There are a lot of daunting tasks you may attempt to take on as a homeowner, from trying your hand at landscape design to retiling your tub, but few DIY jobs can make as big an impact in as short of a window as repainting a room. When it comes to repainting your bedroom, you can take a room that you never think twice about and turn it into a cozy haven in almost no time.
Getting Started With Bedroom Painting
As anyone who has painted or done DIY projects can tell you, the most important part of the job is the job before the job. Preparing the space for painting, consciously and thoroughly, ensures that your final result is spectacular.
“Prior to painting, you need to thoroughly clean all the surfaces to be painted,” says Angie Lane, architect and interior designer at A. Lane Architecture in Tecumseh, Michigan. “For walls and ceilings, typically a wipe down with a dry or damp cloth will do. Baseboards and trim may require a bit more cleaning as they tend to accumulate dust.”
Once your walls are ready to go, it’s time to consider painting the room. Tools and techniques matter a lot. Not only should you choose high-quality paint to make your job much easier, good cut-edge brushes are ideal for cutting in where walls meet other walls or the ceiling. When it’s time to paint, you should have everything you need in one place.
“Cut in all the edges first, then roll the main surface,” says Samantha Black, interior designer at Freemodel in Los Angeles, California. “The edge will take a very long time, so plan for that. Start with an edge that is more easily hidden, those could be around a door frame or bottom molding behind where the bed will go. By the time you are cutting the edge where everyone will see near the ceiling you will have your technique down. Also, have some cotton swabs handy, preferably ones with pointy tips, as they help with edge straightening and stray paint while you edge.”
After technique and tools, the other big question a lot of DIYers ask themselves (and the internet) is whether they’ll need primer for their bedroom paint job. The answer isn’t cut and dried, and it really depends on your home and circumstances.
“In my experience, primer isn’t always necessary,” says Lane. “It’s recommended if you are unsure of the base coat of pain that you are going over. For instance, in older homes, the wall and trim paint might have been oil based and a primer is necessary to make sure the new latex paint adheres properly. Primer can also be helpful if the new color is lighter than the existing color, especially with lower quality paint.”
Choosing the Right Colors for Your Bedroom Project
There’s the right color for a bedroom and then there’s the color that’s almost right or entirely wrong. Sometimes it’s not easy to figure out what the right color should be, but there are tricks to help you get into the paint zone.
“I consider if the entire room is being redone or if you are working around existing furniture, rugs, art, and so forth,” says Lane. “I like to create a style board that shows all the elements going into the final room so that I can see if the paint colors are vibing with them or need to be adjusted. I also recommend painting a sample area on walls that receive different light so that you can see it in all the light conditions in the room.”
Sometimes your bedroom colors may mesh as if they’ve always been together, but still be wrong for the use of the room. It’s also important to consider the mood you’re seeking.
“When selecting a paint color for your bedroom, first consider the function of the room,” says Black. “For most people, the bedroom is a peaceful and serene place to promote relaxation, and the color should reflect those feelings. Color theory links your state of mind to the colors which surround you. Lighter, cooler, calming and neutral tones may be your best bet for a good night’s sleep.”
Color trends come and go, but this year’s popular bedroom colors evoke relaxing colors of natural spaces.
“Your bedroom should be a restful space, so it’s best to choose calming colors: whites, creams, blues, greens and even pale yellows,” says Diana Almeida, head designer at CoolAIid.com, in Miami, Florida. “Trending bedroom colors for adults are creamy whites and dark, moody neutrals like charcoal grays and deep dark blues.”
Along with choosing the right color, you have to consider the sheen of the paint, or how shiny it is, which can change how it looks on the wall. Very shiny sheens like gloss or semigloss are rarely recommended on bedroom walls, though they can be great for trim work. A more ideal choice for bedroom walls is a flat or eggshell paint, both of which can hide a lot of small flaws in drywall.
Tips for Painting Children’s Bedrooms
Although it’s easy to consider a kid’s bedroom to be all about them, sometimes it’s important to intercede when they’re attempting to choose their own bedroom colors. Certainly, you want to give them something a bit more fun than what you might choose for an adult’s room, but going too far into bright palettes can also be problematic.
“While it might seem tempting to paint a child’s room bright colors, keep in mind that their toys tend to be very brightly colored and already add color to the room,” says Almeida. “Color overload might make it difficult for children to find restful sleep. Avoid highly saturated energetic colors like oranges, reds and bright yellows. While they are great for workspaces, these colors make it difficult to achieve a restful state. You might also want to avoid a stark bright white, which can give the room a hospital vibe.”
If you choose to go with more standard colors for your child’s room, you can still do some fun things that don’t overpower the space or make it hard to sleep at night.
“A trend in kids’ bedrooms is painting a contrasting color on the ceiling,” says Almeida. “For example, white walls with a muted pink ceiling adds a fun detail.”
For kids who are more astronaut than princess, there are other options.
“A flat dark paint on the ceiling could be a neat option for those who would consider adding glow-in-the-dark accent stickers,” says Molly Cody, owner at Cody Residential in Kansas City, Kansas. “The beautiful thing about paint is that it’s easy. If in a few years your child grows out of their bedroom color, it can easily be painted again.”
A child’s bedroom is a rare exception to the “no shiny paint in the bedroom” rule. Although there are scrubbable paints in a range of sheens, a child who has a tendency to draw on walls may be best served with a shinier paint sheen. You can always repaint later when the child has grown out of that stage.
Final Words From the Pros
When painting a bedroom for the first time, there’s a lot to take in. Not only should you have the right tools and the right paint, you need to have an idea about how long it’s going to take to finish the job and where you’ll sleep during the necessary period of chaos.
“Before you start painting your bedroom, know that it probably will not be completed in one day,” says Black. “Plan on sleeping in another room during the process. This includes allowing for the paint to dry overnight.”
If you’ve read this far and are still not sure how to pick a paint that’s right for you, there are experts for that, too. As it turns out, you can bring in a third party to help you decide which of the dozen paint samples you’ve brought home is really the best one for your room.
“If you’re unsure about the color or sheen, reach out to a professional with your ideas for a quick paint consultation,” says Cody. “Since DIYers save on the cost of the actual labor, it will be well worth it to get the final signoff from a pro who will charge a nominal fee for that service.”