Caroline Donofrio's empty apartment

After I planned to never move again, something surprising happened…

“I have news,” whispered my neighbor, when I ran into him on my way out of the building. I was expecting him to say something like, “M&M’s are on sale at Rite Aid,” but instead, he shared that he and his wife were relocating to Europe, thus leaving behind their apartment with an actual YARD.

In New York City, an apartment with private outdoor space is like encountering a unicorn with a winning lottery ticket — something you cannot ignore. And so, after sixteen years in this city, and three years in my previous apartment, I took the plunge… down four flights of stairs, into my new space.

I figured moving within the same building would be a breeze. “Who needs boxes?” I thought. “I’ll just put everything into tote bags and make a million trips down the stairs!” This was a bad plan. Do not do this.

In the end, though, it was definitely worth it. The ceilings are gloriously high. The kitchen is user-friendly (my last one was not). There is room for an actual home office! And again: YARD. But here is the one thing I can’t figure out: What color do I paint the bedroom?

Here’s what you need to know before answering this question: The bedroom is a cave. As in, it completely lacks windows. (Have you ever tried to sleep in a cave? It’s amazing! It’s quiet and cozy and juuuuust dark enough that I can sleep soundly until morning, like some sort of teenager.) But what color should it be? What are the best options for a room that could double as Gollum’s lair?

Here are four candidates, straight from my Pinterest board…

What Color Paint Should I Choose?

1) My first instinct is to paint it light gray, like Jenna Lyons’s former living room. It’s got a hint of drama, but not too much. Plus, since gray is a non-color, I likely won’t tire of it. But will gray look drab? Will it feel like waking up inside a raincloud?

What color paint should I choose?

2) The next option is green, particularly a deep saturated green, like Jenna Lyons’ current hallway. Has a color ever looked so regal? Yet I must ask the obvious question: Do I really want green walls? Or do I just want to be Jenna Lyons? (Insert thoughtful emoji.)

What Color Paint Should I Choose?

3) The third option is just to get cray with the color and paint it this cheery pink. You only live once, right? But I fear that my waking life could start to feel like a boundless bottle of Pepto.

What Color Paint Should I Choose?

4) The final option is to lean all the way into the cave and embrace the drama, with a color as dramatic as can be. When I asked the guy at the paint store what color one should paint a verrrrry dark bedroom, his response was, “As dark as possible!” He explained that when you paint a dark color in an already dark room, it creates the perception of depth and tricks the eye into thinking the walls extend farther than they do.

What color would you choose? Do you have any favorite colors I’m missing? Let’s discuss…

P.S. A colorful Seattle home, and a purple-filled Brooklyn townhouse.

(Jenna Lyons’s living room by Melanie Acevedo via Domino, Jenna Lyons’s hallway by Simon Watson for The New York Times, pink bedroom by Dean Kaufman for New York Magazine, black bedroom via We Are Scout.)