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Paint your way to a better sleep

This unexpected and dramatic colour scheme features walls in Resene Ocean Waves and a headboard in Resene Night Magic.

Here’s a figure that might surprise you: one in four of us suffer from a chronic sleep issue, while nine out of 10 of us report waking up at least once a night.

There are many reasons for this, from feeling too hot or cold to stress, anxiety and a brain that just won’t shut off.

Here’s another reason – the way your room looks. Experts believe the colours on your bedroom walls can have a huge impact on your mood, mental wellbeing, even how you sleep. While some shades evoke relaxation, others can stimulate the mind and make you more awake.

That includes shades such as bright reds and oranges because, say those who know about these things, the brain associates red with intensity, passion and danger, which aren’t great for sending you off to the land of nod.

We asked Resene paint expert Jay Sharples about five of the best colours to paint your bedroom to help ensure a good night’s sleep.

No need to be blue

“There’s a reason blue is one of the most popular colours for bedrooms,” says Jay. “Blue is associated with feelings of calm and serenity and research shows that it can reduce the heart rate, which is helpful when it comes to drifting off to sleep.”

While all shades of blue get the ‘helps with sleep’ tick, Jay suggests opting for lighter shades such as Resene Duck Egg Blue and Resene Half Periglacial Blue. If, however, you’d prefer a darker blue, try Resene Coast which can help create a more relaxing and deeply cocooning ambiance, without being too overstimulating, which darker colours sometimes can be.

Going green

At the similar end of the colour wheel is green which is also a good shade for bedrooms because it’s said to be the least demanding colour on the eye.

“Green also connects us to nature and bringing in the outdoors is a good way to make you feel relaxed and create a sense of tranquility,” says Jay. So if you’re looking to create a restful feeling in your bedroom, reach for Resene Rainee or Resene Secrets.

Opting for a darker green paint, such as Resene Half Rivergum, can also lend a cosy atmosphere.

It’s all white

For many of us neutral walls are where it’s at. Not only do white, taupe, beige and mushroom shades cast a relaxing, calm light, they can also help to create a stylish, airy sanctuary.

“Choosing neutral colours for your bedroom can not only make a room seem larger but can also bounce the light around it depending on which way it’s facing.”

Jay suggests dipping into Resene Half Rice Cake or Resene Half Wan White or warmer neutrals such as Resene Eighth Sisal or Resene Quarter Spanish White.

Think pink

Pink is becoming more common as a neutral because experts say it is a colour that evokes calm, nurturing emotions.

“Pink is a physically calming colour but is also playful and nostalgic, taking people back to their childhoods.”

So if you’re the sort of person who ends each day a stress ball of tight muscles and frazzled nerves, then a soft, muted pink could work for you.

Jay suggests Resene Eighth Biscotti or just a hint of pink such as Resene Half Sauvignon.

Fade to black

It might not be the most obvious choice, but experts say that black – or charcoal – walls can make your bedroom appear larger and cosier, and may even improve your sleep.

However, there are tricks to making these dark hues work and avoiding the room becoming too oppressive.

“I’d suggest painting the walls in a soft black, such as Resene Element, and pair it with a warm contrasting off-white such as Resene Half Bianca. This will give good balance and create an elegant and calming look.”

This bedroom features walls in Resene Ravine, a grey-toned green that's easy on the eye. It pairs extremely well with light greys and neutrals such as Resene Sea Fog, Resene Secrets and Resene Concrete, resulting in a clean, crisp and modern look.
With walls in full strength Resene Rakaia and a floor in Resene Quarter Rakaia, this bedroom relies on three other character neutrals: Resene Shark on the headboard and bench, Resene Santas Grey on the bedside table and Resene Jimmy Dean on the basket.

Making it work

So you’ve picked your colour but how do you go about creating your dream bedroom? Preparation is key, with much depending on whether the wall is new or has been previously painted. If it’s the former, ensure it’s clean and has been sealed with either Resene Broadwall Waterborne Wallboard Sealer or Resene Waterborne Sureseal.

If the wall has been previously painted, wipe it down with a cloth and Resene Interior Paintwork Cleaner and water. “Fill any gaps with Sika Fill That Gap Interior and any holes/voids with Resene EzyFill Quick,” says Jay. “It’s best to sand and spot prime any ‘filled’ areas with Resene Quick Dry primer. Gather your materials, including paint rollers, brushes for cutting in, masking tape for skirting boards and light switches to prevent paint splatters from the roller. Also ensure the floor is protected with drop cloths.”

When it comes to choosing your paint, most bedrooms are finished in low sheen – Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen or Resene Zylone Sheen – or for master bedrooms Resene SpaceCote Flat. These lower sheen finishes give a more soothing finish than higher gloss finishes. For the ceiling use Resene SpaceCote Flat and Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel for trims and joinery.

Pour around one litre of paint into the roller tray and work the roller well into the paint. Make sure you have the right sleeve for the job. Then decant about half a litre of paint into a paint pot.

In terms of the actual painting, Jay says it’s important to use whichever size brush you’re most comfortable with. “An angled PAL Legend brush is perfect for cutting in.”

Holding the brush, load it with paint, carefully tap the brush to remove excess paint and cut in one wall at a time. Roll the excess paint off the roller and attach the extension handle which makes it much easier.

“Once you’ve loaded the roller with paint, starting at the top, roll out an approximate one metre square and repeat below until the wall is coated. Then moving away from a light source, ‘lay off’ the paint. Starting at the bottom, do this by starting about 5cm above the skirting, drop down to the skirting and roll up gently in one fluid motion. Overlap by around half the length of the roller and repeat along the length of the wall. This helps to achieve a uniformed finish.”

And as much as you might be in a hurry to get the job finished, Jay stresses the importance of allowing the products to dry before applying a second coat. Wrap your brush and roller in a reusable plastic bag to help keep the paint fresh while you wait for the first coat to dry.

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