Suite dreams: How to make your bedroom restful

08/30/2014 12:00 AM

08/30/2014 4:41 PM

Put to bed any angst you may have about your bedroom by paying attention to your sleeping space.

Homeowners can have a suite setup in the bedroom, regardless of its size, says Rebecca Gray, merchandising vice president of the Omaha-based Hayneedle Inc., a decade-old online home store.

“A bedroom is the place we are supposed to be spending at least one-third of our day — or eight hours,” she says. “The restorative qualities of sleep can be linked to how peaceful and relaxing the bedroom is.”

Whether you’re outfitting a new bedroom or giving your tired decor a lift, Gray says to start with a clean slate for sleep. “Get rid of the unused exercise equipment in the corner and the leaning tower of magazines on the nightstand,” Gray says. “Really look at the room and envision where you see yourself wanting to wake up every morning.”

Take dimensions of the room and plot out furniture placement before buying anything. It’s better to figuratively sleep on it and take your time before purchasing bedroom furniture, making sure you have a clearance of at least three feet to walk around the bed.

The bed is the obvious centerpiece of every bedroom. But with so many options available, know that after you’ve made your bed purchase, you'll have to lie in it — whether or not it really fits the space.

“It’s easy to see a bedroom set online or on the showroom floor, and fall in love with the look,” Gray says. “Before purchasing the bed, know the dimensions of the room. A California king-sized or canopied bed may not be the best fit for a bedroom in a 1930s bungalow, which has smaller rooms and lower ceilings.”

The style of your bedroom furniture can range from cottage to contemporary to traditional to transitional, but its look should complement your entire home’s design aesthetic. Gray says platform beds are popular for their modern, clean lines and are also stylish sleepers that age well. “A platform bed has a lower profile because it doesn’t require a box spring,” she says. “Because you don’t have to climb into it, a platform bed may allow people to age-in-place easier.”

Gray also says people are refreshing their existing bedroom sets by painting furniture a new color or applying a decorative finish to solid wood pieces. But, in order to fully appreciate a bedroom, you have to invest in a mattress that supports quality sleep. “Finding a mattress that fits you is very personal,” she says. “A standard rule of thumb is to replace a good quality mattress every 10 to 15 years.”

Before bringing a bed into the room, take the opportunity to refresh the six walls that will surround you. “Painting walls in soft, muted colors sets the stage for relaxation,” Gray says. “Wallpaper and wall decals are also popular, and only require being hung on one wall to create interest and a focal point in the room.”

Since much of your time in the bedroom is spent lying down and looking up at the ceiling, consider decoratively painting the fifth wall and installing a hanging light fixture that dims to create visual interest. Make your bedroom cozy from the ground up by installing new carpeting or an area rug, which sets the stage for a warm feeling underfoot.

Add nightstands and dressers that complement the design aesthetic of the bed without crowding the bedroom blueprint. “It’s also important to make a space to sit down in the bedroom, whether it’s a side chair or a bench at the base of the bed,” Gray says.

Furniture is often the neutral hardware for the bedroom, so look to linens to showcase a softer side. A colorful comforter, decorative throw pillows and window treatments can enliven the design. Artwork should reflect your personal style, and — whether it’s abstract or a still life — the colors and subject should be harmonious with the overall bedroom design.

Next to the bed, a nightstand is an essential piece of furniture. Create a clutter-free zone and shed light on the bedroom design by placing a lamp on the nightstand that makes a stylish statement. The nightstand might also have a great book, a small vase of flowers and a place to house electronics. “People retire to their bedroom and they often bring work into bed with them,” Gray says. “The key is to have a place to put those handheld devices away, so they don’t over-stimulate you before going to sleep.”

While the master bedroom should be calm and sleep inducing, its design shouldn’t be a yawner. “How you fall asleep and wake up sets the tone for the day,” Gray says. “The bedroom should be a personalized space of beauty, so you can focus on your beauty sleep.”

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