We know it right away when walking into a great hotel room: Everything is perfectly proportioned, the bed is meticulously made, and the lighting casts a soft glow on attractive and functional furniture. The rug has the ideal softness under bare feet, and the artwork is eye-catching but not overpowering. Hoteliers craft their guest rooms so effortlessly, but what about how to decorate your bedroom at home?
It may boil down to a few decorating mistakes designers always notice when walking into clients' bedrooms. From ignoring clutter to failing to address mood lighting, these small errors can have a huge impact on the overall look and feel of a room. We tapped some of the best interior designers in the industry to share the mistakes to avoid at all costs in bedroom designs.
Below, read on to learn professional tips for redecorating your bedroom.
Forgetting the Artwork
"Oftentimes the bedroom gets overlooked when it comes to artwork," Melissa Warner Rothblum and Julie Massucco Kleiner of Massucco Warner Miller told us. "Not being a public space, it's easy to get all the basics into a bedroom and then leave the walls bare." While people often reserve their best artwork for the living or dining room, Rothblum and Kleiner suggest putting the same attention on art in less prominent rooms: "You go to sleep and wake up in your bedroom almost every day—so why not see something wonderful on the walls?"
Choosing the Wrong Rug
While it may not seem as important as bed size, the size of your rug in relation to your décor and furniture has an effect on design. Don't be afraid to go big—choose a rug that's significantly larger than your bed. When you can step comfortably out of bed onto your rug on all sides, you've found the right size.
Not Thinking About Mood Lighting
"We think it's so sad when a bedroom ceiling is left bare or has a ho-hum flush mount stuck up there," add the Massucco Warner Miller designers. "Have fun with lighting in the bedroom! There is no rule that says chandeliers are reserved for dining rooms." For interior designer Tim Campbell, there is more to a bedroom than just overhead lighting—reading lights are also essential: "Add indirect and task lighting that keeps the glare of light away from the eye," he says.
When choosing a chandelier for your bedroom, try picking one that complements the other colors in your room (or paint the ceiling the same color as the fixture for a blended effect).
Skipping a Color Scheme
When you've got your furniture sizes measured and there's plenty of walking space in your bedroom, it's time to focus on color. Choose a color scheme that works well together without clashing. Relaxing colors can be equally as comforting as neutral shades, so find a statement undertone that makes you feel calm—like this beautiful sage green bedding—and choose décor that complements it.
Forgetting Room for Storage
"When your nightstand does not have storage, things start to pile up and create an unnecessary mess," explain Wollack and Zwickl. "It's best to have nightstands with drawers that can hold books, chargers, and other necessities. We try to only use nightstands that have drawers with built-in chargers so there aren't a lot of exposed cords."
Interior designer Trip Haenisch always notices furniture that is too large or small for the bedroom. "Properly scaled furniture is tricky," he says. "Everything looks the same size online. If you lay out the furniture with blue tape, it can help avoid a lot of mistakes." To do this, take the measurements of the piece you want to buy, and tape the width and length in a rectangle on the floor. You'll have a much better sense of the piece in the space.
Letting Clutter Build Up
"A bedroom is supposed to be relaxing and breathable," Shannon Wollack and Brittany Zwickl of Studio Life.Style tell us. "We suggest eliminating unnecessary items and making sure the furniture is not too large for the room." Adequate storage can help minimize clutter. For the items you want to keep in sight, small trays and catchalls can help everything feel more organized.
Not Using Multiple Light Sources
Since you're not always asleep in your bedroom, it's important to have various light sources. This allows you to set the mood based on what you need: For reading in bed at night, softer lighting can help you relax at the end of a long day. For getting dressed in the morning, on the other hand, it's helpful to have a bright overhead light source that puts your daily outfits in full view.
Wollack and Zwickl are also careful not to use too many bright colors in a bedroom. "We like to use calm, natural colors to keep the space serene and timeless. To add a sheen texture that is not overpowering, we suggest a natural grass cloth." Warm, light neutrals work beautifully in the bedroom, and a variation in textures helps the space feel softer and more inviting.
Not Layering Bedding
A tip to make your bedroom feel extra cozy (and dynamic) is to layer your bedding. Choose shades that contrast each other while sticking within a complementary range, and mix them throughout your bed. For added texture and visual interest, opt for different textures that bring individual moods to the space.
Picking a Boring Headboard
The designers at Massucco Warner Miller also suggest you pay attention to the headboard: "There's no reason for boxy beige headboards. Do an offbeat fabric on your headboard, or choose an unusual shape." The headboard covers such an important portion of the space and should be treated as such. "If an off-the-shelf headboard has uninspiring fabric options, have it recovered just like you would a chair—and don't hold back with color!"
Overdoing the Pillows
One of Haenisch's pet peeves in the bedroom is a bed that gets swallowed up by pillows. "I prefer using four regular pillows—two on each side—and only one or two decorative pillows maximum." When it comes to decorative pillows, it's all about quality, not quantity.
Another mistake that Haenisch always notices? Neglected bedding: "If you think about it, we spend almost one-third of our lives in bed. Nice linens are worth the investment!" Pay special attention to the quality of your sheets—not only will it improve your décor, but you might sleep better as well.
Not Keeping It Functional
For the utmost function, install window dressings that allow you to make your bedroom either completely dark or completely light. Here, a wall of curtains from floor to ceiling can shut out this bedroom from the sun when it's time to catch up on rest. When you're feeling fresh and awake in the morning, you're still able to open the curtains up to get started with your day.
Forgetting the Greenery
Plants can do wonders for design in any room of the home. But they're especially helpful in the bedroom, as they help to clear the air in the room: By opting for air-cleaning plants, your personal oasis will always be filled with oxygen and rid of common household toxins. Even many of the easiest houseplants to care for are known for their air-cleaning abilities.
Not Mixing Old and New Décor
Changing up the décor in your bedroom can have an effect on its style. By blending pieces from various design eras—like this antique side table paired with modern touches—your room will feel more dynamic. Carefully-curated style not only brings a personal touch to your space, but it also makes your design appear visually interesting.
Combining Patterns Poorly
Patterns are fun to decorate with, and they can also make a great statement when paired well. Here, two different styles of stripes play off of each other at the foot of the bed, while minimalist circles in the throw pillows contrast them. The key to this room is using multiple patterns with small textures so that together, they're able to add blended details to the space.
Going Overboard With Color
If you have a favorite color, it doesn't have to overwhelm a sleek bedroom design. Here, a green accent wall contrasts the room's black-and-white décor. Rather than taking away from its bold patterns and soft textures, the green wall helps tie the space together to draw the eye around the room.
Creating Visual Imbalance
Artwork can be styled both as large wall décor and as a means to add symmetry to your space. By using three smaller pieces of the same size in this bedroom, the wall art above the bed visually balances the design. Paired with matching accents like the light wood side table, wood bed frame, and woven sun hat, the colors achieve an air of cohesiveness in the room.
Not Deciding on a Style
When you're going for a uniform look, choose small pieces of décor that all fit within a similar style or theme. For example, mix sleek white items together for a modern look, or make it feel cozy by blending similar shades of wood. Here, light wood shelving and décor complement the clay-hued accent wall to warm up the airy room.