Whatever you want your bedroom to be, one thing is clear: don’t hold back. Whether a calm, restful sanctuary or something a little more racy, just choose the design you like and really run with it. Think this sounds easy? Maybe, but it may prove to be a lot harder than you think.
Consider where to put the bed first, as you may find it dictates the position of everything else in the room. You shouldn’t push it against a radiator or block off a window, so that may not leave many more options. You’ll need space for bedside tables, too.
It’s best to put the bed where it can’t be seen from outside the room when the door’s ajar. This will make you feel more secure and private. Your bedroom is a sanctuary from your daily life, a place to recharge your batteries, so try to make it as private as you can.
If you’re planning to get a new bed frame, make sure you get one that best fits the style you’re trying to achieve with the whole room. A wooden bedstead, for example, will make the room feel more natural, while a sleigh bed in wood or leather makes a bold and stylish statement.
Don’t forget to measure the space available carefully. Your new super king size bed may look just the way you want, but it’s hardly ideal if it’s so big you can’t walk around it, or there’s no room for any other furniture. Big isn’t always beautiful - even in the bedroom.
And don’t forget the mattress. How long a mattress will last depends on several factors, such as the amount of use it gets and the original quality, but in general, according to the Better Sleep Council (bettersleep.org), a mattress that has been in use for seven years ‘is no longer providing you with the best comfort and support, and should be replaced’.
Bed linen and soft furnishings will play a major part in your design, too. In fact, you can completely change the look and feel of your bedroom simply by replacing them.
If the wallpaper is patterned, choosing plain bedding a safe bet. However, it can be fun to experiment with patterned bedding, as long as the overall effect doesn’t become too overpowering.
If the walls are neutral, bed linen gives you the opportunity to make big, colourful changes.
As for lighting, get it right and the effect can make a huge difference to the ambience of your bedroom. Trouble is, the huge range of lighting installations on the market makes it a difficult decision to make.
To choose the right lighting for your bedroom, you need to understand the basics. Here are a few pointers to consider:
- Seek advice. Take your room measurements, along with socket locations and furniture placement, to a lighting showroom where the experts can tell you what options you have and help you choose
- Light wisely. Decide what you want to do in the room, then choose appropriate lighting. Vanity areas demand bright lighting, while a sitting area will want softer fixtures
- Place properly. Don’t install lights directly over the bed – you’ll look up at them while you are laying in bed, which can be uncomfortable
- The more the merrier… no single light source is as good as a combination of lamps and installed lighting
- Think ambience. Dimmers and coloured bulbs can alter the mood
Remember the wardrobe. Experts recommend using fluorescent bulbs inside because they provide lots of light, are cooler, save energy and can also be easily concealed behind the header of the door
- Don’t overlight. The most important thing that defines your bedroom lighting choices is the size of your room. And use the lighting to complement the rest of your design. If you’ve chosen a minimalist layout, don’t then light it with a flamboyant chandelier
- Use multiple layers of lighting. For the best effect, don’t try to illuminate everything from one bulb or, indeed, an enormous number of recessed lights. Choose various types of lights that can combine to make your bedroom truly stunning
- Stick with the tried and tested. Don’t feel you have to take on the most contemporary lighting schemes just because you can. There are plenty of alternatives to table lamps on bedside tables, but that’s the best way to bring visual symmetry to the room. In many cases, the timeless option is the right one.
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FLOORS AND WALLS
Carpets or wood? How you cover the floor is another thing to consider early on. Wooden flooring may make the room seem more spacious, but unless you have underfloor heating, carpet will always feel nicer under your feet first thing in the morning.
Carpets can also help to muffle sound, which may pay dividends if you’re a light sleeper. For those who must have a wooden floor, compromise by copious use of rugs.
Next, the colour of the walls. For those who have difficulty getting to sleep, it’s best to have restful, neutral colours – maybe cream.
If, on the other hand, you find it hard to get up in the mornings, cheerful colours may make it easier for you to face the day.
Pale colours will help to make a small bedroom seem more spacious, however all-white can be too stark. In general, pinks are warmer than blues. If you are choosing wallpaper, subtle patterns are generally better for a restful atmosphere than busy ones.
You also need to choose bedroom furniture. The main thing to consider is how to make the most of the space.
Take a good look around the bedroom you have now. What do you like about it? Is that old wardrobe enough for all your storage needs?
Don’t just replace or repair things and put them back where they are now, unless you’re really happy with them.
The bedroom is notorious for attracting clutter – maybe because it’s the one room guests won’t visit, so it’s a safe place to dump all the things that make the rest of your house look untidy. And often it stays there.
Clear away the clutter before you start. If things don’t need to be there, put them somewhere else or, better still, get rid of them altogether. That box of CDs in the corner, those old magazines – give them to charity or recycle them. The most successful bedroom plans use every inch of space to its best advantage. And remember – under-bed storage is your friend in this scenario.
If you’re lucky enough to have fitted wardrobes, you’ll know how they quickly become indispensable.
If not, is there any way you can work them into your new bedroom? Wall-to-wall sliding door wardrobes are not only practical and elegant, they are easy to install. Look for soft-close doors with smooth closing.
Many choose to have free-standing wardrobes because even though they can’t hold as much, they are versatile and can be moved around.
Your bedroom’s architecture should take your furniture into account. Bedroom floor plans usually have a bed wall – but what about dressers, nightstands, chairs, a TV and a desk?
Try to make sure there is ample circulation and you can access three sides of the bed, if possible.
SARAH SAYS ‘Luxury is the first thing you should think about when designing a master bedroom. The bed is what really counts in my book, as we spend so much of our lives in it. Invest in pillows and good linen.’