Should a bedroom be light or dark? Sleep experts advice on the best choice for you

The debate endures – but which scheme is best for your bedroom? Experts explore both sides of the spectrum

Saffron yellow painted bedroom, dark wooden flooring, gray upholstered bed, white linen with gray and yellow cushions, matching bedside lamps on metal and glass tables, two floral prints mounted on wall above bed
(Image credit: Neptune)

The question of whether a bedroom should be light or dark is an eternal debate amongst sleep experts, psychiatrists, and interior designers alike – but the answer is far from simple. 

Ultimately, there is no distinct solution, and there are pros and cons to both sides of the color spectrum – so what does this mean for you? If you're wondering how to sleep better, it's inevitable to address your bedroom color ideas – from the shades of your sheets to the bedroom paint ideas that encourage a peaceful rest. 

But with no clear answer as to which is best, it is inevitably hard to navigate. So, what do the experts say: should a bedroom be light or dark?

Should a bedroom be light or dark?

Light and dark bedrooms both have separate advantages, so knowing which way to go can be tricky. Here's how to find the tone that's best for you.

Light bedrooms 

A bedroom with periwinkle blue walls and rich brown four poster bed

(Image credit: Future/Alecia Neo)

If you've read up on which color is best for a bedroom, you will have likely seen that light blue reigns supreme. So, it is perhaps unsurprising that Gregg Dean, the CEO of Layla Sleep, recommends light shades in the bedroom. 

'A cool environment is ideal for a great night's sleep. This is why blue is the ideal wall color for sleep,' he says. However, he encourages you to use light colors with caution. 'While too dark a room can cause stress to the body, too light a room will make the body feel like it should stay awake,' he cautions. 

The solution comes in the form of neutral tones – which Gregg suggests will 'keep the room cool and will lead to a good night's sleep.' He recommends injecting blue bedroom ideas via your walls before painting your furniture in soft neutral hues. 

'Blue is the best wall color as it will evoke feelings of relaxation and allow the body to fall into a deeper sleep,' he adds. 

Dark bedrooms

A bedroom with black four poster bed, black and ochre floral wallpaper, and lots of patterned textures

(Image credit: Future)

On the other side of the debate, the Co-Owner and CMO of Nolah Mattress, Stephen Light, explains that bedrooms should be painted in dark colors to encourage a healthy sleep pattern. 

'The body’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock, operates based on daytime-nighttime cues. This is why we tend to feel energized by the sunrise and more relaxed with the sunset,' he says. 'Including dark colors on your walls can help your internal clock sync with your external environment for healthy sleep.' 

So, dark hues may be less therapeutic than lighter tones, but as the expert suggests, they may help your body clock settle into a better routine. 

A dark blue bedroom featuring a bed with a blue velvet headboard

(Image credit: Crown)

Stephen also recommends experimenting with blue, but he urges you to opt for darker alternatives. 'Dark blues and soft magentas encourage sleepiness,' he says. However, he cautions against using strong tones on your walls. Instead, you should use them as accent colors.

'Remember that you’ll still need access to items in your room during the daytime, and if there isn’t any direct light coming in, you’ll have a hard time getting by without turning the lights on,' he adds. 

So, should a bedroom be light or dark? Editor in Chief of Homes & Gardens offers a compromise:

'While experts have trouble reaching an overall verdict, this is what I recommend: choose soothing colors you love – light, blue or otherwise – for your bedroom walls, bedding, floors and furnishings, and enjoy that to the full in daylight. 

'But also invest in really good-looking and efficient bedroom window treatment ideas that not only block out light through the night and into the morning, but which also reduce exterior noise, too. A dark, quiet bedroom that you feel comfortable and cocooned in goes a long way to ensuring a good night's sleep.' 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.