The power of color is endless: It can change your mood, direct your attention to something important, and alter your perception. In a small bedroom, the latter is crucial. While floating shelves and modular furniture will take cramped quarters far, a fresh coat of paint is the icing on the cake. “It’s the most inexpensive thing you can do to transform the look of your space,” says Nicole Gibbons, founder of Clare, a direct-to-consumer, eco-conscious paint company. The only tricky part is figuring out which hues are up to the task. Fortunately, we’ve posed this very question to quite a few designers and industry pros. Read on for the four best bedroom paint colors according to the experts—and the swatches to get the look.
There’s a reason why monochrome interiors are so commonplace: The neutral shade bounces light around and provides a literal blank canvas for decorating. Before settling on the right one, figure out how you want the room to feel. A cooler, matte option will highlight the texture of walls and old trim work, according to designer Leanne Ford, while something that’s a touch creamier will read earthy and complement browns, oranges, and dark blues.
When it comes to maximizing the illusion of extra square footage, Gibbons goes bright with a pale shade of griege. “It reflects light beautifully,” says the designer. However, gray can be quite the chameleon. In an attic bedroom or accent nook, try something smokier with blue undertones to accentuate its coziness. “Contrary to popular belief, dark hues don’t always downsize your space,” says Erika Woelfel, a color expert at Behr Paint.
If you’re veering toward the airy side of the spectrum, a blue-green, like Clare’s aptly named Headspace, will encourage you to unwind. “It looks stunning paired with other soft neutrals,” says Gibbons. A graphite-navy, on the other hand, can be just as soothing if you need it to be super-dark when you sleep. The key to pulling off a moody shade is contrast. In her Melbourne bedroom, designer Simone Haag went really dark on the walls but juxtaposed the color with stark white on the ceiling.
Save the fuchsia and wild berry for a small piece of furniture and opt for a dusty mauve for all four walls. When making over a bedroom, Chloe Redmond Warner, president of Redmond Aldrich Design, suggests covering even the trim in the same shade, using a matte finish all over (this will keep the color from appearing too sweet). For a more traditional twist, lean toward pastel purples. “Lilac looks great when paired with clean, white textiles or royal purple accents,” says Woelfel. Close quarters never seemed so full of possibility.
This story was originally published on April 26, 2016. It has been updated with new information.