7 ways to make your bedroom a stress-free zone for the moment

You spend nearly a third of your life in your bedroom – shouldn’t it be a dream-making place? While you’ll likely have the basics covered (a comfortable mattress, appropriately dimmed lighting, and a plush rug to sink your feet into each morning), there are plenty of next-level upgrades to transform your sleeping space into a more comfortable zone.

We turned to six top designers from Decorating Den Interiors, a network of individually owned and operated interior design franchises across the United States and Canada, for their advice on how to cultivate calm in your most personal spaces. From putting pillows on pillows to finding pieces that evoke delight, their thoughtful tips will set the stage for better sleep.

Paint the ceiling in soft colors

Lynne Lawson & Laura Outland / Decorating Den Interiors

Give your eyes a soothing respite when lying in bed by painting the ceiling, rather than the walls, a soothing blue and green like Rainwashed by Sherwin-Williams. “It’s really relaxing and subtle,” designer Lynn Lawson says of the cool mint hue she and Laura Otland used on this staircase ceiling. She notes that the selection is “reminiscent of the rooftops on outdoor New England porch balconies.”

Partners in Maryland’s Lawson Dream Team They are also fond of the Serenely brand, which is a pale blue-gray color. Lawson notes that it’s a “chameleon that looks and transforms to match just about any decor.”

When going for the colorful top, they suggest staying neutral with the rest of the space. “To keep the bedroom calm and serene, we like to use cool or warm light colors on the walls—or, of course, white,” says Lawson.

Make it soft and calm

michelle gate bedroom decor

Michael Jett / Decorate Den Interiors

Staying in a neutral area with natural elements and soft shades “allows for a soothing, clean base to rotate accent elements according to preference or season,” notes Michelle Jett, owner of Michelle Gate decorating den interiors.

With a more muted palette, adding depth using luxurious fabrics is key, explains the California-based designer, who pulled out a faux-fur blanket and accent pillow to “add a soft yet thicker feel.” It also included a tufted blanket and embroidered pillows for a “polished edge.” Another trick? Use softer diffused lighting. Jett says, “It helps a person unwind from a stressful day.”

Simplify the color palette

Angela Palmer and Emily Morrison's bedroom

Angie Palmer / Decorate Den Interiors

Consider this design the equivalent of cleaning your closet. “When accents are placed in a room contrasting in the color spectrum like green and red, the eye stops to notice the difference,” explains Angela Palmer, founder of a Georgia-based company. Palmer Kay Design. “However, when the color palette is simplified and the colors are free, a kind of eye zigzag creates a more relaxed feel.”

Choosing shades that complement the landscape outside the window in this space, she commissioned a rayon-covered headboard, crunchy velvet seat, and luxurious drapes in a cotton-polyester blend in saturated Cerulean. The color plays well with the dark woods and green of the walls, and Benjamin Moore’s camouflage.

Add a seating area to relax

Barbara Elliott and Jennifer Woods bedroom

Barbara Elliott and Jennifer Ward Woods / Decorating Dunn Interiors

“The sitting area makes the room feel like an oasis by giving the homeowner a place to relax without actually being in bed,” says designer Barbara Elliott.

She and Jennifer Ward Woods, the Atlanta-based duo Sisters and company, on a velvet sofa and two ottomans encrusted with a bronze nailhead to create this bedroom spot. In a smaller room, says Elliott, “a space by a window or corner could be used.” While a piece of art and an area rug will help set the lounge area apart from the rest of the room, all you really need, she notes, is “a place to sit, a place to put a drink, and a light source.”

make it fun

michelle gate bedroom design

Michael Jett / Decorate Den Interiors

Choosing cheerful items can really lift your mood in a room, says Jett, who was drawn to her client’s love for the beach with a mother-of-pearl chandelier and patterned wallpaper. “The perfect marriage of statement and calm,” she exclaims from the metallic wallcovering. “The design structure changes depending on the lighting and where you are in the room, providing great movement.”

“Don’t be afraid to bring in items or color palettes from your hobbies,” Jett advises. “Pulling the subtle patterns, textures, and color schemes of things that bring you joy not only personalizes your space, but also provides an inviting home for you and your guests.”

Layer rugs to define the sleeping area

Samantha Stigitz bedroom design

Samantha Stigitz / Decorating Den Interiors

Come on, put it on thick. Samantha Stiglitz, owner of Delaware, explains that placing an area rug over an area already carpeted “helps define the room.” SJS Designs. They allow you to “create more comfortable parts of the room,” and a matching rug—like a medallion design in blue, gray, and ivory—adds warmth “by bringing color and pattern to the floor space,” she adds, “almost like a work of art.”

The trick, she says, is to use double-sided carpet tape that “will keep corners snug on the floor.” Also key: Don’t mix and match pile heights. A thicker rug on top of low-pile rugs can lead to tripping, while a rug with a bottom pile on curved rugs is more likely to show warping than furniture.

Bring plants indoors and eliminate clutter

Natalie Cox's bedroom design

Natalie Cox / Decorate Den Interiors

Looking to develop a sense of serenity? Exercise your green thumb. Interior design consultant Natalie Cox notes that “adding natural elements like plants to your bedroom can create a soothing atmosphere and help purify the air.” It is part of the skeletal profile of the snake plant and the potho movement.

company founder Natalie Cox Design Likes to group three plants together for maximum visual interest. She recommends changing heights to “create cute little patterns” and choosing pots designed simply to allow greenery to remain the focal point. It also means eliminating any excess clutter: “Keeping surfaces clutter-free, with the exception of a few plants in a well-placed setting, gives your room a calm, relaxing vibe.”

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