Designing a bedroom is very exciting, and there are many different ways to approach it. In this article, I’ll provide a full guide on how to go about it. But first, here’s a summary of the overall process for decorating a bedroom.
When decorating a bedroom, first, begin by deciding on the layout of the room. This starts with the size and where the bed will be located. After that, choose the color:
Then additional furniture like mirrors, and a desk.
Each of these steps has various things to consider. There are a bunch of simple tips that can really improve the functionality and look of a bedroom. Below are each of these steps in detail.
If this is the first bedroom you’ve decorated, or you have a bit of interior design experience, this article will cover everything you need to know and more.
Step #1: Choosing the Layout of the Bedroom
Space is a limiting factor for a bedroom, and this controls where the bed is positioned and how big the bed can be. Other factors that also determine where things in your bedroom will be located are:
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- the door
The most classic bedroom layout is a hotel layout, which is a tried and tested layout. You can’t go wrong with this layout as it’s practical and straightforward. This is where the bed is centered on one wall, with a bedside table on either side. This can form the basis for your bedroom layout.
For children’s bedrooms that have a bunk bed, or tend to have a smaller single bed, having it against a wall is generally better. It provides more space for kids to play. Adults typically don’t spend much time in a bedroom, so not utilizing the space to the max isn’t as much of a concern.
If the bedroom is on the smaller side it is sometimes not possible to position a bed in the center of the room so it will need to be located on one of the walls. Positioning the bed creates the basis for the layout of a room.
An interesting thing to consider with where to position the bed is incorporating Feng Shui principles in your room. I’ve personally tried this and although it seems a bit woo-woo, I’ve found the principles also help you feel more secure in your bedroom.
The layout of furniture can affect your psychology. For example, one of the principles of Feng Shui is to not have the back of the bed in a space where there is movement. Such as:
- a bathroom
- another bedroom
- a window
- a staircase
When you sleep this affects you on a subconscious, primal level. This is because your mental state isn’t being affected by movement or subconscious fears that someone could break into the window right behind your head.
As humans, anything coming from behind is a danger because our eyes are positioned in the front. So, having a calm tranquil environment behind your head when you sleep does a lot for your well-being.
Step #2: Choosing the Color, Texture, Theme
The color of a bedroom affects the feel. For example, certain colors have a subconscious psychological effect. Red signals anger and excitement and green has a calming effect.
Not only is the color important but also how the color fits in with the:
- other fixtures
- textures you will have
- colors in the rest of the home
For example, if you get a rug color that clashes with the color of the walls. Or the carpet color can clash with the color of the bedspread. Therefore, a bit of planning is required.
A good rule of thumb is to choose a color scheme. It generally looks best to have a color scheme that matches the colors in the rest of a home. This creates a sense that everything is connected to each other. For example, if your lounge is white, and has light brown furniture, at least one of these tones should also be included in a bedroom.
However, for a child’s bedroom, they might also really like to have something completely different that makes it feel like their own special place in the house.
There are various design principles for choosing colors. There is a monochromatic color scheme where you choose one color, and then all of the colors in the room are different shades of that color.
- Walls can be white with a very faint blue tint.
- The carpet can be a very light shade of blue.
- Accents like curtains and bedding can be dark blue.
Another option is to use neutral colors which are:
Combine these with one ‘accent’ color you really like. An accent color is used in very small amounts such as on the floor trim and the window sills.
Overall, a bedroom should use mostly very light tones. This creates a feeling that is:
Choosing Textures for a Bedroom
The look of a bedroom can be greatly enhanced by adding different textures. This can be:
- a rug
- the curtains
Some textures have an earthy rustic look, whereas others look fluffy and comfortable. Mixing up different textures provided they match your color scheme works great to give a bedroom a wow factor.
Choosing the Finishings Such as Door Handles
The main thing with finishings is to aim to get them to match, such as the:
- door handles
- light fixtures
- handles on a dresser
For example, rather than having some that are silver, and some that are bronze, have them all be the same color.
This takes advantage of a well-known design principle known as consistency. Doing so is more pleasing to the eye.
If the room is going to have a desk or a couch or chair for reading and for clothes. Try to get the feet and details to match the other finishings when possible.
When this isn’t possible a neutral color that won’t clash with any of the colors in the room is best such as:
Step #3: Deciding on the Type of Flooring to Use
You may already have existing flooring that you want to keep. Or, you may want a completely different type of flooring. The flooring you choose depends on the climate of the area.
For example, in tropical climates like Florida, you should go with:
These types of flooring don’t insulate the room and make it too hot like carpet can. For temperate to cold climates, you can also use these types of flooring, as well as carpet.
Carpet comes in a few different types. Some are better for high-traffic areas like hallways, and entranceways, whereas others are better suited to a bedroom.
I’ve explained the pros and cons of the different types of carpet in this article about installing carpet in a bedroom. It also has a full cost breakdown including installation and carpet underlay.
All of the options are very good, and what you ultimately choose is a matter of personal taste. One major difference with carpet is it’s more sound insulating than:
This makes for a quieter room, and the noise inside a room can’t be heard as easily throughout the rest of the house.
Step #4: What Type of Curtains to Use
According to designer Karla Dreyer, it’s important to think about how you want the bedroom to feel. Different types of fabrics create a different feel for a bedroom, for example:
Here’s a summary of how different fabrics can make a room feel:
- Linen: casual, relaxed, welcoming, warm
- Velvet: luxurious, stylish, formal
- Silk: same as velvet, luxurious, stylish, formal
- Lace: light, airy
- Cotton: plain, simple
The other thing to consider is if you want curtains to be a focal point of the room. Curtains can draw a lot of attention in a room if they have a pattern or bright color to them, such as a colorful flower design or an alternating pattern of triangles and straight lines.
Neutral-colored curtains like white or gray, and ones without a pattern at all blend into the rest of the room.
A curtain rod can be installed at a few different heights above the top of the window. A tried and true position to hang the curtain rod is halfway in between the top of the window frame and the ceiling.
This creates a sense of symmetric which is pleasing to the eye. However, if you hang the curtain rod as high to the ceiling as you can it will make the ceiling look taller. In a small room, this can create the illusion that the room is bigger.
Curtains can also be of different lengths. How long or short the curtains are creates a different feel. Here’s how the different lengths of a curtain change the feel of a room:
- An extra long curtain: a foot or more on the floor gives a formal look.
- A little bit of fabric bunched up at the floor: 6 inches or less gives a romantic look.
- Only just touching the floor with no overhand: gives a contemporary modern look.
As you may be aware, there are also what are called blackout curtains, sold on Amazon. They can be installed as a liner for your curtains so that they are virtually invisible. It has been found in studies that the darker a room is when you sleep the more restful sleep you get.
Step #5: The Type and Style of Lighting
There are various kinds of lighting fixtures and a range of different ways to light a bedroom. As a general rule, try to maximize natural light and use artificial light (light bulbs and lamps) to make up the difference.
There are now LED lights which are better than the traditional light bulb. They last a very long time, around 10 years. Whereas regular light bulbs only last a year or two before they need to be replaced.
You’ve likely also seen LED strip lights like these on Amazon, which look really cool and can be installed as a novelty. But, there are also LED strip light casing that turns the Christmas light look into a smooth and futuristic-looking light strip. These look great to accent features in a room such as the underside of the bed.
For a full discussion on LED light strips, and installed LED lights on the ceiling refer to this full guide I put together about LED lights for a bedroom. It covers how many LED lights you will need for a bedroom based on the area of the ceiling, as well as best practices for installing LED strip lights.
What Lighting Fixtures to Use
For the lighting fixtures, you can go for a more minimalist lighting fixture or something more ornate. The most minimalist light fixtures are what are called recessed LED lights. These are flat and installed into the ceiling for a continuous flat surface.
More ornate lighting fixtures can be made of glass or metal like this gorgeous one sold on Amazon.
The sky’s the limit with lighting fixtures and is a matter of matching them to the look and feel you’re trying to create in your room. For example, if you want the room to feel elegant and luxurious go with lighting fixtures that match this theme. Or, if you want something simple and minimalist go with recessed LED lights.
If the person using the bedroom likes to read in bed before going to sleep, a bedside lamp like this one sold on Amazon is a good idea. The main thing with lamps is to choose ones that match the color scheme.
Step #6: Using Mirrors for Functionality and to Make a Bedroom Feel Bigger
Mirrors are good to evaluate an outfit from head to toe before leaving the house. But they can also serve to make a bedroom feel bigger. There are a few options with mirrors. One is to install them as sliding closet doors to create a large full-length mirror from the top of the closet to the floor.
This saves space on another wall that can be used for:
There are a few principles for hanging pictures and photos on a wall that make them look really good. I’ve explained the design principles for hanging art and photos in this article about how high to hang art and photos. It explains how to hang:
- single pieces of art
- one picture frame
- hanging clusters of art or pictures
Other options are to install a mirror that covers:
- most of an entire wall
- a half wall
- narrow and full-length
One downside of a very large mirror in a room is it can be a bit disorientating. I’ve lived in rooms that have a full wall mirror, and those with just one small mirror. In my opinion, both look nice.
Step #7: The Type, Size, and Style of Furniture
There are some key pieces of furniture to put in a room. But, there are also considerations for each of these pieces of furniture, and which to include or not. Below is a full rundown of how to decide what type of furniture to use, and why or why not.
#1: The Size of the Bed
The size of a room dictates the bed size. If the room is small the only option is to get a single, or twin XL bed. However, if the room is large enough for any sized bed then the other main consideration is who is using the bed.
|Age of Person||Bed Size|
|Child||Single or single bunk bed|
|Teenagers or young adult||Double bed or twin XL|
|One adult||Double bed if space allows|
|Two adults||Queen or king|
|A couple, plus children sleep with parents||King|
A bed larger than a single bed for children isn’t required since they are too small to use all of the space. A bed bigger than a single can also make a child feel a bit anxious when they sleep because there is so much room for them on either side.
If two children are sleeping in the room then a bunk bed like this one on Amazon is the most space efficient. Children also tend to find a bunk bed really fun, although it can lead to a few arguments about who gets to sleep on the top bunk.
For teenagers and young adults, a double bed is plenty of room. A queen is typically too large for 1 person and the extra space is a bit of a waste. When the bedroom is a guest bedroom the most budget-friendly option is a double bed.
However, if you regularly have couples come and visit, then a queen size or larger is best. A double bed is slightly less comfortable for two people compared to a queen-sized bed.
If the space allows, a king-sized bed is great for a couple. It provides more than enough room and feels very spacious. Depending on how large the people using the bed are, a king-sized bed can be required to feel comfortable.
Some couples like to have their children sleep in the same bed. If this is something that you’re thinking about doing down the line, or know you want to do, then get a king-sized bed. A queen is too small and will feel cramped with two adults, and at least one other child in the bed.
#2: What Height the Bed Should Be
Another key factor about a bed, other than the size is the height of the bed. This becomes a factor for shorter people and for elderly people with less mobility than young and middle-aged people. Therefore, the bed needs to be a comfortable height to get in and out of.
Now you’re aware of the best bed for the type of person that is going to be using it, and what height it should be. The main thing is also to test drive beds, to make sure they will be wide enough, and the right height.
#3: Planning How to Use the Space Under a Bed
There are a few different bed designs. Some have drawers underneath the bed and others have a large area underneath the bed. Both can be good ways to save space in a bedroom. A bed with drawers is much easier to access whatever you’re storing underneath the bed. Otherwise, you will need to pull out the items in front to access the ones further back.
It’s also more organized and accommodates clothes storage, which would otherwise require a separate dresser space. A bed with drawers underneath can free up needed space in a small bedroom. However, drawers do change the look of a bed, so if space allows you may prefer the elegance of a bed frame that has four corner posts.
#2: Using a Clothes Chair or Reading Chair
Sometimes a bedroom is large enough that you can have a reading chair. This is particularly comfortable and can also serve another purpose: to lay out clothes for the next day, or as a place to put your clothes when you take them off to hop in bed.
Any style of chair works if it’s only used for clothes. But, if you also want to use it as a reading chair, then go with something that’s as comfortable as possible.
A good option is something in between a lounge chair and a dining room chair. A medium-sized chair with a soft cover on it makes it really comfortable to sit in and relax.
#4: How to Plan Out Where a Desk Will Go
It often makes sense to have a desk in a bedroom. Particularly, if you would like an uninterrupted space to do:
- play computer games
The size of the room and the position of the bed will dictate how big and where a desk can be. Ideally, you want to position a desk so that when a person is using it they can see the door. This is good because they can focus on the work more.
Otherwise, it can feel like you need to keep looking over your shoulder. Generally, it means the desk needs to be on the wall closest to the foot of the bed or the wall on either side of the bed.
#5: To Have Bed Side Tables or Not?
Bedside tables provide some convenience but can make you feel a bit insecure when you sleep. For example, in the back of your mind, you might worry about rolling over in your sleep and knocking over a lamp. It is a matter of personal preference.
For a more minimalist look, opt to have no bedside tables at all. However, if you like to read in bed before going to sleep then a bedside table provides a good place to put a lamp. That way you don’t need to get out of bed to turn the lights off.
It also provides a good place to store:
- TV remotes
- eye masks
#6: Placing a TV in the Bedroom
A TV in a bedroom is convenient, and many people have certain TV series that they absolutely love to watch. However, various studies have now made it clear that a TV in the bedroom is not good for:
- The amount of sleep a person gets.
- Cognitive and learning abilities.
- Maintaining healthy eating habits.
It has also been linked to making people less sociable, so in general, it’s best to avoid having a TV screen in a bedroom.
#7: Minimum Things You Need for a Bedroom
At a minimum, the only thing a bedroom really needs is a:
- somewhere to put clothes
To go full minimalist a bedroom would have just a bed. Everything else is optional, such as:
- A chair for clothes or to read
- A dresser
- A desk
- A TV
However, the advantages of these other items are they make a room more homey and comforting.
These are the major things to think about when decorating a bedroom. Other minor things can be added after like:
These smaller items are also very easy to move around and change, so they provide a lot more flexibility.