The Influence of Colour: Choosing the right palette for your child's bedroom

Posted: 22nd Nov 2018

Colour is a powerful communication tool. It's commonly used to signal action and is also able to influence mood and physiological reactions. So, before you automatically decide to paint your girl's room pink and your boy's room blue, you may want to see what science has to say about the effects that different colour schemes can have on your children’s mood.

Research into the area is building and while perceptions of colour are somewhat subjective, some colours do have universal meaning and can have amazing effects on us psychologically; a red and orange glow from a fireplace helps us to feel warm and cosy, whereas a deep blue sea is seen to be calming and relaxing.

Casey Day Bed with Chalkboard

Appreciation for colour isn’t unique to adults - babies and children are also affected by colour, both positively and negatively. Therefore, choosing the colour for your child’s bedroom deserves careful consideration. When deciding what mood you want to cultivate, a good starting point is to know the difference between warm and cool colours.

Warm colours

Colours such as red, orange and yellow elicit feelings of happiness and comfort and are great at making large spaces feel cosy as well as stimulating the mind – which is beneficial for a child’s learning and development. However, warm colours can be less advantageous at night time when you may find it a struggle to calm your energetic child.  

Decorating tip: Instead of panting your child’s room entirely warm coloured, look to feature an accent wall or accessorise with warm coloured wall stickers, shelving, bean bags or clocks.

Red – WebMed suggests that red is an extremely stimulating colour and can raise the heart rate and induce hyperactivity. It’s ability to energise the body is great, but the colour may not be suitable for an already restless child’s bedroom. Look to use reds to balance out cooler colours and adding a splash of colour to the room.

Solitare White Midsleeper with Bookcase and Chest

Orange – Orange has been thought of as a mood-lifting colour as far back as in ancient China. Orange is a ‘yang’ colour which stimulates creativity, focus and organisation. Too much orange in the bedroom can be overstimulating and cause Children to feel irritable and restless. If you’d like to incorporate orange, consider pairing soft shades with lavender or neutral tones.

Yellow – Synonymous with sunshine, yellow adds an upbeat, happy vibe to the bedroom. As Yellow gives off a daytime feeling, you may struggle to calm down an over excited child when it comes to bedtime. To balance this out, yellow pairs well with grey and blue.

Jubilee Bunk Bed in Ivory White

Pink – Not to only be considered for girls’ bedroom’s, pink has a calming effect that can translate to both sexes. What’s more, pink tones encourage empathy and promote nurturing feelings which may lead to children behaving in a more caring and considerate manner. Too much pink and your child could grow out of it quickly, so consider pairing pink accessories such as throws, bedding or lamps with neutral walls.

Nordic Playhouse Bed 1

Cool colours

Cool colours have a calming effect on the body and can make a child’s bedroom feel relaxing as well as spacious. Despite this, cool colours can do what they say on the tin and leave people feeling cold and reserved as they’re not the most inviting.

Dwell House Bed with Under Bed Drawers

Decorating tip: Soften the cool effect by pairing light cool colours with creamy neutral accessories and texture.

Blue – Known as a calming colour that lowers the heart rate and blood pressure, children with behavioural issues or those who have trouble getting to sleep may benefit from a blue environment. A study by Travelodge found adults sleeping in a blue bedroom get the most sleep per night at an average of 7 hours 52 minutes (compared to purple rooms averaging at 5hrs 5 minutes).

Jubilee Captain's Bed in Soft Grey

Green – Low wavelength colours such as green promote calm soothing effects and improve efficiency and focus. A bedroom decorated green is likely to provide your child a restorative night time experience, while leaving them alert in the day for homework or play. To improve focus further, brighter shades such as mint work well. Alternatively, if you’re after a pop of inspiration, green coloured pillows or curtains work as a great addition.

Stompa Uno 5 Nero High Sleeper

Purple – Thought to inspire wisdom, thoughtfulness and spirituality, adding purple to your child’s room can help them to slow down and consider thoughts and feelings of others. If your child is already fairly sensitive, opt for a furniture accent in the colour. A great pairing would be that of its contrast colour, orange.

Generally, warm colours can make large spaces feel intimate and cosy for younger children. Whereas cooler colours have the ability to calm and soothe. Of course, you aren’t limited to using only one colour per bedroom!

If you don’t know where to start, children’s bedroom furniture retailer Room to Grow, suggest working with a neutral base and then experimenting with colour palettes, accessorising with splashes of colour as you see fit. Some cabin bed providers have introduced coloured panels into the sides of the bed and sometimes also on the face of under bed storage which works nicely to subtly introduce colour. Alternatively, to match your neutral base, select a neutral wooden framed bunk bed and add texture and colour through the use of softer accessories like bed linen, throws, cushions and rugs.

Although colours are known for evoking different moods, you may feel differently about a colour based on your personal or cultural experiences; reactions can differ from person to person. If your child loves red, that’s fine, don’t worry about the negatives. Research has shown the brain is able to identify its needs, wants and likes and satisfying these will activate reward pathways – if your child is happy with their bedroom colour choice, their brain will be too!

Lead image: Zest Upholstered Bed