Our bedrooms are a place of comfort to us, a space where we can truly be ourselves and be at peace. It is a space and place that symbolises us and is the one room that is entirely ours. It is a room that we seek when we want to relax, a space that is made for unwinding from the stresses of the day, clear the mind and escape life for just a moment. It is the one place that we can reconnect with ourselves, rejuvenate, contemplate and reflect on our place in the world. It's where we sleep, converse, love, dream, and a place where we are sometimes the most vulnerable. Therefore, with a room as important as this, it is absolutely essential our bedroom is furnished to reflect this mindset.
Our bedroom is one of the most important rooms in our home. Historically, our bedroom has been a playroom in our younger years where memories are made, to an escape haven and safe place as a teenager. Our bedroom speaks to us of life’s simple pleasures. It’s a place where we take a step back, relax and replenish our energy after a long day. That’s why we should invest some time and effort into making it into a place of contentment.
Interior design can be a complex subject. Your home tells a story of who you are and the family who share life under the same roof. A home reflects the habits of each member, including your cherished family pet. Home should be a place where you feel a sense of safety and security. As you recover after a busy and stressful day, it is here you feel comfortable not only physically but emotionally. Interior design helps to keep a balance of all these things in creating an environment, atmosphere and interior space, which can be beneficial to our ‘wellbeing’. The kitchen is often deemed the heart of the home by interiors writers across the world, however, it’s a far cry from the room we crave and long for the most. This accolade surely goes to the bedroom. It is the place we start and end our day. Yes, there is nothing quite like collapsing into your bed and letting your bed covers smother you after a long day.
Do you daydream of how to create the perfect bedroom? Do you long for the day when you can retreat into your own private sanctuary and just allow the worries of the day float away? When that space is free from kids’ toys, electronic devices, laundry and piled up dirty clothes? When it becomes the relaxing space you long for it to be? Well, worry no longer, as we’ve put together some great tips and considerations on how to create this kind of haven, whether you have a family, live alone, own your own home or are based in rental accommodation.
There are some simple steps you can take to restore your bedroom into a place of recharge and tranquillity. These changes may seem small, but sometimes all it takes are a few minor changes to make a big difference in your environment and routine. Your bedroom is the most important place for personal space and rest, so take a moment to rekindle your love affair with your bedroom.
It comes as no surprise that many of us devote a lot of time and energy into creating the perfect bedroom sanctuary. When designed right, our bedrooms can be transformed into a sacred place of tranquillity, a place where you can press “reset” on your life and relax, restore, renew and revitalise. When designed right, your bedroom can provide you with the ultimate getaway and help you return to everyday life as your best self.
A better designed bedroom can make a huge difference to how we sleep and therefore, how we feel. However, bedrooms can provide a challenge for designers when dealing with issues such as minimal square footage, functionality and storage constraints. Decorating bedrooms can pose a unique challenge but can also provide an excellent opportunity to incorporate some creative flair into your family interior design requirements.
Much of the realm of family interior design tends to focus on the communal areas of the house, as this is where we spend most of our quality time together. What’s more, the kitchen, bathroom and living room are open to visitors and therefore usually echo the habits and personality of the family. However, the interior design of the primary place of relaxation is often overlooked. A carefully designed bedroom and clever interior design are crucial for creating a beneficial sleeping environment and promoting a restful slumber. It can sometimes appear to be the room less used in our homes, but with sleep filling a third of our lives, perhaps it is a lot more significant than we care to think. The bedroom is the only part of a house which is designated for complete rest, and because of that, it is often the most cherished and private space within the home.
In creating an effective bedroom design that works, it is important to find the balance between keeping the intimacy of the room and eliminating unnecessary elements that inhibit our ability to rest. The aim should be making every night feel like you’re on an intimate luxury getaway. The most important thing with bedroom design is not finding a style, but discovering your style. It should be indulgent, unashamedly beautiful, and a reflection of you. When it comes to creating the near perfect bedroom, there are no set design rules. We all have and share different tastes; some people are drawn to modern and sophisticated, some are drawn to shabby chic or rustic country charm, and others embrace vibrant pops of colour and unique décor accents. Although tastes may vary from person to person, one thing that applies to every bedroom design is that sheer comfort or cosy factor.
For this reason, it’s essential that your surroundings and comfort are perfectly harmonised and streamlined to give you as much peace of mind as possible. Small things like including a connection to nature in our spaces can calm and de-stress us. This all starts with choosing the right colour combination and theme as the backdrop to your own bedroom sanctuary.
A bedroom offers unique creative possibilities and should serve as a blank canvas for all the things that you love and desire to be surrounded by, let that be some fun cushions, a special chair, your favourite artwork or a very comfy bed. A cosy bedroom is one full of relaxing and peaceful energy that promotes enjoyment and sleep. It is achieved through balance, colour schemes, texture, and a keen decorative eye, as well as by following some basic design concepts.
Mood boards are a great concept to help budding designers, architects and your own interior decorating instincts. Creating mood boards help to get your decorating ideas together and work out what your style is. Mood boards can include inspirational photographs, paint samples and material swatches. You can then go back and refer to your mood board when deciding on a wall colour or rug purchase to see if it fits well with your original plan. This also helps with having a look that runs through your home and protects against each room looking disjointed. Mood boards are essential to have an almost-final view of your space. It is just like a preview about how a particular room will look once your makeover or renovation has been done.
Take time to research and live with your ideas before making them a reality. Start creating some mood boards to reflect your inspired and creative thinking. Don’t be afraid to use other members of your household as a sounding board to see what your mind is imagining. Decide on a colour scheme and be careful about buying on a whim as it may not always go to plan. Once you’ve defined the brief and clarified the look and feel, agreed on the layout and zoned the space; it’s just a matter of the paint, carpet, furniture, lighting, soft furnishings and accessories before you can sit back and enjoy your well-earned beverage of choice. Honey, would you mind putting the kettle on? No problemo!
So, if you’re thinking of re-inventing your bedroom read-on for our tips to get you thinking about transforming your bedroom interior design.
The feng shui principles of the ancient Chinese can help create a sense of harmony within a home, relying on the best placement of furniture and objects to build up positive and healing energy flows; beneficial for mental health and wellbeing. Almost every feng shui book states that the starting point to building a restful, spiritual home is clearing out the clutter. The following feng shui tips and principles may help when planning your living area:
- keep lines of sight as open as possible and add a wide-open feel to the layout while increasing the amount of natural light in the room.
- colour schemes that are pleasing to the eye of any observer should be utilised throughout the entire space.
- set identifiable boundaries within any open plan layout in order to define the purpose of each space. If the room encompasses a kitchen area, dining area and open plan living room, you can define these areas by using rugs, pendant lighting, room dividers, sliding doors or different colour themes.
- creating a focal point using natural shapes and elements can also add to the space and feel of the area. The front door should not be blocked in any way.
- seek to reduce clutter, as living areas need to be a practical and peaceful space for relaxation, where you can go to unwind. Keeping decorations and ornaments to minimal levels is one way to build and enhance peace and relaxation. Consider earth element colours such as sandstone, mocha, latte or skin tones for scheming your living area and creating boundaries. They provide feelings of stability and calm.
- build natural light and fresh, clean air into your open plan living area.
- layer levels of light using different shapes and sizes of lamps can help build a welcoming and calming environment during the hours of darkness.
If you’re not familiar with this often mispronounced term, ‘hygge’ is a Danish word for which there is actually no direct English translation. It’s a feeling; being cosy, happy, and quite comfortable in your own skin. As the great philosopher Winnie the Pooh once remarked “You don’t spell it, you feel it.” It’s a sense of wellbeing and contentment, and for most Danes home is central to social life. As such, Danes place a lot of time, effort and money in making their ‘home hygge.’ It’s being with family, familiar faces and friends. It’s making memories and new experiences, and sharing them with others … with the obligatory candles burning in the background.
On the home front, it’s also about feeling cossetted and at peace in your surroundings. To achieve this, an individual may feel best in an organised, uncluttered space with a clear to-do list. For some, this may even involve some ‘me time’, recognising it’s crucial to slow down and take some time to do the things that matter, that help you feel grounded and calm. The instruction manual would indicate we all have to make time for the things that bring us contentment, as we seek to try to find some kind of balance between work, family and personal life. Although not easy, occasionally you’ll find some equilibrium, and carve out the time you need to be you.
The hygge wishlist:
- Hyggekrog: the rough translation is ‘a nook.’ This is the one place in a room (e.g. kitchen bay window) where you love to snuggle up with a cosy blanket, a favourite book and a warm beverage after a long day. In this zone, one feels safe and in control of the situation, without feeling exposed to the unpredictable.
- Fireplace: almost 30% of homes in Denmark have a fireplace or wood-fired stove. This helps create a sense of togetherness with close ones, whilst experiencing the ultimate feelings of warmth and cosiness.
- Candles: a key and arguably essential ingredient. Interestingly, the word for ‘spoilsport’ in Danish is Lyseslukker, which literally means ‘the one who puts out the candles’. Nearly a third of Danes light a candle every day of the year.
- Wooden items: floorboards, furniture, chairs and children’s toys, just to name a few. Timber and wood make us feel closer to nature.
- Nature inside: there is seemingly a strong requirement to bring nature indoor, and this is captured through twigs, branches, nuts, leaves and even animal skins.
- Books: Taking a break with a favourite author is almost essential. A bookshelf full of reading material is always pleasing to the eye.
- Ceramics and vintage items: A nice teapot or shapely vase on the dining table can be offset by a favourite mug or item of nostalgia from a local antique shop
- Blankets and cushions: Texture is important within any household. Fabrics such as wool, fleece, linen or cotton provide a sense of security, happiness and simple pleasures.
- Chocolate should be part of every hygge emergency kit. An allowable indulgence and a little pleasure to look forward to each day?
Under the Zen Buddhist philosophy of wabi-sabi beauty is found in the balance between the harmony and tranquillity of wabi and sabi. This traditional Japanese styled home encourages a way of embracing an uncomplicated and natural way of living with an approach that focuses on decluttering and an emphasis on the things we love. A simple reminder to treasure the imperfections in what we already have, this style of home is an effortless retreat that brings a sense of calm and restfulness. A pushback against mainstream styles, think of treasured pieces around the home that tell stories and carry a uniqueness with the beauty of hand made items from near and far. These elements contribute to a sense of love and charm in your abode and is what makes the art of wabi-sabi so special.
This Japanese design aesthetic combines natural inspirations, inclinations and a neutral palette with an acknowledgement of the beauty in the imperfection of our daily life. Unlike minimalism, which can seek to streamline and eliminate clutter, wabi-sabi celebrates the imperfect knot in the wood or the dishevelled wrinkle in the linen. The use of time-worn features and natural materials is key to attaining that balance. In a wabi-sabi interior, less is always more, where the interior design can look poor but at the same time be expensive.
Wabi-sabi interiors are elegant, sparse, and possibly imperfect, yet deliver a very modern take on luxury interior design that finds its inspiration in the varying colours and textures of nature. To create such an effortless aesthetic takes time, care and a real attention to detail. Interior design that embraces the wabi-sabi aesthetic is about respecting the authenticity of objects and reflecting imperfect elements that have been weathered by age, such as a frayed fabric, a pot repaired or a vase of flowers on a rustic table. Objects that embrace a sense of rich history or old items that continue to perform the functions of the new – all play into our interest in sustainability and reflect our desire to step away from the pressures of everyday life into a home that is comfortable with our imperfections.
One of the biggest things that can stand between the beautifully designed home you dream of and the reality … is clutter. A messy bedroom is a stressful bedroom, that’s a fact. Clutter is also a sleep killer as well as a mood killer. It has been shown that clutter can be stress inducing, with cortisol readings the same as post-traumatic stress disorder. When your home starts bursting at the seams it can become very hard to get on top of any of it, so the stuff you want to put away starts to form its own little nest on the floor. Incorporating plenty of storage space is so important to reduce the stress of a cluttered space. Keep the bedroom simple. The best way to keep it under control is only to have the things you need in there.
Like other areas in our lives, over time our bedroom can become disorderly and no longer serve us as well as it should. People are feeling the need to simplify their busy lives, and this will be reflected in interior design. When there's clutter in your space, your mind can often feel the same way. Seriously, who needs that? Less is more, and a clutter-free space helps to reduce stress and enhance a space for relaxation. Everything should have a place and be in its place. Have enough storage space for your things. Not only do you want daily peace of mind for yourself, but you also don't want to be panicking about the state of your bedroom mess when you have last-minute guests arrive at short notice.
This is why it is really important to get your storage right in this room because if stuff doesn’t have a home to go into easily, then it’s going to be just lying there creating a physical reaction in your body which can eat you up inside. In other words, clutter is the antithesis of relaxation and the arch enemy of romance. Whoever thinks of James Bond seducing his ladies while tripping over a pile of smelly socks and shoes? Are your wardrobes bulging with clothes and clutter? Poorly stored clothes and shoes can take over a bedroom. To help you find personal space in a busy home you have to treat your bedroom to a little TLC so it can care for you.
Decluttering can be very emotional and possibly overwhelming to start with. Firstly, ask yourself these five questions to help you de-clutter any corner of your home:
- Have I used this item in the past year?
- Will I use it in the year ahead?
- If it is broken, is it worth fixing?
- If I was shopping right now, would I consider buying it again?
- Would I keep this item if I moved home?
If the answer is NO! then it’s time to draw a line in the sand.
Tips for clutter busting
- Break it down into corner by corner and tackle a small area. Work out what items you really need. Look for the “dead” spaces in cupboards. Organise your drawers! Cupboards need pull-out drawers and rails so that you can access all your items and keepsakes easily.
- Focus on the type of item. Consider taking all of your cushions/vases/picture frames/lamps from around the house and think about which ones you really love and still want, and which ones you have simply because they fill a spot or you’ve had them a long time. This allows you to imagine something out of its original place and instantly see somewhere else it might work better for that item.
- Start making piles. When you can’t see what you have in your wardrobe, you are more likely to say ‘I have nothing to wear’. Start with a big sort through of your wardrobes, drawers and under the bed. Look out for ill-fitting clothes, odd socks, moth-eaten knits or out-of-date dresses. Sort through all of the clothes that you haven’t worn for over a year. Make a separate pile for everything that you need or want to get rid of.
- Let it Go! Search for that ruthless streak in you! If it doesn’t fit, it goes; if it’s the wrong season then it goes away until it is. Beware how easy it is to pop things back all the time “just in case”. Is your wardrobe full of things that you aren’t sure about? Consider the practice of Feng Shui which adheres to the belief that once you let go of stuff, only then can good things come into your life. So, at the risk of sounding like Elsa in “Frozen”, just “Let it Go!”.
- Hang It! Stylish pegs and hooks are easy to use and brilliant for keeping belongings to hand both inside and outside of cupboards. Make the most of every inch in your wardrobe with hangers, hooks, baskets and racks. Use hooks on the back of your door to hang your dressing gown.
- Bulky seasonal clothes like winter coats or ski clothes can be stored away in vacuum-sealed bags to protect them. Vacuum storage allows you to compress linens, bed covers and clothes without damaging the fabric. Airtight, they keep clothes, and winter blankets safe from damp, bad smells, mites and moths.
- Drawer dividers are a really useful bedroom storage solution to separate items such as underwear, accessories, etc.
- Hanging shelves. If your bedroom is too small for a chest of drawers, then add some to your wardrobe with a set of narrow canvas shelves for a stylish bedroom storage solution. A hanging storage organiser will give you extra storage space for folded up sweatshirts, t-shirts and shoes, keeping your wardrobe clutter-free.
- Pairs of shoes. If you are a shoe addict, then you’ll know to keep shoes neat and tidy can be a headache. Badly stored clothes and shoes can take over a bedroom. Start by sorting your shoes into pairs, then sort by type and store according to how often you use them. The footwear you use most often should go on shelves or in a dedicated shoe rack.
- Banish the toys: If you have children, keep it a toy free zone. That doesn’t mean banishing the children of course, but if they do bring their toys into your private, grown-up space, just make sure they take them away again.
- Restyling a shelf can be a cathartic, relaxing and de-stressing experience
- #declutteryourlife: Keep belongings – like keys and reading glasses – in a designated spot. The reward should be in seeing more liveable space. Buy fewer (and better things). Resist the impulse to buy stop-gap purchases. Instead focus on quality and longevity. Instagram is ideal for seeing how others have sorted and displayed their belongings. Try the following hashtag #declutteryourlife
By the end you should have 3 piles – Keep, Sell, and Give-Away.
The quickest way to move stuff along in its life journey is to give it away. Charity Shops take almost everything that is sellable. Things they normally avoid are damaged clothes, towels, bed coverings, cosmetics and electrical goods. If you have large furniture you can call and arrange a collection. Though it can be hard to go through the de-cluttering process, when you drop stuff off at the charity shop, you will feel better for the experience and lighter in the soul. Freecycle and local Facebook networks work well in turning one man’s junk into another man’s treasure.
Alternatively, the slow way is to turn those unwanted items into money in your pocket, however, it can take a little longer to move the stuff out of your home and into someone else’s. Garage sales, car boot sales and local markets allow you to become your own stall holder. Another option is local auction houses who are willing to handle the collectable stuff, so if that Picasso is cluttering up the hallway they might be the ones to call. They can value items like antiques or jewellery – some have open valuation days where you can bring your items in – and then they will handle the sale for you. They, of course, take a fee for doing so; and it really matters who’s in the auction room on the day as to what price you will achieve for it. Consider also Gumtree or eBay for online auctions, and putting items on there at a “Buy it Now Price” with “Make an Offer” for 30 days.
De-cluttering can be a very emotional process; especially when are saying goodbye to things that you have owned for years. It can sometimes take a little bit more effort to dispose of your unwanted stuff responsibly, but by doing so we close the loop on the closed-loop economy. It all helps the world turn round in a more kind way. Getting your home in order can help you stick to good habits, and allow you to feel more in control of your life. We all know that outer order contributes to inner calm.
Your bedroom should be a calm and quiet environment that you love spending time in, and tidiness can encourage a sense of peace and relaxation. Every room needs a good de-clutter every now and again. No one knows exactly where it comes from, or how we amass so much of it, all we know is it needs to be removed or at least hidden from view. Why not consider decluttering every time you move the clocks forward or back one hour. Sort what you don’t want or need and send it to charity. You’ll be surprised at how much more storage space you actually have if you do this regularly. They say an uncluttered home is an uncluttered mind.
If you can, create clear areas for different purposes and have clearly defined areas. Obviously, the bed is for sleeping, storage does its thing, and the dressing table is for getting yourself ready. Don’t let the clutter spread into other areas; keep it all neat and tidy. At the end of the day, we’re often too tired after a busy day of school runs and work to care about storage, and we often kick-off shoes and plonk down clothes in unpredictable places, to be sorted in the morning. A little storage, however, can go a very long way when it comes to streamlining your morning routine. Give the room a sense of purpose and cohesion.
- Under the Bed: This will depend on your type of bed, however, usually we don’t make enough of the space under our bed. Get some large, low boxes, ensure they are labelled and fill them with out-of-season clothes, bedding, towels or pretty much anything you don’t need on a regular basis. Even better put the boxes on wheels for straightforward access.
- Shelving: A really easy way to add some storage to the bedroom is with some shelving. Whether you go for shelves on the wall or a simple bookcase, this is an easy way to store books but also to show off your decorative accessories.
- Cupboards above the bed or floor-to-ceiling cupboards: If you can forego a headboard this is an easy way to make the most of the space, and if you’re handy, you can knock these up yourself. You don’t need all the family photo albums hidden in your wardrobe or the next size of children’s clothes under your bed waiting for you to use. Your bedroom isn’t a storage room for the rest of the house because then it isn’t going to be a space looking after you. Instead, it is looking after everyone else’s junk. Prioritise the things you need in this room to prepare for your day or to prep for sleep!
- Storage boxes can be attached to the wall directly above your bed to store all of the items your bedside table would usually house, saving space around the bed at the same time.
- Wardrobe Boxes: You know that dead space on the top of your wardrobes? Well, why not use it for storage. Buy yourself some attractive boxes, fill them up (not with anything too heavy) and pop them up there, for items you won’t need to access all that often.
- Shoe Storage: Girls have shoes. It’s a fact. But how many have really good storage for them? Probably not enough. So let’s sort this out. You need to take care of your shoes and box them up if you can, labelling the boxes accordingly. Storage boxes are great for shoes you don’t wear often or are off-season. Plastic see-through boxes that stack are recommended – or use the original box and attach a photo on the outside for easy viewing. Shoe racks and shelves made from wood are great for shoes that you wear frequently and can be stored in closets with space beneath the clothes rod. Many racks and shelves stack so you can add multiple levels for additional storage without having to use horizontal space. Placing shoes that you don’t frequently wear under your bed might be a good idea too (especially if your wardrobe is already crowded). Specially made storage containers have individual shoe compartments and often wheel out. Alternatively, make a feature of them and store on open shelving with all your other accessories.
- Handbag Storage: One of the best ways to store handbags is to put them in plastic boxes to allow air to circulate. Just make sure the boxes are big enough so that you don’t fold over the bag handles. The handbags you use regularly need to be easily accessible, so store them on the top or side shelf in your closet, standing upright in a line. You can organise them by size, type or colour. Purses you don’t use often can be wrapped in cotton pillowcases or cloth bags before putting them into storage. Do not put them in plastic dry cleaning bags, or boxes without airflow as this will damage the leather. Undo metal fastenings and buckles on straps so that they don’t leave an impression. To help them keep their shape, stuff the bags with tissue paper or any alternative acid-free filling, but do not use old newspapers. Bubble wrap is better than tissue paper for padding out or wrapping bags, as it doesn’t attract moths in the same way as tissue paper.
- Bedside tables: The right choice can give you so much extra storage for your personal items, books, medicines and more. Bedside cabinets are often a much better solution for those that are tight on space, and there are many different styles to suit your decor.
- Laundry: Don’t leave piles of dirty clothes about the place, invest in one or two attractive laundry baskets or bags, and find something that suits your decor. Better still move this into the bathroom if you have room. Keep the laundry basket to hand but out of the eye line. The bedroom shouldn’t be a dumping ground for the family laundry.
- Feature Storage: Storage doesn’t have to be boring and ugly. Make a statement with your stylish storage solutions and make them part of your room décor.
- Vacuum Storage Bags: if you don’t have enough room in your wardrobe, rotate your winter and summer clothes with vacuum-sealed storage bags. They are a lifesaver as you fill plastic bags with your out of season clothes, then suck the air from the bag with a vacuum.
- Beauty Storage: Make a feature of your beauty accessories, makeup brushes, lipsticks etc. Place these on a dressing table or chest of drawers with purpose made storage. Alternatively, when your candles have run out, clean out the empty wax and use the pots to store your brushes.
- Rails: If you don’t have space for built-in closets, use a rail or better still, build a fake wall and create bespoke storage and hanging space behind it.
- Utilise space inside cupboards. Think about how you use your existing cupboards. Usually, only half of the available space is used, with the rest wasted as dead space above tins or tubs. A good way to combat this and make use of all the space your cupboard has to offer is to create shelves within shelves. This could mean that three layers of tins could be stored where usually you would only store one. This tip is not just confined to the kitchen; extra hanging storage could be added to wardrobes to house underwear and accessories.
- Bookshelves: We don’t always immediately add a bookshelf to a bedroom, but they are a great way to store books, display items, boxes and more. You can also add extra lighting on them to help keep the room bright and fresh.
- Ready built wardrobe pieces allow you to really use the internal areas how you want to, maximising storage and minimising lost space. A wardrobe should give you hanging space, shelf areas and drawers. You can now have storage built into any awkward space, over doorways, under benches and cabinets.
- Storage bed: Sometimes our bedrooms are not as spacious as we would like them to be. Although space may be limited, there are several ways you can ensure you make the most of your bedrooms space. A storage bed may well be the answer if you have a compact or a narrow bedroom, and you won’t need to compromise any of the space in your room. If you are living on your own and have total control over your space, a double bed may not be completely necessary. A king single bed could be the answer you are looking for. They provide you with that little bit of extra sleeping space, as well as providing you with extra space for movement in your room.
- Pull down guest bed: How do you make space for guests who may stay over at one point. One option to cater for guests is a pull-down guest bed which allow you to make the most of the space you have, yet give your friends a guaranteed space to sleep when they visit. When not in use, such a bed is stored right up against the wall, and it’s far more convenient than having a double bed permanently in your room dominating the area. When used by guests, they should still have plenty of space available to move around. This is just one trick to ensure your bed doesn’t inconvenience your life and life and space, allowing you to maximise the space and use your room in a more useful way. Out of sight, out of mind!
- Multi-purpose options. Choose furniture that has multiple purposes. An old-style chest, ottoman or wooden blanket box will offer flexible usage will give you so many more options when it comes to your storage needs. Use it for kids toys or in the bedroom for blankets, bedding or towels. Bulky items are often difficult to store, so using a chest like this is a great solution. One of the big mistakes people make is to buy too much storage and then fill it to the brim with things they barely use. A good declutter first will ensure you only buy the storage you really need and it won’t dominate your bedroom. Another option is to consider the height in a room for extra storage. Shelving higher up the wall is a good place for books for example. Take care though when you need to bring out the feather duster as you balance precariously on the step ladder!
Caring for yourself gives you the ability to care for all around you. Make the most of the space you have and create a clutter free bedroom sanctuary you know you deserve.
Beds and Mattresses
Consider your bed as an investment.
You owe it to yourself (and your back) to invest in a quality mattress. Some people are born with the gift of being able to sleep through traffic noise, thunderstorms, warm temperatures and light-filled rooms. How convenient! Most of us, however, are not such natural sleepers and the sleep we do need must be quality sleep. The right mattress ensures we are well supported and comfortable during the night. A good night’s sleep can boost our concentration, productivity and can help prevent the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Good sleep has the power to work wonders on our wellbeing. Poor sleeping habits can negatively affect our immune system, emotions and social interactions. Whether you’re over-worked, stressed out, feeling grumpy or even sad, the benefit of having a good quality sleep is of the utmost importance.
We spend a third of our lives asleep, so choosing the right mattress is much more than a place to rest your head at night; it’s core to our physical and mental wellbeing. The most essential part of your bedroom is the bed, and the most important thing you’ll do in your bedroom is sleep (yes, this article comes with a PG rating). Since the bed is the place where all the relaxation and recharging happens, it should be as comfortable as possible. Of course, this means different things for different people, since some prefer softer mattresses, while others prefer firmer ones. It’s all a matter of personal taste, so try to ensure your bed provides you with optimal levels of comfort. New mattresses can be quite expensive, so if you’re not in a position to buy one just yet, maybe consider purchasing a mattress topper in the interim; they can be helpful for increasing comfort levels at a more affordable price.
How can we relax and drift off to sleep if we aren’t comfortable? Remember a good night sleep is based on different factors like the right room temperature, amount of caffeine consumed, the position you lie in etc. – it’s really a minefield of getting all the elements right. Our beds serve a vital role in our sleep and picking the right mattress and pillow are essential, however, one can be overwhelmed by all the options and choices. Choosing the right mattress can be a frustratingly daunting task.
Are you the kind of person that takes a Goldilocks approach to choosing a bed and finding one that is ‘just right’?
Tips on choosing the right mattress
- Do your research. It always helps to do your research first; otherwise you could be facing sleepless nights and achy mornings once again, even with a whole new mattress. A mattress needs to support us and comfort us in equal measure. A decent bed shouldn’t cost the earth and getting the quality mattress you deserve can be seen as an investment in your health and wellbeing.
- Find a bed specialist. The choice in mattresses can be overwhelming, as well as choosing the correct size, you have to decide on what material it’s made from and the firmness of it. A bedding specialist will spend time understanding your needs and offer guidance on which mattress is best suited to you so you can enjoy quality sleep once more.
- Know when it’s time to change. Are you concerned that your mattress may be affecting your mood or health? If you continually find yourself waking up in the morning feeling achy, stiff and sore, or you may think you’re coming down with a cold or virus, it could be your far from perfect mattress which is making you feel like this. A lack of quality sleep can leave us feeling grumpy, irritable, down and can even contribute to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Though some mattresses can last up to ten years, it is recommended that a mattress should be changed every 7-10 years. Keep your mattress in good health by turning it regularly and replacing it when needed.
- Understand how you sleep. You may not realise it, but you change position several times during your sleep cycle. However, most of us have a preferred way of sleeping. This may be on the side, facing down on laid flat on the back. The interesting thing is the way you sleep can affect the firmness of the mattress you need. For instance, people who sleep on their front need a medium to firm mattress, while people who sleep on their side are better off with a very soft to medium mattress.
- Maximum comfort. Choose a bed that provides maximum comfort. Simply put, a good bed provides better sleep. A comfortable sleep promotes rest and allows you to get back to your daily life and routine and make a fresh start. Seek a tailored sleep experience. The ideal mattress should always be able to mould itself to the shape of your body, while remaining supportive. It should alleviate any pressure and keep your spine correctly aligned. A high quality mattress should cater for your weight, height, build and even preferred sleeping position should all be catered for with a high quality mattress. Where mattresses only once came with coiled springs, they are now available in a range of materials.
- Motion absorption. There are brands available which promote motion absorption, which means when your partner moves in bed, you’re less likely to be disturbed during sleep.
- Try before you buy. Taking the time to go and try a mattress in-store makes all the difference in picking the right one for you. Retail bedding stores seem to be always having a sale. ‘Try before you buy’ and spend an afternoon testing out a range of quality mattresses. View this process as an investment and not a cost, and remember to take into account the preferences of your other half. Typical sales periods include June 30, Boxing Day and long weekends. Sleep is vital for optimal health, so make sure you treat your body with a good quality mattress.
- Changing trends. Bedroom furniture trends are changing with time to make it more comfortable, reliable and versatile. Trend alert! Fabric beds are gaining in popularity as people prefer a fabric bed instead of the traditional wooden bed in their bedroom. These beds are constructed in the soft padded cushioned frame which is either made of fabric or leather. Fabric beds are low maintenance and available in multiple designs, styles, and colours. The bed you choose will always take centre stage and really make the space feel like a boutique hotel room, helping to ease you into your ‘me time’.
- Decide on a budget. The vast range in mattresses also means they vary in price. While we shouldn’t put a limit on our health and wellbeing, you shouldn’t feel the need to spend more than you can afford as there are good quality mattresses available and great value options in all price ranges. Only spend as much as you can comfortably afford.
Some common mistakes and pitfalls to avoid, and some tips on how to avoid these:
- Not trialling enough beds beforehand. The number one mistake a person buying a mattress can make is not testing a mattress style for long enough before committing to the purchase. Even if you’re buying a bed online, which can often be cheaper due to lack or rent fees etc, it is wise to go into a physical bed store beforehand and try out any similar beds before jumping into it. Coil sprung, pocket sprung ... there are a plethora of choices out there, so choose wisely.
- Buying based on another person’s recommendation. Remember, not everyone finds the same bed comfortable, and everyone has different tastes. Listening to someone else’s thoughts may be extremely useful, but don’t let it determine your decision on whether to purchase a particular type of bed. They may think it is the best thing since sliced bread, however, it may not be to your taste.
- Avoid the sales pitch of a cheaply made mattress. For example; cage sprung, continuous coil or open coil are all prime examples of mass-produced, low production value mattresses. Chances are they will result in a product that’s uncomfortable and offers little support for you.
- Avoid sellers who aren’t upfront and honest. You shouldn’t have to read between the lines when buying a mattress, so search for sellers who know their products, and who will give you the correct information. Be prepared to consider items like a quality mattress topper to go with a new mattress. Your own research will assist you to ask the right questions you need to make an informed decision.
- Buying from a non-reputable dealer. Cheap beds that are in extremely cheap stores are often there for a reason, and it’s essential you check out the company reviews before going ahead and making a purchase. Quality issues, fabric coverings and adherence to safety requirements may require some research on your behalf.
- Choosing a bed based on price. The price will no doubt always be a contributing factor, but it really shouldn’t be the only thing that you look for. Look for the features that are best suited to what you’re looking for – you always pay extra for good quality and durability.
- Ask questions. Does the salesperson really know what they are talking about? A quality mattress seller should be able to tell you how their mattresses are made and what exactly goes into them. Quality craftsmanship translates into your specific sleep requirements being met, so it pays to hunt for a hand-crafted mattress, which has been finely tuned by skilled experts. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Avoid a one size fits all mentality. Beware of mattresses built with coil spring support units, which simply can’t properly accommodate differently weighted sleepers. You’ll soon find yourself waking up to pains, and even rolling together if you sleep with a partner, due to the crude design and inconsistent support offered. Each person should be treated as an individual and should test out the different amounts of springs themselves; weights, heights and how many people sleep in a bed contribute towards how firm and comfortable a bed should feel too. Reiterating, not everyone finds the same thing comfortable.
The type of mattress depends on your preferences for comfort, and the ideal mattress should reduce the various pressure points of your body.
We’ve put together a list of eight of the most common mattress types to help you decide:
- Innerspring/Pocket spring: Innerspring are also known as ‘coil’ mattresses, and use an internal distribution of metal springs for support. As a general rule, more coils mean higher quality and more support, however, experts say that the optimal number of springs is 390. Anything more than that is unnecessary as you won’t feel the difference in how the mattress will conform to your body. Back, side and tummy sleepers can be comfortable on the right type of innerspring mattress. The firmer support is great for those who are overweight or suffering from back pain. One of the top reasons why this kind of bed is popular is due to its affordability, however, you may find that you’ll need to replace an innerspring mattress sooner than you would another type of bed. In a pocket sprung mattress, each spring is individually wrapped in a breathable pocket of material, and can work independently to absorb, adjust, and react to every movement you make. The result is a more isolated tailored feeling of support, which is what you should expect from your mattress.
- Memory Foam is popular because of the way it gradually conforms to your body as you sleep. The foam moulds and responds to body shape and weight, helping to reduce pressure points. Invented by NASA in 1966 to improve the safety of aircraft cushions, today it is widely used because of the sensation it creates of “sinking in” to a mattress and being cradled. Best in colder temperatures, the foam also absorbs movement, which means tosses and turns won’t be as disturbing to others, providing sleep quality for everyone. This is great if you have muscle pain or suffer from chronic fatigue and can help relieve insomnia and joint strain. If you sleep on your side, it can offer the shoulder and hip support you need as this mattress contains several layers of foam that resist the tendency to sag in the middle.
- Gel is usually added to or infused into a foam mattress in the support system or upholstery layer. Gel works to offset the heating effects of memory foam. It has a slightly different feel than memory foam, so you may need to test it out to decide which feel you prefer. Gel mattresses also dissipate your body heat more effectively, so if you dislike the way some foam mattresses absorb your body heat, a gel-infused mattress may help.
- Latex mattresses provide a firm and slightly bouncy support. It can be made of synthetic rubber or natural organic rubber and is naturally resistant to mould and dust. Whereas memory foam gives in to your weight, the latex mattress pushes back against you. This helps with natural spine alignment. Whether you choose memory foam or latex is purely a matter of preference. If you’re someone who likes to sink deeply into a mattress, you’ll like memory foam better. However, if you want something that is bouncy and retains less heat, you’re better off with a latex mattress. A latex mattress promotes the natural curvature of the spine and can help relieve pain and improve blood circulation. Latex also offers varying levels of firmness and plushness to accommodate side, back, or tummy sleepers.
- Air Bed: Like waterbeds, an air bed uses a chamber filled with air as the primary support. The air chamber is padded with foam or fibre upholstery. The air chamber is also adjustable, allowing you to adjust the firmness of the mattress. Some brands allow you to adjust each side of the mattress separately. Air beds are great for back sleepers and couples with different firmness needs. Airbeds look like your typical bed, and they’re often made with foam layers. Unlike a traditional mattress, you don’t have to worry about it sagging over time!
- Pillow Top: Side sleepers who choose not to go with memory foam or gel may prefer a mattress with a "pillow topper." Pillow tops are basically an additional layer of upholstery that is added to the top of your mattress. They are very soft and cushiony, allowing a similar "sinking" feeling as memory foam, which allows your hip and shoulder to "sink" into the pillow top and keep your back in comfortable alignment. You can choose the level of softness for your pillow top (material include: cotton, foam, latex or wool), and they are generally used with an innerspring or coil mattress. Benefits include cooling, durability, bounce, and enhanced comfort.
- Adjustable base mattresses are one of the most flexible types of mattresses, offering relief and support wherever you need it. You can adjust the base to elevate your head, recline, raise your feet, or provide more back support. They are perfect for targeting sleep-related problems such as muscle aches, back pain, acid reflux, heartburn, sleep apnea, and more. This type of bed is ideal for people who like to read, work or watch TV in bed, as well as those who suffer from sinus pressure, back pain, and snoring. The price of these beds is higher than average, so you’ll want to weigh the benefits against the larger investment. Expect maintenance fees, too, because there are moving electrical parts like motors.
- Waterbeds were invented by a Scottish physician to help patients with bedsores. They became especially popular in the 1980’s, however, fell out of popularity because of its heavy weight and maintenance required. Water bed mattresses use water as the primary support system and are best for back sleepers. A waterbed consists of a rectangular chamber of water that is padded with upholstery material, such as foam or fibres. The water can be in a free-flow chamber or a limited-flow "waveless" chamber. In free-flow, nothing obstructs the water from moving from one end of the mattress to another. In a waveless waterbed, fibres limit the water's movement. Your choice depends on the amount of support and flexibility you prefer and whether or not you find the movement of the water distracting. As a general rule, a waterbed will last between 10 and 20 years.
Bedroom trends are continually evolving, and bedroom furniture comes in a range of styles, materials and sizes. You may be thinking that your bedroom is far too small for it to be a retreat. No matter what size bedroom you have, it’s possible to create a space that reflects your individual tastes and personality. Whether your priority is adding comfort, privacy, good light or lots of storage, seek to incorporate the right furniture.
As you look to update and refresh your room with a classical, minimalistic or modern look, there are many options and designs to consider: rustic, country, bohemian, Scandinavian or even shabby chic designs that are pleasingly old and slightly worn. Make these pieces as beautiful as you can manage. The bedroom is a space to retreat, even for a short while, to escape a busy family home or rest in an armchair with a great book to read.
Seek out the best bedroom furniture you can afford, and ensure it fits the space. Invest in good quality wardrobes, and they’ll last a lifetime. If you don’t have the option over choosing your own furniture, do rearrange the room regularly do make the most of the space, and help the room reinvent itself. It’s a wonder what a little revamp can do. And of course, why not upcycle or paint old furniture too to match your new bedroom decor.
Bedroom furniture types and tips
- Stand-alone v. Fitted furniture. To create a coordinated and individual design, it is important to consider stand-alone v. fitted furniture. With stand-alone furniture, you can sometimes be limited to a couple of different finishes and sizes that may not be perfect for your exact needs. Alternatively, a well designed, fitted bedroom could be the answer that you were looking for. What better way to make use of an awkwardly shaped room than with fitted wardrobes where everything you own is arranged so neatly on display that you can see everything all at once. You’ll want your fitted furniture to complement your decorating scheme, and it’s amazing how much extra storage this can offer you. Fitted furniture is available in a wide range of materials, finishes, and colours, plus it is bespoke so you can mix and match to create a design that is truly unique to you.
- Wardrobes: Whether you’re looking to save space or make a statement, it is important to integrate the right wardrobes and cupboards into your bedroom design. Many people start by thinking “I need more storage”, however, the bigger the storage, the more we seem to fill it. So work with the storage space you have. Mirror fronted wardrobes are popular, whilst a hardwood wardrobe can provide a more classic or timely feel.
- Bed frame: The bed itself can range from a free-standing bedhead through to a contemporary full timber frame. Consider how much space you have for your bed frame. Measure it out in the room. If you are space-poor, consider a simple ensemble base with a well-chosen piece of artwork above. Adding Australian hardwood timber can bring warmth to your space. Larger spaces command bolder furniture. Four-poster beds or oversized bed heads can work well here. Alternatively, bunk beds in smaller bedrooms offer a sense of fun and excitement and can help families find a solution to save space and reduce clutter.
- Bedside tables and cabinets: These pieces offer so much more than surfaces to position your alarm clock or rest your phone. They can enhance the character of a room, offer extra storage space and provide a very personal finishing touch to your room. A bedside table allows you to pop a lamp next to the bed, store your book on there, or even store your favourite moisturiser and pieces of jewellery. Keep the top surface simple with only a few select pieces. Items like medication, hair bands and cosmetics … you may want them next to you, however, you don’t want to look at them because they are just clutter in your eye line as you try to doze off. A bedside table with the appropriate number of drawers needs to work for you. For these bedroom pieces ask yourself - do I need lots of storage? Do the bedsides need to match? If you are after an eclectic look combine materials such as a timber bed frame with bedsides made from metal and glass, or you may prefer a more low-key, simple feel to co-ordinate your bedframe to bedside tables. If storage is not an issue, a simple stool can serve the space well. Have fun exploring mixing and matching options!
- Ottoman: An ottoman at the end of a bed is a great addition to the main or master bedroom furniture. Aside from adding another storage option, in a practical sense it becomes a surface to pop on shoes. Aesthetically it can be the piece of furniture that brings fabric and texture to your room.
- Tallboys and chest of drawers shouldn’t just add functionality and extra storage options for your bedroom; it should enhance the style of your room and complement the placement of key bedroom furniture. Choose a piece with the right dimensions, drawers for storage, colour and design.
- Dressing Table: A carefully chosen dressing table can be a beautiful part of your morning routine. If you love maintaining minimalism in your home, a compact dressing table with one or two drawers could be the answer. Keep surfaces clear of as much stuff as possible. Make it a space that when you sit down to get ready for the day, it’s all about things that speak about who you are and what matters to you; a picture of your family and a few mementoes.
- Dressing table stool: a comfortable and durable stool should fit neatly under your dressing table.
- Mirrors: no dressing table is complete without a quality, decorative mirror to ensure you’re looking your best. You may opt for the classic wooden framed vanity mirror or a modern freestanding mirror. Whilst a mirror won’t always give you storage options, it’s a great way to bring light into a room and help it feel brighter and more spacious. A large or oversized statement piece can really have an impact in a smaller room. Place it in a key position within the room for maximum impact. This trick can detract the eye from any elements within the room that you would rather not see. A full-length mirror is must-have bedroom accessory to check your outfit from head to toe before going out. For a bedroom that looks dark, mirrored, sliding door wardrobes could be ideal for reflecting more light back into the room. It’s a good idea to choose a mirror that complements your existing bedroom furniture.
- Armchairs and occasional chairs: If you like to relax with a good book, adding a comfortable chair to your room can work wonders. Seek to create a space that permits casual elegance and is inviting. You may opt for contemporary or contrasting pieces that offer so much more than somewhere to dump clothes after a long and tiring day. A fabric or upholstered armchair can add softness to an interior. Choose soft furnishings and natural fabrics such as a linen throw. Hardwood timber armchairs can add interest and character, however, consider classically styled furniture that is open and comfortable, something you feel relaxed in.
- Coffee table and side tables: A coffee table is a practical piece to add to the sofa or occasional chair. Consider layering with a rattan tray, a bunch of flowers and a candle to create an inviting space. A side table can be a handy spot to place a table lamp. Choosing furniture that blends well with your décor helps give the room an illusion of space and light.
- Sofas, couches, lounge chairs and settees. Over the years the Australia vernacular seems to have been infiltrated by different terminology for the same or similar furniture pieces from around our world. What did you grow up using? An allowable indulgence is to have somewhere to lie back and take in a book or magazine in your room - on a surface that’s not your bed! Soft furnishings such as a muted linen throw or patterned cushion can help create a sense of warmth and comfort as you create your own fabric story.
Do you long for long lazy weekend mornings with breakfast in bed and the sun streaming in? In a room where you fall asleep each night and wake up in every morning, the colours you choose should also feel personal and special. Choosing the right colour will often depend on the rest of your home decor, you’ll want to create a bedroom that works with your style, but generally go for something cool, fresh and calming. The goal is to make your bedroom a place where you immediately switch off and start to wind down, so go for colours that create this atmosphere.
Picking the perfect colour palette for any room is often a daunting task but crucial when scheming a bedroom. Consider colours that are natural, timeless, healing and enduring. A room can impart very different personal reactions to the mood and feeling that a colour scheme creates. Think about how you want the room to feel and what colour is going to best achieve the mood, look and play to the light. Continue to feel playful with colour, until you find a palette that makes you go ‘Yes!’. Listen to your gut. As you explore your own personal relationship with colour, cut through the trends and design to find something that’s authentic and individual to you. It must resonate with you and work for your home.
Colour scheme Tips
- Don’t experiment: First things first, the bedroom is not a place to be overly experimental. The priority here is comfort. Though colour trends will come and go, this is not a room designed to be fashionable or for you to express your inner creative child. The bedroom is your private space, so creating a relaxing environment should be your primary concern where your surroundings and comfort are perfectly harmonised and streamlined to give you as much peace of mind as possible.
- 60/30/10 rule: When you’re redesigning a bedroom, the key is to stick to simple, calming colours that you will enjoy and that will create the ideal atmosphere for rest and relaxation. If your colour scheme contains three colours, then divide them into the following ratio: 60/30/10. Decide which colour will be used as the background and which ones as the accent.
- Keep it simple: When coming up with your favourite bedroom colour ideas, the solution is to stick to one or two classic colours and try to find the right combination of shades for your particular space. Remember that the more colours you have, the more obvious your walls and edges are. White and grey hues will keep the room looking fresh and sunny, whilst dark shades on walls and carpets can help preserve a calm and warm environment. A few quirky accent colours on your favourite pieces of furniture can really help lift the room and give it some personality even with a neutral backdrop. If you want the room to have a feeling of space don’t let it get too busy with the colour scheme. Keep it simple.
- Keep it Calm: This means in both appearance and ambience. Stick to calming tones, such as blues, greys and greens. Keep your colour scheme to a minimum and concentrate on one or two hues and include at least one neutral with accessories that complement it. You’ll soon see that less is more when it comes to simple elegance. Crisp white walls add to a sense of space, and whitewashed or contrasting floors in a dark stain provide depth. Our bedroom should be a calm and serene place. But you don’t need to limit yourself to the pastel spectrum – if you’re feeling bold, go for a deep, dark blue and create a really relaxing, cosy sleep den. Maybe your colour palette scheme is rose pinks and pale blues with florals featuring in your room to achieve serenity. Shades of pink and green are an excellent colour combination, after all they are complementary colours on the colour wheel. Make the most of natural light where possible, yet be prepared to add more lighting via refined table and floor lamps.
- Neutral colours: Abrupt changes in colour can make a room appear convoluted and smaller than it is. On the other hand, a carefully selected duo that blends perfectly can blur the surroundings and create the illusion that there is more space. Clean and neutral colours complemented by a warm classic are the way to go. Dusty whites and pale creams keep a room looking simple and work beautifully with the colours of nature such as deep blues, pale browns and greens. By choosing neutral tones that compliment your accessories, you’ll find that your mood will reflect the environment around you. Whilst a coastal influence may be limited to the subtle use of blues, such as duck egg, turquoise and navy, it is common to acknowledge other colour palettes like faded charcoal and layering with natural tones - stone, beige and sandy creams. Keep a neutral base and you can always add visual interest with a colourful pillow — that will be much easier to digest.
- Earthy shades: Warm up with colour. If you are repainting, choose warm earthy shades such as camels, and soft sandy tones to create a calm and cosy environment. Choose a calming paint colour that doesn’t overstimulate the brain and can help promote better sleep.
- Bold and Beautiful: Avoiding bright and intense colours is an obvious first rule, and sound advice for selecting your ideal bedroom colour. Vibrant colours can make for wonderful accessories, ornaments and decorations, but when used as the dominant colour in the bedroom, these do little to help create a calming environment. Shades of romantic red, for example, represent highly charged things like passion, blood, fire, danger and anger, to name a few. It’s by far the most stimulating and emotionally intense colour — it demands attention, increases your pulse and heart rate, and, consequently, raises your blood pressure. So beware of moody painted walls.
- Dark colours: Cosy doesn’t have to mean whites and pastels, you can actually achieve a comfy atmosphere with dark tones as well that are usually perceived to be cold, as long as you do it right. Complement dark colours with pops of other warm colours, and create intriguing and relaxing contrasts. Darker tones, such as greys and darker inky blues, can also assist in bringing tranquillity too, more so than warmer colours.
- Adding a splash of colour: Just take a few ingredients, keep to a colour scheme, and then let your own taste take it away. Your bed is the central piece of the whole room, and you can also make a statement with an upholstered headboard or feature wall. It has long been established that contrasting tones are pleasing to the eye, so choose a wall that will make the most impact and make it a deep, rich colour to complement your lighter furnishings. For the best effect, go for a middle wall or the one which your headboard backs onto. A colourful picture frame or a bold throw can also be added to a more subtle pastel hue. The master bedroom doesn’t need to flow in style from the rest of the house, so feel free to create something completely different!
Are colour trends a misnomer? Is it all marketing claptrap and beat up? Where do such trends start? How can you tell the truth from hyperbole? Colour trends affect the choices the design industry make, and therefore our purchases and the way we decorate our homes with the paint colours that get rolled out on our walls. Interestingly, bolder and brighter colours are a more popular choice with consumers in times of social, economic and political unrest. So, let’s explore this concept a little further.
You will need to consider using the theory of Colour Psychology and how this will impact in choosing your colour palette in the design process.
- Blue: a favourite for bedrooms as it’s so restful, clear and calming. Blue can give a feeling of space. Blue is the colour we associate with peace and tranquillity. Blue evokes images of a clear sky or a gentle sea. When combined with a dusty white, light blue provides a clean and soothing backdrop. You can also accessorise with louder colours here — just don’t go overboard and compromise the calming nature of the space. Use muted tones to either create a spacious sea of calm or draw attention to a few carefully selected pieces of art or decorations. Consider warmer shades of blue, a rich teal or soft duck egg if you want to warm a cool room up. Blues also pair up really well with hints of warmer tones like coral, pink and sunshine yellow. Including a touch of blue to the place where you sleep is an excellent way of promoting relaxation just before bed. It’s proven through colour psychology that the sight of blue can relax as it can lower your blood pressure. Blue is a universally popular colour but remember it’s all about what shade you choose. Darker, more subdued blues are said to have calming properties. Try this in a bedroom, even if it’s in the form of a cushion. It’s amazing how the sight of certain colours can have a significant impact on us even without us realising.
- Red: not an altogether popular choice for bedrooms as it’s a high-energy colour that can feel agitating and aggressive. A red bedroom might raise the passion meter, however, long-term it can be a disaster for mind and body. However, a subtle use of red can add a sensual and cheeky element to the boudoir in your bedroom. Deeper tones of red like burgundy or claret can work well with a cool grey-blue on the walls.
- Pink: Try using colours in the bedroom that are proven to relax and de-stress. Unlike red, pink is an ideal colour for bedrooms. From a colour psychology perspective pink is all things nurturing, soothing, intimate and reassuring. If you are seeking to add a more masculine tone to the room, add a touch of navy or grey.
- Yellow: In the same category as red, it is not always a great choice for bedrooms. It’s a very upbeat and energising colour so not conducive to rest. However, it’s a very positive feel-good colour, and can make for a good accent when teamed with cool blues or soft greys to balance the look.
- Orange: Think of soft peach, coral, and apricot and you can see how orange could create a very soft, warm and positive bedroom scheme. Another passionate colour it’s possibly more effective if you go for the pinker tones of orange rather than the red. It also partners well with a sharp hint of charcoal grey to make a room feel special.
- Green: With its Dr Feelgood and natural inclinations, it always imbues the feel-good vibes. Green has long been a soothing colour with its association with nature. A combination of earthy creams or pale browns with pastoral shades of green looks fantastic. The right tone of green injects a terrific natural element into your bedroom, serving to bring the outside in. It also takes any plants in your room and puts them centre stage. Whether your bedroom is accessorised by plants framing your bed or adorning your desk, or you have your own botanical sanctuary, it’s an excellent colour for rest and recuperation and can bring a real sense of wellness to a well-balanced colour scheme. Green can be freshened up with crisp white or partnered with a pretty pink.
- Purple: It should be a real contender for a bedroom. In terms of colour psychology it communicates luxury on the deeper end of the spectrum and spirituality when you get towards violets. Currently lilac is very de rigueur.
- Grey: Grey has long been a staple of bedroom colour design. As a classic, it will continue to be — but crossing the line into more colourful shades adds a wonderful modern twist. A dark teal is a safe and comforting colour that is not strong on the eye yet adds a bit of class to a bedroom. On its own, grey can look flat and lifeless, however, when teamed with other colours, it can make for a very sophisticated bedroom. It is still a popular neutral for many decorating schemes. Paler tones can look instantly chic, and ‘industrial downpipe’ shades can look robust and dramatic. Also, like any neutral scheme consider pepping it up with plenty of texture and slices of black and white to add clarity and definition.
- White: There is nothing more alluring than clean, crisp white cotton sheets, and the colour of purity one would think this is an obvious choice for bedrooms. However, a pure white may feel draining and exhausting to look at, so consider one of the many shades of off-white. Team with dustier colours such as mustard, charcoal, lilac and denim blue.
- Black: Opting for black is a gutsy approach to decorating on the dark side and makes for a great space to be enjoyed at night with plenty of subtle mood lighting.
Colours, styles, furniture and accessories flow from defining your interior design ideals, concepts and goals. Whilst there are many interior design styles that can be created within the bedroom scheme, it really depends on how you want the space to look and feel. Start with collating some photos from favourite hotels, Pinterest or magazine clippings. What looks special to you, but is it also achievable? What common threads can you see forming throughout your collection? Remember that colour is a very compelling and powerful element to your bedroom, so choose wisely. It is the one place that we can reconnect with ourselves, rest, rejuvenate, contemplate and reflect on our place in the world.
There are plenty of things you can do to transform your bedroom into a little corner of heaven, so read on for a little bit of bedroom inspiration.
The bed is often the feature point in any bedroom and as such needs to look the part. Give plenty of thought to how you dress the bed from the bedcovers and sheets, to the pillows, cushions, throws and bedhead. Introducing accessories in bright and cheerful colours is a great way to keep the winter blues at bay. Throws and cushions are the perfect winter accessory and will ensure neutral sofas or armchairs are inviting and perfect for snuggling up in on a cold winter evening.
Tips for Soft Furnishings
- Bed linens: Aside from adding an obvious heat source, like a fireplace, you can also add warmth to a room by choosing the right bed linens. In general, your bed is perhaps the most significant comfort factor in your room. Of course, the physical comfort factor comes down to the quality of your mattress. Aside from your bed, you can visually push up the snug and warmth of your room by adding luxurious linens and textured throws. There is nothing nicer than climbing into bed at night and being greeted by the softest and silkiest bed linen. Choose high thread count sheets and bed covers, and rotate them on a weekly basis. The right bedding can make a really big difference. Knitted wool throws, cashmere, and single tone linen throws, all add unexpected warm notes to a room. Relax and get comfortable in your favourite pyjamas as you create a safe and personal space for yourself in your bedroom.
- Add layers: Give your bedroom a quick style update and prepare it for the season by layering in textured bedding, throws, and pillows. Winter decorating, just like dressing for winter, is all about layering. And this is also a fantastic way to give any room in your home a whole new look. The colder it seems outside, the cosier it feels under the bedcovers. With the colder months rolling in, it’s time to do away with the light airy linen and give the bedroom the toasty winter makeover it deserves. The crème de la crème of bedding fillings, feather and down provides all the warmth one needs to survive winter. It’s incredibly soft, light, and compressible, making it perfect for adding an extra layer of winter warming comfort to any mattress. Something else you can do to add to this cloud-like feeling is adding lots of pillows. Two or three larger ones topped off with scatter cushions are a popular choice. It’s a great way to introduce extra colour and texture too, creating the perfect place for you to sleep. They all help to dress a bed and make it cosy and inviting. Again, you can play with as many different textures and colours as your heart desires. You can coordinate them with the pillows, or not, depending on the specific look you want to achieve.
- Cushions: The existing colour palette can be lifted by a cushion that pops as you seek to complement neutral tones with various soft textures. Cashmere or soft velvet cushions can turn your bedroom into a cosy retreat on harsh winter nights. It needs to be comfortable, sumptuous and practical. Buy the best you can afford and keep the covers fresh and well laundered at all times.
- Rugs: A floor rug should either be the feature or a supporting element in the room. If it is going to be a feature piece, select the rug and colours and build the room around it. If furniture and colours have already been selected, then the rug will support the existing colour scheme. Your bedroom textiles include the right curtains, quilt and linens. They all work together to create the perfect environment for your sleep. A well-chosen rug can pull your bedroom together, making it feel like a much cosier and more comfortable space. Adding large rugs to hard flooring like timber and tiles will add warmth and texture underfoot. Make an existing rug even more cosy by layering a thinner, smaller rug on top of it. Adding a rug to the floor of any bedroom instantly adds glamour, warmth and a level of cosiness that carpets, timber and laminate flooring cannot. Nobody wants to nip to the toilet in the middle of the night when it feels like walking on ice. Add a rug to the bedroom floor to help lock in warmth and make a striking difference to the look of the space too.
- Add some pattern. As an alternative to crisp white bedlinen and embroidered bed sheets, add instant warmth to your bedding’s neutral tones by complementing with patterned accessories, cushions, and even wall stickers. Think of pattern as a herb or spice is adds instant pizazz to a space. If a room has nothing but solid colours running throughout it can feel super flat so introduce pattern through rugs, art, cushions and so on.
Wallpaper, art, cushions, trays, vases, throws, linen, photo frames and anything else that adds character are great additions to a bedroom that is rich in natural colours, textured fabrics and elegant furniture. Pinterest or home design magazines are great for inspiration, however, don’t be consumed entirely by trends, create a space that is your own to enjoy.
It’s common to associate sleeping issues with not being able to get to sleep, but many people suffer from waking too early as well.
Window coverings and treatments offer many options, so approach this from a practical perspective when considering the interior design of your bedroom. Take steps to ensure that you have adequate privacy. An excellent way to achieve this is with adjustable window blinds that filters light allowing you to hide away from the rest of the world at a time of your choosing.
Different window treatments allow you to control heat and cool in your bedroom space. Shutters are good at controlling light, lined drapes keep out light and help to control the temperature. Curtains or drapes are classic, blinds are contemporary, shutters are excellent at adding a contemporary or modern spin to a more traditional window style. When dressing your windows, remember not only do curtains add a layer of insulation by blocking out chilly winter drafts but the softness of the fabric creates a cosy atmosphere in your bedroom. For extra insulation from the cold, have your curtains interlined.
Once you have decided on the style, the fabric and finish should work towards adding to the overall concept and scheme of your room.
It’s important to consider the finishing touches of accessories and styling. Bedroom furniture will consume most of our budget, however, don’t neglect to add some greenery or grouping accessories when designing your space. Accessories can make or break a room; think of them like the jewellery you add to your outfit. They need to work with your colours and style. You want your to be relaxing, so once you’ve decluttered and tidied, don’t forget to add some of your favourite things. They might be candles, family photographs, flowers or new bedroom accessories.
Decorate your room with things that bring you joy. Decorative details should complement the things which make our home a home. One of the easiest ways to create the ultimate relaxing space is to surround yourself with objects that make you smile and have meaning. Surround yourself with items that mean more to you. The small details matter in the creation of your bedroom retreat. Over-accessorising is not wise if you are trying to design a calming space. Choose your finishing touches wisely. It might seem homely to fill your bedroom with little knick-knacks, stacks of pictures and those ridiculous souvenirs you bought on your last trip abroad but all that extra clutter does not make for a peaceful and calm environment. Consider other locations in your home where some of these items can go, pack them away or pass them on. Keeping out only a few of your favourite things can be helpful, without overcrowding your physical and mental space.
Your dresser may include things like perfume, jewellery, hair ties, holiday keepsakes and pictures of people who are important to you. Little things, like the way you arrange your bedding, the lights you use, being able to feel safe and sheltered from the rest of the world and being surrounded by scents and sights you love can have a tremendous impact on how you feel in the sanctuary of your bedroom.
Tips to Accessorise
- Jewellery: Do you ever forget what you have, and then never end up using them? Jewellery is seemingly never nicely stored, and has a tendency to end up in a tangled mess; often stuffed in boxes in drawers. It just gets so disorganised. Choose a suitable container, small storage box, recycled tea cup or wine glass. These are great places to sort and store earrings. Also consider a tiered earrings box that encourages neat storage and allows you to see what’s in there. Traditional jewellery boxes don’t always work for more contemporary jewellery, so finding storage that works for your particular pieces is essential. To prevent kinks, necklaces should lay flat and straight if not hung during storage. Finally, store a small number of frequently used items separately from the rest in a special container. This will help at the start or the end of the day, or if you remove your jewellery during housework.
- Makeup: Using glass jars to store and display items can work really well for beauty and makeup pieces. You can also consider perspex drawers and units which keep your products neat and tidy but allow you to see what you have available.
- Sentimental items: Memories have a powerful impact on us, being capable of taking us back into a certain state in the blink of an eye. With that in mind, it can be a wonderful idea to display a few items that remind you of a happy moment in your life. This way, you’ll see them before going to bed, and first thing in the morning, which can kickstart a positive day ahead.
- Old pieces: Repurposing old pieces helps save money, and rewards your creative side and desire to inject your personality into your space.
- Photos: A collection of precious family photos can be kept on a sideboard or dresser.
- Go round: When you introduce circular shapes to a space, you instantly break up all the sharper lines in a room. This is one of the practical recommendations which will help you to style your home and keep the balance right. Where a room is feeling a bit bland and un-lived in, consider grouping (in three’s) pots, planters, bottles, ceramics and candles together to give a sense of scale and impact. Experiment with this concept, as using differing heights can really draw the eye.
- Journal: Keep a gratitude journal on your bedside table. Gratitude has an amazing effect on the brain, so having a gratitude journal by your bed can be a nice idea. That way, each night before you go to sleep, you can write down a few of the experiences you are grateful for. Then, whenever a bad day comes along, you have something good to turn to, and it may even put a smile on your face. Your bedroom is your little oasis of peace, which is why you should invest time into making sure that it brings you as much joy as possible. Top this off by adding a favourite scented candle nearby.
Artwork can add an extra sense of style and elegance to your bedroom. Artwork can also make a bold statement within your bedroom.
Remember the rule ‘Less is More’. Don’t pile on the artwork and accessories; they are there to accentuate the room not drown it. If you are using strong colours or patterns, you will find they really pack a punch if used sparingly. Try not to overwhelm the senses with too much at once. It’s possible to make a subtle statement and add to the overall feel and ambience of the room.
Alternatively, a bright, bold piece can add a sense of humour to a room. The use of artwork creates interest and can break up colour blocks whilst still maintaining the scheme of your room. If you want to keep your room clean and uncluttered, there are several ways to add artwork or pattern which can be very subtle. Consider investing in a meaningful piece of art, a patterned rug, cushions or throws. This allows you to use artwork or pattern, but change it up quickly if you get bored or want to make seasonal changes.
As another option, it may help to group art pieces: paintings, drawings, photos or posters above your headboard.
One of the biggest modern-day trends is all about creating environments which can be beneficial to our ‘wellbeing’. It should be no surprise to learn that small things like adding certain colours or including a connection to nature in our spaces can calm and de-stress us.
Flying in the face of our frenetic lifestyles is a desire to return to a simpler way of life that will be reflected in the way we furnish our home. Through organic living, you may seek to create a place that is beautiful, practical and unique with an emphasis on natural materials, clean lines and less clutter. With a current pushback against mass-produced items and a rise in handcrafted pieces with authentic finishes, organic materials and traditional handcrafts continue to gain momentum in the style of items displayed in our home.
Turn to nature for a harmonious neutral palette of browns, greys, greens, whites and creams that reflect the natural materials of your interior design scheme. This grounded or muted palette selection creates interiors that are serene and harmonious. With the interplay of natural light, you can create a sense of comfortable and enveloping luxury. This aesthetic works well with the natural pastels of a Scandinavian scheme or the fired earth tones of the Mediterranean.
Materials like wood, stone, leather and metal are embraced for the way that they age and stain, rust and wear. Avoid the mass-produced and embrace handmade ceramics for their simplicity and authenticity. Such a blend of simplicity and sophistication can produce a warmth, character and beauty all of its own. Wood is a key ingredient to creating a relaxing bedroom scheme. Natural products that have a connection to nature subconsciously connect us with earth and help us to de-stress and relax.
Tips for incorporating Nature
- Flowers connect us back to nature and calm the mind. A beautiful vase of real flowers on the dressing table can be mood-boosting whilst adding a decorative touch. Opt for seasonal and local wildflowers and foliage in earthy colours like mustard, lilac, white and terracotta.
- Colour palette. Include a paint colour scheme that creates a calming space. To promote better sleep choose something that doesn’t stimulate the brain. Earthy tones, pale greens and soft whites should be considered. Think simple yet sophisticated.
- Bring in Light. When you’re sleeping, your bedroom should be as dark as possible, with no distractions to keep you awake. However, for those times when you’re simply relaxing or kicking back with your favourite book, there should be sufficient light. You can start off by placing mirrors on walls, since light will bounce against them, making the space look and feel brighter. You can then layer all sorts of different lights, including a ceiling pendant, side table lamp and wall lights. Where natural light is unable to be sourced, some people also swear by Himalayan salt lamps.
- Bring the outside in. Combining natural materials and décor help to complete this look. Adding texture with rugs, potted plants, woven baskets or a piece of coral ensure your space feels tranquil and welcoming. A coastal styled bedroom can be achieved with raw timbers, rattans and woven materials. Or a bohemian styled bedroom could include miss-matched cushions and fabrics with a wallpapered wall layered with art. Add framed family photos, a beautiful tray to place jewellery at the end of the day or a travel memento.
- Autumn is a wonderful time to experiment with texture in your home. Texture has an amazing way of transforming even the starkest of homes into a warm, inviting oasis. Combine bamboo, raw timber and natural rattan to act as a base to carry your colour.
- Indoor plants are always a great addition to any room, clearing the air, improving the style and creating a welcoming atmosphere. This isn’t just a superficial aesthetic trick, a study by NASA back in the 1980s showed that many household plants can purify nasty toxins in the air, making it easier to breathe and encourage a more peaceful slumber. Whether you’re green-fingered or not, you can find some hardy but beautiful plants such as aloe vera and peace lily.
- Wood is a key ingredient to creating a relaxing bedroom scheme. Natural products that have a connection to nature subconsciously connect us with earth and help to de-stress and relax us.
- Shelfie. A shelf can give us the chance to include some natural greenery, which is crucial for connecting us with nature. It can be cathartic, relaxing and de-stressing to take a moment to style our shelves.
- Pine cones. As creatures of nature, our minds always show a positive response to neutral items such as a bird or pine cone. They also add freshness to our homes. Plants and greenery work with all interior styles and can help to blur the line between your indoor and outdoor space.
Along with colour and texture, lighting can play a huge role when it comes to the look and feel of a room. So next time you are creating that special space in your bedroom think of lighting as the fourth element of good design. Lighting is a unique and powerful element that has the ability to transform your space. It creates ambience and can set a particular mood.
Home and bedroom lighting can affect our well-being more than you realise. Adapting and controlling lighting at home can help to improve how you feel. On bright days, we seem to be happier, and when dark days descend, they can bring the opposite effect. Fear is a far less common feeling in the light, but we are all more likely to be fretful in the dark; why is this? With our circadian rhythm (body clock) we respond to light, wake for light and sleep when it’s dark. Shift workers and frequent travellers regularly experience adverse effects. If you’ve ever had jet lag, you’ll know that feeling! Sleeping and waking at the right level of light all helps to re-set our body clock.
Interior lighting is perhaps the most important home decor item you should be investing in right now. By distributing a number of different light sources evenly throughout a room at various levels, you can create a soft, cosy light that lifts the spirits and warms the soul.
A tastefully designed bedroom is made up of rich and natural colours, textured fabrics, and elegant furniture, but the real icing on the cake is the lighting that you use. A bedroom should have multiple sources of illumination. There are also practical considerations to allow reading with ease while adding ambience. A combination of styles is the best way to achieve this, such as overhead, dimmable lighting, bedside tables lamps or wall sconces.
Lighting types and sources
Did you know lighting comes in and from varying sources? Understanding the light sources will result in a well lit and well-balanced room that offers light at varying levels and areas. The bedroom is the one room you really want to get the lighting right. Mood lighting and task lighting are probably the most important here. Use some basic lighting design rules and optimise and control natural light with curtains, while strategically placing lamps and unnatural light sources throughout the room. Confused? Let us break it down for you a bit more:
Natural daylight - comes from windows, sky lights, conservatories etc.
Task light - table lamp, make-up light, reading light etc.
Atmospheric light - mood lights, decorative lights, dimmable lights etc.
Base light – a pendant light, wall lights, ceiling lights etc.
Table lamps: Where task lamps tend to be minimal and functional, as midwinter approaches and nightfall begins earlier in the afternoon, it can be helpful to turn your attention to more decorative lighting sources for your living space. Table lamps are a great source of ambient lighting to a gentle and warming hue to a room. Through their low to mid-level positioning, table lamps help to create an intimate, cosy atmosphere in the immediate surrounds. Table lamps are ideally placed on sideboards or tables located near to sofas or reading nooks. Lighting is incredibly important in the winter as ambient light can help us feel cosy and warm.
Floor lamps offer similar ambient light solutions as table lamps, but tend to through their catchment beam a little further, making them ideal for suffusing social gathering spaces with a welcoming warmth and cosiness. Floor lamps create a more gently diffused lighting effect.
Ceiling pendant lighting: Most homes tend to have a single overhead light source built into the main living space. Since a hanging bare bulb is hardly the prettiest – nor the most flattering – of light sources, a pendant lamp can provide not only a stylish focal point to a room, but also help temper the glare of a naked bulb by providing direction and diffusion to the light beam. Consider pendant lamps hung in a row over a dining table, or in a cluster above a central living space.
Tips to get your lighting right
- Mix it up: When it comes to lighting, don’t conform in thinking smaller rooms need small lights and big rooms need big lights. Get creative, mix things up and think outside the box. Opting for duos or trios of smaller lights in larger areas can still take up the same surface area but aren’t necessarily big and flashy. Lighting comes in an array of styles and designs - mood lights, dimmers, stylish pendant lights, statement table lamps and so on. Lighting is such a great way to get creative with your interiors and show off some personality. What’s more, you can do it affordably and quickly, it’s a win-win.
- Layer your lighting: One overhead light is not enough for your bedroom. To create a cosier and more elegant vibe, it is important to layer your lighting with various lighting sources. Ideally, you want to have an overhead light which is encased in a lampshade, to dim its brightness, a table lamp, and perhaps a string or two of fairy lights. Lowering the light levels in a room as it gets closer to sleep time can really help with this. Have a bedside lamp that you can use before bed rather than the main ceiling light.
- Create the mood: Lighting can make or break a room, so don’t ignore it if you want to create different moods and the perfect ambience. Using warm white fairy lights during colder months is the perfect way to create a soft and inviting atmosphere. Wrapped around a headboard or dangling from the windowsill, carefully placed fairy lights are probably the most cost effective way to transform the look of the bedroom and achieve that festive feeling.
- Corners, angles and heights: It’s essential to make your room appear well lit from all different corners, angles and heights to ensure a well lit room. Think overhead, eye level and floor based lighting to ensure light floods the room well. A great tip for a dingy corner is a well-positioned table lamp where you can light a space and create the right mood.
- Dimmers: Overhead lighting can be harsh and keep you in day time mode so as it gets later in the evening switch to create the mood that you want with soft lamps on a bedside table or corner of the room. Consider installing a dimmer for all overhead lighting. Create a soft and inviting lighting scheme that accentuates the different colours and softness of shades in your room. A bedroom that makes you feel good can do wonders for your state of mind.
- Match your style: Pick light that matches your style – in a modern bedroom, that might be recessed lighting, whereas in French country it would more likely be elegant wall sconces. Furthermore, warmer light bulbs over cold LEDs can also go a long way.
- Shorter days: With the shorter days, the lighting within your home is important. Maximise the amount of natural light in a room by hanging a large mirror on a blank stretch of wall or above a mantel display to reflect light throughout your space. Ambient lighting like table and floor lamps are ideal for bringing light into darker corners. Having a number of different light sources will allow you to control the atmosphere in the room, meaning you can create the perfect environment any time of the day.
- Preparing for sleep: You have to get your brain ready for sleep. If you get into bed and struggle to drift off, it’s worth taking stock of your lighting situation. Halogen bulbs are daylight bright, and high wattage bulbs should generally be avoided in the bedroom. Installing a dimmer switch can create a perfect feeling of cosiness, and you can lower the light as bedtime approaches to help encourage those sleepy urges. If outside light is the problem, consider fitting blackout blinds to your windows to block out artificial streetlight – you can always hide them behind stylish curtains. Most importantly, they will make sure the sun can’t sneak in to interrupt your weekend lie-in! Natural light helps alleviate symptoms of SAD, and even if you’re not a sufferer, creating a light-filled attic space will help lift your mood, brighten your day, and give you a bounce in your step you were missing. Task lighting can be beneficial by utilising a directional light source to illuminate work spaces as the sun begins to go down.
- Technology: Today’s technology comes with light bulbs that you can dim via your smartphone, rather than a switch.
Lamparto in a bedroom brings a natural “Shhhhhh” and its earthy tones always feel gentle and clean, so are especially the right choice for those who struggle with clutter or are decorating small spaces. Lamparto elements have the effect of both alluring and quietening the space. Lamparto makes for stunning lampshades, no matter how casual or creative an impact you’re going for. Ceiling pendants can hang as a central feature – like a hanging sculpture - in a kitchen or dining room. Or light an otherwise busy or fancy space with a feminine piece that doesn’t need to dominate. The natural and neutral aesthetic of Lamparto means that it can never be too much and will quietly bring story and personality to your own space. Lamparto table lamps are perfect for illuminating the darker corners of your home. Lamparto is the perfect balancer for any metallic, industrial or polished decor or any room that pops, and just needs a few toning elements. It is stylish, and functional as it is decorative.
Lighting should create an environment that ushers in a welcoming tone.
Click here if you are looking for some inspiration in table lamps?
Why our bodies need sleep
Let’s start by talking about the relevance and science of sleep. Our bodies need sleep; without it we just don’t function as well, and we can easily become overwhelmed. Sleep deprivation at its worst can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. With our body programmed to sleep when it gets dark, to switch off and go to sleep it needs to go through the process of powering down. This used to be stimulated by the sun setting and it becoming dark. Not so easy now as we head indoors and switch on the lights, fooling the body into thinking it’s still day.
When you stare at a screen for hours at a time, whether it is a computer, TV, phone or tablet, you are exposed to blue light from the device. Blue light does affect the body’s circadian rhythm, our natural wake and sleep cycle. During the day, blue light wakes us up and stimulates us. But too much blue light exposure late at night from your phone, tablet or computer can make it harder to get to sleep. Your next day begins by the nightfall. We might have a great exercise routine and eat healthy all the time, however, lack of sleep will cancel out all the healthy behaviour. Good quality sleep and rest is essential for good health.
Moving along, it may be helpful to say a few words about ‘seasonal affective disorder’ (SAD). Seriously, who came up with that acronym? SAD is caused by the lack of bright light in winter, since daybreak light is the signal for the pineal gland to stop producing the sleep hormone melatonin, but in winter the light level is insufficient to trigger this process. As a result, many people find their body clock moving forwards during the winter, making it harder and harder to get up and get going in the mornings. The continued lack of light during the day further compounds the problem, leaving you feeling tired, groggy and irritable during the day, often leading to sleep issues, lethargy, feeling of anxiety/depression and a tendency to be drawn to comfort eating. Leaving the warm cocoon of your bed is never going to be appealing in winter months, and with an ongoing desire to just stay in bed all day, reduced light levels can impact on productivity. Light is essential for your mood, level of alertness and sleep patterns. Light in the morning when you first wake up is particularly effective as this not only boosts your mood and alertness for the day ahead but also helps set your body clock which is involved in regulating your sleep patterns.
How can we take all this science and create better places for us to live in? The key is understanding how our bodies work. All living things have a Circadian Rhythm which is roughly a 24 hour cycle our bodies go through which influences when we want to eat, wake and sleep. The answer to better sleep is to design our bedrooms to encourage our bodies to go through this Circadian Rhythm and make our bedrooms a haven for sleep.
If you would like to know more, listen to a TED talk by Circadian Neuroscientist Russell Foster. It’s most interesting!
Are you fighting to get a good night’s sleep? Wondering how on earth you’re going to make it through the day on the broken night you’ve just had? Not getting a decent night’s sleep can seriously affect your health, particularly if it’s a prolonged issue, so doing what you can to ensure it doesn’t happen is essential. Give the following tips a try, it might just change your sleep habits for the better.
Tips to help you switch off
- Start small: In this day and age, it can be difficult to let go of technology and create a bedroom to be a completely electronic-free zone. So start small. Be careful about placing your phone next to your bed and set-up a recharging station for all handheld devices in a communal area within your home. Similar to cutting down screen time before bed, this will start to get your brain ready to wind down and drift off to sleep. Give your body the rest it deserves!
- Soft lighting: To help you step back into the natural process of stimulating sleep, have softer lighting options in your bedroom and fit dimmer switches, so you lower those lights down as you go through your night time routine. This allows us to reduce our exposure to light 30 minutes before going to bed, basically faking twilight. When you settle into bed, keep a softer light bulb in your bedside lamp. Just enough to read by should do the job.
- Temperature: This is a biggie for lots of people. Ensuring you keep at a steady temperature during the night will mean a greater chance of sleeping well. Keep the room ventilated and change your bedcovers to a rating suitable for the current season. Similarly, if you get chilly add a blanket for extra warmth. While most of us think cosy and warm makes us sleep well; our body temperature needs to drop to stimulate sleep. Neuroscientist Matthew Walker, the author of “Why we Sleep”, recommends a room temperature of 18.3°C as our circadian rhythm is designed to react to the lower temperatures of night time to take its cues for sleep time. Set your thermostat to this temperature to be reached by the time you are going to bed. Have bedding that keeps you at an optimum temperature. A conservative approach suggests hot, steamy and sticky is not the way you want to go!
- Nightshift: If you’ve got a smart phone such as an iphone, you will find that there is a setting on your phone called ‘Nightshift’. It can be found under Settings -> Display & Brightness. When switched on this changes the backlight on your phone to a yellow-hued light. By switching to Nightshift you’re enabling your mind to switch off more easily, and potentially aid falling asleep much quicker. With Nightshift you can automatically set a time on – so you can set it to come on at 10pm and revert back to normal.
- Hide the Tech: We all like to snuggle in bed with a good movie, right? Well, pop the tech in a cupboard or wardrobe to give your home the true boutique hotel feel. It will help you sleep too, if there aren’t any standby lights on view at night.
- Go “Old School” with a traditional alarm clock, landline phones and a real book next to your bed and have your devices charging in the kitchen instead of temptingly by your bed. Consider banning electronic devices from the bedroom. Backlit devices are proven to keep you awake longer and don’t aid the drifting-off process. It’s tempting to pick up your phone and check your social media account. Consider charging it outside of the bedroom or perhaps even just away from the bed.
- Read a book: Remove stimulants and tempting distractions and get offline. Don’t read your phone, read a book. The purchase and subsequent journey through a new book can provide great joy.
- Go “Walkies”. I’d If you have gotten into a cycle of stressing at bedtime once other distractions have finished, consider going for a quick jog or fast dog walk in the evening. Aim to ‘hit the hey’ when you are physically tired and have finished processing your day. Sleep tight!
We spend a whopping third of our lives sleeping and it’s one of the greatest gifts to all living beings.
While touch and sight are important, let’s not forget how important the sense of smell is when creating a relaxed atmosphere. Being surrounded by scents you love and which are relaxing can change any space for the better. There are many ways to achieve this, from burning candles (with care), to using an oil diffuser, to even having a few dried flowers by your bed. As an alternative to chamomile, lavender is a great example of a plant offering an amazing scent that helps you relax and aid in a really good night’s sleep. Lavender has long been known for its sleep-inducing properties. Add a few drops of lavender to a piece of cotton wool and rub it onto a light bulb near your bed. It will give off a soothing scent when the bulbs get up to temperature.
Equally, a more stimulating oil like lemon or orange enhances the positive effect of the gradual sunrise to help you wake up fully refreshed in the morning. Whether it’s the smell of fresh pine, mulled wine, spices, or the essence of a wood burning fire, there’s a gorgeously fragranced flame for every seasonal mood. You can also consider a selection of scented candles to gently warm the air and set the mood.
The downside to coming home to such an inviting sleep haven? Monday mornings are about to get a lot more difficult.
We hope these suggestions have given you a few ideas to try in your own home to create a soothing and restful bedroom. This list is by no means exhaustive. Nevertheless, it should give you some ideas of how you can alter your routine and bedroom to increase your chances of a good night’s sleep. Ultimately, however you decide to design your bedroom, you want to end up with a room that makes you feel at ease and comfortable at the end of the day. But going for that comfort or cosiness factor you don't have to compromise on your chosen design. You can make a cool, modern design look as good as a shabby chic design if you add the right touches. Enjoy exploring your creative side 💡
The Lamparto Team
Lamparto is the result of our journey to create a different lighting experience. Proudly Australian made, locally designed and handmade in Melbourne. Our table lamps, floor lamps and ceiling pendants are based on what we would like to see in our own home – natural textures and tones, conversation starters and artisan inspired pieces. Our focus on women’s health and education is an expression of why we do what we do. It is our raison d'être. As a family owned social enterprise, we are proud to partner with Opportunity International Australia. Our journey is one of creative discovery, humble beginnings and small steps.