by Janice Anderssen
A bedroom is more than a sleeping space – it’s a space we can go to to escape to a calmer, more serene world that rests the mind as well as the body. Use these tips to transform your bedroom into a more beautiful and restful retreat.
What’s important to bear in mind when looking for ideas to create your dream bedroom is that everyone is different and has a different idea of how they want their bedroom to look. If you and your partner have an idea to create the perfect bedroom retreat, we offer some ideas and inspiration on how to achieve the look.
High-end hotels spend a lot of money of designing bedrooms that not only look stunning, but are also spaces where you can relax and unwind. Many interior designers use the hotel-style bedroom as a blueprint for their own interiors – rooms that are calm, relaxing and serene, with plenty of space to move around and furniture that is practical and beautiful to look at. If you are working on your own, draw up a basic floor plan, or work with your interior designer, to ensure there is enough space on all sides of the bed.
Calm without clutter
A disorganised bedroom filled with clutter is the last place to find a calm retreat. Eliminating clutter is not that difficult if you look at how to be more organised, or have space to add built-in cabinets. If the room has little or no extra space, add more shelving to the closet, fit mobile storage drawers underneath the bed, or use baskets to keep small items contained. Having everything in its place will help you feel free to relax in your bedroom.
The sounds of silence
Noisy neighbours, traffic on nearby roads, these are sounds that can have a harmful effect on your sleep patterns. One way to create a more restful environment is to introduce a low level of white noise into the bedroom to block out the sounds that disturb your peace.
Having lived close to a main road for many years, it was only after installing a ceiling fan to cool down the room during the hot, summer months, that I realised the ceiling fan also helped to mask the traffic noise. The gently whirring blades also mask out noise from neighbours and other sounds that would normally disturb sleep.
Another way to block out exterior sound is to incorporate plenty of thick fabric and textiles. A room with fitted carpets and underlay, with a layered window treatment, is far more sound-proofed than one with tiles or laminate floors and a single window treatment. When considering the options for a bedroom, don’t just think about the immediate room, but also the surrounding rooms and areas, and exterior situation. If you live in a townhouse or apartment, for example, and your bedroom butts against the next unit, you want to be absolutely sure that noise – both from within and outside the room – are contained.
A luxuriously upholstered headboard frames and finishes the bed and provides a soft place to rest your head. It also helps to dampen sound – both inside and from outside – the room. Whether you choose to make your own or have a custom headboard made, use medium- or heavy-weight fabrics and layers of padding for a headboard that becomes an instant feature in the room.
Colour to fit the mood
Choose paint colour for your dream bedroom based on the placing of the room and the atmosphere you want. In a room that receives plenty of natural sunlight you can use colours from the blue or green side of the colour wheel to help a room feel cooler.
Colours from the red side of the colour wheel will warm up a room that usually feels cold. A pale lilac or soft plum, for example, offers a refreshing colour option for both cold and warm rooms since it borders between the cool and warm hues on a colour wheel, and a lighter shade will lift up a room that does not receive lots of natural light.
You can further heighten the illusion of light, space and luxury by choosing the right accessory pieces for your dream bedroom. Reflective surfaces, whether mirrored or transparent, have the ability to disappear. Mirrored furniture has the advantage of reflecting and bouncing light around a small room, as well as giving the illusion of space, and these pieces definitely add a level of glamour to any bedroom. Ultimately, your budget will determine what you can and cannot afford, but bear in mind that even a simple bedside table sprayed in metallic silver will make a difference in a smaller bedroom.
From aubergine to deep blue, dark colours create a romantic setting that, when dressed up, look elegant and sophisticated. However, limit the use of darker colours in a small bedroom, as these have the effect of making a room appear smaller. If you want to add drama to a small bedroom, paint a single wall or a panel in a dark hue.
Size matters in a bedroom
When designing the layout for a bedroom it is important to take the size of the room into account. A bed that is too big will limit movement in the room, and limit the amount of space required for nightstands, a chest of drawers, or other furniture to be included in the room.
When shopping for new furniture, choose pieces that fit nicely into a bedroom. If you are designing or decorating a bedroom from scratch, take into consideration the furniture that you would like to have in the room and make allowance for it. For instance, you will definitely need room for a bed and bedside tables. But perhaps you also need space for a dressing table or chest of drawers. Or you may even want to have an ottoman or bench at the end of the bed. Plan for these in advance to ensure you have enough space to fit everything into the room.
Add luxury with fabrics and textiles
Spoil yourself with quality bed linens in plain colours or interesting patterns. Layering the bed with linens and cushions is an easy way to turn a plain bedroom into a luxurious retreat.
Use window treatments to add colour or pattern to a bedroom. It’s a good idea to invest in window coverings for the seasons. Airy, light curtains or sleek blinds allow in fresh, cool air in the summer months, while heavyweight fabrics will keep the room warm when the winter chills arrive.
Window treatments also add a level of soundproofing, so if your bedroom is close to a main road with lots of traffic, adding a layered window treatment will aid in blocking out noise.
As the main piece of furniture in a bedroom, the bed deserves all the attention. If you are looking at ways to give your bedroom a fresh, new look and feel, treat yourself to new bed linen. Add a comfortable duvet or comforter and top this off with multiple pillows of all shapes and sizes .
Try to avoid going overboard. Decorative pillows on the bed look gorgeous when the bed is made, but what do you do with them when it’s time to climb in? It can be annoying to have to remove them all, and they often just end up cluttering the floor. Use the principle of ‘Less is more’ when it comes to decorating the bed.
Turn down the lights
Lighting is important in any room, and just as important in a bedroom. Ambient lighting sets the mood and is perhaps the easiest form of lighting to choose. From bedside lamps that cast soft light in the evening, to modern LED lighting around the ceiling or headboard, ambient lighting allows you to turn down the level of light to create the perfect atmosphere.
Being able to adjust lighting in a bedroom can completely alter the atmosphere. Installing a dimmer switch creates a relaxing environment conducive to a good night’s sleep. Adding different levels of lighting also puts you in control of the mood. Most bedrooms have a central ceiling fixture, but also look at ambient lighting via bedside lamps or low-voltage ceiling lights.
Ideally, for a good night’s sleep you want to be able to lower the lights to mimic a setting sun. Dimming the lights about an hour before bed will tell your brain it’s time to shift into sleep mode, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
A beautifully decorated bedroom is one that has plenty of space to move around, makes your feel comfortable and relaxed, and has an atmosphere that soothes and calms. It is worth taking a little extra time up front to make sure you have a more efficient and functional plan for your bedroom.
If you’re stuck for ideas, you will find plenty of bedroom inspiration, decorating ideas and DIY project in our Bedroom Section. Putting together a mood board or collection of photos and ideas is a great way to decide what you like and what would work in your own bedroom.