Deciding what colors go into your bedroom can go a long way towards creating the right atmosphere. The first thing you see in the morning should create positive emotions - just like the last thing you see at night should help you get better sleep. Colors have long been shown to impact our moods, so that means choosing the right shades to help you get the right feeling in your sleeping space.
What Do Different Colors Mean?
Let's start with the basics. Studies have been done to see how different colors impact people. However, each individual person may also have their own reaction to a color. If you have fond memories of your grandmother's yellow kitchen, you're likely to react more positively to yellow than someone who is allergic to lemons. Color associations also change depending on your culture. Everyone is different! In general, here's how each color may impact you:
- Black - The color of darkness, which makes it associated with unknown, and even "bad" things - the bad guy wears black! This color is often used around death and depression. Most colors also have a flip side, and with black used in marketing it can be associated with style and luxury.
- White - Clean and pure. This is generally the same whether you're in a doctor's office or creating an ad. Too much white can be seen as cold and sterile.
- Red - A very emotional color, red is associated with passion - whether in love or anger. It attracts attention, and so is often used as a warning. Did you know that red also makes you hungry? That's one reason why so many restaurants have red tablecloths or in their decor!
- Blue - Many people's favorite color, it's seen as calm and stable. Blue has been shown to improve productivity while promoting relaxation. However, feeling "blue" is sad, and it's one of the least appetizing colors. There aren't a lot of natural foods that are blue, but molds come in that color so we are geared to avoid it in food.
- Green - Another calming color, green is heavily associated with nature and abundance. However, green is also associated with poison - which may be why it's used when describing the emotions of envy and jealousy.
- Yellow - Cheerful and vibrant, yellow has been shown to increase the metabolism. Like red, yellow demands attention and is used in caution signs and other warnings. On the negative side, people can react more negatively in yellow rooms by losing their tempers or crying more often.
- Purple - Rare in nature, purple is the color of royalty, so it's often associated with opulence, mystery, and spirituality. The richness of purple can be seen by some to be tacky and excessive (especially after a certain dinosaur claimed the color).
- Brown - Earthy brown is a relaxing choice to feel grounded and neutral. Because it's so unassuming, shades of brown can be seen as boring. Brands use brown to show that they're down-to-earth and reliable (like UPS).
- Orange - Like purple, orange evokes a love-it-or-hate-it response. In warm and natural shades it's heavily associated with the cozy feeling of autumn. Brighter shades make some people feel that it is cheap and vulgar - or it can be energizing. Many sports-related products and teams use a vibrant orange in their branding.
- Pink - Usually shades of a color can be bucketed under that color, like grey under black. But pink has such strong reactions that it needs its own category! While it's associated with femininity now, pink was once considered a very masculine color (as a shade of red). The other popular association is with romance, but different types of pink have actually been shown to be calming and are used in prisons. It's also the color of fun - bubblegum and cotton candy. That may be why companies like Baskin Robbins, Dunkin' Donuts, and Lyft use it!
What Color is Best for the Bedroom?
Now that you know what each color means, you can guess what might help you relax. Blue and green are obvious choices for their calming properties - as long as they aren't too vibrant. Yellow and orange in warm shades will also create a warm feeling to help you unwind. If you're looking for the optimum color for sleep, studies have shown that blue is the best.
Purple is the worst - people with purple bedrooms get the least amount of sleep and report bad dreams. Grey and brown can be depressing. Although grey is popular right now, people with grey bedrooms get an average of only 6 hours of sleep a night! Red, or any bright color, can make you feel energized instead of sleepy. White, while it can help brighten a dull space, might also lack enough warmth to make you feel comfortable if used too much.
It's not just pure color that will impact the feel of your bedroom. Taking into account how the colors are used will help balance out the look and create the right emotions.
- Shades - Lighter or pastel shades are more soothing, so switching purple to a lilac and orange to peach might make all the difference.
- Texture - Consider what each object is made out of. A hard surface reflects more light, so even muted shades can be brighter. Softer materials, even in darker shades, can feel cozy. Using different textures can offset color choices as well, so don't forget to look into what type of carpet might work best with your decor!
- Pattern - A busy pattern can seem brighter than something more muted and simple, and you can use this to add depth to your decorating. If you want to add a dollop of energy to a room, you can do it by using energetic colors in a pattern that also uses some quieter shades to help mute the brighter color. It can also go the other way: if you have a calming color in a cheerful pattern, it can lift the room while keeping the quiet vibe.
- Accents - Like texture and pattern, accent pieces can calm down bright colors or brighten up calm colors. If you have a blue room, but love yellow, use it in your throw pillows and artwork. If you already have a lot of color, try picking a headboard in a neutral shade to anchor the room. You may not think about it, but your bedding can have a big impact on your sleep. Pick sheet colors that work with your decor, and can promote sleep. White is popular, and for good reason - it makes people feel cool and clean when they slide into bed. Although don't forget about stains - darker colors hide most stains better. If you're worried about that, consider soothing shades of green and blue for your sheets as well.
- Personal Preference - If you love a certain color, there's no reason you can't use it. People have different opinions all the time, and some decorating sites even go against what studies have shown. It's all in what the color means to you. Just be careful - you still want to get a good amount of sleep, and your favorite color may not do that for you. Try choosing a look that uses pops or accents if you're worried your selected shade might overwhelm.
Neutral colors can be calming, but you might be avoiding them if you love color. To balance relaxation and energy, try to pick one big thing that's soothing and go for color in other places
How to Choose
Nothing beats personal preference, so keep in mind how you use your space. If you live somewhere dreary, or don't have a lot of light coming in, you may want to add light and warmth to the space with your color choices. Do you use the bedroom to create? Then maybe something like purple will be more helpful. Or if you love waking up and getting energized, that zippy yellow or true orange could be perfect for you. But, if you have trouble sleeping, go back to those calming shades that at tried and true - sleep is important for everything you do!
Consider your design style next. To bring everything together, use different color palettes to create a comprehensive look from carpet to ceiling. This may also help you narrow down your color palette. Cottage style tends to be simple and cheerful, with pastels and whites. The coastal look uses lots of blues, sandy tones, and whites, with pops of color that evoke a day at the beach. More modern designs go for clean white, black, and grey, with bright accents to add depth of interest. Find a style that resonates with you, and then adjust as you like to get just the right balance of color.
There are lots of options - which one suits your style and sleep goals?