15 Bedroom Decorating Tips

Create a dreamy bedroom with these decorating pointers, furniture ideas, and design tips.

Jessica Brinkert Holtam


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Bedroom with orange pillows
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Use Color and Pattern to Create Mood

    A soft pillow and comfy mattress may give the sheep an assist in sending you off to slumber, but bedding that glows with an invitation to snuggle in can be just as effective. Bring a bed into full bloom using a colorful combination of floral patterns. Vary the scale of the flowers for interest, and stick to a single palette for a unified look that's easy on the eye. The same principle applies to combining striped, floral, and geometric patterns: Make sure each pattern features the same primary hue to make mixing and matching a success. Select cool or neutral hues to create a room that exudes serenity and calm. Look to bright and warm colors to foster a sense of good cheer, energy, and coziness.

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Make the Headboard a Focal Point

    Elevate a bedroom to new heights of fashion with an eye-catching headboard. Soft and cushy with no hard edges, an upholstered headboard is an ideal choice when sink-in comfort tops the boudoir wish list. If you crave privacy and a sense of enclosure, use canopies or bed curtains to wrap your bed in luxurious folds of fabric.

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Dress the Windows for Privacy and Style

    Bedroom windows generally need room-darkening window treatments that block light in the morning and provide privacy at night. In addition to such functional considerations, bedroom window treatments help set a room's overall style. Swagged and gathered draperies communicate romantic elegance, Roman shades speak of tailored sophistication, and shutters convey casual cottage style. Layer room-darkening shades with draperies to address both functional and decorative needs.

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Furnish for Comfort and Function

    You'll find your bedroom beckons to you to linger longer in the morning and retire earlier at night when you make the space about more than just sleeping. Pair a chair or two with a side table to create a cozy reading spot. Make the most of low ceilings common in attic bedrooms by tucking a low-profile chaise longue under the awkward angles of eaves. Or make use of the often-wasted space between two windows with a writing desk or a vanity.

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Indulge in Beautiful Bedding

    When shopping for linens, don't be fooled by high thread counts. While it's true a higher thread count -- the number of threads per square inch -- can mean better quality, the true test is actually what the sheets are made from. For top-notch sheets that are durable, mostly lint-free, and luxuriously soft, look for pima, Egyptian, or Supima cotton. A 250-thread-count sheet set made from these cottons can feel softer after washing than a 400- or 500-thread-count set made from a cotton-polyester blend.

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Introduce Glamour with Mirrors

    A room that sparkles and shimmers radiates soft romance and high-style luxury. Beyond beauty, however, mirrors can serve a practical purpose by reflecting outside views and light that can help small bedrooms feel larger. Hang an oversize mirror on a wall devoid of windows to create a view where none exists. Or lean a tall mirror against a wall to create an illusion of depth, as well as a handy spot for reviewing an outfit before you head out the door.

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Create a Master Suite

    Use color, fabrics, and motifs to unify connecting bedroom and bath spaces so they work together as a suite. If your bedroom is swathed in floral fabrics, carry that theme into the bathroom with the window treatments and shower curtain. Use color to tie the rooms together as well -- both spaces will feel larger as a result. Share accessories between the bedroom and bath to bring the bedroom mood into the bath. This makes the bath feel furnished rather than utilitarian.

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Fill in the Blank

    Make the most of the mystifying space between a headboard and the ceiling with clever room accents. Deck the walls above a curved headboard with square picture frames or above a square headboard with round frames for dramatic visual contrast. Or follow the curve of a headboard with a staggered arrangement of decorative objects, such as plates. When grouping objects for display, harness the visual power of odd numbers for the most eye-pleasing results. Suspend artwork a foot or less above the highest point on a headboard to ensure that the two read as a single unit without an awkward river of space.

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Enhance Your Bedside Manner

    Born of the need for a functional companion bedside, the night table has evolved from workhorse to fashionable sidekick. Use it as one more way to express your style while providing must-have storage. When symmetry matters, use matching side tables to bookend a bed. However, there's no rule that says tables must be copies of each other. If space allows, tuck a dresser bedside to provide roomy real estate for nighttime essentials and loads of storage underneath. Or, cozy a writing desk and chair up to the bed. If you're an avid reader, make sure your bedside table has shelves or drawers to help keep paper piles from stacking up.

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Add a Graceful End Cap

    Rescue the foot of the bed from being just an afterthought. Take advantage of this prime real estate to make a standout style statement. Use a graceful bench to transform the area into an inviting seating spot while balancing the visual presence of a grand bed. To create extra storage, cap off the foot of a bed with a classic trunk. Topped with a soft cushion, the trunk can double as a zone for putting shoes on and taking them off. For flexible seating, align a duo of ottomans at bed's end -- hidden wheels under slipcovered skirts can make it easy to move the pieces as needed.

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Plan for Good Lighting

    The most successful lighting schemes blanket a room in layers of illumination. Use lamps on both sides of a bed to provide soft task lighting for nighttime reading. The bottom of the shade should fall at eye level when you're seated. To create space on a bedside table -- which can be a valuable commodity in a small bedroom -- consider the style of lamp. Swing-arm sconces mounted to the wall behind a bed provide necessary lighting without taking up space on a nightstand. Shed ambient light around the entire room with a floor lamp. Nestled next to seating pieces, floor lamps add both vertical interest and task lighting. Overhead, consider a chandelier for can't-be-beat romance. Connect all fixtures in a bedroom to a dimmer to control light intensity and mood.

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Turn Twin Beds into Standout Features

    Symmetrical furniture arrangements -- in which like objects exist on both sides of an imaginary line -- are always pleasing to the eye. Twin beds aligned along the same wall naturally lend themselves to a symmetrical scheme. Underscore the effect by dressing the beds with matching bedding and treating the wall space above the headboards in the same manner. Anchor the center of the duo with a single table.

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Organize Your Closets

    No matter whether you have a large walk-in closet or a small door-front closet, there are little steps you can take to eliminate stressful clutter. For example, organizing your clothing by color is an easy way to find things fast. Another simple strategy: Use a single type of hanger -- such as plastic or wood, which are kinder to your clothes than wire hangers -- to foster a streamlined look. If your closet features the traditional single rod with a shelf above it, upgrade the functionality by installing a T-divider. This separates a closet into two compartments -- one for long items and one with two rods for shorter items.

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Employ Looks That Last in a Child's Room

    For a room that's attractive and that will grow with your child, avoid clearly juvenile bedroom furnishings and invest in a bed, dresser, nightstand, and desk with more staying power. Use fabrics and accessories in themes and color schemes that can easily change as your child grows. For example, think texture, not prints. Denim, corduroy, or cotton twill are all sturdy fabrics perfect for upholstery. Liven up solid-color choices with easy-to-change accent pillows. Window treatments usually get the least wear and tear in a room, so invest in fabrics that will stand the test of time, then play up the fun factor with your bedding choices. Opt for a rug or carpet color and design that will go the distance and add bold splashes of color instead through lampshades and artwork.

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Pamper Your Guests

    To make overnight guests feel welcome, provide the amenities that will let them make the space their own during their stay. Line the bed with pillows of varying firmness so guests can choose at least one that's to their liking, and drape the foot of the bed with an extra blanket in case a guest is chilly. Let guests control their own schedule by keeping an alarm clock handy, and position at least one lamp next to the bed so guests don't need to navigate an unfamiliar room in the dark. Leave magazines and books in the room, along with tissues and a wastebasket. It's the little courtesies that make a guest feel at home.

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