6 Bedroom Layout Mistakes You’re Making, According to Home Stagers

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We’ve all heard the same advice: Make your bedroom a shrine, a retreat, a peaceful space. But what if you can’t seem to achieve that goal? It can be tough, after all, if your bedroom doubles as a home office and a private TV room away from kids or roommates.

Home stagers have some pretty strong opinions when it comes to designing bedrooms. Ahead, six mistakes you might be making in your room, and six quick fixes to make it all feel more zen.

Mistake #1: You’re neglecting your bedroom

You know the drill: Friends are coming over, so you make your living room look picture-perfect while relegating all the piles and disorder to your bedroom. If that sounds like you, make this the year you give your bedroom the respect it deserves. “As time goes by it’s easy for your bedroom to become a low priority because no one sees it except for you,” says Amanda Salles, co-owner of Salles Interior Staging in New York City. “But don’t put yourself last.”

Quick fix: Give your bedroom some love — dump the extra papers and magazines you’ve yet to read and accent the space with a vase of your favorite flowers or a cheery plant, Salles says.

Mistake #2: Your bedroom looks like a furniture showroom

If you’ve ever walked into a room that’s packed with big pieces of furniture, you’ve probably reacted the way I do: Becoming overwhelmed and maybe even a bit anxious. “Crowding too much furniture, especially right by the entryway, isn’t going to make your bedroom feel serene,” says Leslie Eicher, owner of Staging That Sells in St. Louis, Missouri. “After all, you want your bedroom to be a place to retreat from the world and recharge.”

Quick fix: Even a small room can seem more spacious if you use fewer pieces or smaller-scale furniture. “For example, instead of chest-like nightstands, use end tables. And instead of a solid six-drawer chest, opt for open shelving,” Eicher says.

Mistake #3: Your bedroom isn’t scaled correctly

Picture this: A king bed is surrounded by tiny side tables, which are topped with even tinier lamps. That kind of incorrect scaling is a major mistake home stagers see. “If you have a big bed, you need big bedside tables with big lamps,” says Justin Riordan, an interior designer, architect and the founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency, a home staging company in Portland, Oregon.

Quick fix: Keep in mind that the top of a bedside table should be level with the top of the mattress and the top of the lamp should be at eye level when you sit up in bed, Riordan says.

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Mistake #4: Your bedding is blah

Your bedroom will look dated if your bedding looks vintage — and not in a good way. “Gone are the days when all of the linens in a room should have matching patterns,” says Lydia Bass, owner of Fruitful Interiors and Staging in Atlanta.

Quick fix: Consider doing a better job building your bedding picks. “I recommend picking out a neutral comforter and then adding personality by layering on throw pillows in coordinating patterns and textures,” Bass adds.

Mistake #5: Your bedroom looks like a dressing room

The first step is admitting you’re a shopaholic. The second step is downsizing. Bringing in a garment rack for your closet’s overflow isn’t going to establish that zen vibe you’re seeking.

Quick fix: If you can’t bring yourself to Marie Kondo your extra clothes, think of getting a storage bed. “These have a pneumatic lift system that provides tons of space,” Salles says. “It’s like having a garage right in your bedroom.”

Mistake #6: Your bedroom is poorly lit

If you’re in a rental and are still using the hideous overhead lighting that came with the place, turn the switch off and find an alternative. Harsh lighting is the opposite of cozy.

Quick fix: One large center chandelier or modern statement fixture will create a focal point and give a bedroom drama, Salles says. “Remember to have lots of light in your bedroom,” she says. “For example, keep lamps on bedside tables and place a floor lamp behind an easy chair so it’s functional as well as bright.”