How to Decorate a Bedroom

Create a comfortable bedroom in seven easy steps with these decorating ideas.

Your bedroom is the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see before going to sleep, so why not give it the design attention it deserves? Here's how to turn your bedroom into a retreat worthy of all the time you'll spend there. 

Theme If you've ever decorated a child's bedroom, you know how having a decorating theme can drive every design decision in a very purposeful way. It's pretty straightforward for kids: zoo animals, construction, or Noah's Ark to name a few popular themes. But adults can benefit from designing by theme, too. So before you buy anything, think about the look you want to achieve: boutique hotel, vacation cottage, Zen retreat, or maybe something entirely different. The look will become the "theme" of your bedroom decor and will inform all other decisions.

Color Palette Finding inspiration for a color palette can come from any number of places. Sometimes it's a piece of artwork, a throw pillow, or a book cover that inspires a color palette. If you find something that stops you in your tracks, think about how you might translate it into your room. Keep in mind that darker rooms will be soothing, bold colors are energizing, and light colors will bounce around the morning light. Choose colors that suit your lifestyle and sleep needs.

Purge If you're giving an existing room a new look, it helps to go through all your possessions and cut the excess. Old bedding, reading materials, even outdated clothing can weigh down a room. When you start with less stuff, you'll be more inspired to make a decorating change. It makes starting a new room design really feel like a fresh start, no matter how long you've lived there.

Furniture Plan Measure your room and make a sketch of your space. Make note of fixed elements such as windows, doors, light fixtures, a fireplace, or any other element that needs to stay put. From here, you can start to play with a new layout for your room. If it helps, you can cut little pieces of paper in the right proportions to make "moving" your furniture easy. Sometimes the best place for a bed is on a solid wall. Or perhaps it's centered under a window with a substantial window treatment for a layered cozy feel. Consider how you'll use the room, too. If you need a place to put on makeup, add a vanity. If you like to watch movies in bed, allow space to store movies and the technology to watch them. If you're a bedtime reader, allow for lighting that will support your hobby as well as book storage. If you want a perch to pull on your socks or to contemplate your day, add a chair or love seat as space allows. Let your lifestyle inform the furniture plan.

Find a Focal Point Some rooms naturally provide architectural focal points: a big window overlooking a yard or a marble fireplace. But most bedrooms are a little more basic, starting as a box with two windows and two doors (one for entry and one for the closet). If that's your room, you'll need to create a focal point. The bed is the largest item in the room, so positioning that as the focal point of the room makes sense. There are many decorating elements that can give your bedroom more of a focal point. Consider big, soft window treatments behind the bed, eye-catching bedding, or a bold piece of art above the bed. When combined with the bed, it's easy to create that focal point. The bedroom is also a good place to create a gallery of framed photos. When grouped together, the frames create a larger unit and focal point.

Floor Coverings We spend a lot of time considering paint and wallpaper decisions for the walls, but the way we dress our floors can affect the way we feel about our bedroom more than almost any other bedroom decorating decision. Plush wall-to-wall carpet will be warm and comfortable underfoot. A bare floor is cool, easy to clean, and looks good with minimal designs. A large area rug that's positioned under the bed combines the best of both, anchoring other furnishings in the room and giving a finished look to the space.

Window Treatments Even if you prefer a spare look, the bedroom is one place you'll want to add window treatments. It creates a warm feeling in the room, and -- to be very practical -- lets you block out some morning light on those days when you'd like to sleep a little longer. You can even have shades or curtains lined with a black-out fabric to keep your room super dark. So whether you're adding blinds, shades, or curtains -- or layering multiple treatments -- you can control the light in the room.

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