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The 5 Best Bedroom Colors For Children With Autism

Stephanie-Abi-Zeid.

Parents of autistic children can find it challenging to paint a bedroom. 

Not only do they need to manage the safety and comfort of the room, but they should also select the right colors.

The best bedroom colors for autistic children are muted greens, powdered blues, pale pinks, pale violets, soft oranges, and neutrals – like gray, beige, ivory, and earth tones – due to their soothing and calming effects.

The worst bedroom colors for autistic children are bold colors with a high saturation like red, yellow, orange, vibrant blue, and even stark white because autistic children are likely to see these colors as being fluorescent and overwhelming – potentially causing anxiety and overstimulation.

The rest of this article gives you 5 specific color palettes to use in your autistic child’s bedroom along with 6 steps that you can follow to create a calming sensory bedroom.

Alternatively: if you’d like to find the most comfortable and suitable mattress for your autistic child to help with their sleep, then check out my list of the best mattresses for autistic children here.

The 5 Best Bedroom Colors For Autistic Kids

The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders has provided evidence on the prevalence of sensory impairments in children with ASD [1].

The children in this spectrum can perceive colors more intensely in comparison to normal children.

Therefore, bright and bold colors should be avoided as they can make children with sensory issues feel overwhelmed and disoriented.

Below are 5 of the best paint colors that you can use in bedrooms for children with ASD (you can copy the hex values (#) into the Adobe Color Wheel to create your own palettes):

1: Green

Green is a color associated with nature and growth.

Green colors are soft and very soothing and can invoke a feeling of joy and tranquillity in children.

Light hues of green are helpful in stress management, as they can dissipate the signs of agitation and chaos that children with sensory issues experience. 

Suggested autism-friendly green color palette:

Autism Friendly Green Bedroom Color Palette.
  • 1: #898C6D
  • 2: #4B4D3C
  • 3: #C8CDA0
  • 4: #D3D9A9
  • 5: #AEB38B

2: Blue

Blue has also been nominated to be a favorable color for children with autism.

The color is often described as neat, relaxing, and secure.

Light blue hues help to create a pleasing and serene environment, which helps put your sensory-sensitive child into a calm state and encourage positive attitudes and interactions.  

Here’s an autism-friendly blue color palette that you can try:   

Autism Friendly Blue Bedroom Color Palette.
  • 1: #5B7A85
  • 2: #304045
  • 3: #88B5C4
  • 4: #90C1D1
  • 5: #769EAB

3: Pale Pink and Violet

Pale pink or violet are endearing colors to your sensory-sensitive child, as they evoke feelings of safety and love.

They bring the sweetest atmosphere into the room, making it easier on autistic children to focus on the task at hand, and at the same time to relax and sleep when it is bedtime.   

Below is an autism-friendly pink and violet palette that you can adapt to your own taste:

Autism Friendly Pale Pink and Violet Bedroom Color Palette.
  • 1: #FFDBCF
  • 2: #FFD3CF
  • 3: #FFDBE1
  • 4: #FFCFEF
  • 5: #FACFFF

4: Soft Orange

Orange is considered to be a bright and cheerful color.

However, when choosing the right tones, you can add a nice warm glow inside the bedroom.

Select a pale and muted orange paint color to create a warm and comforting space for autistic children.

Children with ASD will therefore feel safe and comfortable with no distress.   

Here’s some soft orange colours that you can play around with:

Autism Friendly Soft Orange Bedroom Color Palette.
  • 1: #F0D8A8
  • 2: #F0D0A8
  • 3: #EFCDB4
  • 4: #F0BBA8
  • 5: #F0B0A8

5: Neutrals

Neutral colors such as gray, beige, ivory, and earth tones are non-distracting colors that help accommodate children with autism.

Muted colors have a calming effect on sensory-sensitive children, and encourage concentration and learning abilities.

Although white is a neutral color, it creates an unpleasant environment for your autistic child for being too bright, dull, and tiring on the eyes.

Here’s a calming neutral palette that you can work with and adapt as you see fit:

Autism Friendly Neutral Bedroom Color Palette.
  • 1: #D6CCB2
  • 2: #E0D2BA
  • 3: #C9BDB1
  • 4: #E0C8BA
  • 5: #D6B9B2

How to Create a Calming Sensory Bedroom

The bedroom of a sensory-sensitive child should never be a space of discomfort and isolation – it should be warm, calm, and safe.

However, parents whose children are on the autism spectrum may find it difficult to pull off a calming sensory bedroom space.

When creating the best calming sensory bedroom for children with Autism, you should first pick calming colors, dim the lighting, reduce noise, eliminate clutter, select a sensory-friendly mattress and bedding, and then finally remove electronic devices from the room.

Here’s how you can pull off a calming sensory bedroom in 6 steps:

1: Choose Calming Colors

Strong colors with a high saturation are disruptive to kids with autism because such individuals have a higher sensitivity to stimulation in comparison to normal kids.

Bright and bold colors like red, yellow, and stark white are over-stimulating and can be incredibly disturbing.

Therefore, limit the use of vivid colors to lightweight toys and accessories that can be easily stored away out of sight whenever needed.

Conversely, using calming colors can typically set a perfect atmosphere to help children with ASD decompress when they are feeling overwhelmed and agitated; they can calm their pulse rate, reduce their tension, and enhance their concentration.

Therefore, select soothing colors that are pale, soft, and muted such as pale pink, pastel green, light shades of blues, lavender, peach color, and neutral colors.

If your kid has a favorite color, make sure to choose a lighter version of this favorite color to create a more comforting and peaceful setting, and to avoid overstimulation.

2: Soften the Lighting

Kids with autism also have a sensitivity to light – with bright or fluorescent lights and excessive sunlight often being perceived as disturbing.

Allow natural light to enter the bedroom for daytime activities – incandescent desk and floor lamps can be used when there isn’t enough light in the room.

Consider getting blackout curtains to block the sunlight when too bright during the daytime, or the lights outside the windows from street lamps and cars during nighttime.

Make sure your child has softer lights for the evening – install a dimmer light to adjust the brightness of the light according to your child’s requirements.

Most sensory-sensitive kids with autism have sleep disorders due to low levels of melatonin release at night.

So in order to help promote sleep, add red night-lights for they can increase the levels of melatonin and put the child into a state of tranquility and relaxation.

3: Reduce Noise

Children with autism can also be sensitive to sounds.

You see them often trying to cover their ears with their hands to block out the noise.

Therefore, choose soundproofing materials to make your child’s bedroom the most sensory-friendly space possible.

When it comes to flooring, use a carpet or lay down a rug to decrease ambient sounds in the room while cushioning our footsteps.

Carpets are quieter, softer, and warmer to walk on than hardwood and tiles.

However, if you don’t want to put a carpet in your space, choose vinyl planks rather than real wood for your floor because they provide better sound absorption.

When it comes to the walls, reduce noise through the use of materials such as wall hangings, heavy curtains, and big pieces of furniture to be placed against the wall. 

4: Create a Clutter-Free Space

Clutter and disarray can evoke anxiety in children with autism.

The best that you can do in this case is to remove the visual chaos that is lingering around and be minimal in your furniture selection.

Use storage options such as wall shelves and drawers where you can keep items within reach but also out of sight.

Add multi-purpose pieces of furniture such as a bed with a trundle or extra drawers underneath.

You can also add a few baskets and plastic storage containers to store toys in order to clear up the floor from clutter.

5: Remove Electronic Devices

Children with ASD may be more sensitive to electromagnetic fields emitted by electronic devices.

In fact, some studies suggest that spending too much time on screens and electronic devices such as TV, phones, and computers can cause autistic-like symptoms; they are associated with an increase in anxiety levels, disturbed sleep, and attention deficiency.

With that being said, remove all electronic devices from the bedroom to avoid overstimulation because the use of electronic devices can be hypnotically disturbing for sensory-sensitive kids.

6: Select a Sensory-Friendly Mattress and Bedding

Children with ASD have a poorer quality of sleep in comparison with normal children.

They sometimes have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night.

Therefore, it is very important to find the right bed frame, mattress, and bedding that meet the needs of your sensory-sensitive child.

First, if your child is a warm sleeper and tends to sweat through the night, look for a bed with slats that are spaced at least 1.5 inches apart.

The slats promote proper airflow and prevent heat from being trapped inside the mattress.

You can also choose a breathable mattress made of latex or natural fibers.

Avoid sheets that insulate heat like polyester and silk, and make sure to lower the temperature of the bedroom to promote a cool sleep environment for your child.

Second, if your child is a side sleeper, consider looking for a memory foam mattress to cushion the hip and shoulder pressure points while keeping a neutral spine alignment (but NEVER allow a baby or infant to sleep on a memory foam mattress since this can potentially lead to suffocation and death [2]).

So whatever you choose, make sure it matches best with your child’s needs and preferences.

Finally, if your child is tenser at night and has a tough time loosening up and settling down to sleep, use a compression blanket or sheets.

The soft material of compression bed sheets cradles your child and stays in place to induce a feeling of security and safety. 

Check out my list of the best mattresses for adults and children with autism for some high quality options.

Related Questions

Below are the full answers to some of the questions related to painting your autism-friendly bedroom:

What is Autism Color Therapy and Does it Work?

In general, colors affect our mood and attitude.

Certain colors can stimulate the brain and evoke feelings of enthusiasm or danger, while other colors can trigger tranquility and peace of mind.

Color therapy refers to the use of colors and their wavelength to help treat some physical and emotional ailments.

It can involve projecting a specific color on a certain body part, or looking at a particular color with the eyes.

Due to some neural deficits and eye-structure anomalies, children with autism perceive colors more intensely than normal children.

Color therapy in this case is a great tool that helps you understand how your autistic child responds to different colors.

Light and muted shades of colors like soft green and pale pink help them stay calm and focused, whereas bright colors like red and yellow can lead to tantrums.

The results of color therapy sessions vary from person to person.

However, once you become aware of the implications of colors on your autistic child, you will be able to set up a better environment for your kid in order to relieve the symptoms and mood disorders.

What Are the Worst Bedroom Colors for Autism?

Full intensity colors such as red, yellow, orange, and shiny blue create a very distracting environment for children with ASD and are considered to be the worst bedroom colors for children with autism.

Sensory-sensitive children perceive bright colors as fluorescent, which can have negative impacts on their mood and overall health; they increase blood pressure and pulse rate and lead to anxiety and perturbation.

Therefore, bright colors and patterns should neither be used in bedrooms for children with autism nor in children’s medical clinics.

Stark white should also be avoided because it could appear cold, depressive, tiring on the eyes, and may remind your autistic child of unpleasant medical visits at the doctor.

How Else Can You Make a Bedroom Autism-Friendly?

As mentioned in this article, children with autism perceive things more intensely in comparison to normal kids.

The lights look brighter, the sounds louder, the smells stronger, touch and taste also feel more intense.

To make a bedroom autism friendly, remember that comfort is key.

So besides choosing calming colors, here are a few other things you can consider:

For daytime activities, children with autism need to stay calm and concentrate on the task at hand.

Make sure that the bedroom is clutter-free and that hazardous items are stored away.

Also, make sure that plenty of sunlight can enter the bedroom because children with ASD respond well to natural light.

However, curtains serve as a good option to block out the sun when it is too bright.

A sufficient amount of sunlight will improve energy levels and attention of your kid, but too much light will disturb and agitate them.

On the other hand, you need to promote a sense of safety and comfort inside the room.

A sensory pea pod is a great piece of furniture that serves as a cozy nest for your sensory child.

This piece of furniture helps the kid feel safe and rested when tense and overwhelmed.

For night-time, children with autism need to fall asleep and stay asleep without any distractions.

To ensure maximum comfort, keep noise to a minimum.

Use a sound machine that plays white noise to block out sounds such as the air conditioning sound or car sounds.

You can also play some meditating music to prepare your kid for bedtime.

Implement relaxation by purchasing a mattress and bedding that meet the needs of your sensory child.

A weighted blanket or sleeping bag is a great option to help your autistic child unwind and relax.

Sensory toys are also self-soothing items that the child holds and squeezes when seeking comfort.

Furthermore, create a visually soft environment by installing a dimmer light to adjust the intensity of the lights inside the room, and curtains to block out the lights from street lamps and cars.

Conclusion: Focus on the Overall Ambience

Creating the ideal bedroom for your autistic child starts with choosing the right colors – such as greens, blues, pale pinks, soft oranges, and earthy neutrals.

The next step is to consider the ambience of the room as whole – softening the lighting, reducing noise, removing clutter, and eliminating electronic devices.

Choosing the right sensory-friendly mattress is also critical.

Click the button below to see the best mattresses to buy for your autistic child now.


Sources and References

[1] Springer – Describing the Sensory Abnormalities of Children and Adults with Autism. Accessed 7/11/20.

[2] Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics – SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. Accessed 7/11/20.

Medical Disclaimer

No part of this article is designed to replace the advice of your doctor or a qualified medical professional and is for informational purposes only.

Image Attribution and Licencing

Main image: ‘Modern Kid’s Bedroom’ by KhongkitWiriyachan (Getty Images) – used with permission in line with the terms of Canva Pro’s One Design Use License Agreement.

Color palettes: screenshots from the Adobe Color Wheel.

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