There are so many things on the market today to help induce sleep. Whether it is a softly scented lavender essential oil, or a gentle hum coming from a sound machine or the latest app with mindful meditation. All of these things are meant to allow you to fall asleep sooner and sleep deeper. None of which we can complain about. But, did you know that the color of your bedroom can also play a role on your sleep quality?
It’s true! There are certain colors that are body responds to for better sleep. And vice versa, there are certain colors that actually can inhibit sleep. So what are the best bedroom colors for sleep and why? We will not only go through some of the scientific reasoning behind this crazy theory. But also share some of the most beautiful and calming paint color ideas to help you find a serene and soothing palette to maximize your sleep.
The Science Behind Color
Anyone who remembers the basics from art class remembers that there are three primary colors; red, yellow and blue. With the help of white and black, these colors make up all the other colors of the world. It seems so simple, but the array of beautiful shades and tints of the bold to mild mixtures of these colors gives us millions of choices.
Color is a powerful tool, anyone who knows marketing knows this. The Target bullseye is red by design. And the gold McDonald’s arches are not by accident. These colors are carefully chosen because of not only how they catch the eye but what they make the consumer feel.
The science behind colors can be referred to as chromatics, colorimetry or simply color science. Basically the science of color focuses on how color can be used to affect our moods and behavior.
As you can see on the color wheel of the six colors represented it shows how they each affect our feelings and behaviors differently. This phenomenon can than be used intentionally to induce a specific outcome based off of subconscious emotion. Making the selection of colors more important than you may think.
Another way of looking at how colors are used to dictate how we feel is by their warmth or coolness. We label colors cool or warm depending on how they relate to nature and how we instinctually feel about them. For example, cool colors (blue, purple and green) are seen naturally in bodies of water, grass & tress and early morning skies. While warm colors (yellow, orange and red) are seen in fire, sunsets and flowers. These colors allows us to feel differently in the presence of each of these things.
We certainly could go on about the amazing qualities color truly has, but we are here for a specific color related reason. Which is how it affects our sleep.
Why Does Color Choice Matter For Sleep?
Why is choosing the right color for your bedroom so important? As we just read above color has a powerful way of influencing our emotions and state of mind.
Certain colors, like red for example, can increase our adrenaline and heart rate. Making us anxious and energized. Not a feeling many of us want before we try to drift off to sleep. While other colors, like blue, offer a more serene feeling that calms us and makes us feel more relaxed. Which is exactly what we would want before trying to sleep.
By choosing the right color for your bedroom you will better align yourself with the emotions you want to feel before going to sleep. Having a soothing and calming space will invoke much more ideal sleep than a bedroom that promotes energy and alertness. Below we will go through all of our top recommendations for the best colors for you bedroom. As well as colors we suggest avoiding.
What Are The Best Bedroom Colors For Sleep?
BLUE is the BEST color for sleep!
Why is BLUE the absolute best color for sleep? Because it resonates a sense of calm. And calm is exactly what you want to be before you sleep. Scientifically speaking, the eyes even have special receptors in the retinas called ganglion cells. These cells make the brain especially receptive to the calming affects of the color blue.
If there is one thing you can do right, it’s paint your bedroom blue. Without a doubt this holds the top place on our list for the best bedrooms colors for sleep. A softer, more muted tone of blue is what we would prefer, like the picture below. However, we have another example of beautiful blue options that is also a slightly darker shade.
A fun little fact about blue bedrooms. According to a Travelodge study, guests who sleep in a blue room slept approximately 7 hours and 52 minutes. Since the average person doesn’t even get 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep it is clear to see why blue is the winner.
Still not convinced? Nearly 60% of those guests reported waking up happy in a blue room. Makes sense, who wouldn’t wake up happy after all that great sleep? And who wouldn’t want to wake up in a beautiful room with this medium shade of blue found below?
Other Great Bedroom Colors For Sleep
While all shades of blue are our first recommendation we understand that not everyone loves blue. Which is why there are several other great options that we would suggest too. While they might not be the embodiment of “calm” these colors certainly do promote a healthy night of sleep as well.
Yellow Is Happy:
Yellow is the second best color to choose for sleep. Participants in the same study mentioned above got on average 7 hours and 40 minutes of sleep. And you can definitely wake up happy to yellow, sunshine walls.
While yellow is a warm color, it does still promote a soothing feeling if you use the right shade. A buttery yellow that isn’t too vibrant can be a great option. Almost reminiscent of something you would find in a cozy cottage with lilacs on your bedside table and waking up to the scent of Grandma making cinnamon rolls in the kitchen. Like the cute yellow bedroom seen below.
Green is Organic:
The participants in the sleep study slept 7 hours and 36 minutes in the green room. Green is an organic color that reminds us of nature and helps ground us. People also reported waking up feeling upbeat and positive.
We love a more neutral green shade, like sage. This green helps create a peaceful feeling that is airy yet tranquil. Allowing you to feel balanced and refreshed, which is great for falling asleep and waking up. With so many great shades or green you can certainly find a shade that makes a great option for your bedroom.
Silver is Peaceful:
Silver is a unique color, but still conducive for sleep. Sleepers in a silver room got 7 hours and 33 minutes of sleep. Silver is a great color if you like more neutral colors, but still want to get some peaceful rest. While you may think isn’t silver the same as grey? They definitely are similar, but the look of silver is brighter and lighter with a more iridescent undertone.
As you can see below the silvery wallpaper adds a soft and serene feel, unlike the more muted and harsher like look of grey. When it comes to silver you might have more luck finding the right shade with a wallpaper opposed to paint. But, either way a beautiful silver can really make a beautiful option for your bedroom that also doesn’t disrupt your sleep.
Orange is Warm:
It may not be your first choice, but participants in an orange room enjoyed 7 hours and 28 minutes of sleep. Orange is a good color because it is warm and happy, similar to yellow. It is also said that orange helps with indigestion, which could be keeping you awake at night as well.
When it comes to selecting a bold color for the bedroom, we always suggest leaning toward a natural version of that color. For example we went with a terracotta or clay orange that has some brown undertones, rather than a super bright Crayola orange color. This is what gives it such a relaxing vibe for an orange color. There is also something kind of worldly about this color as well. Making your bedroom feel more like you are on vacation at a lovely Tuscan villa. And who wouldn’t love that!
Pink is Soft:
While pink is usually reserved for little girl’s rooms it is good to know that this color isn’t disruptive for sleep. Soft, natural pinks offer a delicate wall color that is more comforting. This is one of our top color choices for a bedroom, especially if you pick a soft muted pink color that is more natural and close to a skin tone than a pretty pony.
Feng Shui even suggests using gentle colors that are similar to skin tones because they give us a calm Zen like feeling. We discourage choosing a hot or bright pink color, as it gets too close to the red family which is aggressive, energetic, and difficult to sleep around. But like the more blush color found in the image below can make a wonderful backdrop to a restful night.
Click the link to learn more about the Rules of Feng Shui in The Bedroom, and see if these rules can help you sleep better.
The 5 Worst Bedroom Colors For Sleep?
With all those sleepy colors to choose from above, beware of the least sleepy ones! Participants with these various room colors slept less than 7 hours of sleep. So whatever you do, don’t paint your bedroom these colors, because they are definitely NOT the best bedroom colors for sleep.
Purple is too Stimulating:
Guests only received 5 hours and 56 minutes of sleep in the purple room. Making purple is hands down the worst color for sleep. It is actually a mentally stimulating color, so it keeps the mind awake. Purple increases your creativity. This might be great during the day, but creates more vivid nightmares at night.
Clearly the more vibrant the color of purple the worse off you are. If you are set on purple than we suggest a softer shade of lavender or periwinkle that has a more blue undertones and subtle look. Unlike the room found below. Purple may seem like a good choice, but it isn’t very peaceful.
Gray is Uninspiring:
Sort of like silver right? Nope, not exactly. Though similar to silver, gray just isn’t nearly as inviting. Silver is chrome and bounces light back into the room, while gray can be flat, depressing and uninspiring. Especially is it is on the darker side.
Participants in the sleep study only slept 6 hours and 12 minutes per night when sleeping in the gray bedroom. This cave like feeling space does not evoke a feeling of calm, but almost the opposite. While gray is quite a popular neutral paint color, we suggest keeping it out of the bedrooms.
Brown is Gloomy:
Brown is yet another drab and gloomy color, especially darker browns. Just thinking about brown gives you sort of a frown, doesn’t it? Brown is said to actually increase restlessness. That is a sure fire way not to sleep. While you may think that brown is more neutral, definitely steer clear of darker shades. While tones of tans and beige are good options, a true brown is a no-no.
Red is too Energetic:
Although it’s not the worst color, like you may have guessed., red is passionate and energetic. It can increase your blood pressure and help you move faster. This is definitely not what you should be doing before sleep. Stay away from red.
White is Sterile:
Sometimes simple white can make a beautiful backdrop, but it can also be cold, sterile and uninviting. Which is not what your bedroom should feel like. While we love a pair of crisp white sheets for the bed, we don’t suggest it for the walls. While we do suggest pale and light shades of almost every color, a true white and too much of it is actually harsh and lacks feeling.
Tips For Choosing Soothing Colors For Sleep:
Here are a few other thoughts that color psychology has to say about sleep. Even if you choose a sleep-conducive color, choose a light, pastel, or muted shade. According to bedroom feng shui, these tones can promote positive energy flow.
Feng Shui also suggests painting your bedroom in natural tones, or even skin tones. If a color is too bold or bright, it will actually stimulate and excite you. Do yourself a favor and save these colors for the living room.
It is also suggested to use a flat paint instead of an eggshell or glossy finish. A glossy finish will reflect more light, while a flat finish will absorb it. This will make the room stay darker and feel softer. It’s not all about the walls.
Be mindful of the accent color you choose for your bedroom décor as well. Colors should be complementing, not contrasting. Complementing colors will be parallel on the color wheel, as you can see demonstrated on the color wheel on the right. These complimentary colors do just that, complement one another. Contrasting colors will stimulate the mind and keep you awake. Being more awake is of course, the opposite of our goal.
Create your own zen bedroom space and maximize your sleep every night! Click HERE to learn how to create the best sleeping environment, and fall asleep on a cloud.
What Are The Best Bedroom Colors for Sleep?
Overall the best colors for sleep that you can use in a bedroom environment is going to be natural soft colors that are not overly pigmented or stimulating. We suggest sticking to soft blues, yellows, pinks, greens, silvers or oranges for the most part. Typically we suggest staying away from anything too dark or bright. As these tend to be depressing or overly stimulating.
Colors like red, purple, brown, white or dark gray are the colors we find to be the least suitable for a relaxing sleep environment. But, if you absolutely love one of those colors we suggest using it as an accent color. Using it as a complimentary color for another more dominant relaxing color. This will allow you to have your favorite colors without it being so dominating that it makes it difficult to sleep.
More Bedroom Inspiration:
Looking for ways to create the perfect sleep experience every season? We have you covered. Our Seasonal Sleep Guides offer all our favorite bedroom accessories and must haves all year long. So check out what might make your bedroom even better this season, or next!