7 Things a “Grown-Up” Bedroom Always Has

updated Sep 15, 2021
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Futons, bed-in-a-bag sets, plastic drawer organizers, and photo collages all have their time and place. (For me, it was circa 2004 in a basement rental in Boulder, Colorado, where the shower sometimes worked.) 

But once you ascend to being a “grown-up” (Is it when you’re 21? When cauliflower substitutes start replacing carbs? When you set your bills on auto pay?), you deserve some small luxuries like plush bedding and frames for your favorite poster.

So, if you’re craving a sophisticated-yet-comfortable space, here’s what every adult bedroom deserves, according to real estate and design experts:

Credit: Lana Kenney

A plant 

At Apartment Therapy, you’ll frequently hear us preaching the houseplant gospel. Put one in your office, it will boost productivity! Consider them as art for your living room! And, yes, let them purify the air in your bedroom and brighten up the space. A nice potted takes your bedroom to the next level, says Alejandro Braun, a San Antonio, Texas-based real estate agent.

“I’ve found that having greenery in a room gives it a more relaxed ambiance,” Braun says. “Plus, having something you can watch grow over months and years makes a room feel more established.” 

You can even order plants online—and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with going the faux plant route if that works for you.

A floor-length mirror 

From a design perspective, mirrors add depth to rooms and can help bounce light to darker corners, Braun says. But they’re functional, too: Give yourself a head-to-toe look before heading to work and you’ll notice you’re wearing two different black heels (guilty) or have an aggressive wrinkle crimping the back of your pant leg. (Hint: Target has a ton.)

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Seating 

If you’ve got enough square footage in your bedroom, add a place to sit, says Courtney Warren, a Dallas-based interior designer.

“Whether it is to put on your shoes, lay out tomorrow’s outfit, or drink a cup of coffee, being able to sit down is something that a grown-up deserves in their place of rest,” she says. Add a chair at the end of the bed or a bench by the window, Warren suggests. Who is ready for a cozy reading day? (You know; like a novel, not something from the syllabus like “Microbiology: A Clinical Approach.”)

Credit: Mackenzie Schieck

Layered bedding

Investing in high-quality bedding is a luxury you deserve. To really get this right, layer your bedding, says Ashley Peeling, regional marketing manager at CLV Group, a property management company. Take a cue from luxury hotels or stylists by going beyond a pillow-and-comforter combo by using some Euro square pillows to add height; pillow shams for extra sophistication; and quilts or blankets layered with your duvet for visual interest (as well as warmth). Throw pillows can pop in patterns and textures, too. To top it off, add a soft throw blanket.

A headboard 

We rounded up the types of apartments you’re likely to happen upon if you’ve been online dating for long enough. Among them? The mattress-on-the-floor types (and, from data I’ve collected, this is often accompanied by a moat of sneakers). It’s time to elevate your bedding situation… literally, says Molly Franklin, a licensed real estate salesperson with Citi Habitats in Brooklyn, New York.

“Every adult bedroom needs a proper bed frame and headboard,” she says. “Nothing says extended adolescence the way a mattress on the floor or the bare metal frame that came free with the mattress does.” Luxe and upholstered, or minimalist and industrial, a headboard simply brings polish to a bedroom, she says.

Window treatments 

Window treatments instantly elevate the bedroom’s aesthetic, says design expert Kathy Pereira of Kathy Pereira Designs in Tewksbury, New Jersey. But they also add an element of privacy, she says. “I usually recommend layered window treatments,” she says. That way, you don’t restrict natural light, but late-morning sleepers aren’t woken by the sun. 

Great lighting 

Naturally, you spend a lot of time in the dark in your bedroom catching those ZZZ’s. But, during your waking hours, having adequate lighting is essential, says Beatrice de Jong, consumer trends expert for Opendoor. “There should be real lamps, not holiday-esque string lighting,” she says.

You’ll want a mix of lighting sources in your bedroom, starting with natural lighting and adding in bright task lighting for reading or doing your makeup and accent lighting that’s dimmer and relaxing.  But, if you do love twinkle lights, try a few elevated tricks, like putting a string of them under a cloche.

Really, though, your bedroom is your personal space—so you don’t need anyone to tell you a fancy-schmancy white noise machine is better than the comforting hum of your trusty box fan. You’re the boss of you, which, I think we can agree is actually a good definition of adulthood.