The Ideal Bedroom

Extreme Remake: Bedroom Edition

When you wake up each morning refreshed and relaxed, your whole day is already off to a great start. Your bedroom plays a key role in getting the sleep your body needs, but it’s more than just a room for sleeping. It’s also a place where you and your family unwind, so it needs to be comfortable and friendly. Give yourself the gift of better sleep and comfortable living by making over your bedroom into a welcoming place for living and sleeping.
Better Sleep

Take notes

One of the best ways to organize ideas for a bedroom makeover is to keep a notebook of inspirations. Include:

  • Clippings and printouts from magazines and websites that inspire you
  • Photographs and notes about colors, fabrics and furniture you like in your friends’ homes or in stores
  • Notes about a great night’s sleep at a hotel that describe what made it so perfect
  • Fabric swatches and paint chips
  • Pictures of natural scenes and landscapes you find inspiring, like the beach or mountains
  • A list of words that describe the feeling you want your room to evoke
  • A rough sketch of your ideal bedroom (you don’t have to be an artist!)
  • A description of how you want your bed to feel

Here comes the sun

While you want your bedroom dark for sleeping, you also want a space that is bright and cheerful the rest of the day.

  • Windows of opportunity. Choose room-darkening blinds, shades or drapes that allow you to plunge the room into peaceful darkness for sleep but let the sunshine in the rest of the time
  • Screen out electronics. Lights from alarm clocks, TVs, cable boxes and other electronics in the room can impact your sleep, but can also be important functioning parts of your daytime in the space. Identify electronic sources of light and strategically place them so they don’t affect sleep.
  • Take lighting to task. Choose bedroom light bulb wattage based on the purpose each particular lamp serves. Bright lighting may be necessary for a desk in your bedroom or near a mirror. Lower wattages (45 to 50 watts) offer ambient light or gentle light for reading in bed. Lampshades can help diffuse lighting.
  • Dial it down. Installing dimmer switches allows you to custom control brightness as you need it, particularly for overhead lights.

Bedding down

Your bed is the centerpiece of your bedroom and is not only a comfy daytime hangout spot, but also the key to sleep quality at night. Consider replacing your mattress as part of your makeover if:

  • It is older than 7 years
  • Your bed is not big enough for all the bodies that sleep in it (you, your partner, occasional children and/or pets)
  • You wake up regularly with aches and pains
  • The mattress has visible signs of wear and tear
  • You’ve had a better night’s sleep elsewhere (at a friend’s home or hotel)
  • Your bed does not feel comfortable and welcoming

Sound advice

Reducing noise in your bedroom can help you sleep and will make the room feel more welcoming.

  • Gadgets be gone. Noises and notifications from your cell phone, tablet or computer prevent you from sleeping well. When making over your room, set up an electronics parking area far from the bed, or silence them each night.
  • White noise. If you have trouble sleeping, add a fan, air purifier, air conditioner or small fountain. The white noise these create helps block out distracting noises for better sleep.
  • Snoring solutions. If your partner snores, then a visit to a sleep specialist, or buying breathing strips or decongestants, should be on your to-do list.

Temperature check

Temperature is another key component to consider as you redo your room.

  • Numbers game. The ideal bedroom temperature for sleeping is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. A room that’s too warm or too cool can disrupt comfortable sleep. Consider adding a programmable thermostat as part of your bedroom makeover.
  • Less is more. While multiple duvets, throws and pillows can create a luxe bed that is the visual centerpiece of your room, too many can make sleeping hot and uncomfortable. If your perfect bed is piled high, plan to remove most pieces at night.
  • Play on the same team. Neither your partner nor you should be uncomfortable at night. If one prefers intense heat or intense cold, adjust your pajama weight or add or remove separate blankets. If one person is uncomfortable, it will disturb the other’s sleep.

Put your money where your mattress is

Money spent on a new mattress is money well-spent. Designate a significant portion of your makeover fund for a wonderful new mattress that will make sleeping a dream come true. Remember:

  • Regular replacement is required. Experts agree that if you’ve had the same mattress for five to seven years or more, it’s likely not providing you with optimal comfort and support.
  • Quality counts. Choose top-quality pillows and mattresses to keep your spine properly aligned and comfortable. High-thread-count sheets, a plush comforter and duvet cover, matching shams and bed skirt, and plenty of pillows will make the entire room inviting throughout the day and ensure comfortable sleep.
  • Size matters. Purchasing a bed that is too small is a common mistake. A couple should select a queen- or king-size mattress.

Color outside the lines

The colors you choose for your bedroom set the tone and mood for the entire space.

  • Climbing the walls. Opt for calming hues on walls. Vibrant colors may appeal to you, but they don’t help with sleep and relaxation. Neutral (e.g., taupes, grays, beiges and whites) or muted tones and light pastels help you wind down and make the space feel calmer.
  • Color by numbers.  Choose lighter colors to make a room appear larger, and darker colors to make a room appear more intimate and warm.
  • Make a splash. Instead of blanketing your walls with color, take a subtle approach and add splashes of color with décor and bedding. A pop of color from pillows or artwork expresses your creative side without disrupting harmony.
  • Spin the wheel. Color shades that are parallel on the color wheel encourage rest more than colors that contrast or are unrelated. If you want a contemporary look, incorporate contrasting colors into the room accents.
  • Get in touch with your feelings. Rich shades of red, orange, yellow (warm colors), can create a cozy feeling. Certain blues and blue-greens, or cool colors, can have a soothing effect and can even make a room feel cooler.

Be touchy-feely

The materials you choose for your bedroom impact how well you sleep and how happy you feel when you’re in the room during the day.

  • Shout-out for sheets. When shopping for sheets, test different thread counts, fabric compositions and weaves to determine what’s most appealing to you.
  • Pillow pointers. Compare different fillings and weights to test the feel of pillows and comforters before purchasing.
  • Hard and soft. The use of contrasting textures can have a powerful effect, similar to color contrasts, and can bring life to your room.
  • Feet first. Your rug is the last thing you touch before you get in bed and the first thing you set foot on in the morning, so choose one that feels great and has color and texture that complement your room. Consider shag, silk, chenille or even faux fur.
  • Function first. You want your bedding to look great, but you also need it to feel great. If you tend to get too hot or too cold at night, buy materials that will help keep you comfortable.

Décor details

When creating your perfect bedroom, make the space comfortable and welcoming.

  • Ban clutter. Your mind is already full of the day’s clutter, so keep your bedroom somewhat sparse and your accessories to a minimum to create a calming environment. Making the bed the focal point can help you streamline the room.
  • Embrace meaning. Display a few significant photographs and memorabilia pieces to add personal history to your room.
  • Act natural. Plants and fresh flowers bring energy into the room and remove toxins from the air, making it a happier and healthier place to live and sleep.
  • A place for everything. Design your space so that everything has a place (you might have to do some purging!) and then make sure you keep it all where it belongs. Maintaining order makes it easier to find things and makes your room more inviting.
  • Keep it fresh. Periodically rearrange accessories and swap out pieces for something new so that you’ll want to open your eyes to your space each morning.

The perfect arrangement

The location of furniture within your bedroom not only impacts how functional the space is, but also how cozy or welcoming the room feels. Here’s how to optimize your floor plan.

  • Best bed bet. Face your bed away from the door or window so light is less likely to bother you. When you have your new bed delivered, place it on an interior wall if possible.
  • Nestled in. Keep nightstands within reach of your bed and choose pieces that are an appropriate height in proportion to your bed.
  • Separate but equal. Designate different areas of the room for different activities: work, reading, sleeping, etc.
  • Safety first. Make sure there is an unobstructed path to your bed so you don’t trip if you get up in the night.

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