13 Do’s & Don’ts for Bedroom Design
No matter what your decorating style, these design solutions will turn your bedroom into the oasis you’ve always wanted.
DO: Make It Your Private Sanctuary
Because the bedroom is a private space, it sometimes ranks last on our list for decorating attention, even in the most decorated homes. The irony is that because of its importance to our overall health and wellbeing, the bedroom should actually be the best room in the house — a place where we love to spend time. It should be a beautiful, relaxing space; a welcoming haven from everyday stresses.
DO: Use the Right Colors
A powerful design tool, color should most definitely be used to effect in the bedroom. Opt for shades that are restful and soothing, like soft greens, blues and lavenders, or lush hues that tend to create a warm and cozy feeling, like brown, amber and persimmon. Monochromatic palettes are also a good choice and tend to keep the mood subdued.
What you don’t want to do is go color crazy. Save those bright yellows, oranges and reds for other rooms in the house, as they will distract from the relaxing vibe you’re trying to create. Instead, use toned-down versions of your favorite colors, such as pumpkin orange rather than tangerine.
DON’T: Forget the Ceiling
Consider adding an eye-catching color to your ceiling to visually lower it, giving your bedroom a more cozy, intimate feel. One way to do this is by painting the ceiling a slightly lighter version of the wall color. Simply request the paint store reduce the color by 20 percent for the ceiling paint.
Aside from just adding color, the ceiling also makes a great place for stencils, decorative paint treatments, wallpaper, or adding architectural elements like beams and moldings. Other options to add interest are uplights that wash the ceiling in warm light, or a unique light fixture, like an intricate medallion or sparkling chandelier, to create a focal point and add to the room’s ambiance.
DON’T: Skimp on Storage
Most people don’t think of piles of papers and overstuffed drawers when they envision a private sanctuary, so take steps to get rid of the clutter. The key to a clutter-free space? Good storage. Integrate hidden storage anywhere you can so that everything has a place. This will give your room a sense of calmness and order, and effectively remove the stress caused by clutter.
DO: Use Dressers as Nightstands
Small dressers on either side of your bed not only serve the same basic function as nightstands, but offer much more in terms of storage space. They allow you to keep bedtime necessities like reading glasses, books and magazines hidden out of sight, while within easy reach.
DON’T: Neglect the Foot of the Bed
If you have the room, a small bench or settee is a nice addition to the foot of the bed. However, if you need extra storage space, consider a trunk or storage bench instead. They’re great for holding extra pillows and bedding when not in use.
DO: Seek Out Clever Bed Solutions
Beds have come a long way in the last 20 years. Consider finding the perfect bed for your situation — like a headboard with built-in shelves, or a bed with slide-out drawers underneath. There are even beds featuring mattresses that lift up to expose a large storage cavity.
DO: Invest in an Organized Closet
Although a more expensive investment, built-in closet systems don’t waste an inch of potential storage in that space. They do wonders to help keep everyday closet chaos contained and not spilling over into the bedroom proper.
For those operating on a limited budget where new furniture or a closet renovation are not an option, consider taking advantage of the space underneath your bed instead. Storage boxes that slip under the bed and are hidden by a dust ruffle are an excellent solution, and cost-effective.
DON’T: Overcrowd the Space
One sure way to kill the tranquil, soothing vibe you’re trying to develop is to overfill the room with a labyrinth of furniture, or add a bunch of accessory items that will ultimately serve as dust-collectors. Instead, try to keep the bedroom simple and sophisticated. Keep in mind, the look you’re going for is restful, serene, and elegantly understated.
In fact, for smaller bedrooms, use only the furniture that is absolutely needed: a bed, nightstands, and maybe a small side table and a cozy chair. Consider putting your dresser in the closet to free up valuable floor space.
Also, when planning your furniture layout, think about the flow of the room. Make sure there is at least 3 feet between the bed and walls or taller pieces, like armoires. Leave at least 2 feet between the bed and low furniture, and do your best to keep traffic paths unobstructed.
DO: Bring in Tactile Appeal
Texture and touchable elements are a powerful way to bring softness and comfort to the bedroom. While cozy bedding is a must, go a step further by draping a soft throw over the arm of a chair, covering the walls with textured wallpaper or fabric, or adding a plush rug to your bedside.
DON’T: Overlook Lighting
Get rid of any single, glaring overhead lighting that produces harsh shadows, and instead try layering lighting throughout the room. Like any other space, your bedroom will need ambient (general, ceiling-mounted) lighting that illuminates the entire room; task lighting (wall sconces or bedside lamps) to provide focused light for reading; and accent lighting (torchieres, wall sconces or art lights) to add ambiance and wash the room in soft light).
Less is more when it comes to accessories in this space — use them sparingly. One solid piece of art and a handful of simple accents are really all that is needed. Be sure the accessories you choose are in harmony with the style and theme of the room.
That being said, your bedroom is first and foremost your own personal space. Make sure it is full of items you love — special travel mementos, nostalgic family heirlooms, or pieces that simply speak to you and represent your unique style.
DON’T: Shortchange Windows
Window dressings are another opportunity to bring texture, pattern, color and softness into the room, and actually frame the window and the view. Do your windows justice by finding the window dressing that not only meets your functional needs, but also adds to the room visually.
For instance, thin curtains or poorly sized shades and blinds are going to allow light to penetrate the room, which isn’t helpful when you want to indulge by sleeping in. Instead, choose drapes with thicker, more opaque fabrics that will effectively block out the sun’s glare, but can also be pulled aside to allow natural light into the room. If you prefer the look of gauzy, sheer curtains, consider pairing them with opaque roller blinds that can be pulled down to block out morning light.