How To Do Bedroom Walls Right

Dear Daniel,

I'm ready to change the walls in my bedroom. How do I choose between a new paint color or wallpaper? Sincerely, Walled In

Dear Walled,

For starters, not to add confusion, but there are more options than the two you listed. The wall treatment I really advocate for in bedrooms is upholstery. Upholstering your walls adds insulation and dampens sound and just feels generally cozy like a little haven. For a really tailored look, you can upholster the headboard in the same fabric as your walls. But I digress...Generally, I save the boldest wallpaper patterns for the smallest rooms. That way, the pattern is delightful instead of overwhelming. If you're going to do a whole bedroom in wallpaper, I would pick one with a very small pattern where, at a distance, it feels quite solid, and only reveals its intricacies as you get closer. There are some wallpapers that just add texture to your walls, like grass cloth, cork, or other natural fibers. I love these for bedrooms too, because they add a lot of dimension to the wall without becoming visually chaotic.

I will say, on the whole, if I'm not upholstering the walls, I tend toward painting bedrooms because this is a room where I like to feel calm. I don't see the bedroom as the usual place for a pop of brightness, but more rich, warm colors that feel like a blanket. Black, red, mocha, deep chocolate, and olive are all richer colors that I love in bedrooms. I like rooms to be colors that are not overtly a certain color, but combinations. Blue-greens and red-oranges are great examples; I like to pick colors where people aren't sure what color to call them. No matter the color, in the bedrooms I always want warm undertones instead of cool ones to get the blanket-like feel. Unless blue has a lot of yellow in it, I don't like blue in bedrooms for this reason.

It's less about picking between paint, paper, and upholstery, but more about picking what makes you feel cozy in your space.

Sincerely, Daniel

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