Sleepy Bedroom Paint Colors

Believe it or not, the colour of your room can hurt your sleep. Bright shades that are beautiful outdoors in nature, or on your favourite wooden patio furniture, can become aggressive on walls.

Our brain has an emotional response to colour, which is why hospitals choose soft blues for their walls instead of bright orange, and spas all over the world have been using muted teal shades for decades.

One of the women I used to work with told me a story that always stayed with me. She was at a customer’s house, helping her choose colours for the main level. The customer mentioned her young daughter’s newly painted bedroom, and thought it strange that her daughter had only recently been having trouble falling asleep. When my friend went upstairs to see the little girl’s room, she found a bright highlighter yellow girl’s bedroom. In her mother’s defence, the colour probably didn’t look that bright on the tiny paint chip, but on four walls it was agonizing! No wonder that poor girl was having trouble relaxing and falling asleep… her crazy yellow walls were making her anxious! After painting the walls a softer, more subdued shade of yellow, the problem had been solved.


Paint colours that work well for bedrooms are blue, light yellow, and softer shades of green.

When choosing a bedroom wall colour, think of the emotions you want to feel when you walk into the room. Are the colours in your bedroom supporting peace and rest, or are they lively and full of energy? Maybe that lively, energetic shade would be better suited to the kitchen or family room.


According to the pros, bedroom paint colours to avoid are red, orange, bright yellow, and lime green. They promote feelings of anxiousness and excitement.

Dark shades of grey and brown also made the list because they can make a room appear gloomy and confining. Some people love dark neutrals and find them cozy. It really is a personal choice.

Bright white can make a space feel sterile and cold, so if you love a white bedroom, go for an off-white shade, or make sure to fill the room with fabrics, soft furnishings, and peaceful decor.


You don’t have to avoid having colour in your bedroom, just look for the lighter, more delicate, subdued hues. In paint stores, these shades have grey undertones. If you love colour and simply MUST have them, try an accent wall where you paint just one wall a dark or bright shade, or try a bold printed wallpaper on one wall.

Hang around a paint store for an afternoon and you will see how tough choosing a paint colour is for most people. Often, a customer would come in asking for a colour they loved in their friend’s house, only to find out it looked very different in their house. Lighting plays a huge role in the way a colour will look, so always look at paint chips in your own home.

Take advantage of paint testers. A lot of paint stores offer small jars of the paint, or large paint chips. When I worked at Benjamin Moore, we offered both. A lot of people complained about the price of a tiny jar of paint, or a giant paint chip, but believe me, it’s better than painting the whole room and finding out you don’t like it. Sacrificing $5 to realize the colour is all wrong is always better than spending up to a few hundred dollars.


OK, so what happens if you test out the colour, everything looks good, you paint the whole room, and you hate it?

First, don’t panic. It’s just paint. It can always be changed.

Second, don’t be too quick to dismiss it.

You will never again be standing in an empty room staring at the freshly painted bare walls. Meaning… once you get the furniture in place and the pictures back on the walls, and the window coverings in place, the room will change.

Remember that paint needs to dry first.

If you roll the paint on the walls, step back, and freak out, you’re looking at the wet paint, not the true colour.

Give it a few days, if possible. See the colour in different lights at different times of the day. In most cases, it will grow on you. If you put the room back together and live in it for a few days and you still hate it, then it’s time to paint over it.

So, after I learned that blue was the best colour to paint a bedroom, I tried it. I chose a popular blue-grey shade from Benjamin Moore, called Athabasca. I’ve never chosen blue paint for my own walls before. I didn’t want the room to look like a baby boy’s room so I made sure the colour had enough grey to make it an adult room colour. It ended up being pretty relaxing and it helped me make other design choices that made the space cozy and inviting.

I can’t say I noticed my sleep improved because of the colour, but it certainly didn’t hurt.

I do believe that, in general, the best paint colour for your bedroom is one that makes you want to spend time there, makes you feel cozy and happy, and relaxes you. It’s okay to break the colour rules when it comes to what makes you happy, so take everything I’ve said in this episode as suggestions, not hard rules.

Looking to calm racing thoughts at bedtime? Download my free 15-minute sleep meditation!

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Spring & fall photos of Beth by Melissa McCallum Photography

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Copyright Beth Wyatt, 2020