This paint color could be stopping you from sleeping, according to psychologists

This popular hue may be keeping you awake at night – here's what to use instead

Red painted bedroom with scarlet accessories
(Image credit: Future / Simon Bevan)

The study of color psychology is important in every room – but none more so than the bedroom. In this room, your interior design decisions have a direct impact on your sleep – and (consequently) your overall wellbeing. So, it's important you get them right. 

According to psychologists, your paint ideas have a significant impact on your sleeping pattern. However, there is one popular hue that they would always avoid.

The color in question is red – a shade that, they suggest, is best 'kept to a minimum.' This is why you should need to avoid the fiery tone – and what you should opt for instead. 

Why you should avoid red in the bedroom  

Red painted bedroom with scarlet accessories

(Image credit: Future / Simon Bevan)

'Red, orange, and other hot colors raise the blood pressure, increase the heartbeat and muscle movement, so it is best to keep these to a minimum,' explains color psychologist and holistic designer Suzy Chiazzari (opens in new tab).

Color psychologist Lee Chambers (opens in new tab) adds that surrounding yourself in red for a prolonged period can increase your heart rate and make you feel agitated – making it a bad choice for the bedroom. 

'As we look to cultivate a space for us to live and restore ourselves in, crimson can literally keep us on high alert and can leave us feeling unsettled, rather than being at peace and feeling restful,' Lee adds. 

Red painted bedroom with scarlet accessories

(Image credit: Future / Simon Bevan)

What color is best for the bedroom?  

While psychologists warn against red, there are some expert-approved bedroom ideas that will refresh your space – and renew your sleeping pattern. 

A recent study* that surveyed the sleeping patterns of 1000 Americans revealed that purple is the best color to paint your bedroom. This comes after only 12% of respondents with purple walls confessed to having a bad night's sleep. 

'Generally softer shades of purple and dark blue stimulate the unconscious mind, so encouraging dreams and inner peace,' Suzy explains. 

Red painted bedroom with scarlet accessories

(Image credit: Jonathan Adler)

When choosing the right shade of purple, Sleep expert and writer Christine Lapp also adds that you should look for a 'bluer hue' instead of a pinker tint. 'Purple is known to represent peace. Therefore, this color provides a sense of tranquillity and allows the body to unwind and rest easier,' she says. 

'Blue was the second-best paint color for sleep, known for its soothing and calming properties, whereas pink tends to be the color best suited for inducing creativity, exciting the brain, rather than winding it down.'

So, while blue is amongst the colors that go with purple, its benefits stretch beyond a stylish scheme. Instead, this pairing may improve your sleeping pattern – so you can wake up feeling refreshed this 2022.  

Red painted bedroom with scarlet accessories

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore )

*Survey by Sleep Junkie (opens in new tab)

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc’s homes titles, including Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. As a News Writer, she often focuses on micro-trends, wellbeing, celebrity-focused pieces, and everything IKEA. 


Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and expansive collection of houseplants.