6 Bright Colors for Bedrooms That Energize Rather Than Over-Stimulate, According to Designers

Choosing the right bright colors for bedrooms means finding a tone that is soothing to go to sleep to and joyful to wake up to. Happily, designers know how to do it

pink, yellow and blue bedroom
(Image credit: Design by Jessica Ayromloo)

Choosing bright colors for bedrooms can seem like an unexpected, even counter-intuitive choice. We tend to think of these spaces as sanctuaries, places to unwind in, and tend towards more neutral shades for bedroom colors to do that. But that doesn't have to be the case — just think how wonderful it would be to open your eyes to your favorite bold color first thing in the morning.

'Bright colors in a bedroom can bring a lot of personality and attitude,' says Mike Shively, founding partner of En Masse Architecture and Design. 'Pairing bright tones with moodier and darker tones can make the whole space feel cozy without becoming too energetic. Some of our favorite bright tones to pair with a moody background are citrine yellows, grassy greens, and burnt oranges.'

Below, we're highlighting six bright colors for bedrooms spotted in recent designer projects that seem right for now — a hit of joy that will energize rather than over-stimulate.

1. Sage green

red and green bedroom

(Image credit: Ruth Maria/Roisin Lafferty)

Interior designer Roisin Lafferty is well versed in bright colors — her jewel box-like palettes taking in yellows, purples, blues and reds, but never seeming to overwhelm. This is because she understands the nuances of color theory, and won't just throw a bright shade into a room without balancing it with a softer one. 

'There is always a fine line between clashing to a point where it’s almost uncomfortable, and merging colors that don’t necessarily go together but create harmony,' she says.

In the bedroom above, the bright sage green is contrasted with a vivid red, but are harmonious because they are such a perfect contrast, sitting opposite each other on the color wheel. 'You need to get the tones right,' Roisin adds, and it's the fact that the green has a hint of gray in it that makes it work.

2. Mustard yellow

blue and yellow bedroom

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen. Design by Le Whit)

A bold mustard yellow sofa might not seem the most natural choice for a soothing and relaxing bedroom but how about when it's paired with a deep, rich and intriguing midnight blue? This contrast seems to tone down the bright yellow, allowing it to shimmer rather than shout.

'The dark blue was chosen to provide a cool, and calming place to rest,' says designer Corey Kingston, founder of New York-based studio Le Whit, who created the scheme shown above. 'The warm accents come from the light fixture, sofa, and bed linens,' she adds, pointing out that one wouldn't work quite so well without the other. 

3. Pink

pink bedroom

(Image credit: Future)

Pink is having a resurgence in color trends right now, becoming this year's neutral — designers are loving using it in a grayed-out form or soft blush as it's so pretty. And pink is perfect for a bedroom, where it feels bright but not too bright — easy on the eye to wake up to but not overpowering in any way. 

'Pinks are incredibly versatile and nuance-rich,' says designer and color expert Dagny Thurmann-Moe. For something a bit different, use them in different saturations to create a painted headboard, as seen here.

4. Crimson

bedroom with vibrant red headabord

(Image credit: Kieran Reeves. Design by Ashley Ferguson Interiors)

The 'unexpected red' theory may be doing the rounds on the internet this year, but designers have known it for years. It holds that a dash of red in an otherwise non-red room will look upbeat, sophisticated, and finished. Just like a slick of red lipstick before a night out.

The headboard in this room designed by Ashley Ferguson Interiors is a case in point, totally transforming an otherwise neutral bedroom.

'Red is having a resurgence at the moment, but it's rare to see it used in the context of a primary bedroom,' says Ashley. 'As a designer who loves to push creative boundaries, I saw an opportunity to create something unexpected. My client's home was the perfect canvas for a bold color, so I decided to go all in with a custom headboard in a vibrant shade of red. I happen to think red has a bold, moody, and sexy vibe, making it a perfect choice for a primary bedroom. Plus, the painting by local artist Tyler Guinn ties the color palette together in a really cohesive way.' 

5. Terracotta

terracotta bedroom with cane bed and leopard print cushions

(Image credit: Amy Lamb Photography)

As far as color trends go, terracotta accents are here to stay. It's a warming tone that's bold and deep, reminding us of sun-drenched vacations in the Med where terracotta pots bake in the afternoon light. It's relaxing and uplifting, so the perfect shade for a bedroom.

Designer Lisa Gilmore used it for her own bedroom, a space she said lacked in square footage, so she make up for in personality. 'It was never going to be a regal and symmetrical room, but it could be a characterful boho one,' she says. 'I love that no color is off limits.'

6. Sky blue

pink blue and yellow bedroom

(Image credit: Design by Jessica Ayromloo)

Here designer Jessica Ayromloo created a whole palette by decorating with primary colors, filling an apartment with vivid blues and yellows.

'[For the bedroom,] we repeated a simpler and softer palette from the living room, adding pink to balance the primary colors and to make it feel more feminine,' says Jessica.

With sky blue as the hero shade here, it makes for an uplifting color to wake up to — no matter what the weather is doing it'll always seem sunny when you open your eyes.

Pip Rich

The editor of Livingetc, Pip Rich (formerly Pip McCormac) is a lifestyle journalist of almost 20 years experience working for some of the UK's biggest titles. As well as holding staff positions at Sunday Times Style, Red and Grazia he has written for the Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and ES Magazine. The host of Livingetc's podcast Home Truths, Pip has also published three books - his most recent, A New Leaf, was released in December 2021 and is about the homes of architects who have filled their spaces with houseplants.  He has recently moved out of London - and a home that ELLE Decoration called one of the ten best small spaces in the world - to start a new renovation project in Somerset.