How To Design A Dream-Worthy Bedroom

Restful colors, tactile textiles and a perfectly padded headboard – all welcoming features of a cozy bedroom space

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

Express yourself
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

In recent years, our homes have been required to serve a multitude of purposes, often blending work and home lives, which has increased the need to curate each specific space. “We have had to learn how to set boundaries in an entirely new way,” says Molly Goddard, co-founder and creative director at silk-sleepwear brand Desmond & Dempsey, “so creating a space dedicated solely to rest is more important than ever.”

“Every space has to really earn its place in the home, so people should start with what they want to create,” asserts Mimi Shodeinde, designer and architect at Miminat Designs. “To curate a place that is for your creative best – something that gets you into a certain mood or creates a certain feeling – color, lighting and the choice of art will help you get it the way you want it.”

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.”

The bedroom should cater to your comfort and tastes as much as possible

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.”

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.”

I think a bedside table is a great little spot to tell your story… I like mine cluttered with things I love
Molly Goddard

Add individual touches

“I think a bedside table is a great little spot to tell your story. It’s one of the first things you see in the morning, so I like mine cluttered with things I love,” shares Goddard. “A picture of my family, trinkets I picked up on my travels, books I’m reading. And the ultimate is a cup of fresh coffee waiting there for you when you wake up.”

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.”

Focus on a relaxing ambience

“Lighting, lighting, lighting! And lots of lamps and warm colors,” says Goddard of her essential elements to ensure the optimum sleep-inducing atmosphere.

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.

Rise and shine
Consider reupholstering your headboard in a contrasting fabric to bring new-season freshness to your space
My favorite style element when I design a bedroom is adding a touch of mid-century modernity
Mimi Shodeinde
Beautiful natural woods, simple lines and a muted pallete will instantly give your bedroom a relaxed vibe

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 Shodeinde. “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.”

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.”