I’ve been thinking about what colors I want to do in my master bedroom and bathroom.
Naturally I tried to approach the question in the most scientific manner possible. Turns out there’s really one study that everybody cites when they talk about the effect of bedroom color. It is a survey of 2000 British adults sponsored by Travelodge that tracks bedroom wall color with amount of sleep per night, vocation, and certain habits like online shopping in bed. Very interesting, no?
The problem with all the interior design articles that discuss the findings is they assume there is a causal link: “Paint your room blue, and you will start sleeping x hours per night.” There’s a non-zero probability that is true, but that’s not at all what this study guarantees. It well may be that longer sleepers are for whatever reason more likely to like the color blue. In any case, here’s the list of somnolent bedroom colors from most to least sleep per night.
- Blue – 7:52 (Really? Almost 8 hours a night? Whoa! Are you sure they didn’t include baby boy nurseries or something? That’s amazing.)
- Yellow – 7:40
- Green – 7:36
- Silver – 7:33
- Orange – 7:28
- Red – 6:58
- Gold – 6:43
- Grey 6:12
- Brown 6:05
- Purple 5:56
Ironically, most people in blue rooms, do not have the blues. Fifty-eight percent of those blue room sleepers reported “regularly” waking up feeling happy.
Exhausted grey bedroom sleepers reported doing the most online shopping in bed, while silver bedrooms were associated with the most motivation to exercise in the bedroom. I can just hear everyone now rebranding their gray bedrooms as silver.
The survey doesn’t address the question of why certain bedroom colors are associated with certain sleep patterns, but there is plenty of speculation about blue reminding people of calm sea and skies, or “specialised receptors called ganglion cells in the retina part of our eyes, which are most sensitive to the colour blue [which] feed information into an area deep in our brain that controls 24 hour rhythms.”
So why is purple such a giant jolt of caffeine? A couple of articles say purple is an artsy color that gives you nightmares. Ha! But I started thinking, who chooses purple bedrooms? Tween girls? Royalty? Gay men? Purple seems like much more of a single person bedroom color than a married couple bedroom color which made me very cautiously google something else.
Behold, another survey of 2000 European adults this time sponsored by littlewoods.com which plots bedroom color against average number of times the occupants have “relations” in a week.
- Purple – 3.49
- Red – 3.18
- Sky blue – 3.14
- Pink 3.02
- Black 2.99
- Beige 1.97
- Green 1.89
- Gray 1.8
Clearly, the purple people have no time for sleep. I’m a little surprised that baby shower colors did so well. I’m not that surprised that mature, married neutrals did not. Trendsters are the most likely to have painted their bedrooms gray in the past 5 years. Apparently, they don’t have time to do anything in bed except shop online for the newest trends.
Just to keep it confusing, the previous survey of Brits found caramel coloured bedroom walls to be associated with the most relations at 3x per week. British red bedrooms didn’t perform so well at just once per week. Maybe it’s a British anomaly. And maybe these things vary widely and have little or nothing at all to do with bedroom wall color.
I have always liked cream walls for my bedroom, so I have no idea how much I’m sleeping or anything else. After seven years and three kids treating it as a movie theater, our black and cream comforter is water-marked and shredded and needs to be replaced. I will admit that I was considering doing something bold and trendy like grey and violet, but these studies have me strongly reconsidering.
Design by numbers tells me blue is the optimal bedroom wall color. Good thing it was my second choice.