We spend almost a third of our lives in our bedroom, but for many of us it’s the room that gets the least amount of our attention and decorating dollars. We tend to focus on the living room or kids’ rooms or even the laundry room before our own space. Today I’m sharing a recent local design project and my tips for creating a more relaxing bedroom.
First off, let me offer a bit of transparency so that you know all the advice you’re about to receive is from a REAL person. (Keep in mind that while I design rooms like this one for a living, it is a constant struggle to keep my own bedroom tidy.) Exhibit A: These are actual thoughts that have floated through my head in the last week…
“How long has it been since I washed my sheets?” Sniff, sniff. “Yikes, too long.”
“How in the world did this doll/block/puzzle piece/playdo end up in my bed?!”
“Maybe I should tackle the mountain of clothes growing on the chair…nah. I wonder what’s on Netflix.”
SARAH’S MASTER BEDROOM
Before we get to the advice portion of the post, there will be a boat load of pictures. Because there’s lots to love in my client Sarah’s master bedroom. (Warning: Don’t let the pretty pics make you feel like your bedroom could win a “Most Neglected Room of The Year” award. I get it, sister. My room has been a contender for that prize many times.)
Let’s just call it “inspiration before motivation”.
My client Sarah has thing for bright and minimal rooms. Since I lean that way as well, designing this space felt really natural. We tackled her open concept living room first, and then I worked on this room. Besides a TV that would hang on a wall and a chair in the corner, everything in the room had to be found.
I love hunting for vintage finds, but when I can’t at least try to source eco-friendly home goods from places like ecoy.
This gallery wall quickly made it to the top of my favorites list. The canvases were from Art.com and all the other prints are from Minted.
The thing about Minted that I love is how easy it is to search for art in your accent colors.
(One area where I am NOT a minimalist is artwork…I’m running out of walls to hang things on, and my art stash is starting to take over the attic. This is one reason I love my job…I get to choose art without the bill or the commitment.)
HEADBOARD & BENCH LOVE
I loved the idea of a navy headboard to contrast the light bedding and play off of the wall color. I decided to pair the bed with a fun coral bench to rest at the end of it. BTW- a bench at the end of your bed is a #gamechanger. Three quick reasons:
1. It’s a handy place to pile pillows/clothes/children. (At least all the things are in one place:)
2. Putting on your shoes while trying to balance on a tall bed is sadly difficult for anyone over the age of 30. Bench to the rescue.
3. It really softens the visual impact of a bed in a room and adds a polished, layered look.
We chose not go with a rug in this room. My client wanted only the essentials and no “fluff”. Because she had brand new carpet and we already had plenty color in the space, a rug ended up on the chopping block.
DRESSER & DIY ART
I don’t watch the show, but apparently this is the same dresser that’s used in Orange Is The New Black. Totally unaware of its “celebrity” furniture status, the reason I chose this dresser was for the rich color and the stunningly simple design. The drawers are shaped so that the pulls are built-in. It’s so wonderfully efficient you have to love it. This is furniture design at its best.
The indigo art was literally a midnight DIY painting project the day before I installed and styled the space. It was supposed to be a place holder until a new piece came in, but my client ended up liking it, despite its resemblance to a piece of vintage ribbon candy. (That was not on purpose… Maybe it was a Freudian slip of the artistic kind. I was off sugar that week.)
ART ABOVE THE BED
I loved this piece of sculptural wall art we found locally, but it was just too small to work over the king size bed. I decided to use two pieces hung closely, and it worked so much better scale-wise for the space. Up close you can see so many different metallic hues, and it played well with the nail head trim on the headboard.
FOUR TIPS FOR A RELAXING BEDROOM
OK, so pretty pics of someone else’s home is great, but how does this help you? If you’ve been a reader long, you know I’m all about practical decorating advice to employ in your own home. Sometimes even minimal changes made with intention can greatly affect how we feel in our home.
If you are longing for a more relaxing bedroom this year, here are my four top tips…
1. Keep the styling minimal.
I’m not just saying this because I lean more towards being a minimalist than a maximalist. Your bedroom is one place where lots of decorative items can detract from a calm, soothing atmosphere. “Collections” quickly turn into clutter the minute your bedroom isn’t spotless. And let’s be honest…our bedrooms are rarely spotless. Also, it’s best to leave ample table top space in a bedroom. If every inch of your dresser or bedside tables are decorated, then they cease to be functional.
Housing items on a tray is a nice way to keep decorative items contained in a defined space. Some greenery, a picture, and a nice candle are the perfect trio for a dresser tray.
2. Choose artwork that reflects the mood you want to convey.
Art in a bedroom is key. Choosing abstract artwork or watercolor pieces is a nice way to set a soothing tone on the walls. For a relaxing room, steer clear of anything that’s too bold or graphic as it can add too much energy to the space. (Save those for common living areas or a room where you want to feel energized.)
Sticking with a similar color family is always nice because then artwork seems to flow effortlessly, even within a gallery wall of several different pieces.
3. Be intentional about your bedside set up.
Like to keep Kleenex, a notepad, or hand cream near by? Choose a nightstand with a drawer, so these things can tuck away out of sight. If you take your jewelry off last thing before you go to sleep, have a small bowl or box to hold items. If you tend to use your nightstand to house notebooks, an iPad/Kindle, or food (C’mon…we all eat in bed from time to time), then you’ll want to keep table top styling very minimal to accommodate these things.
And don’t forget lighting! I’ll go ahead and make a blanket statement here…
Everyone should have a bedside lamp.
That overhead thing that hangs from your ceiling? You know, the one with enough wattage for a police interrogation? Well, it’s great when you are trying to find that missing sock or packing for a trip. But relaxing in the evening? No way. You need occasional lighting in the form of table lamps in order to unwind.
4. Splurge on textiles.
And lastly… when it comes to textiles, more is more. This relates to thread count, variety of fabrics, and of course throw pillows. Now, I was raised in the South and we have a thing for our throw pillows.
(Ignore my #throwpillowhoarder tendencies and just trust me one this one.)
A well-dressed bed is the most luxurious thing you can have in a bedroom. Crisp sheets, layered fabrics and fluffy pillows are the hallmark of a relaxing bedroom. Dressing your bed should be the first priority in creating a relaxing space. Everything else in a bedroom is secondary.
*All photos by Meg White Photography.
**Affiliate link used in this post.
PS: If you’d like to see what my own bedroom looks like on a good day, you can head here.
PPS: Mark your calendars for February 17th… The Bookshelf Styling Class opens for enrollment in two weeks!!! (To get all the details as soon as it opens, pop your info in the box below.) If we are already e-email friends, keep your eyes peeled next week for something fun:)
Lovely and fresh – and I’m craving that bench! One more reason I need a bench? It’s bad feng shui to have your feet to a door (closet, bathroom etc) – a bench is a useful, beautiful ‘feng shui cure’. I just don’t like throw pillows: I know – how dare I be a girl and not love them! So I splurged on good quality cotton sheets – and got the pillowcases monogrammed. I too love art… and I don’t mind filling up walls but it’s got to be personal. Thanks for brightening up my grey day, Heather
That’s really interesting about about the feng shui. Didn’t know that! Ok, no judgement for your lack of throw pillow love. (But how?!) LOL. I love the idea of monogramming your pillows. Works for your decorating style and adds a little detailing. Brilliant. Thanks so much for sharing, Natasha:)
Christine McD says
Wondering what the ideal height is for bedside lamps?
Great question, Christine, and it’s not an exact formula but here are my guidelines to follow…Lamp size depends on your table height compared to your bed height. You want the table to reach about the same place as the top of your mattress, and you also want the lamp to be tall enough so you can read in bed. I find most people buy their bedside lamps too small. Some of my clients have been scared that the lamp shade should not be higher than the headboard, but in most cases the lamps is a few inches higher than your headboard. (Unless you have a very tall headboard.) Hope that helps!
Love the bedroom!! Where is that gorgeous bench from??
Thanks, Katie:) It’s the Reynolds Bench from Ballard Designs.
Thanks for the response. What fabric did you choose?
We did the queens velvet coral:)
Carol @ CAD INTERIORS says
You created a beautiful room, Heather! Great tips. Our (non-renovated) master bedroom needs a lot of help before it feels “relaxing” to me, but I think I’ll take your advice on splurging on textiles. I can at least dress the bed (and focus on that while ignoring the 70’s state of the room)! Ha!
Thank you, Carol!! Yes, yes-dress your bed and enjoy it!! (It can be a little relaxing “island”:)
Karen w says
Love the color combo! Where did the night stands come from?
Where did you find the pillows?
Heather Freeman says
They were from West Elm and Home Goods;)
Michelle Henry says
I love that it has just enough color and design so that it’s fun to look at but still tranquil enough to relax and sleep in. Thanks for sharing!
Nice bedroom and the way to set all the things in the perfect place is just wow.
Please keep it up. thanks. 🙂
Daniela - Sukhi says
Great ideas! Thanks for sharing them with us 🙂
Happy New Year