Color Combination Ideas for a Bedroom

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Wave a color wand over the bedroom to change it from predictable to arresting. At the end of the day, you need your meditative retreat, the volatile teen plugs into her high-energy charger, the houseguest dreams of the ultimate boutique hotel, and your significant other would love to live in a modern art museum. You can have it all, by flinging up a little paint and fabric in beguiling combinations only you could have imagined.

Primary Palette

  • Start with the basics but make a cramped, spare bedroom your own unmistakable red, yellow and blue statement with unexpected layers of color and pattern. Cover walls and ceiling in navy-and-white toile -- fabric or wallpaper -- and define the room's boundaries with trim, baseboards and crown molding in pure, glossy white. Upholster the headboard and foot-of-bed bench with clear yellow linen and add a bedskirt of box-pleated turquoise, edged in navy. The box spring gets a padded, fitted cover in bright red, and the duvet cover is sky-blue with a simple double red stripe appliqued along the top and bottom. A red and navy oriental carpet goes over the hardwood floor, and a chandelier with topaz glass pendants hangs overhead.

Buffer Zone

  • You don't have to explode the paintbox to make an impression. Whitewash walls, ceiling and trim, including exposed brick walls. Preserve the dark, stained hardwood floor, but cover most of it with a rough-woven, pale, unbleached fiber rug. Go minimalist on windows with plain white pull-down shades -- no curtains. Do the same for the bed; an unbleached linen bedspread has texture but little color. Now punctuate the very Zen neutrality with a tobacco leather and black wire butterfly chair, throw pillows in elephant, pewter and matte silver-gray linen and cotton, a couple of gray-toned, unframed photographs on the walls, and a shiny, chrome-plated bedside lamp.

Flags Flying

  • Pick up the pace but don't get manic and fry your eyeballs. Bedrooms are meant to be mostly restful. Paint the ceiling and the walls with vertical panel molding, in an absolute chalk white. Bleach or whitewash dingy old plank floors into a pale platform for a simple Mid-Century Modern white nightstand on wire legs and a frameless bed, casually dressed in white sheets and pillow shams. Hang bleached linen Roman shades over the windows. Now channel some Mark Rothko to add blocks of color to your cloud-like oasis. Paint one section of wall between the vertical moldings in vibrant, overlapping, rough-edged slabs of tangerine, flaming red-orange, lipstick red, stark white and navy. Arrange two decorative pillows covered in the same tangerine and flaming orange against the white pillow shams. Fold a faded lilac velvet throw over the end of the bed.

Pink and Sheers

  • Embrace your inner Barbie, or your teen's cotton-candy decor leanings, and slather pink all over a bedroom. But get it right, with plenty of pattern and texture, to conjure up an enchanted fairy lair or a lavish castle chamber. Pink lemonade walls and ceiling, with glossy white trim, crown moldings, baseboards and window frames puts you in Candyland. Hot pink sheers over white shades cover the windows. Temper the sugary sweetness with a twine-colored sisal rug on the floor and matching twine-colored crinkle-chiffon-over-linen upholstered headboard. Taffeta or rough-woven bedspread and pillow shams in the same sunny pink, with touches of purple and straw, striped with ethnic patterned designs, mix in the mystique of teeming bazaars and caravanserais. Antique gold hardware on the two-tone pink armoire and the ombre-pink glass chandelier is a glitzy reflection of the straw and twine shades. Jumble melon, royal purple and gold metallic silk throw pillows on the bed.

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