A couple of weeks ago, we rounded up some of the top living room design tips Apartment Therapy readers (yes, you!) shared in story comments over the past few months. Your advice was so useful, we wanted to share more of it—this time around for bedrooms. As always, thank you for continuing to participate in this dialogue around design, and please feel free to add more of your decorating tips to the comments here, too. See what your fellow readers have to say about making a bedroom the best it can be below.
Use mirrors to your advantage
Mirrors really do fool the eye into seeing a room differently, and you, commenters, have taken notice. “The mirror on the edge of the bookcase throws a lot of light around and distracts from the bookcase itself, leading the eye around the apartment,” Yikes says about the above bedroom. This is a great callout for anyone dealing with a small, dark bedroom. Be strategic with mirrors. Hang them in a place where they’ll catch natural light—and reflect a visually appealing part of your room. Avoid placing them too high. You want them to still be functional for seeing your own reflection, too.
For the best rest, lose the tech
There are plenty of ways to design a bedroom for better sleep, but the first tip, according to Suzemagoo, has to do with what you take out of the equation. “Move the TV to any other room and leave it there,” Suzemagoo says. Keeping all types of technological distractions out of the bedroom is a key way to get more shut-eye. Ditching the TV is a great place to start, and relocating your phone and other devices to a charging station in your entry, kitchen, or workspace before you retreat for the night is another strategy. If you feel like you have to have your phone close, consider a nightstand with a charger built into its drawer so you can physically “lock” your phone away for the night.
Simplicity works in small spaces
A lot of designers take issue with matching bedroom sets because they can create uniformity in a given room. That said, this kind of visual harmony isn’t always a bad thing, especially in a small bedroom. “My bedroom is fairly small and having matching furniture goes a long way towards keeping [it] from feeling crowded,” says Katatoni. “The consistent, repetitive lines and colors are pretty relaxing, actually.” Sometimes simple is best, and it’s good to remember that trends are just that: trends. There’s also a difference between a matching set—and all matching everything. You know your space best, so do what works for you.
Be strategic about shelf placement
For all the inspo photos you’ve probably seen with the spot over a bedroom’s headboard chock full of decorative items, you should be careful about what you actually put there. “It’s not a good idea to put anything on the wall above the head of the bed: Something with glass in a frame, heavy plants, books,” WifeOfBath says. That’s a sentiment many of you echoed, and it’s a wise one.
It’s best to avoid hanging objects directly over your headboard, even if you don’t live in an area that’s prone to earthquakes. Instead, try mounting shelves off-center. Follow the manufacturers’ recommendations and don’t load a shelf up with more than its suggested weight limit. Use studs and/or anchors where necessary or possible—remember the age-old rule: “It’s better to be safe than sorry!” For decorative punch that won’t cause you any issues, consider a woven wall hanging, cloth textile, or an unframed print or paper poster mounted securely with thumbtacks.
Pick the right paint finish
You should carefully consider a paint finish in any room, but this is especially critical in bedrooms, where smaller spaces may mean more opportunities for light to reflect off the walls. Dark paint plus bright lighting can lead to a blotchy look, as quilt lover points out. If your walls have noticeable imperfections and unevenness, it’s best to go for lighter colors and flatter finishes, which are generally more forgiving.
Any rug’s a good rug
If you don’t have wall-to-wall carpeting and can’t afford a massive area rug that covers your entire bedroom floor, a small rug that sits by your bed is “more than adequate,” says Janie Louise says. That’s so true. After all, the practical reasoning behind a rug is to give your feet a soft, warm place to land in the morning. Nearly any rug will accomplish that—and add a bit of coziness—so no need to spring for something extravagant. That said, for maximum sound absorption, the bigger the rug, the better.
Think outside traditional furniture
There’s no “nightstands or bust” rule in the bedroom. If you don’t have room for a nightstand, Troppo Bella suggests trying a smaller piece of furniture. “I don’t have enough room on both sides of my bed for nightstands, but I do have room for a stool on one side, and I’ve stacked it up with books. Works like a charm.” Great idea! Other thoughts for non-traditional nightstands: spare chairs, wall-mounted shelves, a crate or short stack of crates, or even a stack of books.