Trouble sleeping? Might be your wall colour

Image Vanessa Nouwen

While this restful bedroom is certainly spilling over with similar shades of silvery green, it’s the clever use of repetition and contrast that makes it work. The expansive white walls and floors in Resene Alabaster have been grounded with a unique painted headboard feature in Resene Silver Chalice, Resene Peace and Resene Helix that echoes the rectilinear shapes of the pillows.

We’ve all heard the advice about good sleep health – go device-free an hour before bedtime, don’t eat rich foods or drink coffee beforehand, and manage your stress levels.

But one of the best ways to get a good night’s sleep is to create a sleep-conducive environment.

That can include strategies like minimising external noise and light levels, and choosing a good-quality bed and bedlinen, but it can also influence how you decorate your bedroom.

When selecting colours for bedrooms it is important to choose colours that are conducive to sleeping.

As a general rule you should avoid using very bright colours in your bedroom and save them for other parts of your home. Bright colours like yellow and red are energising and stimulating, so may keep you awake. If you are committed to having an invigorating colour in the room, using it on the bedhead wall so that you see it when you walk into the room, but not when you’re lying in the bed.

Or use it on accents like bed cushions, or as a small detail in a wallpaper design. Might be a good way to wake up in the morning!

The no-bright colour rule is one to keep in mind when decorating children’s rooms. In the past, using primary colours on all walls has been a familiar route to take but these may not be the best choice. Today’s children’s rooms are tending towards selected feature areas of colour, softer palettes and more gender-neutral looks.

Most light and pastel shades are ideal for bedrooms because of their calming effect. Blue and green are both popular colour choices for bedrooms because of their soothing qualities.  Try colours like Resene Duck Egg Blue and Resene Secrets for soothing palette starters. Along with grey, these colours are also gender neutral if you’re decorating a main, shared bedroom.  

Tonal colour schemes are soothing as they allow your eye to travel from one area to another without any jarring visual elements. So you might try a scheme based on grey with a wallpaper or bedlinen patterned in greys along with charcoal walls, a mid-toned grey carpet and silvery accessories.  If you’re opting for darker hues, consider using matte finishes, such as Resene SpaceCote Flat, to emphasise the velvety depth of your chosen colour.

Dark colours, such as deep blue Resene Indian Ink, are also effective because they create a cocooning sanctuary feel – try charcoal, deep navy, swampy forest green or deep toasty brown. If you’re stuck for colours, use a duvet, bed cover or rug as a starting point, pulling out one of the colours to inspire your scheme.

Bedhead walls have morphed from being just coloured feature walls to more playful surfaces, with wide use of painted patterns or motifs, or a slightly outrageous or decadent Resene wallpaper.

Another strategy is to pick a theme for the room that evokes relaxation. It might be a resort-style, tropical, exotic or beachy look that reminds you of being on holiday, or a botanic theme that makes you feel you’re lying in a sunny garden. Add a feature wall in a Resene Komar wall mural that celebrates your theme and build your colour palette around that.

As a last thought, you spend a lot of time lying in your bed so the ceiling might be the surface in the room that you look at most. Why not follow the current trend and paint it a colour other than white or cream? Continue your wall colour onto your ceiling for a cosy cocooning effect. A dark inky blue, such as Resene Twilight Zone, would be reminiscent of the night sky. Add some Resene FX Nightlight glow-in-the-dark stars and… nighty, night.

You can find Resene experts at your local Resene ColorShop or online with our free Ask a Colour Expert service or free Ask a Tech Expert service.

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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.