What to paint a bedroom?
June 23, 2005 7:45 PM   Subscribe

In your, professional or casual opinion, what's a good, inviting and livable color to paint a bedroom? Thank you.
posted by Colloquial Collision to Home & Garden (30 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've heard you should stick to non-bright colors in bedrooms as it will help you sleep better. Personally, I would go with a sage green, but that's just me :)
posted by geeky at 7:46 PM on June 23, 2005

(although it does get kind of grubby, i admit)
posted by andrew cooke at 7:49 PM on June 23, 2005

Pale rose.
posted by SPrintF at 7:53 PM on June 23, 2005

i painted my bedroom a dark purple once and loved it. it was colorful enough to be interesting, but deep enough to be calming/sexy.
posted by amandaudoff at 7:57 PM on June 23, 2005

What's the lighting like in the room? How big is it?

I would say midnight blue, but really, I think any color could work as long as you like it. My sister's room is bright pink and white stripes (each stripe is about 8 inches wide). It's cool.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:58 PM on June 23, 2005 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: What's the lighting like in the room? How big is it?

I would say midnight blue, but really, I think any color could work as long as you like it. My sister's room is bright pink and white stripes (each stripe is about 8 inches wide). It's cool.

I was thinking of doing stripes of different shades of the same hue. Something like your sister's apparently.

The room is (L x W x H) 10 ft x 10 ft x 12 ft. The lighting is ambient.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 8:04 PM on June 23, 2005

I like maroon.
posted by mischief at 8:10 PM on June 23, 2005

WIth the exception of height (8 feet), my bedroom has very similar dimensions. We went with a very pale cool yellow (flat) on three walls and a grayish green (eggshell) for trim, doors, and the wall the head of the bed touches. I think I had recently watched some DIY show where they talked about accent walls. We love it.
posted by pmbuko at 8:12 PM on June 23, 2005

I've a dark lilac purple and a pure magenta. It's stunning, and not to everyone's taste. A previous bedroom was faux finished using ragging, and came out as a sky blue with a sky texture that was peaceful and comforting. Then it was painted one of those babypoop taupe brownish sort of colour, and that was kinda like being in a cave. Or a baby's bum, I suppose.

I've a friend with a sage green room. It is very calming and organic. Another has a red red and dark navy blue thing going on, and I like it (and am glad I don't live with it). And, finally, a fourth friend has the lemon yellow thing going on, and it is sheer delight. It's like living in a meringue pie.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:27 PM on June 23, 2005

If the room is small, go with a very light coloured ceiling for sure. Then even if the walls are darkish, it won't be oppressive.

I know a professional housepainter with the most beautiful house (as to be expected). She did her small living room in rich deep red, but the ceiling was white, with white molding dusted with gold along the corners of the walls. It was lovely, and felt airy despite the strong colour. (She also did have very good windows in that room).
posted by jb at 8:36 PM on June 23, 2005

Oh - I've just seen that you have very high ceilings? That may change things.
posted by jb at 8:37 PM on June 23, 2005

I've been told to use "cool" colors in the bedroom (blues, greens, and the like), since reds and oranges make it harder to sleep, for the same reason reds and oranges are used by fast food chains.
posted by Kellydamnit at 9:01 PM on June 23, 2005

You have to paint your walls to match your furniture, since it's cheaper to repaint than to get a new bedroom set. Grab some paint chips and start ruminatin'. This site may help...?

I can't really think of any colors that would theoretically not work in a bedroom. I would have said purple and yellow, but my mother proved me damn wrong when she redecorated. As others have already pointed it, it's not something you can arrive at a priori -- it's gonna depend on your room. Got any pictures?
posted by Hildago at 9:04 PM on June 23, 2005

Mine is sage green (light on 3 walls, darker on one). If the room gets very hot, a blue or green can make it feel cooler. If it's in the shade, a yellow or orange can make it feel warmer.
posted by kindall at 9:13 PM on June 23, 2005

Best answer: This is my mom's advice, recycled from when I was decorating my old house. (She works in very, very high end interiors in Chicagoland.)

Pick your fabric first. Buy a patterned duvet cover, drapes, etc. and then find a color within the fabric and use that on the walls (preferably not the main color. For instance, if it's a blue print with a tiny gray dot on it, paint the walls as close as you can get to the gray.)

Paint is the most adjustable -- you can find it in almost any color, whereas it's a pain to find the soft goods you want that match the color of your walls, especially if you don't have the budget to do it custom. And having soft goods that don't go with your walls will always make a room look less put together.

Oh, and don't use the color matching machines at Lowe's or Home Depot. The halftone of most fabrics will always throw them so far off that it's silly. Grab a handful of swatches and compare them in the room to your fabric under normal light conditions.

Also, if you're painting in dark colors, paint the ceiling the same hue two or three shades lighter rather than jarring bright ceiling white. It gives it a softer look, especially with tall ceilings.

And if you go for the striped look, don't pick colors next to each other on the color swatch, have at least one "step" between them so it doesn't look muddy.

Good luck.
posted by Gucky at 10:09 PM on June 23, 2005

My bedroom is a medium gray. It changes color according to the light and sometimes seems a bit lilac. It is very calm.
posted by theora55 at 10:57 PM on June 23, 2005

Well, when I was younger I had a black carpet, black/grey (kinda sponged effect) wallpaper, and bright red paintwork. My parents wouldn't let me have a black ceiling.
I loved it, but nobody else did, and the cats wouldn't go into the room for a long time :-)

In my new place, my fiancee and I decided on a pale lilac, with a high border, and a pale cream carpet. Looks really posh, and is nice and soothing...

Similar to other responses, I've heard that green is the most soothing colour (it looks the most natural, or something) but I'm not too keen on having it in the bedroom. Obviously ymmv.
posted by Chunder at 1:49 AM on June 24, 2005

Similar to theora55, our bedroom is a beautiful slate blue-gray that also changes hue throughout the day. We inherited the color from the previous owner and love, love, love it.
posted by SashaPT at 3:26 AM on June 24, 2005

We painted our bedroom a dark, loamy brown. We like it.
posted by Medieval Maven at 4:56 AM on June 24, 2005

we just finished painting our bedroom a light sage green based on the supposed soothing aspect. as we were painting i thought i had made a horrible mistake but it really turned out well and the room stays quite cool (or at least cooler than it did). we left the ceiling and trim white.
posted by toomuch at 9:36 AM on June 24, 2005

light chocolate, coffee brown.

It's a sanctuary, after-all.
posted by jazzkat11 at 9:46 AM on June 24, 2005

reds and oranges make it harder to sleep

Only if you tend to sleep with your eyes open. Once the lights are off and one's eyes are closed, it's all pretty much black.

My purple/magenta colours were picked by a good interior designer, and are apparently one of the "in" things. FWIW. (Mind you, this is the boondocks of BC, where fashion trends might very well lag New York by a solid five years or more...)
posted by five fresh fish at 9:46 AM on June 24, 2005

In the past, we've used a pale golden yellow. It was great, epecially in winter, because they room felt so warm and inviting.

We're pretty fond of paler colors, because their apparent color changes depending on the lighting. For example, we once had a dining room painted in a very pale light green. So pale that in direct sunlight, it looked essentially white. However, in less direct lighting, it took on a foamy, sea green color. When it was dark out, it was almost a mint green.

I loved that room.
posted by Irontom at 9:57 AM on June 24, 2005

Oddly enough, the last time I painted a bedroom it was...sage green.

One thing to remember is that if you paint with a dark color, changing that is going to take a lot of coats. In my wife's former place, she had painted the bedroom orange and dark red (which looked great, btw). We had to return it to white before she moved out, and that took 2 coats of Kilz and 3 coats of good white paint (paint quality does make a difference).
posted by adamrice at 10:25 AM on June 24, 2005

Coffee-coloured. It's very warm, a snug color. I love what the morning light does on the walls too.
posted by bonehead at 10:31 AM on June 24, 2005

I like color. My previous bedroom had two walls of a rich red of middle brightness (pretty much Plain Old Red) and two walls of a slightly burnt, orange-ish off-off-off white. I really liked that, but I had quite a lot of spot and flood lighting that brought the color out.

My current bedroom is an airy-fairy Pottery Barn white on white with lots of white and white, and it's actually not as bad as I remember white rooms being.
posted by majick at 11:14 AM on June 24, 2005

I like a nice, yellowish grass-green (sometimes called spring green). It could feel too easter-eggy though.

I also like a light blue that is warm, not grey.

This Benjamin Moore site is fun.
posted by mai at 12:17 PM on June 24, 2005

The advice upthread to pick your fabrics first is spot on.

My choice for bedroom colours are similar to some mentioned above:

pale blue
pale lilac/lavendar
pale silvery/sage/ocean green
trim - bright white

burnt orange
dark red
trim - warm white, cream
posted by deborah at 12:59 PM on June 24, 2005

I just repainted one bedroom last weekend - Behr Opal Cream, a lovely butter yellow.

The other room is kind of a periwinkle blue, which is soothing and cool.

Other rooms I've seen and liked: a pale, grayish aqua with white trim; two walls in watermelon pink and two in tangerine; one wall in bright blueberry and the rest in medium yellow
posted by belladonna at 10:12 PM on June 24, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for all your responses. This was some good advice.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 5:17 AM on June 25, 2005

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