When I was a teenager, I decided that the colours yellow and black would look really cool on my bedroom walls. So, after much convincing, I painted the largest wall a jet black and the other three a shade of pastel yellow. And it was revolting.

If a bad colour choice in the bedroom rings a bell, read on to discover our tips and nightmare colour choices that will help you to avoid a decision that you may regret.

If green is your colour of choice:

A colour that is generally associated with calm and nature; green can sometimes look rather unflattering when painted on a wall- no-one wants to be reminded of Brussel Sprouts when they look at a room. Green is a bedroom colour decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.


  • Turn to darker, richer colours that will create a cocooning effect in north facing and darker rooms.
  • Experiment with pastel green, mint and paler tones in south facing rooms.
  • Be playful and choose pea, lime and earthy green accents. A tropical palm leaf print looks fantastic.
  • Pair whitewashed woods and pale birch-like tones with pale green.
  • Use green with blue or grey undertones for a chic, on-trend look.


  • Pair yellow with green.
  • Have too much brown in space that is a leafy or organic green. It will date quickly.
  • Pair green with yellow-based woods such as oak and bamboo.
  • Try to match everything. Varying shades of the same colour spectrum looks better. 

“I had a khaki green bedroom once when I was 15… and I regretted it pretty much immediately. When deciding on a paint, always test a sample area first, and never pick a colour from the chart just because you would wear it!”- John Simpson, Matalan Direct customer services


If you’re thinking about painting a room yellow:

A notoriously difficult colour to work with, yellow should be approached with caution. It can look quite sickly if not done right and can be overpowering when used on walls. We find that it tends to suit being used as a complementing shade to another colour, rather than taking the centre stage as a main colour.


  • Pair bold yellow with grey, as the grey will instantly tone down and balance the yellow. There's no wonder it took over this years’ interior trends.
  • Be assertive. If you’re going to use yellow it needs to be obvious, otherwise you’ll end up with a sickly tone. Pastel yellows are fine.
  • Be matchy. It’s best to stick to one to three shades of yellow. A bold yellow chair with buttermilk or gold-toned blinds looks chic and soft.


  • Paint walls in yellow, it will cast an unflattering glow and dominate your décor.
  • Use yellow in an east-facing room. This light tends to have a blue-tone to it, so won’t work with yellow.

Perhaps you’re looking for some midnight appeal:

Dark, midnight tones can be somewhat of a scary prospect when planning a room update. However, they’ve recently taken the interior design limelight and can look wonderful in any home- small or big. 


  • Paint the ceiling, cornice and skirting boards a shade of nearly-white to add some structure. Or add a rug which will play with these tones.
  • Take inspiration from the night. Inky nearly-black blues, deep charcoals and smoky greys will instantly add sophistication.
  • Reserve jet-black for the details. An oversized, black and white painting will create an elegant statement.
  • Opt for warmer shades in a smaller space. A deep, smoky aubergine wall or red-undertone shades of black will create a cocooning effect.
  • Contrast pale walls with black soft furnishings. Jet-black curtains and cushions will create a moody statement.


  • Go all monochrome- your room will end up looking like something from a sci-fi film.
  • Go all black, unless you’re taking a gothic approach.
  • Be afraid to go dark on all walls, in a bedroom it can look wonderful.
  • Use ornate details and wallpaper as they can date quickly. Black and dark shades should be kept simple.
  • Paint a wall jet black- it will look much nicer if you opt for softer tones that are one or two shades lighter.

If a red wall is on the cards:

Colours this bold tend to date easily (Changing rooms, need we say anymore?) so be wary of your choice. And remember, painting a wall in red is an absolute nightmare to resolve.


  • Take note from jewellery, and match your reds to Ruby, Carnelian and fiery Agate.
  • Contrast a white wall with a bright and bold red furnishing- try an armchair or sofa, or stay smaller with a rug.
  • Add a striking, oversized red image or ornament that will contrast a neutral decor, and liven up a space. Red and pale grey look stunning together.
  • Go dark with accents for a sense of luxury- oxblood, wine and maroon work best.
  • Keep it simple, keep red off the walls and opt for wall accents, details and furnishings


  • Go for a red wallpaper as a feature wall. By the time it’s up, it’ll be out of fashion.
  • Avoid pairing red and black or orange and black together at all costs… unless you’re hoping to recreate Halloween.
  • Paint a whole room red, it will immediately seem less relaxing.

"I decided to paint my bedroom a deep red when I was younger - let’s just say it didn’t work out too well! My room looked dark and garish, I didn’t quite expect it to be that overpowering. My advice would be, if you are going to use red, use it sparingly - paint one wall red and the rest white to balance it out." – Jen Derrick, Content Writer


For a touch of lilac appeal:

Shaking off it's girly label, lilac is actually a rather grown-up colour. A colour that can be used in the bedroom to create a soothing, relaxing atmosphere, it's also one which can easily make a space seem cold and drab if used wrong.


  • Opt for a dusty rose or red-based tone instead of blue-based tones that will look cold.
  • Add organic textures to instantly make the colour look grown-up.
  • Contrast yellow or vibrant greens with accents of purple for a fun, chic look.
  • If you’d rather have a blue base, opt for a deeper shade with a warm toned base, rather than a pale colour.
  • Copy colours you could find outside. A dusky sky shade looks far better than an artificial colour which you couldn’t place anywhere outside of a tin.


  • Use a blue based shades of purple, which will cool a space and make a room look dreary.
  • Choose shades that are too close to white- they will look grey, especially on a north facing wall. 
  • Pick out pastel, pink based lilacs if you're wanting a sophisticated look.

If primary or secondary tones entice you:

Perhaps something that will take you back to your school days, primary and secondary colours can actually work really well in the home. When kept minimal they give a modern, pop-art like look that is wonderfully playful, yet also grown-up.


  • Go all white, and make a statement with your furniture. A block orange chair or sofa will instantly stand out and create enough interest for a room.
  • Take note from Andy Warhol and find some colourful, pop art pieces to display around your room. It will look effortlessly cool.
  • Play around with colour, and if you have a white room, choose different block colours for your pieces. A red chair, blue bed and yellow blinds can look brilliant against a white backdrop.


  • Bring in lots of textures, it's far too easy to make primary and bold colours look too busy.
  • Play too much with pattern, colours should be kept to block-tones, and patterns should be simple. 

'Choosing an orange terracotta as the main colour for my bedroom was a disaster from the get go. Too dark and angry, it had a really oppressive feel to it. I felt like I was living in a dragon’s lair! My advice to others thinking of incorporating this colour into their bedrooms would be to instead integrate the colour with accessories or bedspreads as an alternative.'- Danan Orlando, customer services