Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Soothing Bedroom Colors- It's Personal

This reader dilemma comes from Anna in Arizona, with a question about selecting a color for her bedroom.

"Great blog! I've been here several times and always find your posts informative and interesting, especially for a relatively color-challenged person like me.

Our house is in the northern Arizona desert and it's a very neutral-toned area: lots of creamy pinks and sandstone colors. We like a fairly serene color scheme, but of course color is good.

So here's our color dilemma: We'd like something soothing in the bedroom, keeping with the mood we've got in the rest of the house..but also something stimulating.

I'm not a fan of colors schemes that seem disjointed in living spaces (i.e. "I like this color and this one and this one, so I'll slap 'em all on the walls in different rooms"). I'd like the entire house to flow, color-wise.

We've been really into blues lately; but while that turquoise color you featured is fantastic, it may be a bit much for us. Is it possible to find a soothing, yet stimulating color?

Color swatches are just bewildering me right now! Looking forward to your ideas!"
Alrighty then, let's take a look at what Anna's working with here...
In their bedroom, the master windows face the southwest. They can see the sunset while laying in bed- how cool is that? The ceilings are high (10 ft) and there is lots of natural light throughout the house. Anna just wants to paint the large accent wall above her bed and leave the rest of the bedroom in Navajo White, a creamy off-white from Behr paint. Here's the other side of the bedroom, facing an office area.
image source
This is going to be their new bedspread from Dwell. They'd had an idea of continuing the graphic up the wall, reversed-out to mimic the white leaves against some color background.

To give you an idea of their existing palette, here are some snapshots of other rooms in the house:
In the living room, they've replaced white with Navajo White and painted some accent walls in Behr's Milestone.In the kitchen, they painted it Behr's Blue Agave.

My first reaction actually has nothing to do with the bedroom, but instead, "where did that kitchen color come from?!" As far as flow and cohesive palettes, I'm wondering how the bright blue kitchen walls fit into the picture of serene colors. But that's for another post some other time.

Our dilemma at hand: Anna wants to know if there exists a serene, yet stimulating color. My answer would be "It's personal."

Everyone has a different reaction to colors. What one person considers exciting, dynamic and uplifting might give another person a headache. Conversely, a calm, soothing tone to one might appear dingy and depressing to another. What I'm getting at is that there are no recipes when it comes to the psychology of color. Personal tastes, the desired goals of a design, and the context of a color all come into play.

So, where does Anna go from here? I might suggest a soft blueish gray or lilac, which would set-off the warm blonde wood and golden art above the bed.
image source
This would be in keeping with the existing Navajo White and Milestone colors elsewhere in the house, while anchoring the bedroom a bit more. I'd also suggest considering painting the office alcove, as this space has an entirely different purpose than the bedroom area.

I love the idea of incorporating a graphic onto the wall above the bed. A sense of organic movement would be quite lovely. Be careful not to continue the pattern exactly as it is on the bedspread, but instead take inspiration from it to create your mural.

Here is a mural my friend and I created for her little girl's room, taking inspiration from her Dwell bedding.

I'd love for you all to weigh in too, as there are always multiple solutions to any color quandary.
What would you suggest Anna do?


Erin said...

I's all so personal! You did offer some great suggestions though! I love the idea of incorporating a graphic though.

The pictures of the nursery are great! I adore the colors, and that mural is fantastic!

Rachel said...

here's another great example of a wall graphic:

Erin- thanks for the compliment on the mural, it was such a breeze to do and really fun to create!

Anna said...

Thank you for the great advice, Rachel! We may well reconsider the kitchen color...I just responded very "personally" to it while hunting around for colors, but sometimes my gut instinct isn't always spot on. But for now, I'll be tackling the bedroom and I'll keep you posted if you like. Thanks again!

Kelly, Arte Styling said...

great answers to some challenging questions, rachel!! it's funny, but sometimes people expect us to have a magic color solution for each and every space - like we should look at a space and just "know" what color it should be. and if we don't know, then we aren't very good color designers. (not saying that Anna falls into this category, but the questions are oh-so familiar!)
color selections for the home ARE personal, and there is no "recipe", like you said. i think you give excellent ideas to get Anna started, but it'd be much easier to help her pick the right colors after getting to know her a little more. :)
(the mural in the nursery is lovely! nice job!!)

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend and I used this Restoration Hardware paint in our bedroom with similar high ceilings. I find it very relaxing and cooling.

Anonymous said...

That link only linked to the collection, sorry. Can't link to the direct color, we ended up using the Blue Sage.

Rachel said...

Kelly- oh so true; the more you know about a client, the easier it is to help them select appropriate colors.

Anon- thanks for the paint suggestion. that is a lovely color. i'm curious what other people think of Restoration Hardware's colors. i find them really pretty in the stores under bright fluorescent lights, but when you get them home, don't they look really grayed-out?

Anna- yes, please do keep us updated! we'd love to see after shots when you're done

Anonymous said...

Paint the Arizona bedroom wall behind the bed the same color blue they used in the living room (?) in the fireplace niche. The kitchen turquoise is a disaster---try taking the same blue and putting in on the soffit, which might balance against the too-strong green/turquoise on the backsplash.