Tips and Guides

Building 101: How to Choose Bedroom Colors

Experience the power of color in your bedroom by simply changing wall paint and decorative pieces


Colors have the power to affect our moods. Juicy orange and succulent green -- evocative of food from nature -- can whet appetites, while pristine white is commonly associated with cleanliness.

Think, then, of the untapped ability of color to create a desired mood in your bedroom. Whether you're looking for ways to help you sleep at night, to better get you out of bed in the morning, or to give your kids a room that'll stimulate them, you can achieve the effect your after with the right color scheme.

Read the original article ("Kama Chameleon") in the March 2009 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details. 

Soft Pastels for Relaxation

The desired effect: To relax you and lull you to sleep after a stressful day

The colors: Pastel tints, primarily lilac, baby pink, and soft green, mixed with cream

Why it works: Just looking at this bedroom is enough to calm one's senses. "Cool colors-those associated with ice, shade, and water-[like] blues and greens in pastel colors or airy shades calm the emotions," says interior designer Hannah Acab-Faustino.

According to the book Colour Inspiration (Conran Octopus Limted, 2003), "Blue and purple are the colors of twilight that invite us to think, feel, meditate and dream. Lavender is universally known for its mediative, healing properties which makes it a perfect colour to sleep with." Paint your walls a soothing lilac and mix in accessories in equally serene pastels. To keep this ultra-feminine room from looking too sweet, introduce bits of dreamy cream and natural materials, as seen in the wicker basket.

Want a more sophisticated, less saccharine look? Bring in small doses of deep tones like aubergine, or dark wood finishes.

Bold colors for a morning boost

The desired effect: To perk up a non-morning person who has the hardest time getting out of bed when the alarm goes off

The colors: Plenty of yellow, with touches of neutral shades-chocolate brown, mocha, and a bit of black and white

Why it works: If you have the toughest time getting out of bed when the alarm goes off in the morning, paint your bedroom walls the color of the morning sun, suggests Winnie Rose.

"Yellow is often associated with something sunny and bright and helps in promoting a warm and positive atmosphere," explains Hannah. She adds, "[This color], when used with discretion-meaning not too overpowering-will definitely help one wake up with a bright disposition."

However, Hannah warns that yellow, in big doses, isn't quite so mellow. "Too much makes the eyes tired," she says. To keep yellow from becoming too intense, temper it with subtler colors like rich chocolate brown, and classic black and white; adding a plant is a fresh touch. While yellow my help you get up in the morning, it may keep you up at night. The solution: Add sumptuous textures, as in the velvety blanket, to help you drift off to sleep.

You can also try: Earth tones. Hannah suggests muted grays, browns, and beige.

Warm colors. The red side of the color wheel, but dulled with neutral colors such as gray or black. "[These colors together] suggest warmth, intimacy, and relaxation," says Hannah.

Perky brights for happy kids

The desired effect: To stimulate a growing kid's mind and encourage creativity

The colors: Bold, bright primaries-punchy red, sky blue, lime green

Why it works: Get your kids' creative juices flowing with a hefty dose of red. "Red is associated with passion, desire, and creativity, and is often very attractive to kids, regardless of gender," says Hannah. Add blue; Hannah explains that lighter shades are more playful and informal. The lime green accents are a fun addition.

Bring in some yellow to further stimulate your kids' minds. "Yellow, according to color therapists, is the color of creativity and communication because it activates the brain and nervous system," affirm the authors of Colour Inspiration.


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