October 2, 2022

You spend nearly one-third of your life in your bedroom—shouldn’t it be a place that dreams are made of? While you likely have the basics covered (comfortable mattress, appropriately dim lighting, sumptuous rug to sink your feet into each morning), there are plenty of next-level upgrades to transform your sleeping space into an even cozier area.

We turned to six top designers from Decorating Den Interiors, a network of individually owned and operated interior design franchises throughout the U.S. and Canada, for their advice on how to cultivate calm in your most personal of spaces. From piling on the throw pillows to finding pieces that spark joy, their thoughtful tips will set the stage for better sleep.

Paint the ceiling a calming hue

lynne lawson and laura outland bedroom

Lynne Lawson & Laura Outland/Decorating Den Interiors

Give your eyes a restful respite when lying in bed by coating the ceiling, rather than the walls, a soothing blue-green like Sherwin-Williams’s Rainwashed. “It’s really relaxing and subtle,” says designer Lynne Lawson of the pleasing mint hue she and Laura Outland used on this tray ceiling. The choice, she notes, is “reminiscent of the ceilings on New England outdoor porches.”

The partners at Maryland’s Lawson Dream Team are also fond of the brand’s Serenely, a pale blue-gray. It’s a “chameleon that seems to morph to match almost any decor,” notes Lawson.

When going colorful up top, they suggest staying neutral with the rest of the space. “To keep things calm and serene in a bedroom, we like to use light cool or warm grays on the walls—or, of course, white,” says Lawson.

Keep it soft and serene

michelle jett decorating den interiors bedroom

Michelle Jett/Decorating Den Interiors

Remaining on neutral territory with natural elements and soft shades “allows for a calming and clean base to rotate out accent elements according to preference or season,” notes Michelle Jett, owner of Michelle Jett Decorating Den Interiors.

With a more muted palette, adding depth with luxe fabrics is key, explains the California-based decorator, who pulled in a faux fur blanket and accent pillow “to add a soft, yet thicker texture.” She also included a tufted blanket and beaded pillows for “a polished edge.” Another trick? Use softer diffused lighting. Says Jett, “It helps a person wind down from a stressful day.”

Simplify the color palette

angela palmer and emilie morrison bedroom

Robert Peterson/Decorating Den Interiors

Consider this the design equivalent of cleaning out your closet. “When accents are placed in a room that are opposites on the color spectrum like green and red, the eye stops to notice the difference,” explains Angela Palmer, founder of Georgia-based Palmer Kay Design. “However, when the palette is simplified and colors are complimentary, the eye sort of meanders and it creates a more relaxed feeling.”

Selecting shades that complement the landscaping outside the window in this space, she commissioned a custom faux silk-covered headboard, crushed velvet bench, and luxe poly-cotton blend curtains in a saturated cerulean. The color plays well with the dark woods and tonal green of the walls, painted Benjamin Moore’s Camouflage.

Add a seating area to unwind

barbara elliott and jennifer ward woods bedroom

Barbara Elliott & Jennifer Ward-Woods/Decorating Den Interiors

“A sitting area makes the room feel like an oasis by giving the homeowner a place to relax without actually being in the bed,” says designer Barbara Elliott.

She and Jennifer Ward-Woods, the Atlanta-based duo behind The Sisters and Company, relied on a velvet chaise and two bronze nailhead-studded ottomans to create this bedroom spot. In a smaller room, says Elliott, “a space next to a window or corner can work.” While a piece of art and an area rug will help delineate a lounge area from the rest of the room, really all you need, she notes, is “a place to sit, a place to put a drink, and a light source.”

Make it joyful

michelle jett bedroom design

Michelle Jett/Decorating Den Interiors

Choosing items that spark joy can truly elevate your mood in a room, says Jett, who leaned into her client’s love of the beach with a shell-studded chandelier and textured wallpaper. “The perfect marriage of statement and subdued,” she raves of the metallic wallcovering. “The structure of the design changes depending on the lighting and where you are in the room, which provides wonderful movement.”

“Don’t be afraid to bring in elements or color palettes from your hobbies,” advises Jett. “Pulling in subtle patterns, textures, and color schemes from the things that bring you joy not only personalizes your space but also makes for an inviting home for you and your guests.”

Layer rugs to define a sleep zone

samantha stigitz bedroom design

Samantha Stigitz/Decorating Den Interiors

Go ahead, lay it on thick. Placing an area rug on top of an already carpeted space “helps to define the room,” explains Samantha Stiglitz, owner of Delaware’s SJS DESIGNS. It lets you “create cozier portions of the room,” And the right rug—like this blue, gray, and ivory medallion design—can add warmth “by bringing in color and pattern to the floor space,” she adds, “almost like artwork.”

The trick, she says, is to embrace double-sided carpet tape that “will keep the corners snug to the floor.” Also key: Don’t mix and match pile heights. A thick rug atop low-pile carpeting could lead to tripping, while a lower pile rug on shag carpeting is more likely to show buckling from the furniture.

Bring plants in, and keep clutter out

natalie cox dresser bedroom design

Natalie Cox/Decorating Den Interiors

Looking to grow a feeling of serenity? Exercise your green thumb. “Adding natural elements like plants to your bedroom can create a soothing atmosphere and help purify the air,” notes interior design consultant Natalie Cox. She’s partial to the structural look of the snake plant and movement of the pothos.

The Ottawa-based founder of Natalie Cox Design likes to group three plants together for the most visual interest. She recommends varying the heights “to create a nice vignette” and choosing simply designed pots to allow the greenery to remain the focal point. That also means sweeping away any excess tchotchkes: “Keeping surfaces free of clutter, save for a few well-placed plants, gives your room a casual calming lived-in vibe.”

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