lights, plinth or cabinet lighting, or pendants hung low over a table or island. Floor lamps and table lamps - the best way of introducing accent lighting in living spaces - should also be considered in kitchens if space allows.
As with all lighting, flexibility is key, so try to have different lighting circuits to alter the atmosphere at different times of day. And always, always use dimmer switches. Finally, and particularly important for north-facing rooms, choose warm white LEDs to ensure these spaces are ones you gravitate to and never want to leave!