Friday, 16 September 2011

Bedroom Magic: Choosing Colors That Calm

Have you ever had a moment when you describe a shirt as orange, and your shopping companion, whoever they are, looks at you strangely and says, “That’s not orange, that’s a burnt red”? Color is an odd thing, and in a personal space like a bedroom, it can be especially tricky. Bedroom spaces are meant to slow us down. We go to our bedrooms to unwind and forget about the troubles of the day. The design of the bedroom should directly reflect this intent. If it doesn’t, then your bedroom is in dire need of some interior remodeling. The color palette is extremely important in generating an appropriate sense of calm. Though the aforementioned example shows that color is, in many ways, “in the eye of the beholder”, there are a few aesthetic universal truths which can make any bedroom a more restful place.

Opposites Attract

Ask some friends or colleagues to describe your personality in terms related to hot or cold. Do they describe you as fiery and spicy, or as cool and calm? If you are described as “peppery” by more than one person, than look for colors that are in opposition to your personality. This opposition should be a subtle one, or it can end up feeling disturbing. Choosing “minty” or “wintery” tones will calm, or cool, a “spicy” person down. Conversely, a person who is described as “cool” or “chill”, may want to color their bedroom with more heated or earthy tones, which will make their bedroom space a warmer place.

Design by Kenneth Brown. Photo by Mayer Bowden Photography.

Size Matters

If your bedroom is small, the colors you choose can have a large impact on whether the room feels cozy, or just cluttered and claustrophobic. Off-white shades, such as creams, beiges, pearls, or light grey tones, reflect light and make a room seem instantly larger. Avoid using a flat white, as that makes every space feel cold and impersonal. If off-white walls are not your cup of tea, consider painting the ceiling with an off-white color, as it will make the room feel more spacious vertically. Lighter earth tones, like sand, or cool tones like sky blue or pale green, can also serve to make a space feel larger.

Photo by Happy Home Zone

Color Ratios

According to rules of Feng Shui, you should endeavor to use anywhere from 3 to 5 colors in your room. Begin with the bed, since that is the space with which you are going to have the most direct interaction. Once you have the selected the colors for your bed set, then it is time to address the walls and the rest of the bedroom. Choose complementary tones for the rest of the room, and be very careful in your selection of wall color, as almost 75% of the color in your room is on your walls. If you are feeling uncertain, a good rule of thumb is to choose a wall tone that is the same, or akin, to one of the subtle tones in your bedspread. Then more vibrant tones can be used for decoration and trim to create visual accents.

Photo by by Leonid Nyshko

Remember, at the end of the day, it is your bedroom and it should be decorated in whatever way you feel is most comfortable. Your red is different than the red experienced by anybody else. So, no matter what anyone says, make sure to color your bedroom - you.