Bring out the best in your bedroom

It can often be the forgotten room of the house, but the significance of great bedroom design is undeniable. The amount of time we spend in the boudoir boosts the importance of creating a pleasant, welcoming atmosphere throughout. It’s the one place we get to relax and recharge our batteries, and considering the significance, the task of redesigning a bedroom can be overwhelming. Whether you prefer simple and cosy or dark and moody, a little strategic styling can transform a drab bedroom into a significantly peaceful, restful one.

But where to start?

“First, you need to understand what you have to work with,” says Resene colour consultant Rebecca Long. “Are there any pre-existing elements? Carpet? Drapes? Bedspread? It’s important to understand what you have to work with to ensure that your updated colour scheme will look great alongside your pre-existing elements.”

Think about your colours. A well-planned colour palette is the skeleton of any comfortable and harmonious space, and this is where the colour wheel comes into play. It provides us with two schools of hues: warm and cool. Colour psychology suggests that the two differ greatly when it comes to the emotions they elicit and the way they are perceived.

Left image: Walls in Resene White Island with a screen feature in Resene Liberty, Resene Raindance and Resene Mystery and floor in Resene Quarter Concrete.

Right image: Walls in Resene Cleopatra with floor in Resene Colorwood Greywash.

The cool colour group is comprised of blue, green, purple and grey, and any of their shades. They tend to evoke relaxation and calmness. Blue, for example, is a serene colour, offering a familiar visual reminiscent of the sky and ocean. “Resene Duck Egg Blue is proving very popular in bedrooms,” says Rebecca. “Its soothing, modern nature creates a very relaxing, effortless place to sleep.”

Green also offers a comforting, familiar sight, because so much of nature is green. It promotes restoration, peace and rest. Its central wavelength encourages a feeling of balance. Try Resene Unwind (a lichen green, with a blend of green and grey), Resene Quarter Coriander (a tranquil pastel green), Resene Carefree (an opalescent watery green) or Resene Boulevard (a grey blue and green amalgamation).

Violet has spiritual and royal connotations. It exudes luxury and quality. Purple also increases contemplation and meditation. For a sultry, moody feel, try Resene Deep Purple or Resene Sumptuous, both right royal deep purples.

You can either use cool colours as the space’s main paint colour or as an accent among neutrals. “Resene Double Rice Cake is a beautiful, crisp white that will bring warmth to many bedrooms,” says Rebecca.

On the other hand, warm colours include orange, red and yellow shades, along with their various tints. These warm colours produce excitement and attract attention. Red is alleged to increase heart rate, so it might be best when not chosen as the entire wall colour in a restful space like the bedroom. However, red also ties to feelings of power and love for many, so it can work well when used as small pops of excitement, such as a bedside table, artwork or as a feature behind the bedhead. Orange is the combination of red and yellow; it is attention-grabbing. Use orange similarly to red – for accent walls or fun children’s rooms.

Yellow is friendly and creative. It promotes optimism and buffs confidence, making it ideal for bedroom linens or drapery.

Whichever colour or colour combination you choose, ensure you trial it on a small patch first.

“When testing out a new colour, paint out two coats of a Resene testpot on a large piece of card and move it around the room,” says Rebecca. “Check that it works against any pre-existing elements.”


Wall coverings can also be useful for introducing coloured elements. A fun patterned wallpaper or painted wood panelling can serve to liven up the space.

“The botanical trend is huge at the moment. Think palm leaf wallpapers, deep green walls, large oversized plants and copper accents. Try Resene Mother Nature or Resene Family Tree.”

It’s important to pay attention to the size of your room, warns Rebecca, and whether or not it has good, natural lighting. “If you have a small room with minimal natural light, large bold patterns may be too strong in your space.”

Once you’ve chosen a colour scheme, consider a theme, in particular those that lend themselves well to a bedroom.

A countrified, shabby chic theme is characterised by light, flowing fabrics and a cool colour scheme. Furniture selections generally include white metal or wood that retains its natural stain. Fabrics and accents are rustic and simple, and often incorporate vintage acquisitions. Rough picture frames and simple glass vases are often included.

Coastal themes parallel strongly with rustic styling. Lighter, cooler colours are important, and materials are raw and unembellished.

A more dramatic approach can be taken by adopting a glamorous theme, with an upholstered headboard, tufted bedside benches and armchairs and ottomans. Traditional elements like wall panelling and mouldings provide luxuriance, while bold lighting and metallics bring the scheme up to date. Mirrored furniture provides instant elegance, as do fur throws and rugs. Colours tend to sway towards feminine schemes of soft pinks and purples and metallic golds and silvers alongside charcoal greys.

Many other great options for bedroom design themes are cultural. Asian bedrooms are minimalist in furniture selection and accessories. Sleek, rectilinear bedframes are common. Usually, Asian palettes include black, white and one bold colour like red. Medium-toned hardwoods complement this style well.

A Mediterranean design theme offers a relaxing ambiance for a bedroom. Natural stone and decorative tile embody this approach. As well, geometric and floral patterns often appear and can be used on comforters and area rugs.

 Perk up your colour palette and theme with accessories.

“Accessories are a great way to bring the room together,” says Rebecca. “Think rugs, throws, cushions, plants and lighting. Make sure to keep accessories simple and minimal to avoid the room looking too busy.”

Whichever design style you pick for your bedroom it should be comforting to you, personally. Unlike other rooms of the home, the bedroom is private and your opinion is ultimately all that matters. Select a colour scheme and a theme that will guide your design to become a comfortable space for you to recharge and wake up refreshed each day.

Get inspired by other kiwi bedroom decorating projects in the online inspiration gallery.

If you need help getting started, ask a Resene expert at your local Resene ColorShop or online with the free Ask a Colour Expert service or free Ask a Tech Expert service.



Need help with your decorating? Resene has a colour expert and technical expert service to help you choose the right colours, wallpapers and paints for your project, plus advice on how to apply the products to get the best finish.


Need help with your decorating? Resene has a colour expert and technical expert service to help you choose the right colours, wallpapers and paints for your project, plus advice on how to apply the products to get the best finish.

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