'Not what you want before bed': HGTV's Jenny Marrs warns against this energizing color in the bedroom

The HGTV designer is on a mission to help us sleep better – and success starts by avoiding this controversial hue

Headboard ideas with colorful scheme
(Image credit: Future/Jon Day)

Fixer to Fabulous star Jenny Marrs may be recognized for large-scale renovations, but her interests also lie in more intimate design projects – starting with the bedroom. 

The designer recently sat down with H&G to discuss how to sleep better following a partnership with Natrol, and bedroom colors were at the top of her agenda. 

'I love to have fun with design, but I really avoid loud paint colors and patterns in the bedroom because I want to promote a calming sensation the minute you walk into the room,' Jenny says. 

The opposite of calm, according to Jenny, is red. 'You shouldn't paint your bedroom red because the color is associated with energy and social interactions – and it can raise your blood pressure. That is not what you want before bed when you're trying to wind down.'

A bedroom color idea with red walls, white ceilings and a yellow velvet stool

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti)
Jenny Marrs
Jenny Marrs

Designer Jenny Marrs is the star of HGTV's Fixer to Fabulous and Almost Home. She also appears on Rock the Block (alongside designers including Jasmine Roth and Leanne Ford) and Design At Your Door (with Tamara Day and Tiffany Brooks). Jenny lives and works with her husband and co-star, Dave, in a restored farmhouse in Northwest Arkansas.

And Jenny is not alone in her observations. Geoff McKinnen, certified sleep coach at Amerisleep, describes red as an 'invigorating color' that will increase your heart rate before your sleep. 'One study found the color red increases brain activity and boosts alertness, something you don't want when trying to relax and fall asleep,' he adds. 

When it comes to promoting a calming sleep sanctuary, sleep experts and designers agree that you should never paint your bedroom red – but this isn't the only hue on Jenny's banned list. 

'Additionally, I always avoid painting bedrooms with extremely dark colors because they make a space feel and look and feel much smaller,' she says. 

'Dark colors are also difficult to use in warmer climates because dark colors hold heat better than light colors. This can make your bedroom hotter than other rooms in the house, making it more difficult to sleep.'

Red kids bedroom with textured wallpaper and red lamp

(Image credit: Alexander James / Future)

Alongside being a poor choice for small bedrooms, Geoff adds that purple, in particular, should be avoided due to their similarities with red. 

'Bright purple hues have reddish undertones, increasing energy levels and keeping you alert, but softer purple shades may boost sleepiness,' he warns. However, 'if you're set on painting your bedroom purple, try to choose a more muted tone, like lavender, because of its cool undertones.'

Alongside lavender, Jenny Marrs recommends choosing more neutral wall colors' such as creams or light grays, to help the space feel spacious' and more therapeutic. 'Leave the bright, bold patterns for other parts of the home,' she says. 

You can read about Jenny's work with Natrol (and join their Sweepstake to win a $10,000 bedroom makeover) via their website.

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For more layout inspiration, we recommend this book which explores many different aesthetics – including Mediterranean-style bedrooms, cottage bedrooms, and more.

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.