Color expert Ellen Kennon explains how your bedroom’s paint color can impact your mood
For thousands of years, humans have studied color as a determinant of human behavior and emotion. Particularly in living spaces, color has the power to affect your mood and energy levels–even with just a slight adjustment in hue to the paint color on your walls. Familiar with this phenomenon, St. Francisville-based interior designer and color consultant Ellen Kennon created a line of paint to help homeowners feel their best in their spaces.
“Color affects your emotions,” Kennon explains. “It’s one of the greatest tools we have to use for that. That’s why the first question I always ask paint customers is, ‘How do you want to feel in this space?'”
When it comes to painting the bedroom, cool versus warm tones are a major factor that will determine how you respond to the paint color. For relaxation, cool colors such as grays, greens and blues are usually the way to go, says Kennon.
“The best bedroom colors that I like to use often are anything in the pale blue range,” she explains. “And then anything that borders on blue and green.”
Blue is known as the Florence Nightingale color because of its ability to induce sleep and even reduce inflammation. Like the colors of the sky and the sea, natural blue tones are extremely soothing. “My own bedroom is painted in ‘Alexandra Blue,’ which is a very atmospheric, subtle blue the color of the sky at twilight,” says Kennon. “It has a little bit of magenta in it, so it’s a little more periwinkle, but very, very subtle.”
In addition to pale blues, Kennon also enjoys working with blue-greens for bedrooms. She notes that adding the touch of green to blue creates an aqua color that is not only soothing, but also refreshing at the same time.
“One of my most popular colors in that range for bedrooms is what I call ‘Gustavian Grey,'” says Kennon. “It’s a very subtle, again. I call it organic in that it works really well with wood tints.”
While Kennon typically favors the pale blue and cool tones, that’s not to say that warmer colors cannot work well. After all, color is all about how you want to feel in a space.
“I have a client for whom I created a special color for that I call ‘Redwood Rose,'” Kennon says, “We named it after her home, which was a 1969 Hayes Town house. It’s a color that Hayes Town created on the spot for the conference room at the Steele Burden Memorial Orangerie.”
The rosy terracotta color promotes balance and unity while still emitting cheer and warmth. But when it comes to these warmer colors, especially in the bedroom, try to avoid brighter and harsher hues that can have adverse effects on your mood.
“I always caution clients that red can actually raise your blood pressure,” Kennon explains. And the same thing goes for the color yellow. “If the yellow is subtle enough, then it makes a nice bedroom color, but if you get too intense with it, the room becomes not very restful at all.”
Kennon’s pale yellow shade, “Classic Marc,” although a warm color, is still soothing enough to be used in a bedroom.
Throughout her 30-plus years of experience, Kennon even unexpectedly discovered a color that works surprisingly well in bedrooms: a warm and comforting pink. And it’s not just for little girls. “Pink is emotionally nurturing, so it can be a good choice for divorcees,” Kennon explains.
In other words, Kennon’s work encourages a different approach to painting in which the emotional element is too crucial to overlook.
“I like to create colors that are more atmospheric, so that they create a backdrop,” Kennon explains. “And then, furnishings don’t have to match exactly.”