How To Design A Dream-Worthy Bedroom

No room deserves a thoughtful uplift more than the one in which you lay your head. So, how do designers create the perfect bedroom? KATIE BERRINGTON asks five tastemakers to share how they curate the ultimate serene space for sleeping

Art, prints and color schemes that speak to your personality will help you form an emotional connection to your space

First, decide on your purpose and scheme

For Lucy Barlow, creative director of Barlow & Barlow, a successful bedroom scheme is “one of calmness and serenity”. But this doesn’t mean “boring”, she adds, “as those things can mean many different things. Color plays a big part in the calmness of a room. Having colors on the walls that promote a restful night’s sleep is obvious – neutrals, soft blues, powdery pinks and so on. And if you’re worried about the scheme feeling too calm, you can then jazz things up with bold cushions and upholstery. I always suggest soft and mellow patterns, such as organic florals or botanicals. In my opinion, anything too strong or geometric is not conducive to being restful.”

Interior designer Linda Boronkay’s aesthetic for a perfect bedroom “is a sanctuary of seductive softness; a peaceful retreat from the outside world. In my bedroom space, I like to use deep, rich tones, such as aubergine, burgundy or jewel-like colors – sapphire-blue and emerald-green – to promote a sense of luxury and comfort. I love a bedroom that oozes personality. It’s the most intimate room in your home, so it should feel like you are stepping into someone’s inner world.”

Sumptuous soft furnishings, restful tones, and the true luxury of a bath with a view – welcome components of a restful and cocooning bedroom space

Consider why the bedroom deserves special attention

“For me, the bedroom is a perfect place to reset,” says London-based interior designer Beata Heuman. “It’s the place where you orientate yourself in the morning, as well as the place you let go of everything holding onto you during the day, so the space should cater to your comfort and tastes as much as possible.”

For a more minimalist and modern approach, symmetry, simple lines and a neutral color scheme can give a room a soothing spa-like feel

Assess the space – and its symmetry

“I always plan a bedroom around the scale of the bed and its relationship with windows and fixed joinery – I’m usually drawn to symmetry in this space,” Heuman continues. “From there, I look to build up layers of functionality with necessary storage, lighting that is warm and practical, and elements of decoration that are both calming and personal.”

Good storage is essential, agrees designer Hollie Bowden, “to make a bedroom feel neat and calm – so you can go to bed and wake up in a clutter-free room. We always try to build in a lot of seamless storage during the early stages of a design. If that’s not possible, then I’ll try to source a heritage dresser or cabinet, as these antique pieces add instant character.”

Calmness and relaxation are achieved through soft lighting and the use of natural and tactile materials
Linda Boronkay

Evoke the feelings you want to have in the space

“Calmness and relaxation are achieved through soft lighting and the use of natural and tactile materials,” says Boronkay. “Comfort and coziness are achieved by using plush textures, layered bedding and soft rugs; serenity and seduction by incorporating a rich color palette and using beautiful, calming scents.”

Cocoon with textures

For Bowden, it’s important that the space is “intriguing, with interesting details and textures. I love to incorporate fabric and tapestry on the walls, plus carpet to create a sense of coziness and a cocooning feel.

“Consider investing in new linens or a throw in a soft fabric like cashmere, which will add to the coziness of the room,” she continues. “Also, reupholstering your headboard is a great way to add impact to the overall look and feel of the bedroom.”

“Wood, stone and other natural elements are good to create a warm and inviting atmosphere,” adds Boronkay. “These materials also only get better with age – and the more patina they have, the better they are.”

Consider reupholstering your headboard in a contrasting fabric to bring new-season freshness to your space
A statement headboard can add a stylish focal point to any bedroom

Incorporate your style inspirations

A bedroom should surround you in design elements that really speak to you. “My favorite style element when I design a bedroom is adding a touch of mid-century modernity: beautiful natural woods, simple lines and a muted palette,” shares Mimi Shodeinde, designer and architect at Miminat Designs. “There’s something about that era of design that really adds a touch of soft, timeless elegance to any space – but especially to a bedroom.”

For Boronkay, “art is a huge focal point, whether that’s above your bed’s headboard or elsewhere – something beautiful and enchanting to rest your eyes on before you go to sleep and first thing you get up.”

I’ll try to source a heritage dresser or cabinet, as antique pieces add instant character
Hollie Bowden
Beautiful natural woods, simple lines and a muted pallete will instantly give your bedroom a relaxed vibe

Focus on a relaxing ambience

Heuman advises that “light be below eye level in a bedroom… That’s not to say we don’t install pendants in rooms for practical reasons, but I think there’s nothing more special than a wall light for reading and lamps that lend intimacy – generally, good lighting helps transition you to sleep.”

Being able to govern how much light you would like is crucial, says Barlow. “Make sure your window treatments are right. For example, if you’re a light sleeper and hate any natural light creeping in, you need to ensure your window treatments are able to block out all light. This is achieved in the design of the curtain or blind, how you fit it and in the lining you use. People who prefer to be woken up by natural light, however, might prefer sheers.” These elements are also easy ways to give an instant lift to a room, and to experiment with patterns and palettes that may feel a little different to your usual taste.

Try small uplifts for major impact

When a quick elevation is needed, Boronkay suggests “investing in new, high-quality bedding; adding a statement piece (an eye-catching artwork, a stylish headboard or a unique piece of furniture); introducing new light fixtures or lamps; and incorporating plants – adding greenery brings life into the space.”

Finally, keep dreaming…

…because there’s no better room than the bedroom to dream big about. For Shodeinde, her ideal bedroom would be “modern, bright and minimal, with lots of windows and natural light. And, if I’m really lucky, ocean-facing – because I love being close to the water and nature.” And Heuman fantasizes about having the space for a sofa and a four-poster bed – “Preferably William Kent style – plus fabric walling [and] a dressing table. Basically, I want something befitting an 18th-century queen.”