If you're trying to make a bedroom feel cozier, color is the place to start. There are a real array of comforting and soothing shades out there that can transform your space from a white-walled, sterile space to a cocooning retreat. These cozy colors can be taken from across the color wheel, whether it is a cool color in a dark shade, to a color from the warmer side of the color chart, in a muted and less saturated shade.
Dark shades are the obvious go-to for creating a cozy feel in the bedroom. 'Having a cozy room means using richer colors for the space to help with light in the room,' says interior designer, Linda Hayslett of LH Designs. 'Using darker colors like navy, chocolate, greys or even plum helps achieve this by keeping light to a minimum. This helps the bedroom feel like it's nesting with you and helps you to relax.'
Warm shades in a lighter, muted version can also bring comfort. Lighter, neutral shades are soothing and peaceful, inviting you to step into your bedroom for a period of relaxation. Read on for inspiration from the experts on our favorite modern bedroom ideas using color to create a cozy feel.
How to choose cozy colors for a bedroom
Creating a cozy aesthetic in the bedroom is easy if you use color in the right ways. Take inspiration from the interior decorator rules like the 60-30-10 rule which is all about picking three colors to give unequal weighting to throughout the bedroom. Also consider the monochromatic color scheme, which involves taking the paint all over, up the walls and over the ceiling and even the cornices.
'Going monochromatic helps create a cocoon-like feeling,' says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams paint. 'Homeowners want their spaces to feel calm, cozy and like a retreat from the rest of the world. Using a single color that exudes warmth can help achieve this.'
Creating comfort is also about building layers of texture, finds interior designer, Rachel Usher. 'Creating comfort within a bedroom space is probably the most important element to sleeping soundly. I recommend applying your colors in layered textures, this will create a comforting and warming space.'
However you choose to paint your walls in your bedroom, we've gone through the best cozy colors for a bedroom that we're loving at the moment.
Oonagh is an interiors writer and editor. She spends her days interviewing leading interiors industry experts to bring the latest ideas to her readers. For this piece, she spoke to the designers who specialize in inviting, cozy schemes for their color picks for a bedroom.
1. Blue grey
Blue is a great bedroom color idea that can promote feelings of relaxation and serenity as you climb into bed at the close of the day. 'Blue is commonly found in nature,' explains Rachel, 'so it is a great cozy color for a bedroom as it is associated with relaxation and positivity - think of a clear blue sky or a restful lake for example.'
In this example from Benjamin Moore, Little Boy Blue has been painted on the walls, a light and warming baby blue shade, while white has been used in the soft furnishings as an accent. The white and blue bedroom works together to create a clean, soothing palette which works perfectly for the intention of this space, promoting sleep and relaxation, and encouraging you to snuggle up with a good read.
2. Light honey brown
A honeyed brown tone is a warming shade in the bedroom, and can work to create a cozy feel that welcomes you like a big hug. We've noticed this shade of honey creeping up in terms of popularity this year, as the color grounds us with its earthy references, but keeps us warm and enveloped.
On the color wheel, this shade is almost a muted version of a dark orange. Orange's complementary color is blue, making this honey tone the perfect color that goes with blue. As seen here with the blue bed linen. This makes the scheme welcoming and easy on the eye.
3. Dark teal
A dark teal is another comforting color for a bedroom, creating a low light look, especially when enveloping the whole room and going monochromatic with paint on the ceiling. This creates a dark color scheme, with a moody feel perfect for getting cozy.
'Dark colors envelope a room and make it feel squishy and comforting, wrapping you up in the biggest blanket,' says Abigail Ahern, a designer who really advocates the use of dark colors in her work. 'Saturated dark hues may force you out of your comfort zone but you become infatuated with their ever-changing tones and what they do to the pieces in your room. Moody hues make any room instantly cosy. Everything looks cooler, taller, smarter and edgier.'
4. Olive green
Take your cues from nature with a soothing botanical look in the bedroom and go for an olive green with a brown tint. Olive is a dark version of green that has an earthiness and grey hue that make for a warming scheme, despite green being on the cooler side of the color wheel.
‘Olive Green is a very strong yet quite muted color,’ says Fanny Abbes of New York-based The New Design Project, who designed this bedroom. There are lots of beautiful colors that go with olive green, but it works as a standalone, too. ‘You can decide to make it the star of the show as the main accent and keep the rest very neutral. The result is a muted yet fresh color palette.’
5. Soft orange
A light terracotta or orange shade brings a real warm color scheme to your bedroom, as seen in this example by Indie & Co. Instead of using color on the walls, the majority color in this scheme is made up from the bed linen, the accents on the wallpaper and the tasteful lamp - all in the same soft shade of terracotta. Here, green is used to counterbalance, as an effective color that goes with orange.
'Soft terracotta is a fairly neutral yet warm and welcoming shade,' says Celine Erlam of Indie & Co. 'It can be found in nature, such as in the earth, which I think helps to make it a soothing and grounding color.'
6. Tones of red
Varying tones of pink can also work well in a bedroom and lend a warmth to the space that makes your room cozy and enticing. But pink and any tones from the red section of the color wheel must be approached with caution, warns interior designer, Rachel Usher, as it's not the most calming color to paint a bedroom.
'Recent color trends have seen a move towards pinks and blush tones, however these colors contain pigments of red which is an excitable color often associated with danger and anger and not conducive to restfulness and high quality sleep,' she says.
'If you are enjoying the blush tones and would like to use this palette in your bedroom try using tones which are lighter, this color is more familiar and trusted and allows your scheme to be on-trend without being over stimulating.'
7. Chocolatey brown
Brown in all its shades is having a moment in interiors and proving to be a real interior design trend. With a distinct 70s feel, a deep, chocolatey brown is no longer stuffy, but cool, sophisticated and warming. In this bedroom, painted in Crosby by Abigail Ahern, the cocoon feeling brought on by the use of brown is enhanced with brown textured materials on the bed, and the designer used the color in her bedroom and living room to create a restorative and strong look.
'Bedrooms are the perfect room to introduce dark colours,' says Abigail Ahern. 'Crosby is lovely brown that has lovely soft pinky undertones that make the bedroom look and feel calm and cosy, the perfect retreat.'
8. Light green
A lick of green paint is a great way to ground a bedroom, giving it strong ties to nature that can subconsciously make you feel relaxed and comfortable.
'Green is known to harness feelings of trust and comfort,' explains Rachel Usher. 'For example, with a soft green hue, just a hint can be enough to create the sense of harmony.'
'Green is one of our favorite colors,' says Fiona Blanchot, director at Studio Ashby. 'It has the power to completely transform the mood of a room. For the main backdrop of this scheme, we wanted something soft and chose this chalky grey-green for it’s almost meditative and calming quality’, says Fiona. ‘This calm backdrop set the scene for introducing something a little bolder. Splashes of ochre, brass and orange help to soften the room, creating between the green tones to build an oasis away from everyday stresses.
9. Rust red
Town down your red shade and use it in the bedroom in a more muted, earthy way and you will find your room is filled with coziness. While it may sound bold to cover all your bedroom walls in such a brave color, pick the right red and it can create a warm, cocooning space that doesn't overwhelm. A toasty, rust red or terracotta is warm and cozy, reminding us of fall trees and nature, and the key to an earth tone bedroom.
What wall colors make you feel happy?
Just how color has the power to make you feel cozy and snug, color can also work its magic and lift your mood. Yellow is an uplifting, mood-boosting colour, often associated with happiness that will fill a space with positivity. But yellow and oranges in all its varying hues can also provoke these happy feelings. Go bright and your mood will follow
‘My go-to happy paint color is the Terracotta from The California Collection – my collaboration with Farrow & Ball,' says interior designer, Kelly Wearstler. 'It’s is a great hue for bedrooms, an easy-going shade characterized by softness and warmth, like the morning sunlight.
'I also love pale green Palm, which is perfect for a room with a large skylight as it captures the brightness of the natural light. It also brings the elements of the outdoors indoors, which creates a relaxing space.
‘If you want to play with happy color in the homes, I recommend taking a shade you already love – find it in anything from a piece of clothing to a piece of artwork, something that makes you feel good – and use that to create a scheme.
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Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.
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