5 Bedroom Design Mistakes You Might Be Making (& Their Fast Fixes)

updated Feb 18, 2020
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A Bright (Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

Because our bedrooms aren’t typically on public display, their designs are often overlooked as we’re busy renovating our kitchens and sprucing up our living rooms. But even if we only use our bedrooms as a spot to sleep, we’ll still end up spending up to one-third of our lives here. To give this room the attention it deserves, we’ve ID’d some bedroom design mistakes you can fix before your head hits the pillow.

Mistake #1: Choosing the Wrong Bedside Table

Warm (Image credit: Ana Kamin)

It doesn’t necessarily matter what you use as a bedside table—even a chair can stand in for a nightstand—but choosing a piece that’s the right height and size is essential. I’ve found that the right height, both functionally and aesthetically, is at about the same level as the top of your mattress. If the table is too low, reaching for a glass of water in the middle of the night will feel just slightly uncomfortable (or be a recipe for spilling disasters). It’s an incredibly small change, but you’ll notice the difference.

Mistake #2: Limiting Your Lighting

Make sure your bedroom has multiple lighting options; a mix of both task lighting and adjustable ambient lighting is the winning combination. To determine what type of task lighting you’ll need, consider how you use your bedroom and design your lighting around your lifestyle. For example, if you read in bed every night, you’ll want a bedside lamp or sconce (preferably one you can switch off without getting out of bed). A soft, shaded lamp that can be dimmed will let you adjust the desired brightness for day or night.

Get Smart: The most convenient way to adjust the lighting or switch off a lamp without having to jump out of bed is to invest in smart light bulbs. The Philips Hue bulbs can be controlled by a motion-activated sensor, a dimmer switch, or the Apple HomeKit, so you can ask Siri to hit the lights while you’re cozy under the covers.

Mistake #3: Placing Area Rugs in the Wrong Spot

I see it so often in the most stylish of homes: Beautiful bedrooms without a soft landing beside the bed, or a gorgeous rug positioned at the end of the bed, rather than beside it. To make the most of cozy ground cover, place it where it will be most appreciated when you wake up in the morning. This is a super simple switch that can make every morning a little more pleasant. Study this handy guide for specific sizing details to make your floor-coverings work (beautifully) for your room.

Mistake #4: Not Giving Your Tech (and Chargers) a Proper Home

Some sleep experts recommend storing your tech devices away from your bed (and we suggest that you don’t use your phone as an alarm clock), but the truth is, most of us still keep our phones as bedside companions. If you don’t have room for a nightstand, consider buying a small shelf for your phone, like this marble one or this pretty brushed copper one.

Cord Control: Even once you find a home for your phone, you may realize that the charger cord’s too short to reach the nearest electrical outlet, or that your charger keeps slipping off your nightstand. Luckily, the fix is quick: Buy an extra-long charger (if you have an iPhone, Apple sells two-meter-long cords), and either invest in a charging dock (we like these iPhone options) or order some helpful cable clips (just $6 for 6 clips) that hook your charger to the tabletop. Trust me, you won’t miss the daily hunt under the bed for your dropped charger.

Mistake #5: Forgetting to Feng Shui Your Bed

When it comes to the optimal position for a bed, I defer to the principles of feng shui. According to this ancient Chinese philosophy for arranging your space, the bed should be in the “command position,” which is a spot away from the door, but positioned so that you can see the door. If your square footage permits, arrange the bed so there’s space around it (not in a corner), with the headboard against a wall. While these guidelines are based on beliefs about the flow of energy through a space, they also make a lot of practical sense. It’s helpful to be able to see someone entering the room, and leaving space around the bed makes it easier to move around. If you doubt that this simple change will make a difference, go ahead and try it—then let us know how it went in the comments below!

*Re-edited from a post originally published 2.10.17-BM