We experience the world through our five senses: Taste, Touch, Smell, Sight, and Hearing. Obviously, some of us have heightened perceptions, and some of us have lower and fewer senses due to various reasons. Whatever your personal situation, when we are lacking in one or more, we develop the others to fill the void. Even when we have all five at our disposal — and perhaps that sixth hyper-sensory perception, if you believe in such things — we may choose to work on enriching each of them to experience the world and the people around us more deeply.
These senses help us take in whatever we’re faced with and process it physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is why you hear the saying, “You eat with your eyes” and the plating of beautiful food makes it more appealing. We smell before we taste, therefore when you catch a whiff of your favorite food — a juicy burger, an earthy falafel, a perfectly sweet strawberry — your mouth starts watering in anticipation. The sound of water moving, bubbling, or gently rushing over rocks takes away the stress, and our favorite bed linens are the ones that feel amazing against our skin.
It stands to reason, then, that colors make a difference in how we feel, react, relax or don’t. We’ve shared in the past how important it is to make your bedroom the best possible haven you can. Today as the official start of summer is less than a week away — and here in my neck of the woods, it’s already over 100ºF (or 37.78ºC for every single person outside of America) outside — we thought we’d shed some light on how color can turn that place where you lay your head into a welcoming and even cooling experience as you embrace a return to or a revision of whatever routine these last six months of 2021 have in store for you.
“Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.” From “Over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen & Yip Harburg
You probably aren’t surprised to learn that the color blue is perhaps the top of the list for rest, calm, and sleep. It is soothing and cool, relaxing and immersive. Our brain is even geared for accepting blue more readily than other colors because of the ganglion cell receptors in our retinas. These make us more sensitive to blue over other colors and when we look at it, our brains receive this message that wherever we are is a place of calm. Isn’t that nice? This then gets your heart rate down and that’s great for slipping under the sheets and drifting away. Add the fact that it also helps you wake feeling happier and more refreshed, and blue is a winner.
“But green’s the color of spring, and green can be cool and friendly like…” From “Bein’ Green” by Joe Raposo
Nature has a soothing effect on us, and green reminds us of the outside, natural world — forests, fields, trees, plants. Going to sleep and waking up in a room that has touches of green make us feel rested and even rejuvenated. It also helps you get in harmony with your surroundings. There is a lushness to green, a sense of well-being and wealth — cash — and freshness that inspires us and makes us feel renewed.
“...yellow excites a warm and agreeable impression… The eye is gladdened, the heart expanded and cheered, a glow seems at once to breathe toward us.” Johanne Wolfgang von Goethe
Yellow is a bright, happy color that at first glance, may not seem to support that “soothing, calming” effect you go for when you sleep. It is, however, a hue that many of us are glad to see when we get up in the morning for the “bright, happy” feeling it gives us when we glance around our room. It is a color of hope, possibility, and light. Even the subtlest touches spark joy inside, pulling our eye in a way that sends us off to sleep with a good feeling and a warm glow.
“I love your orange laughter. I am moved by the sight of you sleeping.” Pablo Neruda
One of the coolest things about the color orange is that when you see it, your mind tastes it. It is the only food that is named for its hue. How cool is that? Oh, sure, there are green grapes, blue potatoes and so on, but no other consumable is literally known simply by its color. Oddly enough, it is believed that “orange” is not only warm and happy, but looking at it helps with indigestion. This seems to fit because eating an orange in moderation helps with digestion in general. And if looking at it and eating it helps keep your stomach happy, then you’ll sleep better. Delicious.
"A profusion of pink roses bending ragged in the rain speaks to me of all gentleness and its enduring." William Carlos Williams
There is a welcome softness to the color pink. We’re not talking Pepto Bismal or “My Little Pony” pink here. This is about the more muted, delicate tones that are actually very comforting and subtly soothing. And while it’s been pushed as a feminine color since forever, you and I both know this simply is not the case. Pink adds a spring into anyone’s step when handled in the right way, and when you place it around your bedroom, it creates a sort of calm, zen-like feeling that even those experts in Feng Shui recommend. It exudes positivity and is considered “the color of love.”
“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” Langston Hughes
Silver is pretty neutral and it is rather peaceful. If it’s not brassy and more dusky and muted, it seeps into your mind slowly and creates a sense of calm. And that’s what we’re going for in our bedrooms — a place to be at ease and wholly relaxed. Silver does that, even helping us reflect upon our day or how we’re feeling inside, and inspiring us to move forward, embrace change — even setting us on a cleansing path and releasing those things holding us back. With its ability to infuse us with a sense of mystery and heightened sensitivity, silver evokes that feeling of journeying onward that can make for some pretty interesting dreams.
“Colour my world with hope…” From “Colour My World” by Chicago
With all of these colors, the recommendation is to go muted and subtle, not bright. Earth tones are what jazzes our psyche and create a more welcoming, relaxing environment. Matte instead of eggshell or glossy is also recommended if you’re painting walls as well as whatever you place around your bedroom.
Colors that don’t work? Well… red — too energetic; purple — really stimulating; grey — in contrast to silver, it is UN-inspiring; and brown — which in its most basic form is considered gloomy.
By the way, as with all things we share, these are just suggestions. Everyone’s taste is different and if something brings you joy, then add it to your space in whatever way makes you feel good. Because at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.