Designer-Approved Rules to Follow When Choosing Paint Colors for Your Bedroom

Navy blue paint in a bedroom

Blue Copper Design

We’ve seen bedroom walls in every color of the rainbow and beyond, and many of us have experimented with plenty of different shades over the decades—remember that too cool turquoise bedroom from your teenage years? However, this doesn’t mean that designers agree that every single hue is destined for a sleep space. “Your bedroom should be a reprieve,” designer Chelsea Robinson noted, and the other designers we spoke with agreed. Thus, most pros will say that soothing colors are a go while bold, vibrant shades are better suited for other spaces. Which colors in particular should you toss into the “no” pile? Read on to hear what the experts think. 

  • 01 of 04

    Avoid Anything Too Bright

    Muted blue bedroom interior

    D Burns Interiors

     Designers agreed that bright hues do not belong in a sleep space, so say goodbye to those neon yellows, lime greens, and even other less obvious vibrant colors. But that doesn’t mean these shades can’t shine in other parts of the home. “Think calm and sophisticated for bedroom paint—save the brighter colors for hallways, breakfast nooks, and other spaces,” designer Laura Medicus advised. Bathrooms, for one, are wonderful spots to test out a new to you color and go bold. Given that these rooms are so small and can be easily sectioned off by shutting the door, they’re a great place to experiment.

    Added designer Chrissy Hunter, “Candy colored walls feel less serene and make it a little harder—for me—to fully relax.” Hunter instead gravitates toward either softer shades or rich dark colors. So if grays and blues don’t appeal to you, feel free to try a hunter green or a deep navy. These shades pair wonderfully with white or neutral bedding and other calm accents. How luxe! 

  • 02 of 04

    Skip Out on Red

    Dusty rose bedroom interior

    Ashley Clark for Skout

    When it comes to specific bright hues that designers aren’t feeling, the first color of the rainbow is a controversial pick for many. Yes, red may be the color of romance, but it isn’t going to be the pros’ first choice when grabbing a paint brush. “Reds are out for the bedroom,” designer Sallie Lord said. “We feel this passion color is left best in small doses.” Designer Kelsey Haywood agreed but specified that some shades of red are bigger offenders than others. “Deep Bordeaux hues or even a dusty rose are beautiful in a bedroom, but a true red—think fire engine—is too much,” she said. “There is a reason emergency vehicles are red, and it’s not the vibe you want to set in a bedroom!” Save the candy apple red for your next manicure and move right along. 

  • 03 of 04

    Orange Is Disruptive

    Peach-colored wallpaper in a bedroom

    Reena Sotropa

    Orange, at least in its truest form, is also a no-no for the bedroom, designer Michelle Gage noted. “Peach is sweet and nice, but a bright and harsh orange is due to disrupt your sleep cycle!” Designer Julie Terrell understands this from experience. “In my twenties, I once painted my bedroom orange for a short time and then realized that it stressed me out,” she commented. 

    Designer Danielle Chiprut is also not a fan of incorporating yellows, oranges, or reds on bedroom walls. “These are super active colors and do not promote a feeling of calm, rest or relaxation,” she noted. But if you do happen to be set on one of these hues, there are ways to make modifications, designer Kimberly Barr explained. “There are always warmer and softer variations of vibrant colors that can keep a bedroom feeling like the retreat you are looking for when trying to relax,” she shared. So a coral, perhaps, may be the perfect compromise. 


  • 04 of 04

    Do What Makes You Happy

    green bedroom walls

    Erin Williamson Design

    While designers do have strong opinions on colors to avoid, most do believe that paint color is subjective and what matters most is that it appeals to you. “The most perfect (and imperfect) bedroom color is truly in the eye of the beholder,” designer Brynn Olson said. “That’s why we spend a great deal of time understanding which colors work and which colors don't work for each individual client.” Olson has noticed trends emerge which support the designers’ stances above. “What we do see over and over again in bedrooms is a winning combination of neutrals and monochromatic hues,” she shared. “These quiet palettes help clients achieve the harmony they crave after a long day, while also starting their days off right.” 

    Designer Theresa Ory agreed. “I do recommend neutrals that represent the personality and aesthetic of my client,” she said. “I have used [Sherwin-Williams] Requisite Gray for a soft, slightly feminine taupe tone; [Sherwin-Williams] Alabaster for a coffered ceiling beauty; and softer shades of bluish greens like [Benjamin Moore] Silver Sage when the space was right for it.”