Best paints to use for bedrooms

Sep 22, 2010 at 7:18 p.m. ET

The bedroom is a safe haven; it shields us from the stressful forces of the outside world; and, it is a reflection of who we are. To be at our best, the bedroom needs to be conducive to peaceful rest and contemplation. Therefore, the paints selected when decorating this space should also work to refresh and revitalize us against the constant stressors of our daily lives.

Woman painting bedroom

Types of paint

A good first step when painting a bedroom is to choose paint with low toxicity. Commonly used paints have high levels of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that pollute the air we breathe and cause bedroom odors that linger long after the paint has dried. For a more restful sleep, try paints that have zero or low VOCs, such as Harmony Interior Acrylic Latex Paint (zero-VOC) or Duration Home Interior Acrylic Latex Paint (low-VOC) by Sherwin-Williams. Benjamin Moore also offers environmentally sound paints like Natura Interior Waterborne Paint (zero-VOC) or Aura Waterborne Interior Paint (low-VOC). Since these paints expel little, if any, lingering chemical odor, you can sleep in your newly painted bedroom immediately.


Flat – This non-reflective, matte sheen is ideal for many situations because it softens the bedroom's glow and masks many of the scuffmarks that mar bedroom walls over the years. It is also very easy to touch up. However, it is not so easy to clean, so it should be reserved for low traffic or adult bedrooms.

Eggshell – This kind of sheen adds just a hint of glossy shine to walls, which makes it easier to clean than flat paints. Although this paint reflects a small amount of light, the effect is subtle. Eggshell is ideal for most bedroom situations because it holds up well and has the added benefit of being a more stylish looking sheen than flat paint.

Satin – With a dash more gloss than eggshell, satin is the most cleanable and durable of the three recommended bedroom sheens. Like eggshell, satin paints add a touch of class to any room due to its deep luster. It is perfect for high traffic bedrooms, especially children's bedrooms.


With an infinite variety of paint colors to choose from, this is the most difficult step when painting a bedroom. If you choose a vibrant color, you may find yourself lying awake all night; choose a deep, calming color and you could be heading for nod as soon as your head hits the pillow. Tip: Look through books, magazines, and online sites dedicated to bedroom design for color ideas. This allows you to see the effect different paint colors have on a bedroom prior to starting your own.

Traditional bedroom colors

Benjamin Moore Sweet Dreams 847Blue - A serene blue gives your bedroom a sense of soothing stability and peacefulness, which makes it an excellent choice for most bedrooms. Suggested paints include Benjamin Moore Sweet Dreams 847 or Sherwin-Williams Topsail SW6217.

Benjamin Moore Fresh DewGreen - Known as nature's neutral, green has a profound effect on the mind/body connection. Tranquil greens instill a sense of cleanliness, healthiness, and renewal to the bedroom. Suggested paints include Benjamin Moore Fresh Dew 435 or Olympic River Reed C11-2.

Sherwin-Williams Elation SW6827Violet - To create a cool and reflective personal environment, consider using violet. Pastel violets and lavenders inspire contemplation and create a comfortable and cozy place to sleep. Suggested paints include Sherwin-Williams Elation SW6827 or Behr Rising Violet PPOC-61.

Benjamin Moore Blanched Coral 886Pink - This has traditionally been a bedroom color for intimacy and romance, but it is also a good color to induce relaxation. Pink covers a number of pleasant variations including cool, light pastel pinks, warm fuchsias, and deep sea corals. Suggested paints include Benjamin Moore Blanched Coral 886 or Valspar Paris Pink MS037.

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