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How to design the perfect bedroom

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The key to creating the perfect bedroom is thinking about the space as a retreat.

Our lives are so scheduled and dynamic. We’re on at all times – whether it’s through technology or our work life. The bedroom is the last secret place of refuge and peace in a home. In this article, we outline the seven key steps to creating a quiet escape.


1. Plan for function

Always start with functionality. In bedrooms, this means tackling the largest element in the room: the mattress. When buying a mattress, there are many factors to consider, from the size to the firmness to its composition, like memory foam or spring coils.

Delve into your preferences and make the mattress the first purchase in the room’s design. Mattress heights, with or without a box spring, vary widely, and will affect which headboard can be purchased. Once the mattress is chosen, the rest of the room’s selections can flow from there.

Next, review other living requirements. Do you usually stay up late? Should you have blackout shades for early morning sun? Would you like focused reading lights, or a television? Will dressers or an armoire be needed for storage? This will all influence the selection of furniture pieces and the room’s layout.


2. Pinpoint mood and aesthetic

The bedroom tends to be the place of relaxation and refuge, the quiet space within the house. But what ‘quiet’ means can be different to different people. For some, a refuge might only include soft neutrals or dark walls, whereas others will want to be surrounded by bright colours and patterns.

Perhaps you can’t sleep unless the room is empty of all knickknacks, or you want to recreate the hotel scheme from a favourite vacation spot. Consider what colours and surroundings help you to relax, and how that can be translated into a decorative scheme.


3. Create balance

The default focal point of the room is usually the headboard, but not always. You may want an incredible large patterned headboard and then have everything else in the room be really neutral.

Or, you might choose a neutral textural piece for the headboard, then add brightly coloured bedding. The goal is to have all of the pieces in the room strike a balance between functionality, colour, scale, pattern, and texture.


4. Mind the gaps

The ideal clearance around the bed is at least 760mm, in order to provide a comfortable walkway for occupants to reach both sides, although you can get away with less in smaller footprints. To that end, 760mm wide nightstands on either side of the bed provide a good amount of table top space and storage.

The key is that their height should be the same approximate height as the top of the mattress from the floor. Too much higher or lower can make the scale of the nightstands look “off” beside the bed.


5. Choose appropriate lighting

With the bed taking up so much space, bedroom light fixtures become the designer’s trick for drawing the eye up from its horizontal plane and add a decorative element. Lighting can be an amazing feature. For functionality, it’s best to install a central overhead pendant in every bedroom to make it easy to illuminate the space upon entering.

When choosing bedside lights, the important factor is getting the sizing right. A bedside lamp should be at least 700mm tall, so it has presence next to the headboard.

When hanging sconces, the light source should be about 500 – 600mm off the top of the nightstand, emulating where a bulb would be in a lamp and preventing an awkward reach from the pillow. For an unexpected touch, hang pendants on either side of the bed, with each one centered over a nightstand.


6. Collect bedding

It’s important to consider the way you sleep and what is comfortable for you. Do you prefer sleeping under a pile of blankets with a mound of pillows? Or would you rather go the minimalist route, with just a bottom sheet and a duvet?

Once you know your needs, we recommend choosing individual pieces from different manufacturers. Having a collected feel to your bedding brings warmth and interest.

Why not incorporate patterned sheets? People forget that the sheets themselves can be part of the decorative design. Different styles can be mixed and matched, for coordinating patterns and contrasting textures, like a cotton coverlet and chunky knit throw that stay true to the colour story.


7. Put a rug underfoot

Going barefoot in the bedroom is inevitable, so a rug in the bedroom makes it feel cozy and warm. Try a layered look: Spread a large neutral rug that’s cut to fill the space, leaving a border of 100 – 150mm between the rug edge and the walls. Then add a second, more interesting rug with different pattern and texture, over top the first and under the bed.

The trick with the rug on top is that you want at least two feet of rug sticking out around the bed. Be sure to walk barefoot on it before you buy, so you know how it will feel against your toes every morning.


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