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Choosing the right paint color for a bedroom…

As I begin the project of updating my 9 year old daughter’s bedroom we have a big hurdle to overcome, agreeing on a paint color. When we moved in two years ago and she wanted to paint her room dark purple and bubblegum pink I appeased her by buying a wall decal. She choose the decal, she selected the colors and everyone was happy. I’m all for letting kids help in design selections and decorating but I knew that those two colors would only last for so long. Our house has a pretty neutral overall color scheme. This room would scream “a little girl lives here”, and it would make the designer in me cringe, internally of course.
Two years later and I’m informed of the following. Pink is for babies. Purple is acceptable but she is now thinking of blue. A light blue, not a baby blue. Absolutely no pink at all. She is a pre-teen and she doesn’t want hot pink or light pink or bubblegum pink or anything else pink. She’s not a little girl anymore. 
Understood. Sigh…
Before choosing a color for her room I decided to do a little research on what colors work best for a bedroom. I wanted a calm, tranquil space. What colors should I lean towards and what colors should I be avoiding?
According to Debbie Zimmer of The Paint Quality Institute, paint color plays a huge role in creating an overall mood for a room. Here is the breakdown by color.

Blue, which often ranks at the top of surveys exploring “favorite” colors, has been shown to slow pulse rate and lower body temperature.  The implications for interior painting:  blue is a terrific color choice for bedrooms, but less so for dining rooms, according to Zimmer.

Green, also one of the most popular colors, is a little more versatile.  While it, too, has a soothing effect, it also represents renewal, youth, and vigor. Says Zimmer:  “Because it is calming, green paint is a good color choice for bedrooms, and since it’s the color of many appetizing fruits and vegetables, it can work in dining rooms, too.”
the paint quality institute

There’s no equivocation with red.  It bespeaks energy and excitement, actually raising the blood pressure and making the heart beat faster.  Because it is associated with desire and passion, it’s a perfect paint color for dining rooms and adult bedrooms, says Zimmer, but wrong for children’s rooms.  Yet, ironically, pink – a very light tint of red – is one of the most calming colors, and is a fine choice for a baby’s room, she says.
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Yellow is a great interior paint color.  Like sunshine, it imparts happiness, hope, and optimism.  Studies have shown that the brain actually releases more seratonin when the eye takes in yellow – creating positive psychological vibes.  According to Zimmer, yellow can even stir our creative juices.  What better color to use in a master bath or dinette to get your day off on the right foot?


Orange is a happy color, too.  More attention-getting than yellow, orange has an energy and warmth about it.  Muddy shades are useful in many parts of the home, but vivid tones may appear raw and flamboyant.  Zimmer’s advice:  “Orange is clearly not the color of calm, so it’s best to bypass it when painting a bedroom or any other area where you want to relax.”

Purple is a tricky paint color wherever it’s used, but it’s the overwhelming favorite of adolescent girls, according to Zimmer.  She suggests that you reserve use of this color for your daughter’s room to create a win-win situation:  “Odds are, she’ll love it, and you can take comfort in purple’s proven ability to stimulate brain activity,” she says.

traditional home

No discussion of paint color would be complete without mentioning the “non-colors”, black (the absence of light, and thus, color) and white (the confluence of all the colors in the spectrum).
According to Zimmer, black is a great accent color indoors or out, imparting elegance, formality, and sophistication to a paint color scheme.  But don’t get carried away with it, she cautions. Too much black can be depressing.  

White, on the other hand, conveys peace, simplicity, and spaciousness.  It can provide a crisp finish to almost any paint job by adding sharp contrast to the wall color.  Used throughout a room, it can give the illusion that the space is bigger than its physical dimensions. 

Since I’m painting a bedroom and I want a calm tranquil space, we are headed in the blue/green/purple areas. Relaxing, soothing and definitely not pink!

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