If you returned from summer vacation to a disheveled bedroom and couldn’t help but yearn for your plush hotel digs, cloud-like pillows, and fluffy robe, don’t book another getaway just yet. Dreamy designer spaces like the Hôtel Vernet in Paris or 11 Howard in New York City might seem completely next-level compared to your humble abode, but according to top interior designers, achieving a luxury look at home is easier (and less expensive) than you think.
You don't need to completely redecorate; With just a few expert tweaks and no major décor investments, it's possible to upgrade your bedroom in time for a weekend staycation. Close your booking browser—these expert-approved styling tricks prove you don’t have to spend big to create the bedroom of your dreams.
If you only make one tweak to upgrade your bedroom, it should be the way you style pillows. According to Andrew Suvalsky, principal interior designer at ASD, a considered bed is always topped with a handful of precisely layered accent pillows. Practical pillows, the ones you sleep on a night, should sit propped against the bedhead, overlaid with decorative pillows in height order. “I like the color of the pillows to be the cherry on top of the sundae, so to speak, [so] pull the accent color from the overall color scheme of the space [to create] the focal point of your room,” he says.
One basic rule is that when placed in their ‘show’ position, sleeping pillows and decorative pillows shouldn’t take up more than a quarter of the total bed length. More than that looks overstyled.
Looking for an affordable way to give existing décor a fresh look? Suvalsky says replacing lampshades is a simple way to give your bedroom a look luxe for less. “Chances are the ready-made lamp you choose comes with a basic, uninspired shade,” he says, so upgrading it can have a big impact. “The shade can really make or break the lamp. Therefore, opt for color or a cool fabric choice,” and choose a shade that’s “taller than expected.”
Keeping a bedroom mess-free can feel like an insurmountable task, so it’s lucky that “organized clutter” is the design trend of the moment, says Portland-based interior designer Max Humphrey. The key is knowing how to distinguish between good clutter and bad. “Good clutter is stacks of books and magazines, art resting up against the wall, or bedside table trays filled with objects,” he explains. “Bad clutter is dirty clothes on the floor, unopened mail and paperwork, and unmanaged electrical cords.”
Deal with good messes by styling key areas like a bookcase or nightstand (more to come on that later), and tackle unnecessary messes by making the most of hidden storage. “If you are pressed for space, then don’t overlook a bed frame that’s higher up off the floor so you can use the space under for storage bins,” he suggests. Disguise the area with a bed skirt, which Humphreys says can suit any room in textured fabrics like chambray or linen.
Artwork is made to be seen, so it’s understandable that we often hang our favorite pieces in social areas of the house, like the living room. If your bedroom is lacking in art, Humphreys says that’s letting the space down. “Don’t overlook hanging some of your favorite artwork in your bedroom!” he says. “Just because it’s a private space doesn’t mean you should only display the best pieces in the living room where guests will see it.” Instead, redistribute the artworks in the house and experiment with one statement piece positioned over the bedhead for maximum impact.
Accessorizing a bedroom is a skill, and one that Manhattan-based interior designer Marlaina Teich adopts a mantra “less is more” for. A common mistake she notices is overloading nightstands with unnecessary items. “This area can be easily overdone. Too many accessories can become clutter in an instant,” she warns.
Suvalsky agrees but says a few key items that tie into the color scheme can instantly elevate a space. “Nightstands don’t need much, but if you do want a clock, dish to throw your jewelry in, or some other personal items you must have bedside, then pick ones that are beautiful and worthy of spending the night with,” he recommends. “Function should be dressed in style—always.”
“Ready-made window draperies hung on expandable rods instantly cheapen the look of a bedroom,” says Suvalsky. The solution? “With a little research and not much expense, you can find drapery rods that come in variable sizes that will fit your windows perfectly,” he says. When it comes to drapes, he notes the most stylish rooms install a roller blackout shade, which can be adjusted so you never have to touch the drapes. “If you install them just over your window frame, ‘waterfall’ style—which means reverse roll so that the shade unrolls toward you, rather than toward the window—it’ll look more finished,” he says.
“It also then allows you to keep the drapery panels stationary and styled just so all the time.”
Yes, the main function of a bedroom is to be a haven for sleep, but Suvalsky says the best rooms are multipurpose. A simple, low-cost way to tweak your space is by rearranging furniture and introducing décor from other rooms in the house. “Adding a chair in some coordinating fabric dressed with a fun throw pillow is the one piece many people forget about,” he says. “Even if your space isn’t very big, a small, cozy chair adds to the feeling of ampleness and getaway to your room.” If your living room has a statement chair that is rarely used, experiment by moving it into your bedroom with a discreet side table to create a reading area.
And, according to Suvalsky, it’s fine to mix and match décor. The accent chair “can be vintage, modern, or anything in between. Think of it like a piece of art for your room.”
Luxury hotel rooms all share one feature: a perfectly made bed. “Most people tend to underplay the importance of dressing their bed and rely on the same rumpled duvets they sleep with nightly, [which are] barely pulled up during the day,” says Suvalsky. “This never gives a finished look.” To make a Ritz-Carlton–grade bed that’ll instantly upgrade your space, opt for two sheets and fold the edge of the top one over the duvet for a polished look.
If you’re looking to go one step further and invest in new sheets, Humphrey says to look beyond classic white sets. “Bedrooms and bedding don’t have to be all white anymore—it’s all about the mix,” he says. “Shades of gray and taupe can be just as classy as all white, and it’s much easier to upkeep.”