As soft furnishings, curtains are a great way to experiment with pattern and color in the home. For Annie Downing of Annie Downing Interiors, curtains are the perfect place to play with more vibrant colors off the wall because, by their nature, they’re changeable and can move with seasons and trends—perfect for both homeowners and renters alike.
“Being so impermanent, fabrics provide a great opportunity to step out of your comfortable color zone.” But at the same time, it’s about striking a balance between something unexpected and colorful, without detracting from the room’s purpose as a space to relax. “Choosing the right bedroom colors is essential,” says Karen Frome, director of Rise Projects. “Avoid overly bright or electric colors and instead opt for muted colors throughout the bedroom.”
Bold and bright drapery colors add to the “wow” factor of a room that can tie in with other furnishings and decor in the space. But there are some bedroom curtain ideas that you should avoid. Here are five colors we don’t recommend (and some we love to see!)
1. Avoid active red
According to every expert, red is not the best curtain color for the bedroom. But why is he so problematic? The color red has strong and fiery connotations, and carries a lot of energy that may be the antithesis of the mood you want to promote in the bedroom.
“Red is very disturbing and often polarizing,” says Luis Carmona of interior design firm VERDE. “You either love it or you don’t. Color is also known to cause stress or anxiety, so we never recommend it to clients as an option for their bedroom, let alone for curtains.”
Lauren O’Brien, Principal of Austin Design Associates, agrees. Vibrant colors can be visually overwhelming and create a sense of discomfort, which isn’t ideal in a comfortable environment designed for sleeping. Red is known to stimulate and increase your heart rate, making it more difficult to relax and fall asleep. Try red for a room where you wouldn’t mind bringing in some energy or turning down the brightness.
2. Tread carefully with cool colors
At the other end of the color wheel, you should think about cool color schemes and the way the color bounces off the drape onto your walls, bringing out the color of your wall, changing it up, and giving it coolness. Drapes—especially those that hang from the ceiling to the floor—make a big impact on the color projections around your room, so take care when working with blues, greens, and taupes.
This doesn’t mean you need to avoid cool coloring entirely, but color psychologist and holistic stylist Susie Chiazari suggests lining them both up.
You should also consider whether or not the curtains are light-filtering, as sunlight penetrates the lightweight curtains and alters the light in the room. If the fabric is lightweight, it is better to have curtains of neutral or warm colors, because dark or cold curtains can create a cold, dull atmosphere. So, if your curtains are gray, blue or green, they are best lined. When it comes to how to layer sheer and blackout curtains, make sure you have two evenly spaced tracks or rods so they can run independently.
3. Stay away from flashy yellow
Yellow is often used to give a space a cheerful feel, but be careful when playing with this shade and instead opt for a muted or muted version instead of a bright, vibrant yellow. Yellow elicits happiness, but it can also make a person feel more alert than they really are. “I avoid striking colors in the bedroom like yellow,” says Gilles Millot, studio director of Gilles Millot. They’re distracting, visually contradictory, and defeat the purpose of a sleeping space. Best concealer cream out there but no white and light cream.
“The bedroom is a place of rest and calm, so bedroom colors, including the curtains, should represent a relaxing bedroom,” says Lewis.
If you want yellow, consider a pale mustard color or something light and buttery to avoid bringing too much energy into the space.
4. Miss the black
Blackout curtains are great for a blackout effect – blocking every bit of light and helping your bedroom become a private haven for sleep. But more often than not, the color black carries connotations of a feeling of heaviness and intensity.
“We love decorating in black, but we don’t recommend black curtains,” says Lewis. While it’s used a lot in design because of its sleek looks and versatility, black isn’t as comfortable as we’d hope. It is dark in nature and sometimes melancholy causing a sense of energy in the bedroom.
Roongnapa Dormieu of Bangkok-based PAON Architects agrees, and worries that by using black, a room feels less open and airy. Using black as the dominant color for bedroom curtains can create a dark and gloomy ambience that can affect the mood when you wake up in the morning, and can make a small bedroom look even smaller.
Last but not least, we’re beyond gray here at Livingetc. It can feel—in the right setting—sleek and modern, but often feels corporate and stuffy. If you’re looking for the qualities that gray brings – a calming neutral – there are many other options to look for – consider taupe, beige, or muted colors like very light blue or purple.
“Gray is the enemy of relaxed, happy spaces and can look dull and cold,” say Margherita Thumiger and Louise Glynn, interior designers at Studio 29.
What colors should I use for bedroom curtains instead?
So what should you do instead? When choosing the color and shade of your bedroom curtains, it’s important to keep in mind the color scheme and decor for the rest of the room,” says Tekla Tangura, co-founder of Brussels-based, New York-based Labscape Architecture & Design.
As a general guide, there should only be one star in the bedroom. So if the rest of your bedroom is full of bold colors and patterns, consider keeping your curtains a subtle neutral color. However, if your room is already neutral, you can bring some life into the room with bright colored curtains.