It wasn't that long ago that we had separate rooms in the house to do things like read, watch movies and browse the internet due to technological restrictions. But now, we can do all of those things and more from one laptop computer. So with these new conveniences, there really is no reason to leave our bedrooms to get things done if we'd rather just, you know, sit this one out and stay in bed all day. Sounds pretty great, right? We talked to Emily Henderson, host of HGTV's "Secrets From a Stylist," to get a few tips on what it takes to turn a bedroom into a relaxing, multi-purposed space, perfect for everything from sleeping to reading to ordering a whole new wardrobe online.
The biggest benefit of turning your bedroom into a sanctuary is that it allows you to stay relaxed for longer and feel like you're not checking off your to-do list, even if you are, Emily says. Just remember, you want your space to be calming, so leave all of your actual work where it belongs, like your office. It's OK to use your room for the more fun yet still "productive" stuff: catch up on your favorite TV shows, shop online, read a book, or call someone on Skype. To make your space ideal, the overall goal is to minimize visually. "But you still want it to be well-designed," Emily adds. "You don't want it to be boring, and you don't want it to be empty or cold. So it's trying to find that balance between making it feel like home and look like you, but at the same time a little quieter than your other rooms." And when your bedroom is comfortable and serene, you'll be able to transition from completing tasks to getting a good night's sleep. Follow these seven suggestions to design your own bedroom sanctuary:
1. Buy an adjustable bed. This will allow you to raise and lower individual parts so you can sit up to comfortably use your laptop, Emily notes. (And these beds sometimes come with massage options!) Most adjustable beds are sold separately from the mattress, so you'll just need to buy the base and use whatever mattress you want. "A comfortable bed will make your bedroom more comfortable over all," Emily says.
2. Stick to cooler colors. "You want to go in there and feel calm, so the best way to do that is through the color palette," Emily says. She recommends using cooler tones, like blues or blueish grays, or greens even, because they tend to be more soothing than bold and bright tones. And stay away from brown and beige. Those types of colors can make your bedroom feel dated, whereas blues and grays give it a more modern, contemporary feel, she says. Also, be consistent and choose only three colors, four at the most. Too many colors create visual chaos and can make the room feel smaller and messier. Pops of bright hues are fine (Emily has hot pink lamps in her own room), but these loud tones are too overwhelming for the walls.
3. Mix different textures and layers. "More than in any other room, upholstery and fabrics are important in the bedroom," Emily says. Everything should be plush and soft in the bedroom. Choose an upholstered headboard over wood or wrought iron. Layer textures on your bed, combining different fabrics like linen and wool to add some design elements while still keeping it simple.
4. Keep artwork oversized and simple. Your room should only have a few larger pieces of art as opposed to busy, eclectic galleries or collections. Again, it's all about minimizing visual chaos. "When you have less distractions visually, you can focus more on what you want to focus on, whether that's relaxing, sleeping, or maybe just getting more done," Emily points out.
5. Organize a seating area. According to Emily, after your bed and dresser, a seating area is the next most important part of your bedroom. Place a couple of chairs or a bench at the end of the bed, or make a small seating area off to the side in an empty corner. "Mentally you feel like it's more of a retreat, even if maybe you are still reading in the living room," Emily says.
6. Maintain symmetry. Positioning things like matching lamps and nightstands on each side of the bed can help establish that mental balance. Emily suggests keeping lights 18-26 inches high, so they are high enough to cast light across the room but low enough so the light isn't directly in your eyes. And stray away from harsh, overhead lighting to maintain a dimmer, more relaxing feel.
7. Pay attention to the details. "You don't have to get $500 sheets, but I used to always get cheap sheets, and spending 30 or 40 more dollars has made a difference to me," Emily says. It all circles back to maintaining a high level of comfort. And make sure you have a few convenient and aesthetically-pleasing things on your nightstand. Emily recommends something that smells nice (either a candle or flowers), something to place your jewelry and a water carafe.
Emily confesses that, as a designer, she used to care more about how things looked rather than how they felt. But once she splurged on a comfortable bed for herself, she realized its importance. "Having a room that feels like a retreat actually makes me want to go to bed," she says. An inviting, calm and relaxing bedroom will not only make you more comfortable while you're awake and getting things done, but you'll also be happy to crawl into bed every night and doze off surrounded by the perfect sanctuary you created.
Click through the slideshow below to see some of Emily's designs and head over to her Pinterest page to enter her Beautify Your Bedroom contest ending on October 1. The grand prize winner will receive a Leggett & Platt adjustable bed and $1500 towards a bedroom makeover.