The best bedroom colours for a good night’s sleep 

Set the snooze mood with the help of colour psychology.

If more restful sleep in your bedroom is what you’re after (and who isn’t?), you could do worse than to get input on the best bedroom colours to use from a professional. 

Not everyone’s budget can stretch to a one-to-one with a top interior designer or master paint maker. But fear not – your Exceptional Homes team has you covered. 

Blue bedroomCredit: Sean Symington Interior Design
Sean Symington Interior Design creates a warm and restful bedroom using a burnt blue wall paint colour by Benjamin Moore – Gentleman’s Gray 2062-20
Annie Sloan sitting in her workshop, with tins of paint behind herCredit: Annie Sloan / Jesse Wild
Paint entrepreneur Annie Sloan

Many of our bedroom colour tips come from none other than paint and colour expert Annie Sloan. Since the 1990s, Sloan has been a champion of colour, inviting us to enjoy the pleasures of engaging with the right paint pigments, in all of the right places. In fact, she’s even written a few books on the theme. 

We’ve also gathered an all-star group of interior designers and other master paint makers to give their take on the best bedroom colours for restful sleep. 

Matt paint is the best option for creating a restful bedroom. A finish with gloss can reflect light and add to brain stimulation, so is best avoided.

Why your bedroom colour matters 

We should never be blasé about bedroom wall colours – not when choosing the best bedroom colours could reward us with hours more of precious sleep. 

It all comes down to colour psychology. And for anyone harbouring doubts about just how powerful, and predictable, our reaction to colour is, it’s worth knowing that, according to a study by Emerald Insight, up to 90% of snap judgments made when buying products can be based on colour alone. 

The effect of colour on our mood, feelings and behaviour is that pronounced. 

For example, (and while cultural perspectives play a role), it’s generally believed that brown bedrooms are perceived as sad and sombre, and therefore aren’t popular. On the other side of the paint colour coin, blue rooms are shown to be ideal for soothing and calming the mind.  

Paint makers and interior designers know that, for a migraine sufferer, a bedroom design with white walls can be a cruel joke. Likewise, an ampedup red bedroom design is likely to speed up the pulse and heart rate – the opposite of what you want when you are craving those 40 winks. 

Getting enough sleep is proven to play an important role in the quality of our lives.

In research carried out by University College London on 7,000 women and men aged 50, 60, and 70, it was discovered that getting less than five hours of sleep in mid-to-late life could be linked to an increased risk of developing at least two chronic diseases.

So, what are the best bedroom colours for sleep? The expert advice is in…

1. Blue

Best for… stimulating our sleep hormones

Edward Bulmer Blue PaintCredit: Edward Bulmer / David Loftus / The Headboard Workshop
A sleep inducing bedroom featuring Edward Bulmer – Ethereal Blue paint.

When it comes to the best bedroom colours for sleep, blue comes out on top, every time.  

Blue is the king of the snooze colours because we have special eye cells called ‘ganglion cells’ that perceive blue better than any other colour. When these cells encounter blue, they cause melatonin (a sleep hormone), to be produced. 

This fact hasn’t gone unnoticed by hotel chains. In fact, Travelodge carried out research to find out which colour room helps guests to enjoy the longest sessions of unbroken sleep and top of the list was blue. The typical guest enjoyed 7.53 straight hours of sleep when walls were coated in blue paint.

This is hardly surprising. From early childhood, we tend to express a preference for blue, perhaps because it represents the charm of a sunny day and the tranquillity of water.

It is so universally soothing that it is tends to be the go-to colour in institutional settings – such as hospitals – to convey a sense of calm. 

Edward BulmerCredit: Edward Bulmer / Naturalmatuk / Tom Raffield / Loom_And_Last
Rest easy in a bedroom painted in Edward Bulmer – Bleu Turc

Lucy Scott, paint specialist at Edward Bulmer Natural Paint suggests a good way to begin is to purchase a non-toxic, breathable natural paint which contain no harmful VOCs, for a bedroom that looks good and is better for you, too.

“Make sure you check the ingredients on the tin and ensure they do not contain acrylics or toxic chemicals that could cause health issues and breathing problems which in turn affects a good night’s sleep!

“The beauty of our paint is because it is made with our ground-breaking plant-based binder and natural earth and mineral pigments, you can sleep in it the same day as decorating.

Try ‘Bleu Turc’ for a calm, relaxing bedroom, a soft blue with yellow ochre, black, white and blue earth pigments used in its makeup or alternatively, opt for a richer blue paint colour – a deep blue/green such as our ‘Ethereal Blue’ – can create a sense of cosiness too. Both blue colours are tonics for a restful sleep.”

Annie Sloan’s tips for using blue in your bedroom

Choose strong blues with depth and nuance to anchor a bedroom scheme and create a feeling of reassurance. Blue is a powerfully calming colour, perfectly suited to creating a mindful atmosphere.  

Good sleep is so important, and a thoughtfully designed environment will improve the quality of your shut eye. Rather than opting for light blues associated with free sky thinking, use a deep blue to encourage restful introspection.  

Choosing a rich, strong blue – think jewel toned emeralds with a lot of warm green pigment in the mix, or inky navy blues – will take a lot of “noise” out of your space and give a cosy, secure feeling. Perfect to accommodate the processing of the day (or the plot of your favourite novel) as you drift off to sleep.   

Rich burgundies or saffron yellows are a fabulous foil to blue and just a few small accents on lampshades or throws, will keep the blue backdrop seductively rich. 

Annie Sloan Wall paintCredit: Annie Sloan
Napoleonic Blue Chalk Paint & Wall Paint / Greek Blue Chalk Paint

If you’re thinking of adding more blue to your bedroom, an easy way to start today is with accents and accessories.  

Blue lamp shadeCredit: Pooky

Turkish blue fish scales lamp shade with blue tape, from £36, Pooky

Credit: Oliver Bonas

Loha Azure Blue Velvet & Rattan Ottoman, £595, Oliver Bonas 

2. Green

Best for… versatility, and connecting to nature 

Green bedroom in attic room with double button headboardCredit: K&H Design
Restful bedroom with natural charm by K & H Design, using Farrow & Ball paint

Green’s colour psychology is a little complicated. Meanings for the colour can vary wildly depending on context, from envy to fertility; war-wear to the green shoots of spring. 

In the USA, green is strongly associated with power and money – manmade affections that hardly bring the notion of ‘best bedroom colours’ to mind. Yet, on the other end of the scale, no other colour is more rooted in the notion of nature’s glory. 

That is why, if the shade is chosen with care, your bedroom design can benefit strongly from the most potent association which green offers – the stress-reducing tranquility of peaceful outdoor spaces. 

Mylands green paint on a bedroom wallCredit: Mylands
Enjoy the serenity of nature with Mylands Museum No.151 paint on your bedroom walls

Tom Crocker, paint specialist at Mylands – Britain’s oldest manufacturer of luxury paints – suggests taking a look at Museum No.151 for the perfect restful bedroom green. 

Crocker says: “It’s a beautiful smoky green paint that exudes a peaceful and calming aura, making it a great choice for creating a restful atmosphere in your bedroom. The colour is reminiscent of the classic Victorian-era museums in London and brings a touch of elegance to any space.  

“To style this colour, consider pairing it with natural materials such as wood and linen to create a relaxed, organic feel. You can also add pops of white or cream accents to brighten up the room and add a touch of freshness. And don’t be afraid to incorporate botanical elements such as plants or floral prints to bring the outside in and create a serene, tranquil environment.” 

Three shades of Myland's Green paintCredit: Mylands
Nature inspired favourites from the Mylands collection for a good night’s sleep: Pleasure Gardens Green No.214, Dark Leafy Green Paint / Myrtle Green No.168, Sage Green Paint / Beauvais No.195, Pale Green Paint

Here are the green shade meanings to think about when debating those paint samples: 

Olive green: Represents tranquillity, earthiness, and elegance.  

Bright green: Brings to mind spring and rebirth 

Dark green: Associations with greed, money and ambition but also with fertility  

Yellowish green: Can prompt thoughts of sickness, envy and decay 

Aqua green: Conjures feelings of freshness, water and cleanliness 

Pale green: Inherently peaceful 

If you are wondering what colours might work as a foil to green, Katie Glaister, founder of K & H Design, recommends gold, as seen in her design, previously. “To create a restful room, we used gold and amber hues for the soft furnishings in this attic bedroom in our client’s Georgian rectory,” she explains.

“We designed a couple of sumptuous gold velvet cushions from Holland and Sherry with contrast leather piping from Howe. We chose a fabric from Turnell and Gigon for the paisley bolster, which picks up the golden velvet tones.”

Annie Sloan’s tips for using green in your bedroom

Greens are both difficult and easy because there are so many colour options within one family. From lime green to spearmint via forest green, there are lively greens, sombre greens, respectable greens, slime greens and everything in between!

All greens remind us of the natural world and if you’re not sure how to use them in a space, look to nature. What are some of your favourite outdoor spaces? 

You’ll see green with every other shade in English cottage gardens and Amazonian rainforests  –  just knowing this versatility in nature gives me confidence with this colour. 

Start with plants if you’re really nervous, then move onto throws and consider painting a small piece of furniture such as a bedside table. That will be enough to build your confidence with colour, and furniture can be painted over much more easily than a wall if you really don’t like it. 

Annie Sloan green paintCredit: Annie Sloan
Amsterdam Green Chalk Paint / Olive Wall Paint

A study by gardening therapy charity Thrive shows that being surrounded by natural greenery and the colour green the can lower rates of anxiety and depression.  

Adding a range of plants and green accessories are a great way to start enjoying the soothing benefits of green in your bedroom design today.

Patch plantsCredit: Patch
Enjoy the bliss of nature with Patch’s Bedroom Set, a collection of four plants handpicked for your relaxation

3. Pink

Best for…. being both restful and stimulating

Farrow & BallCredit: Farrow & Ball
Enjoy perfectly balanced pink bedroom bliss with Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster No 231

Pink tends to be associated with all things gentle, feminine and kind – thus its highly restful qualities. But that isn’t to say pink doesn’t have a wild side – hot pink can be a bold, ‘in your face’ colour choice. Its impact can be highly stimulating – which is perfect for a room scheme that you want to be both calming at night and energising in the morning. 

As with all colours, cultural conditioning around pink plays a large role in whether you find it soothing or saccharine sweet – from earliest childhood it is marketed to young girls as their default colour, which no doubt impacts how it is viewed in adulthood, by males and females.  

It’s true to say that due to the colour’s overtly gendered narrative, it has been historically associated with traits like weakness and immaturity. 

 

Dulux pinkCredit: Dulux
This Dulux dusky pink shade shows that pink can be modern and unisex, too

Luckily, colour culture evolves. Once upon a time, pink walls were limited to girls’ bedrooms. Today, it is amongst one of the most popular bedroom colours for sophisticated and restful adult bedrooms – this is particularly true for dusky and pastel pinks, which are extra soothing and calm. 

For a subtle pink bedroom which has all of pink’s soothing qualities, but also channels modern unisex appeal. Paint brand Dulux recommends complementing pink with accents of warm neutrals or black and some copper lighting. 

Annie Sloan’s tips for using pink in your bedroom

When using pastels, you should layer a stronger version of the same colour to bring out the depth of colour in the pastel. 

This is especially lovely when painting the ceiling a soft pastel pink, bringing that down the first quarter of the wall and then using the stronger shade to the floor (and if you have floorboards; paint those in the darker shade too).  This draws the eye upwards and will fill the room with flatteringly soft light.

With chalk paint you can mix your own colours – simply use Scandinavian Pink and add increments of Old White to create an entire spectrum of ombre pinks to use across ceiling, walls, furniture and accessories for a really holistic dose of colour. 

Scandinavian Pink Chalk Paint / Antoinette Chalk Paint Credit: Annie Sloan
Scandinavian Pink Chalk Paint / Antoinette Chalk Paint

As with all pastels, a muted pink can become more of a challenge for eyes to pick up on from age 40+. To create maximum contrast with pink, try pairing with select punches of green for a restful yet visually stimulating scheme.

A great way to add soothing pink to your bedroom scheme is also with pink accessories and accents. 

Badger & Wolf Seresha throw by Amanda WestCredit: Badger & Wolf / Amanda West
Pink and green accents can add extra simulation to a pastel pink bedroom decor scheme

4. Warm neutrals

Best for… peaceful mood and mind

Studio EVHCredit: Studio EVH
Adding neutrals with wallpaper is a great way to add texture. Try Phillip Jeffries for a range of options

Neutrals whisper. For a bedroom that is silent, but not stark, neutral colour psychology suggests you should be cosy-ing up to the neutral family. For creating a restful sleep sanctuary, they quietly earn their place amongst the best bedroom colours. 

But what are they, exactly? Neutral colours are nowhere to be found on the colour wheel. 

Neutral colours are in fact very light shades of colours like beige, taupe, cream, grey and black. They have a hint of earthiness that makes them feel naturally peaceful and their subtle underlying colours can be shown up in changing lights. 

 

Neutral bedroomCredit: Studio EVH
A project by Studio EVH showcasing the peaceful charm of a neutral bedroom

Best of all, unlike stark white paint, off-white neutrals are a bit easier on the eye, but still give minimalist serenity.  

With all of that washed out mellow earthiness in your bedroom, you would be forgiven for thinking that neutrals are wonderful for soothing sleep but boring for waking hours. While that can be true, neutral bedrooms with the right materials mix are highly photogenic.  

The secret is to think layers, textures and a rich interplay of surfaces finishes like glass next to wood. 

If in need of inspiration, Google bedroom designs by Kelly Hoppen CBE. Hoppen has built a sprawling interior design empire off aesthetic merits of the humble neutral. 

Paint is only one way to add neutral colours to your wall. To elevate your neutral bedroom scheme, you can also try textured wallpaper.

Zoffany wallpaperCredit: Zoffany
Zoffany Raw Silk Wallpaper emulates the real thing, at a fraction of the price – £78.75 per roll

Emma Victoria Hancox, director at Studio EVH suggests opting for a touch of luxury. “Silk wallpaper is a luxurious and elegant option for creating spaces that exude sophistication and tranquility. 

“The natural sheen of silk adds depth and texture to any room, making it a popular choice when creating a calm and beautiful space. When installed, silk wallpaper can help to transform a room, creating a warm and inviting ambiance that is both stylish and peaceful.” 

Annie Sloan’s tips for using neutral colours in your bedroom

All of any one colour is dulling to the mind and senses. When creating an all-neutral space, you simply must add flashes of accent colour. 

This will stop your home feeling characterless or like an offensively inoffensive hotel. I would build the whole scheme with lots of layers of different neutrals; all true neutral or all warm leaning or all cool leaning. 

Then I would pick a colour that sparks joy – hot pink, wine red, grass green – and apply tiny eye-catching details. Perhaps a Charleston-esque squiggle on a lampshade; a line on the wall, and a pattern on a piece of furniture.  

It’ll make the neutrals look confident and considered, rather than lazy or timid, and totally energise the whole space. You’ll smile when the colour catches your eye, and as you live in the space you’ll find more spaces you want to add this empowering colour pop to. 

Annie Sloan neutralsCredit: Annie Sloan
Old Ochre Wall & Chalk Paint / Old White Wall & Chalk Paint

Struggling to sleep? Try plain neutral bedding. Neutral bed linen won’t overstimulate the mind the way brightly coloured and patterned bedding options might and always looks great next to other colours which aid sleep such as blue and green.  

Dunelm beddingCredit: Dunelm
Plain neutral bedding like this non-iron collection from Dunelm might help you sleep better… and you’ll have one less chore

Written by Joy Archer she/her

Updated: