How to plan a bedroom like an interior designer

Fika Estella

When undertaking a redesign in your home, each room calls for different design considerations and can throw up different dilemmas. A functional kitchen requires meticulous floor planning to create the right flow, in a living room it can sometimes be tricky to place your focal point, whilst a bedroom needs a more holistic approach to create an environment conducive to sleep.

Dr Lindsay Browning, psychologist, neuroscientist, and sleep expert at And So To Bed said: “Our bedrooms can tend to be the neglected rooms of our house, with mismatching colour schemes and full of clutter. We tend to prioritise the social areas of the house like the living room and kitchen for makeovers and our own bedroom can be last on the ‘to do’ list.”

“However, your bedroom should be your top priority when decorating and fitting out your home. It is the place you spend at least 1/3 of each day and should be your sanctuary to recharge. A well thought out bedroom created with care will help you to sleep well and feel calm and happy every day. “

Below, interior designers and experts talk through the steps you should take when planning a bedroom makeover.

1. Find your inspiration

bedroom interior design

Styling: Jen Haslam, Photography: Jake Seal

“Start by looking for some creative inspiration – find anything that inspires you or brings you joy and start to collect images,” says Amy Wilson, interior designer at 247 Blinds and 247 Curtains. “Good sources of inspiration can come from interior design magazines, social media or even visiting a cafe with an aesthetic that you like – take pictures or screenshots and save them all in one place.”

“Include non-interiors pictures. Seek out at least one image that simply draws you in. Often a beautiful landscape can offer some direction on colour or a fabulous outfit can help you consider how to layer up a room scheme.”

“I’d personally suggest creating a physical mood board so that you can include any material samples, magazine cuttings or exact paint colours, it makes it all feel a bit more real and allows you to test things out more accurately. If you’re more digitally minded, there are some amazing mood boarding apps out there that can help you create aesthetically pleasing boards.”

2. Choose your colour palette

bedroom interior design

“A bedroom should be seen as the ultimate sanctuary space,” says Camilla Clarke, Creative Director at Albion Nord. “We are fully embracing calming colours, particularly soft blues and greens with warm lighting as this gives a feeling calmness and serenity.”

Michael Rolland, MD of The Paint Shed, suggests a soft pink. “Sulking Room Pink by Farrow and Ball is a muted rose with enormous warmth, it has a powdery feel that makes it incredibly soft and easy to use with complementary tones. It is the most searched pink paint shade with 10,370 average monthly searches, one of the most Instagrammable with 19,800 uses of #sulkingroompink.”

“We are also nowhere near done with the sage green trend, this beautiful shade is straight from nature and is perfect for creating a calming space, because of its connection to the outside world, green is one of the most comforting colours that attracts harmonious feelings that can diffuse anxiety and helps us stay calm and refreshed, perfect for a bedroom.”

3. Plan the right flow

bedroom interior design

There are some simple design tricks you can use when planning your bedroom layout – marking the outline of your furniture with tape or newspaper onto the floor can give you an idea of the space and flow as you move around.

Taking some principles from feng shui could be a useful place to start if you are faced with a blank canvas. Here are some quick bedroom feng shui dos and don’ts:

  • Do position your bed in a commanding position. When in bed you should be facing the door while not directly in line with it
  • You don’t want any doors to open up directly in line with the bed, especially where your feet point out the door
  • Do place your headboard against a solid wall, with space available on the other three sides of the bed
  • Don’t place your headboard against a wall that has a toilet on the other side
  • Don’t place your bed under any low beams, soffits, or sloped ceilings, if possible
  • Do keep the space under your bed free of clutter
  • Don’t have electrical devices in the bedroom

    Jonathan Warren, director and bed specialist at Time4Sleep, says: “Usually, I would advise not to position your bed underneath a window, as doing so can block your view of the outdoors and also maximise the chance of a chilly draft disturbing your sleeping pattern. However, not all of us have the luxury of space – sometimes sleeping near the window in your room is unavoidable. In this case, opting for a low headboard will allow as much light as possible to reach you and limit the obstruction to your bedroom window view.”

    4. Consider wall coverings

    bedroom interior design

    Country bedrooms usually display pattern in some shape or form, and even if you opt to paint the majority of your room, wallpaper can still be used to create a feature wall behind your bed or to frame your best source of natural light.

    “Our bedroom interiors should be as individual as the people that inhabit them. Don’t be afraid to choose a more outlandish style as this only adds more character,” says Martin Weller, founder of Andrew Martin.

    “When choosing wallpaper, consider the size of a room. Smaller scale patterns work well in big rooms, but can overwhelm smaller spaces. Larger scale patterns work well in most rooms but think about lighting, as this can affect the look of wallpaper and make a colour appear lighter or darker.”

    “Wallpaper has a huge impact on the mood of a room so it’s key to get the design right. Opt for darker, more dramatic tones such as purple or navy to make larger rooms appear more intimate or choose lighter hues, such as grey to create the illusion of space.”

    5. Design your lighting scheme

    “In the bedroom – lighting is key to ensuring a good night’s sleep, the ultimate act of self-care,” says Amy. “Blackout blinds, combined with soft bedside lamps and some beautiful blankets layered up on the bed will help ease you gently into sleep.”

    Ambient light is most important in a bedroom (most designers advise layering ambient light with task lighting for reading, and accent lighting to highlight artwork or mirrors.) Forgo white lights as the intensity can disrupt your circadian rhythm making you feel alert, and instead choose a warm, yellow light that can boost levels of sleep-inducing melatonin – 40 watts or below is ideal for creating the right mood lighting.

    “Keep the lighting as soft and warm as possible, use wall lights or table lamps where possible and avoid too many spotlights making it feel stark and imposing,” says Camilla.

    6. Declutter and edit your belongings

    Marc Epstein, interior design expert and Creative Director of CARME Home suggests taking the Marie Kondo approach. “Only live with items you love. As Marie Kondo says ‘does this bring you joy?’ Really consider what you keep in your home and why. Surrounding yourself with items you truly love will help to create positive energy. Then, organise everything! Once your home is decluttered and organised this allows space for more of the things you truly love.”

    Lucy Ackroyd, Head of Design at Christy says: “If there are certain items that you really can’t part with, make sure you have ample storage space in your home to organise your belongings neatly so you can come back to them when you need them.”

    “Whether it’s adding dividers to your drawers or putting up shelves in your airing cupboard to tidy your spare bed linen and towels, an organised storing system can help you keep on top of your home and make you feel in control.”

    7. Incorporate texture

    bedroom interior design

    “Consider texture to be as important as colour and pattern,” says Camilla. “There is nothing worse than a flat design. Interiors are all about evoking the senses and therefore texture is a vital ingredient to every design to get our sight and touch senses going. Try mixing different textures such as natural linens with soft velvets or robust leathers with thick wools.”

    “Texture can be incorporated in a whole host of ways, and contrasting them can transform the look and feel of a room,” says Amy. “Whether you opt for luxurious velvet curtains or light voile drapes, a polished floor with a tasselled rug over it, or even textured wallpapers or pieces of artwork – all can help to make the space feel multidimensional.”

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