This Is What to Invest in First for a Bedroom, According to Design Experts

published Aug 18, 2023
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Studio apartment living and bedroom space with white walls, wood or laminate floor, neutral sofa, armchairs, bed with blush and white bedding, ornate gold mirror, large flower painting over white credenza, window with white sheer curtains
Credit: Erin Derby

No one wants to have an uncomfortable bedroom, but sometimes, when you’re decorating your sleep space, it just happens. Maybe the walls need to be repainted or the light fixture is far too bright. Given that this space has one defined purpose — for you to unwind, recharge, and get in a deep sleep — dealing with these less-than-ideal details can be especially tough. 

If you’re ready to turn your bedroom into the restorative haven you deserve, then you should start with an investment piece that will underscore your big plans. What item will really give your bedroom hotel-worthy vibes? I asked three interior designers for their advice, and when it comes to the one furniture piece to invest in first, here’s what the experts had to say. 

Credit: Minette Hand

A Cozy Rug

Designer Amy Vroom, owner of The Residency Bureau, knows that what she’s about to recommend probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind — but it makes a big difference in creating an inviting environment to sleep in. “Investing in a soft, quality rug is a good place to start when designing your bedroom,” she says. “Because it anchors the space, it’s a great way to bring in color and pattern and work the other elements around it. As the first and last touch points of your day, you should make it a good one.”

Vroom favors wool carpets, as they’re easy to keep clean and can add warmth while dampening sound (a major plus when you don’t live alone). She advises noting the pile height of the rug, which will determine how soft it is underfoot, as well as the size of the knot, to determine its quality. “The tighter the knot, the more time it takes to make and the more expensive the piece will be,” she notes. “If you’re looking for a vintage rug, check for wear in the rug’s weave and be sure it has been cleaned. If it isn’t clean, be sure to get it cleaned.”

Finally, if you’re hoping to achieve a designer-esque space, Vroom advises measuring for a rug that stretches at least two feet out from under a bed. She shops for rugs on Etsy to make it as customizable as possible, while also having the opportunity to shop throughout the world, but doesn’t trust a price that’s too much of a bargain. 

“If the price seems too good to be true, it’s probably for a reason,” she says. “There are many synthetic rugs on the market that are appealing from a price perspective. They aren’t going to wear as consistently as a rug made from natural fibers, and they won’t last as long, so your short-term investment is just that: short.”

Credit: Julia Arceri

An Upholstered Bed

The bedroom centers around one piece of furniture — ahem, the bed — and designers Katie Orr and Rachel Humphreys of Humphrey Orr Interiors agree that it’s the key investment you can make in this space. 

“If you invest in a nice bed, you are guaranteed to use it for many years,” Orr says. “Even if you move, your bed will likely fit in your future home, while other items like dressers and nightstands might not fit as well depending on room dimensions.”

As you’re shopping for this item, Orr and Humphreys recommend paying particular attention to the frame’s materials and how those pieces are put together. It should go without saying, but move on if the joints are glued or haphazardly stapled in place. “We also believe in purchasing investment pieces that will withstand new trends and styles,” Humphreys adds. This means embracing frames that likely aren’t all over your Instagram feed. 

In keeping with their philosophy that a quality bed is worth the money, this design team also says that getting one custom-made from a durable wood and then upholstered in a fabric of your choice is ideal. “This makes the room feel cozy and comfortable,” Orr says. “Stick with a high-quality fabric, like wool, velvet, or linen.” Look for a local craftsman to work with if you go the custom route.

Or if you’d rather just buy what Orr and Humphreys recommend, they’ve sourced from Maiden Home and Serena & Lily for client projects. Other solid readymade options include Crate & Barrel or CB2, West Elm, Lulu and Georgia, or The Citizenry, which launched a line of beds made in the United States earlier this year. 

A Vintage Bed

Don’t have the budget for a custom-made bed built by a local craftsman but want something super unique that no one else will have? Designer Jesse DeSanti of Jette Creative shares the belief that a bed is the smartest investment, and has a workaround for anyone on a tighter budget. To potentially save money on your investment, DeSanti suggests vintage shopping. 

“Solid wood is one of the materials I see lasting the test of time for a bed, even more than the style of the bed,” she says. “This can be an heirloom that’s passed down through generations, or it can be purchased as a vintage item and still have the same value.”

DeSanti shops for solid-wood beds on Chairish and Etsy, and then has fun with linens that can be changed as trends evolve. She notes that as long as your bed is made of solid wood — and not something like MDF — you can rest assured that it’ll last. Look for markings that indicate composition or furniture brand labels, which can also provide a clue about the bed’s craftsmanship.