Fact: When the re-decorating bug bites you, it’s hard to think about anything else. Many sleepless nights can be traced back to staring at the ceiling fan and thinking, Do I need new bedding? Drapes? Throw pillows? And ultimately, How do I make this bedroom feel like it’s straight out of Restoration Hardware’s 2023 lookbook? Indeed, being design-obsessed is no easy feat. That said, creating the bedroom of your dreams is way easier than it looks—and most designers will tell you that the leg work starts with a color scheme. Still, if you have no idea what that means—or you’re curious to see how those mood boards on Pinterest come to life—we’re with you. That’s why we tapped three different designers to help break it down.
How to Choose the Right Color Scheme for Your Bedroom, According to Interior Designers
Meet the Experts
- Devon Wegman is the founder and design director of Devon Grace Interiors, based out of Chicago. She focuses on modern, textural designs that balance dramatic and bold finishes with clean lines.
- Victoria Holly is the principal and founder of Victoria Holly Interiors, based out of Los Angeles. She works to design warm and unique spaces that exude elegance and sophistication.
- Heather Goerzen is the lead interior designer at Havenly. She focuses on creating spaces that can serve as a conduit for expression, inspiration and connection—with a focus on making home a place where you can find safety and comfort.
Step One: Commit to a Dominant Color
“Choose a key element in the room, such as artwork, furniture or a fabric pattern to inspire your color choices—then choose a dominant color,” Holly starts. “This color will form the foundation of your palette and is often derived from the focal point.” From there, you then want to “select one or two accent colors that complement the dominant color. These can be bolder or contrasting shades that add interest.” And for the final touch, “Add neutral tones to balance the palette and prevent overwhelming vibrancy.”
Wegman provides a more specific example of how she does this (above), saying, “In general, we try to achieve a calm, serene vibe in a bedroom. We do this by pulling in nature-inspired colors or neutrals, [like blue, brown and ivory].” Yet, if you have no idea where to start, Goerzen has a trick for nailing your base color: “Start with an object you love, or that stands out to you (and must have in the design).” Think: a brown velvet throw pillow or a navy blue linen duvet. “Starting with a single piece you have to have ensures that the color palette and overall look will speak to your personal style,” Goerzen explains.
Step 2: Create a Mood Board
Once you have your base color—and an overall theme going, whether that’s organic modern or rustic heritage—you want to create a cohesive palette. “We create mood boards by capturing the overall vibe of a client's aesthetic through fashion, abstract imagery and detail shots. We always focus on core palette finishes that will be carried throughout a design, but layer in a variety of imagery to set the overall vibe and color story for the project. We then use the mood board as a sounding board throughout the design process to ensure the design stays true to the client's aesthetic, and everything feels cohesive,” Wegman explains.
To that end, Goerzen adds, “You can use a program like Canva or Photoshop to create little mood boards where you can see everything together—and ensure the color palette looks and feels complementary. If you choose to go with an online design service like Havenly, we create the mock-ups for you and a realistic 3D rendering based on the dimensions and architectural details of your actual room, so you can see everything basically IRL before you buy anything.”
Step Three: Furnish, Decorate and *Then* Paint
Long story short? Once you have your colors, you want to start with the bigger stuff first. “We always start with the big architectural moves first, planning the layout, designing key moments like built-ins or a custom headboard wall. From there, we'll layer in the details and pull in a variety of textures and finishes to create a balanced and rich overall design,” Wegman says. Holly agrees, saying, “Start with your largest piece of furniture and then go smaller. Don’t worry about how fabrics or woods/marbles go together—just worry about how respective materials work together, like woods with other woods, or stones with other stones. Always do paint colors last; there are so many paint colors available, you can easily find one you like that works with everything else.”
In the bedroom shown above, for example, Goerzen says, “I based the color palette off of the blue floral statement headboard (from The Inside) and added in complementary patterns and colors via the rug, curtains, throw pillows and blue dresser.” She adds, “I would recommend starting with something bold or colorful and using that to guide, so you don’t end up with multiple patterned or colorful objects that clash. Use one thing as a guiding light.”