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Rules of Bedroom Design That Were Made to be Broken

Interior design functions to support the purpose of a space in an appealing way. In the bedroom, that means supporting the number one purpose – sleep. Most design rules function well, but sometimes they can interfere with the very purpose they’re trying to support.

Impact of Sleep Environment on Sleep Quality

The sleep environment plays a critical role in getting a full seven to nine hours of sleep.  For the most effect, it should be comfortable, cool, quiet, and dark with all the required safety features like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

When these factors are combined in an appealing design, they create a sleep environment that allows the body temperature to drop and the mind and body to drift seamlessly off to sleep. In short, it creates a home retreat where stress and tension stay outside the bedroom door.

Here are a few rules that to be aware of when designing a bedroom.

Too Much Concrete

The combination of industrial and minimalist movements has led to an influx of concrete in every room of the house. While it has its place in the bedroom, too much can give an institutional feel to this most personal of spaces. To effectively work, it needs to be balanced appropriately.

Rooms with all concrete walls and floor can make the bedroom feel like a jail cell. A single concrete wall, however, creates a bold, architectural focal point. It’s both raw and natural but with a heavy feel that only comes from a man-made structure. Because it immediately draws the eyes attention, the bed, which should be the most inviting aspect of the room, should be placed against this wall. Luxurious fabrics and textiles like velvet, corduroy, linen, and cotton offer the perfect contrast to the hard lines of concrete.


Multi-Purpose Space

A studio apartment is one thing, but a master suite should be devoted to sleep. There is a growing trend that turns master bedrooms into hotel suites with a work desk and/gym equipment. The brain associates certain environments and spaces with specific activities. A bedroom that’s also used as a home office or gym can confuse the brain. Instead of lying down to a peaceful night’s rest, the mind starts thinking about a work presentation or prepping itself for a hard workout.

A bedroom that’s large enough to be used as a multipurpose space may be better served with a reading or meditation area. Both of these activities can be included as part of a healthy bedtime routine and can contribute to the bedroom’s retreat-like atmosphere.

Bright, Contrasting Colors

The bedroom should feel personalized. However, in some cases, getting too personal can work against physiology. Bright, bold colors that fall on the warm spectrum like red, orange, and bright yellows enliven the mind and increase heart rate. They’re called warm colors because they make the body feel warmer, which works against the body’s need for a drop in temperature at the onset of sleep.

Opt for cool pastels in blue and green or neutrals like gray and beige. These colors prevent overstimulation of the eyes so the mind and body can relax.

Glam and Glitter Over Comfort

Sequins and glitter automatically create Hollywood glam. However, their texture, brightness, and color aren’t always the best for relaxation. Comfort should be the number one consideration in the bedroom. Faux furs and plush rugs or carpets can bring a similar sense of glam but with a warmer look and feel that supports better sleep.

Light Management From Window Treatments to Light Bulbs

Light-filled spaces feel big, airy, and inviting. However, when it’s time to settle down for the night, light and airy aren’t ideal. Natural light suppresses sleep hormones so when bedtime rolls around, the light should be eliminated. For those who absolutely love light filtering into the bedroom, a double layer of curtains is often the best solution. Blackout curtains or heavy drapes cover sheers at night while opening the heaviest layer will still allow light to filter throughout the room in the morning.

Natural light isn’t the only light source that will need to be managed. High-efficiency light bulbs emit light that’s similar in spectrum to sunlight, which means it can suppress sleep hormones, too. We recommend using HE bulbs in other areas of the house and saving incandescent bulbs for the bedroom. Track or recessed lighting that’s directed away from the bed as well as dimmer switches can help prevent light from disturbing the sleep cycle as well.


Good bedroom design should enhance the purpose and appeal of the bedroom. Rules are general guidelines that leave space for individual tastes and preferences. Use rules only so far as they support the room’s purpose. After that, be creative, use elements that make the bedroom a retreat which no homeowner will want to leave.

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