4 Design Rules to Live By When Decorating Your Bedroom

updated Jun 4, 2021
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Unlike the rest of your space — which are designed, organized, and cleaned with guests and roommates in mind — your bedroom is all about you. Do you want to have a minimalist, zen oasis? Go for it. Want to go bold with a bright ceiling? Knock yourself out. Has it been a minute since you’ve folded your laundry? Don’t sweat it.

While your bedroom decor is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, it should be a happy space — and a happy space follows at least a few design rules. To help make your personal quarters look their best, we asked two designers to share their biggest dos and don’ts. Here’s what they had to say:

Add blackout curtains

The one trend that will never go out of style is a bedroom that’s actually designed with a good night’s sleep in mind, says Habiba Koroma, designer and principal at Biba K Design. If you feel the most relaxed in complete darkness, she recommends adding some blackout curtains to your setup.

“The bedroom is such an important space in our homes,” Koroma explains. “My first go-to bedroom decorating recommendation is to always use blackout window treatments to block light, which disrupts our natural sleep cycle. “

Go ahead, shop our favorite blackout curtains, pronto.

Credit: Camille Lai

Avoid LED lights

Blackout curtains might be an easy (and effective!) way to block out bright beams and nosy neighbors, but you’ll need to have some great lighting in your bedroom. After all, you don’t want to be tip-toeing through a pitch-black room. That said, Koroma says she’s very particular about which bulbs she uses.

“I tell clients not to use LED lighting, which emits a blue light known to interfere with our melatonin production,” she says.

While LED lights do produce blue light, some research suggests it’s no more than any other bulb. Still, if you want to err on the side of caution and make your bedroom a soothing sanctuary, go old-school with some incandescent lights. Or, if you want to use LED bulbs without the harsh aftermath, consider illuminating your accent lights. After all, nothing can ruin the mood like a jarring, overhead fixture.

Credit: Ryan Weston

Layer your windows

While shopping for window treatments may seem like a one-and-done ordeal, New York-based designer Tara McCauley says it pays to think outside the box.

“Many people need blackout-lined curtains in order to sleep comfortably, but unless you’re participating in a Victorian mourning ritual, thick curtains should be drawn in the daytime,” she explains. “If you live in a city, this can present a privacy issue, so I suggest hanging a set of sheers or a light filtering shade behind the blackout curtains.”

Or, if you want to mix and match, this Maine-based makeover cleverly juxtaposes natural shades with vibrant, patterned drapes.

Credit: Evan Cole

Don’t leave your floors bare

Hardwood floors might be at the top of everyone’s real estate wish list — it’s a hard pass on wall-to-wall carpet — but they do require some TLC. Otherwise, your bedroom will feel cold and sterile.

“A graciously scaled area rug is the most comfortable thing to walk across on a chilly morning,” says McCauley. “If you have beautiful wood floors, show them off elsewhere in your home; the bedroom is a place where comfort should come first.”

Need to buy a new layer? Check out our comprehensive guide to buying a rug — and then shop our bedroom-approved picks.