4 Paint Colors to Avoid Using in Bedrooms

Judie Docs, Executive Officer – CSP, MCSP, CGP, CMP, MIRM

North Coast Building Industry Association (NCBIA) www.ncbia.com

Trending colors can provide great inspiration for updating your home, but not all colors are equally suited for every space. Understanding the psychology of colors and how they reflect mood and behavior is important — especially for places such as bedrooms, which should be designed specifically for rest and relaxation to help you recharge.

Before putting brushes on a wall, here are some colors you may want to rethink before using them in your bedrooms:


Sunny yellow — the symbol of happiness — may seem like a natural fit for a bedroom. However, it stimulates the senses as the most attention-getting color in the spectrum. This can be a plus when you need a morning boost but disruptive when you’re trying to unwind in the evening. If yellow is a must-have color for you, avoid using it on walls that overlook the bed while lying down, and opt for lighter tones to reduce its stimulative effect.  


Like yellow, red is also a stimulator and can evoke wildly mixed emotions. On the one hand, it can induce a feeling of warmth — a cozy thought for a bedroom. But, as a color more commonly associated with danger and aggression, it can also create a feeling of agitation after prolonged exposure. Stylish and bold? Yes. Calm and relaxing? Likely not. 


A warm color that boosts energy, orange is an optimal choice for playrooms or exercise areas and is often used in advertising to excite and grab attention. However, in spaces that are designed for relaxation, it’s best to skip more vibrant hues of orange and opt instead for pastel peaches and apricots for a warm glow without the high-energy vibes.

Dark Brown

Dark colors, in general, are tricky because they can seem gloomy and visually shrink spaces. Brown presents a particular challenge in that, although it’s a great nature-inspired neutral, it is also associated with isolation and loneliness. To avoid creating a dull and heavy space, contrast it with other lighter elements to provide balance.  

Bonus tip: Neon colors in any hue are generally better options for other applications, as they are often associated with warning and danger and can be irritating to the eyes — emotional and physiological reactions that are not conducive to sleep or relaxation.

Ultimately, color selection is a personal and subjective decision, and many designers can successfully introduce a so-called “changeling color” and make it work in any space. If yellow, red, orange, dark brown or neon is too good to give up, use it on a wall that won’t be in sight when trying to unwind (e.g., a wall behind the bed), or select a lighter or muted hue that may not evoke unwelcome emotions.

For more design tips, contact the NCBIA.  The North Coast Building Industry Association is your local not-for-profit trade association representing member companies involved in all aspects of home building, remodeling, and other aspects of services available to help you in the future as well as more information on the above topic.   So, you can see it is for your protection that you use a NCBIA member. If you are unsure that your contractor is a member of the NCBIA or you are looking for a list of NCBIA members, you can visit our website at www.ncbia.com or call 440-934-1090.   We also have a job posting board (under the industry tab).   

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