Plants detect the presence of neighbouring vegetation by monitoring changes in the ratio of red (R) to far-red (FR) wavelengths (R:FR) in ambient light. Reductions in R:FR are perceived by the phytochrome family of plant photoreceptors and initiate a suite of developmental responses termed the shade avoidance syndrome. These include increased elongation growth of stems and petioles, enabling plants to overtop competing vegetation. The majority of shade avoidance experiments are performed at standard laboratory growing temperatures (>20°C). In these conditions, elongation responses to low R:FR are often accompanied by reductions in leaf development and accumulation of plant biomass. Here we investigated shade avoidance responses at a cooler temperature (16°C). In these conditions, Arabidopsis thaliana displays considerable low R:FR-mediated increases in leaf area, with reduced low R:FR-mediated petiole elongation and leaf hyponasty responses. In Landsberg erecta, these strikingly different shade avoidance phenotypes are accompanied by increased leaf thickness, increased biomass and an altered metabolite profile. At 16°C, low R:FR treatment results in the accumulation of soluble sugars and metabolites associated with cold acclimation. Analyses of natural genetic variation in shade avoidance responses at 16°C have revealed a regulatory role for the receptor-like kinase ERECTA.