When you're trudging through the long workday, do you often dream of falling into bed and picture yourself blissfully asleep as motivation? Your primary bedroom is your sanctuary, so it may be where you spend most of your time decorating and perfecting. But the challenge comes when decorating a primary bedroom as a couple—who may not always agree on decor.
The term “Primary Bedroom” is now widely used to describe the largest bedroom in the home, as it better reflects the space’s purpose. Many realtors, architects, interior designers, and the Real Estate Standards Association have recognized the potentially discriminatory connotations in the term “Master.” Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.
The good news is that you and your beloved don't have to agree on everything when it comes to design, and with a little effort, you can still create a primary bedroom, you both love.
We've rounded up a few of our favorite ideas for couples and called in a few experts to get their advice on how to decorate a bedroom in harmony.
Pick a Must-Have Element
One way to start is to figure out what the single must-have piece is for both of you. When Cait Pappas, founder, and lead stylist at nest out west, has a bedroom project for a couple, she always asks them, "What is the most important element, piece, or change you'd like to see in this space?"
This can be a great way to find common ground, lay the groundwork for your bedroom decor, and figure out where you should compromise—and where you shouldn't. "Encouraging couples to compromise in areas that are not the most important elements to them can help ease the process of blending design styles together if a couple doesn't share the same style," Pappas says.
Keep it Contemporary
If neither of you has particularly strong feelings about what the design style in your bedroom should be, consider a contemporary, streamlined look. An upscale, modern bedroom is unassuming enough to appeal to the majority while still feeling chic, elegant, and welcoming.
Sometimes a minimalistic look is exactly what you need. By paring down the decor in your primary bedroom, you can create a lovely, cozy space—and avoid any clashes between different tastes and design styles.
Opt for Neutral Colors
According to Pappas, opting for a neutral color scheme is a great choice in a couples' bedroom. A neutral color not only appeals to various design styles, but it can be a calming choice in your bedroom. "The bedroom isn't meant to be a mentally stimulating space, it's where you're supposed to find enough of a sense of calm to get a good night's sleep," she says.
Add Sconces on Each Side
Bedroom decor should not just be beautiful—it should also be functional. Adding a stylish sconce to each side of the bed is not only for adding a touch of style but getting the lighting right in a bedroom is key to creating a comforting space.
Don't Be Afraid to Mix Styles
While it may seem unlikely that you and your partner's wildly different tastes can somehow come together in harmony, it's possible, and Whittney Parkinson of Whittney Parkinson Design agrees. "I don’t like to put rules on design because I feel if any design (regardless of style mixing), is executed correctly, magic can happen," she says.
"When [mixed design spaces] are thoughtfully curated and balanced, they can be the most incredible, unique representation of the owner," she continues. Taking a few risks and blending unlikely design trends together (say maximalism and Scandi, for example) can create the perfect personalized space for a couple.
Bring in Earthy Elements
One of the best ways to help a bedroom feel grounded and soothing is to add greenery into the space. Even if only one of you has a green thumb, it's hard not to love waking up to a wall of fresh, vibrant plant life every day.
Find a Common Theme
If you're finding that mixing different design styles is simply not working, try to find one key element to weave throughout the space.
"Finding a common thread is important to ensure the space doesn’t feel off-balance," says Parkinson. "Whether that be through color palette or textiles, find a way for the two styles to speak to one another."
If you're blending modern and boho styles, but your bed and rug scream modern, ensure that your light fixtures and throw pillows lean more boho.
Add Artwork You Both Love
Finding a bit of common ground in your bedroom is key to creating a harmonious design. Pick out a beautiful piece of artwork together, or find a token from one of your vacations that you both love, and display it front and center. This can be a great starting point for decorating the rest of your room together.
Mix in Candles
Few things add more romance or more ambiance as easily as a candle does. Splurge on a few candles in scents you both love (this is key!) and layer them throughout your room on nightstands or dressers for an easy touch of romance.
Layer on Texture
Once you've agreed on which design styles to blend together, it's time to add a bit of romance. There are many ways to add a touch of romance to your bedroom, but according to Pappas, one of the best ways is through texture.
"My primary piece of advice would be to consider the textures you're pulling in," she says. "Layers of cozy blankets, an assortment of candles or dimmable light fixtures, florals, and a beautiful area rug to ground the space all help bring romance into a bedroom."
If you have the space, adding an accent chair to your bedroom can be a great way to give the room more usable space for both you and your partner. Whether you use it for getting ready in the morning or reading a book at night, a seating area in a primary bedroom can add a lot of elegance (just don't let it disappear under a pile of laundry).
Mix Up Your Wall Art
Not everyone has the same taste in art, but Pappas thinks one great way around this is by decorating your walls with unlikely art. "I'm always a big fan of bringing in art that takes you by surprise," she says. Some of her favorite ideas? A collection of "his and hers" hats, a vintage rug mounted to the wall, or an interesting plant holder hung from the ceiling.