Paint

5 tips for choosing bedroom colors from Farrow & Ball's color experts

Soothing colors will create the perfect refuge from the stress of a long day

How to create a calming bedroom

Bedrooms are deeply personal spaces and should be decorated accordingly. Of all the layers that make up an interior, color is perhaps the most versatile and can be chosen for myriad reasons – to highlight areas, change the perceived shape of a room, create warmth, intimacy or drama – but, hopefully, they will always bring solace to the occupant.

See: Bedroom ideas – designs and inspiration for beautiful bedrooms

Here, the experts at Farrow & Ball give us their tips for using paint to create a calming retreat.

1. Are you a morning or evening person?

How to create a calming bedroom

If you are a morning person who likes to jump out of bed and attack the day, then you are probably more suited to having a clean, light color on the walls, such as Pavilion Blue. Evening people will more likely embrace the dark, womb-like shades of London Stone or Charleston Gray.

Bedrooms looking over a canopy of trees often suit being painted in soothing greens like French Gray or the slightly fresher Vert de Terre to create a harmonious link with the environment, and similarly gentle Skylight feels like the natural choice for bedrooms on top floors with vast expanses of sky. If you have an urban outlook, Elephant's Breath with its warm undertones can add warmth and intimacy to a bedroom while remaining understated.

See: 10 most popular Farrow & Ball colors – the must-have, on-trend shades

2. Consider the room's light levels

Farrow & Ball bedroom paint colour

Light is one of the most important things to take into consideration when choosing colors for a bedroom. The amount of natural light and the direction that the room faces will have an enormous impact on a color’s appearance. The same color can look different from room to room, at different times of the day and even in different seasons. This is what makes the colour so exciting and alive. 

In south facing rooms, silvery Light Blue always feels peaceful while warmer Pale Powder has an unparalleled softness. In north facing spaces, blushing Setting Plaster is timeless and undemanding while Orange Coloured White will create a warm glow in even the darkest of areas. 

Charming Teresa's Green is great choice for east facing rooms where it will look warm in the evening, but fresh in the morning. West facing rooms can feel a little underwhelming and cool in the morning so Joa’ White or Oxford Stone are excellent options to create an inviting atmosphere and make the most of the warmer light later in the day.

See: Grey bedroom ideas – for a neutral scheme that is classic and modern

3. Introduce a feature wall

Farrow & Ball bedroom paint colour

To bring an extra element and lift your bedroom, you can use an accent color or wallpaper, but preferably on the wall behind the bed so it is not distracting while you are lying down, rather it will ground the room and feel nurturing. 

To retain a peaceful feel use two tones of the same color with the darker on the feature wall such as the classic pairings of dusty pinks Peignoir and Sulking Room Pink, soft blue greys Cromarty and Pigeon or soft Dimity and Dead Salmon. If using a wallpaper on a feature wall, it is a good idea to use the color of either the pattern or the background on the other walls to create a seamless calm look.

See: White bedroom ideas – for a fresh, light and airy feel

4. Consider woodwork

Farrow & Ball bedroom paint colour

Bedrooms feel much more restful if all the trim and the walls are painted in the same colour, so that your eyes aren’t distracted by the contrasts. Alternatively, choose a white for the trim that is complementary to the color used on the walls in order to keep the difference between the two muted. 

For those who like their lives calm and serene, the understated combination of Skimming Stone on the walls and Strong White on the trim and ceilings never fails. If, however you want to make your bedroom feel as big and light as possible while still maintaining a tranquil atmosphere use a slightly stronger tone like Bone on the woodwork with quiet Slipper Satin on the walls and ceiling.

5. Paint a ceiling

Farrow & Ball bedroom paint colour

Bedroom ceilings garner more attention than those elsewhere, because we spend a lot of time looking at them. For the ultimate in calm, use the same color on the ceiling as the walls, thus increasing the perceived room height. This may sound alarming, but the result is a wonderfully cocoon-like space. 

See: Small bedroom ideas – to make the most of a compact space

The architecture of a room tucked into the eaves, demands that the sloping walls are kept as light as possible, and so as not to to draw the eye to where the walls end and the ceiling begins definitely stick with one color on both elements. Diversely, if you want a bedroom to feel more snug-like and you have a picture rail, then carry the ceiling color down to the rail, reducing the ceiling height and creating a more intimate atmosphere.