How to use luxurious fabric, soft lighting and gentle colors to create a tranquil bedroom all your own

Tips for designing a tranquil bedroom

Ahh…your bedroom. A private retreat devoted to relaxation, rejuvenation and romance. Creating a comfortable and luxurious space can be tough. Where do you start?

First of all, make sure your bedroom is void of any distractions, like laundry, paperwork and kids toys.

Next, go shopping! If funds are sparse, hit discount stores and flea markets. Discount retailers carry affordable bedroom furniture, fixtures and linens in a variety of designer styles. Purchasing solely from that line will give you a fancy-pants look with a thrifty little price tag. Flea markets are a fun way to mix and match, creating your own chic style. If you have an open checkbook policy head toward specialty shops and retailers that specialize in bedroom décor.

Tips for designing a tranquil bedroom

Tapping in to your personal color and design preferences will make your bedroom special and unique. Still, try focusing on a color scheme as a basis for the rest of your design. A simple way to do this is to choose three analogous colors, or consecutive hues on the color wheel. For instance, if purple’s your thing, choose eggplant (dark), orchid (medium) and lavender (light). You could even choose your scheme based on particular item, like a rug, a piece of artwork or bed linens. The color you choose should induce a feeling of tranquility, so avoid bright reds, stark white, orange or bright green. Referencing your chosen color scheme, stock up on the following essentials: (remember to stick to the list, only adding to it after each item has been purchased. This way, you don’t run the risk trying to match a primary piece to an accessory. It’s much easier to do things the other way around). Also, you’ll want to decorate from darkest to lightest, beginning with your walls and ending with small accessories, so keep that in mind when making your selections.

  •  Interior, latex paint in a matte finish
  •  Two or three ceiling-height lamps (for corners)
  •  Bed linens in satin or cotton with a high thread count (if you can afford it, consider a down comforter; they’re sleep inducing and season friendly)
  •  Decorative throw pillows in varying sizes and shapes
  •  Plenty of fragrant foliage or dried flowers
  •  Lots of pillar candles and holders in solid, complimentary colors
  •  Scented tea light candles
  •  Fabric curtains that stretch from floor to ceiling—they give the illusion of enormous windows (choose fabric that coordinates with your color palate. Choose wispy fabric if your colors are light, heavy fabric if your colors are dark).
  •  Two delicate bedside lamps
  •  (If space allows) one overstuffed arm chair w/ matching ottoman
  •  An armful of down or chenille throws
  •  A simple dresser w/ mirror
  •  Two nightstands

When choosing accessories (e.g. artwork), remember that less is more. Clutter isn’t conducive to a serene atmosphere. If you have a lot of small items, put them onto a small shelf or table. Use a likewise guide for larger pieces.

When it’s time to put your buys to use, begin with the perimeter of the room and work your way in. Paint the walls, leaving the ceiling white, as painting it will make the room feel claustrophobic. Hang the curtains and tie them back. If they’re sheer, utilize an additional window to block out the light. Next, choose a focal point and design around it. A fireplace, if you have one, makes for an excellent choice. If not, the bed or large windows are great alternatives. As with any other room, designate functional areas using furniture. If you have enough room to do so, create a seating/reading area with the arm chair, ottoman and one of the lamps, tossing in a chenille throw a pillow for good measure. Even if you live alone, flag both sides of the bed with a nightstand. Otherwise, it may look unbalanced. When dressing the bed, keep the look easy, not stiff and tucked in. Leave your pillows above the blankets and add extra cush with throw pillows. Toss a throw at the end of the bed to encourage naps and extra-curricular cuddling. Adorn your dresser with candles, dried flowers and artwork—confine your daily beauty rituals to the bathroom drawers. Use the lamps to highlight certain areas of the room—those that illuminate the ceiling will bathe the room in soft light. To amplify this soothing effect, purchase tinted bulbs with low wattage.

Now for the accessories. Less is more. Less is more. Grace the empty space above your bed with a large photo or painting—this will give height to the room and stress the focal point. If your window is the focal point, put a few tea light candles on the window sill. The light will reflect beautifully on the glass. For an ethereal effect, place delicate flowers or foliage and candles all over the room (this helps set the “mood”).

Finally, things to avoid:

  • • Harsh, overhead lights
  • • Wallpaper, borders and stencils
  • • Silly trinkets and hobby-related items (e.g. key chains and bowling trophies)
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