Creating the Room of Their Dreams: Bedroom Design Advice

Image: Wicker Paradise

The best bedroom designs are created with the room’s occupants in mind. The most personal space in the house, a bedroom should be a reflection of the people who relax and dream within its walls. Before you rush out to the home improvement and furniture stores to stock up on makeover supplies, take some time to reflect on ways you might create a space that meets the needs and suits the tastes of the people who will use it. Here are a few things to consider as you get started.


What kind of d‚cor do the bedroom’s inhabitants tend to prefer? Having a good idea about their tastes and preferences can go a long way toward planning a space in which they will feel at home. If the room is for young children, perhaps a themed design or whimsical look would please them. For older children and teens, ask about their tastes in music and fashion to get a good feel for their personal styles. Remember that choosing a basic style to emulate, like contemporary or shabby chic, doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate elements of other styles as well to add a little contrast and personality to the room. Decide what kind of mood you’d ultimately like to create in the room and keep that in mind as you select furniture, colors, lighting and textures for the space.


Image: Mazzali

Many people romanticize bedrooms to the point that they forget all about functionality. Sure, the space should be aesthetically pleasing, but if it doesn’t accommodate its occupants’ belongings or causes them discomfort, the room’s design needs to be rethought. Besides the obvious, what will the room be used for? Will children play there? Wipeable surfaces and washable fabrics are absolute musts for kids’ rooms. A bookworm will need ample light for reading in bed; a couple needs space for both people’s belongings. Are there special needs or physical disabilities to be considered? Decide what items have to be incorporated into the room’s layout before you get too far along in the planning process. The addition of items such as oversized shelving units or large television sets once the design is almost complete can send you right back to the drawing board.


Image: Mazzali

Kids’ bedrooms obviously need to include a lot of storage space for toys, games, books and dolls. Toy chests, bookshelves and hooks hung at a child’s eye level are great organizational solutions. Adults, too, need to find ways to store or display their things without creating an atmosphere of clutter. Add a chest or storage ottoman to keep extra bed linen out of sight, and use covered baskets or storage boxes to corral small items like loose change, costume jewelry and remote controls. Use shelving or shadow boxes to incorporate favorite collections into the room’s d‚cor. Choose nightstands or bedframes with storage cabinets or drawers built into them that will keep personal items on hand, but out of sight.


Don’t forget that a bedroom should allow its occupants to unwind at the end of the day and be conducive to a good night’s sleep. If the space is too bright in the evenings, install black-out shades or heavy drapes at the windows. Soften street noise or other unwanted nighttime sounds with the addition of a trickling fountain, music player or white noise machine. If the room serves multiple purposes, such as a workspace or playroom by day that becomes a sleeping space at night, make sure that you allow storage space for daytime items such as computers and toys so that they can be slipped out of sight–and out of mind–at bedtime.


Image: Tami Hills

Swapping out some of a room’s accessories with the seasons keeps the space comfortable no matter what the weather and ensures that the room’s occupants will never become bored with their surroundings. In summertime, lighter linens, brighter colors and lightweight seagrass rugs might give the room a vacation-like quality. In colder months, heavier throws, richer hues and shag rugs underfoot make the room a cozy hideaway. You don’t have to plan to swap out everything; even small changes like scented candles, collections of branches or seashells, and seasonal throw pillows can make a big difference.


Image: Just Bedding

Last, but absolutely not least, a bedroom should reflect its occupant’s personality. Whether it’s an accent wall in a bright color, a piece or two of unusual wall art or a custom-made bedspread, be sure there’s something completely unique about the room. Stencils and vinyl wall decals are other easy ways to personalize the space. An unexpected light fixture, a contrasting trim color and a display made up of articles pertaining to a favorite hobby work, too. Give run-of-the mill furniture and accessories a personalized makeover with paint or fabric slipcovers, or peruse flea markets, antique shops and art galleries for one-of-a-kind finds.

Designing a bedroom starts with the people who will use it. The room should accommodate their belongings and offer a comfortable space in which they can pursue their own brands of relaxation. Ample storage space, seasonal touches and a little bit of personality come together to create a bedroom that’s a beautiful escape from the stresses of daily life and a peaceful place in which to sleep.