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While your bedroom is an often unseen space in your home when it comes to guests, you will spend hours of your life within those four walls. Its time to take that space and turn it into one of your favorites! These steps for decorating a bedroom will take you from a drab space to a beautiful retreat you never want to leave.
Our master bedroom project is still underway. We’ve decluttered the bedroom, organized the closet, added some beautiful paint to the walls, trim, and doors. And finally finished up this beautiful handmade bed.
Now, we just have to finish decorating! Which, to me, is the most fun part of the whole thing.
We chose to redo our bedroom first out of all of the rooms in our home. Why? Well, because we desperately needed a bed and had the lumber sitting in the garage for several months. Sleeping on the floor is NOT fun, y’all. And also because we spend a lot of time in there and while the whole house needs some TLC and updating (builder grade and neglected upkeep, everywhere), our bedroom was the least attractive room in the house. It was pink, then I painted it what turned out to be a dingy blue. The doors and trim (in the whole house) are that faux-wood stuff that makes me wanna cringe. And honestly, decorating a bedroom is likely one of the cheaper home decor projects there is.
Sure, you can spend a ton on a big ol’ Pottery Barn or Anthropologie bed. You can buy highly expensive dressers. But, none of it is necessary. We built our bed by hand for less than $400. You can buy thrift-store dressers and paint them for dirt cheap (and they’re often more quality pieces of furniture). And there isn’t a ton more to the furnishings.
11 Steps to a Beautiful Bedroom
1. Get inspired
Just like picking the perfect paint color for the space, you need some inspiration. Again, my absolute favorite places to look for inspiration are instagram and Pinterest. These online spaces are full of real homes that people actually live in and the people are reachable. So, if you find something in their space you love, comment on the photo or message them or email them. We’re all here to help, believe me! Never be afraid to ask!
Once you’ve got plenty of inspiration, pick out what you like best about the rooms you’ve saved. It could be the rustic bed frame or the simple artwork. Even the light fixture or lamps. Write it down, then you can utilize that inspiration to make a room that you love that is uniquely you.
2. Pick your focal piece
In your bedroom, this piece should be your bed. Bedrooms should be fairly minimal and furnishings and the bed should be the main focus because… it takes up a lot of space 😝. In all seriousness, though… it’s generally your bed. A big, beautiful bed with all kinds of textiles and some pillows to bring it to life is generally the way to lean. If you have a focal point within your bedroom that your eye is instantly drawn to (like, perhaps a big bank of windows) then try to incorporate your bed into that space so that it blends into a cohesive focal point.
I definitely believe you need to know what your bed is going to look like before you pick out paint. It’s easier to choose your furnishings first like I said in this post about how to choose the perfect farmhouse paint color. You don’t necessarily need to have all of your furnishings worked out and you don’t have to have bedding selected (we actually, haven’t chosen our bedding yet, shame on me). But, knowing what your bed is going to look like will help you choose paint.
For instance, our bed is very large, I stained it incredibly dark and weathered the wood to make it look like the big, rustic piece I envisioned it to be. The last thing I wanted was dark walls. I wanted a very light, neutral color so that the bed would stand out as I had intended.
3. Pick out paint (or paper, if that’s your thing)
Personally, I loathe wall paper, so I’ll just get that out of the way now. We had it in our old 1895 farmhouse and it was the worst thing on the planet. Moving on… you know what your focal piece (the bed) is going to look like. Now, you can decide on that paint color.
Maybe you want to add an accent wall to the room. Behind your bed is a good place to do that. I considered a shiplap wall behind ours but, I believe we’re going to plank the ceiling in the end.
Anyway, the color you paint your bedroom is a personal choice. I encourage you to stick with a neutral color, but light or dark is entirely up to you and the furnishings within your room. If your bed is light, you may opt for a darker color and that’s totally fine. Try to stay neutral and with subtle hints of color, though. Also, I highly recommend getting samples and painting them on each wall in the room before you decide. Also, making big paint swatches with poster board (about 1X1 foot swatches) and putting them up against your furniture (ie the bed) can help you decide what it will look like together.
Just decide on the mood you want to set. Don’t make it a dark dreary dungeon like I made the mistake of doing. But, pick something that will bring all of the elements within the room together and look beautiful.
4. Don’t forget about the ceiling
Ceilings are an overlooked point within most rooms. We don’t think about how our eyes are drawn to them, we generally paint them white and move on with our day. But, they’re just as important as the walls within the room. Choosing a color just a shade lighter than the walls can really bring a ceiling and the four walls around it together and create a beautiful, cohesive, look.
Additionally, adding crown molding, beams, or a ceiling medallion can also add some beautiful character to the walls. We were blessed with crown molding in every room of our house, so it just needed a coat of paint (there was wall paint on the bottoms of it). I do believe we will be adding in a plank ceiling, eventually. Though, it’s not within the budget and we don’t have the time right now. A plank ceiling is a great way to add some character and dimension to a room and cover up that pesky popcorn….
5. Should it stay or should it go now?
Our bedroom had one nightstand, a dresser, and a cedar chest my grandmother gave me when I was a teenager. There wasn’t a bed (the mattress was on the floor, remember?). And my mom and dad gifted us the dresser when we came back from our move to Montana. So, I knew right away what was staying and going as far as furnishings.
You may have more furnishings, you may not have any, you may have artwork and photographs already on the wall. Or lamps. Anything physically in your room that wasn’t decluttered needs to be decided on. Whether it’s a light fixture, a piece of furniture, or a picture frame.
Maybe you can breathe new life into the furniture with a fresh coat of paint (that’s what we’re doing). Maybe you can revamp the photo frames or incorporate the artwork into the room. Maybe you need to buy all new furniture because you’re not about to try building your own (it’s not everyone’s thing, I know). All of that is totally okay! Decide what will stay and stay exactly like it is. Decide what you want to part with (and maybe you can sell it so you can help pay for the new stuff!). And decide what you want to refinish.
6. Pick out the rest of the furnishings
Did you decide to keep your night stands? Great! Are you keeping them as is or refinishing them? What about your dresser? A great alternative to night stands is a floating shelf. A great alternative to a dresser is an armoire. We already had night stands built and they just need finished. So, we decided to take up the space and utilize them. Plus, they have drawers in them for storage of things like glasses and books. My youngest seems to like to “steal” my glasses and try to break them. So, placing them in the drawer is useful.
Your nightstands should be a minimum of the height of your mattress. They can even be a few inches taller. But, you don’t want to have to reach down when you’re in bed. Your dresser should compliment your bed but it should not match it exactly. If you have room, a dresser leaves a lot more space for display than a chest of drawers, but if you’re short on space and you don’t have much closet space, an armoire can be a beautiful addition.
You could also consider adding a chest or bench to the foot of the bed if space allows. As well as a chair or lounge. But, only if space allows and brings the room together. You don’t want an overcrowded room and you want to keep things simple.
7. Pick out your lights
You need at least 3 lights in your bedroom. One for the ceiling, and one for each side of the bed. We currently have one of those ugly “boob lights” in our bedroom. It’s going to be going and in its place will be a beautiful chandelier. Another option would be a pendant light. Dimmers are a great addition to bedroom lighting so you can adjust it to the ambiance you want.
For bedside lamps, you could use lamps that sit on your night stand (or shelves) or you can use wall sconces. They make sconces that plug in and don’t have to be wired, so you don’t have to be an electrician to add some really beautiful statement lighting to the side of your bed. Dimmers or 3 way bulbs are great for bedside lamps as well.
8. Select your bedding
Do yourself a favor and don’t skimp on linens. Beautiful, comfortable linens are well worth your money. If your bed doesn’t have side rails, pick a bedspread or duvet that hangs beautifully off the bed to the floor, or select a bed skirt. Select, comfortable sheets that are soft and 100% cotton (or linen). Layer your bedding with a beautiful throw to add texture.
Pile on the pillows next. Your sleeping pillows, two pillows with shams that match your duvet, and a couple of decorative pillows. All of these little touches really add to the overall feel of your bedroom and bring soft elements to the focal point of the room as well as… who doesn’t like comfortable sheets to get sweet dreams on??
9. Choose your window treatments
Window treatments in the bedroom should generally be simple, but are a great way to add some texture and softness to the bedroom and frame the view to the outside. We utilize room darkening shades in all of our bedrooms, but if you don’t, keep that in mind when selecting drapes. You want something that will not only help maintain privacy, but also block that morning light if you don’t want to roll out of bed when the sun comes up.
We opted to utilize drop cloth drapes in our bedroom with the cellular room darkening shades behind it. If you do use room darkening shades, a sheer could also look nice and add some softness to the room. You can really open up the space and make your windows appear larger by hanging the curtains at almost ceiling height. Make sure, even if you don’t want ceiling to floor curtains, that you hang them a couple of inches above the frame to help open up the space.
10. Add decor and finishing touches
Hang up photographs and artwork. Add shelves and place statement pieces upon them. Use your dresser to display pieces you love and also utilize a beautiful tray to throw loose change, watches, or other jewelry that you grab every morning.
Things like mirrors, laundry baskets, flowers and candles should be considered now. You want the space to look beautiful and lived in but you don’t want it to be overdone or cluttered. Just a few pieces, a statement piece above the bed is never a bad idea (though you might want to make sure it can’t fall on your head). Adding in greenery on top of the dresser, flowers on the bedside table, or anything else that brings you that cozy, warm, comfortable feeling you’re looking for.
You can also add in a rug. Especially if you have hardwood floors or carpet that needs replaced. A rug can help bring a room together, add softness, and cover up the carpet….
11. Keep the extras out
Everyone has a cell phone anymore. And we use them as alarms a lot of the time. But, keep it out of your bedroom. You’ll sleep better, trust me. Use an old-fashioned alarm clock, you’ll thank me later. Also, things like TVs and other technology has no real place in the bedroom. No bills, no exercise machines, no craft stuff. Your bedroom should be a space that allows you to relax and rejuvenate so keep the things that distract you from doing so, out.