The summer season can mean frequent hot and sleepless nights, but have you thought about using design to your advantage to help you cool down the space? It’s not just about light, cotton sheets, or sheer curtains, an essential part of warm-weather design is also about the paint shades you choose for your walls, as some colors work really hard to cool your space. Look at the color wheel, taking your cues from the warm and cool sides of color theory.

While the paint color you choose is critical to cooling you down, it’s also about achieving balance, as Patrick O’Donnell, Farrow & Ball’s International Brand Ambassador reminds us. We don’t want to create rooms that feel cold and sterile, and we have to remember that these bedrooms need to keep us warm in the winter too, “None of us want to live in a space that’s unattractive and too cold,” says Patrick. “Creating a great environment and surroundings is all about nuance.” The lighting has to be adequate so you don’t need anything cooler in the long, flat-lit winter months, especially in north-facing bedrooms.’

To help you choose the perfect paint ideas for a bedroom that needs to go down a few shades, we spoke to paint experts to find out their favorite colors.

1. Shades of blue

Bedroom with blue walls

Blue in all its shades is a great choice to cool you down. It belongs to the cool side of the color wheel, which means theory and color science are the reason it’s at number one on our list of cool bedroom colors.

Some blues are warmer than others. If you look at traditional color theory, you’ll find that the most vibrant blue is closest to violet, which is closer to red, while others have hints of green, which keeps them cool. Use this knowledge to your advantage, and choose the cooler blues. Instead, give your white home a touch of blue for pale blue or off-white walls with a cooling hue. I love Farrow & Ball’s Yonder for something full of energy, or this bright blue that New York-based designer Ashe Leandro chose for this cozy bedroom.

Aside from the color wheel, the psychology of color also affects how we perceive temperature. “Experimenting with colors in cool tones such as blues and greens creates a psychological illusion of a cool room,” says James Greenwood, color expert at commercial paint company Graham & Brown. “These muted shades also reflect nature and provide a relaxing space to relax,” says James.

“Few colors create a sense of calm and coolness like shades of blue,” adds Artem Krobovinsky of New York-based interior design studio Arsight. “The psychological connection between blue and elements of nature such as the ocean and sky lends an instant cooling effect. Indigo, teal, or soft pastel blues can radiate calm beautifully.

There by Farrow & Ball

Species: Dead emulsion, modern emulsion, real estate emulsion
price: 0.75 liters at $46

2. Gray

Bedroom painted with gray walls

Bedroom painted with gray walls

Gray paint has been getting a lot of bad press lately, as we’re moving away from the drab gray bedrooms that were so synonymous with 2000s interior design, and embracing more subdued neutrals like our bedroom paint. But there is no doubt that gray has its benefits. First, it’s also magically cooling. “Light gray or muted charcoal can give your bedroom a cool feel,” says Artem. “With their understated elegance, these shades of gray carry a modern twist while maintaining a sense of calm.”

Remember that some grays have warmer undertones, so choose wisely to avoid a warm color scheme. Warm grays have more brown tones – think fungus or taupe – which can be appropriate in the winter months too when you want your wall color to warm you up. Meanwhile, the cool gray is characterized by those undercurrents of blue running through it.

“The choice is vast when it comes to grey,” says Patrick O’Donnell, Farrow & Ball’s international brand ambassador. “It’s soft grays like this one that has a bit of brown through it.”

Lisa paint

He writes: Matte emulsion, durable matte emulsion resistant, inner eggshell, glossy
price: $8

3. Greens

Pale green bedroom

Pale green bedroom

Similar to blue, green carries associations with nature and calm, while belonging to the cool side of the color wheel. “The greens create a calming, calming vibe that mimics the outdoors,” says Artem. “For a green bedroom, consider soft mint or a deep forest green for a cool, refreshing aesthetic that instantly lowers the temperature.”

In the bedroom, pale green can also feel very warm in the cooler months. Think bold greens that will feel more yellow in the right light, like this design from San Francisco-based design group Studio Ahead. For this reason, light green is the perfect color for the bedroom.

“Instead, try soft pastels with a mint hue,” says Patrick. “These colors will bring personality, a softer look and, ultimately, the much needed of all bedrooms, a look that allows for relaxation and calm. For a cooler look, avoid anything overtly yellow or red as these shades will naturally bring more warmth, especially to South facing rooms flooded with sunlight.

green 09

Species: Matt, eggshell
price: $70 per gallon

4. White

Bedroom with cream walls and headboard

Bedroom with cream walls and headboard

Finally, look at the Mediterranean climate and take your cues from the sugar cube homes in countries like Greece that embrace a dazzling, bright white.

“Bright colors like white help reflect heat, which will work better to keep your bedroom cool,” says James. If you don’t want something too flashy, choose a slightly off white with other tones from the cooler side of the wheel, this will create the perfect cool color scheme. A warm, neutral white that goes a soft gray rather than cream is also a great option, easy to apply and pigmented with precision.

“The ever-classic white color gives off a pure and cool aura that is hard to ignore. Its purity and simplicity provide a calm and serene atmosphere, transforming your bedroom into a peaceful haven,” says Artem.


He writes: Interior paint and exterior paint
price: From $52.99 per gallon

What colors should I avoid for a cooler room?

So, if we are aiming for a cooler bedroom, what colors should we avoid? Again, theory is your best friend, so look to the color wheel for a guide when choosing paint. Opposite those blues and greens are purples, burgundy, reds, oranges and yellows – a stimulating group of colors to avoid when painting walls.

Just as cool colors also affect the psyche, warmer colors also have psychological effects, explains color expert Susie Chiasari, a holistic interior designer and colorist.

“For example, yellow reminds us of bright sunny days, while orange creates the feeling of warmth and comfort we get when watching a fire.”

These are the colors that make you feel happy and energetic, so don’t completely question them, just use them wisely. If you want to have brighter colors, use these colors for bedroom decor instead of wall paint.

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