10 Mistakes Designers Always Notice In Bedrooms

Pink bedroom with white bedding

Design: Megan Molten; Photo: Margaret Wright

Your bedroom is your sanctuary—a place where you can unwind, practice self-care, and (hopefully) get a solid night of sleep. But, if your space isn’t designed well, it can do more harm than good, often contributing to a sense of imbalance and unease.

With this in mind, we turned to some of our favorite designers to find out what common design mistakes they notice in people’s bedrooms and how to fix them.

  • 01 of 09

    Having Too Much Visual Clutter

    Styled bedroom

    Design: BANDD/DESIGN; Photo: Molly Culver

    The first mistake you might be making: your bedroom has too much clutter and too little organization. “Not having enough storage and organization can cause too much clutter and headache,” Sara Malek Barney of BANDD/DESIGN says. “You need adequate organization so that you can keep your room clean and free from disorder.”

    Designer Megan Molten agrees, noting that nightstands are a particular problem area. “I always see a pile of stuff on nightstands," she says. "We always try to source nightstands with adequate storage for our clients so they can keep them free and clear of clutter. Keep styling on top of the nightstands practical with a tray for small jewelry, picture frames of loved ones, and a small candle to set the mood.”

    One suggestion from Rivka Davidowitz of Restoring Minimal: put your dresser in your closet. "This hack has saved not only me, but countless of my clients," Davidoqitz says. "With a wide, low dresser that fits in your closet, you’re going to emphasize managing that clutter.”

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  • 02 of 09

    Using Boring Bedding

    Layered and luxe bedding

    Design: Folding Chair Design; Photo: Katie Merkle Photography

    One thing Jennifer Walter, owner and principal designer of Folding Chair Design, always notices is bedding. "So often, we walk into rooms, and there are a thousand ‘dead’ pillows on the bed with old cases and layers of bedding," she notes. "The bed should be the sanctuary at the end of the day with luxe, voluptuous bedding."


    If you’re unsure of how to get started, Walter gave us her list of must-haves: a folded quilt, bed-wide blanket, or duvet at the end of the bed. 

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  • 03 of 09

    Making Your Room Multi-Purpose

    Bed and nightstand

    Design: Folding Chair Design; Photo: Jenn Verrier

    In keeping with the relaxed, peaceful theme, our experts are not fans of electronics, exercise equipment, or even TVs in the bedroom. Anything that is stimulating the mind during the day should not be in your place of relaxation at night.

    “Please don't add your elliptical or treadmill into your bedroom,” Malek Barney says. “This is a place of rest and relaxation.” Molten also suggests getting rid of your desk if possible—by having it present, you're creating an opportunity for work stress to linger after 5 p.m.

    “While I know it’s hard to put away the electronic devices before bed, I prefer not having a TV in the bedroom,” John McClain of John McClain Design says. “Placing a big black rectangle on your wall does nothing for the space aesthetically, and the blue light it gives off isn’t great for your sleep cycle, either. In place of the TV, try incorporating unique pieces of artwork.”

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  • 04 of 09

    Having Only One Light Source

    Lightsource options in a bedroom

    Design: The Pankonien Group; Photo: Cate Black Photography

    As Malek Barney tells us, “Make sure your bedroom has multiple lighting options. A mix of both task lighting and adjustable ambient lighting is the winning combination.”

    Amy Youngblood of Amy Youngblood Interiors agrees. She notes that many people overlook lighting in the bedroom and suggests adding a decorative flush mount or a pair of lamps.

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  • 05 of 09

    Using Bad Color Combos

    Calming bedroom colors

    Design: The Pankonien Group; Photo: Avery Nicole Photography

    Malek Barney emphasizes that restfulness is the most important detail to achieve, and using neutral colors helps create that feeling. “Everything should complement one another, not match perfectly,” she notes. Molten also suggests keeping the color palette and mood spa-like, creating a space that initiates a sense of calm and cozy.

    “Stick with a theme or color throughout the space,” Youngblood adds. “If there’s blue on the rug, find a blue accent pillow for the bed.”

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  • 06 of 09

    Having a Lack of Balance and Scale

    A well-balanced bedroom

    Design: The Pankonien Group; Photo: Avery Nicole Photography

    “Remember to keep a proper scale of your furniture pieces, as you don't want individual items overpowering the space,” Malek Barney tells us. And if your room is large enough for extra pieces of furniture, find a balance in your sanctuary, Vanessa Deleon of Vanessa Deleon Associates adds.

    “Make sure that your pieces are equally distributed throughout the room," she says. "Creating a cohesive bedroom is not only about design, but more about how you feel in the space.”

    Laura Pankonien of The Pankonien Group agrees. “We notice most often that furnishings are not scaled properly in the bedroom, such as a nightstand or a rug that is not appropriate for the size of the room and bed," she says.

    Creating a cohesive bedroom is not only about design, but more about how you feel in the space.

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  • 07 of 09

    Having Furniture that Matches Too Much

    A mix of furniture in a bedroom

    Design: The Pankonien Group; Photo: Avery Nicole Photography

    According to Youngblood, furniture that is too matchy-matchy feels sterile. “We don’t recommend using the same collection for all pieces of furniture in the space, but your dresser and nightstands should complement each other,” she says. 

    Davidowitz agrees. “I’m all for things matching and uniformity, but there is no need for your entire furniture set to be identical,” she tells us. “Stick to matching nightstands, at most.”

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  • 08 of 09

    Having a Lot of Wasted Space

    Large white bedroom with big gold mirror.

    Design: Jessica Nelson Design; Photo: Carina Skrobecki Photography

    Another common problem designers notice is poorly used space. If there’s one thing that Molten notices, it’s a missing bench at the end of the bed. “They are dual purpose and perfect to sit on to put on shoes during the day, as well as store decorative pillows on top of at night while you're sleeping,” she explains.

    McClain points out that corners are often overlooked, too. “Regardless of the size of a bedroom, I find corners are often left bare and forgotten," he says. "For smaller corners, incorporating plants or a floor lamp can be an easy way to add color and visual height to your room. For spacious corners, consider adding additional seating, lighting, and even a well-chosen side table."


    McClain also gave us a tip—if you’re adding furniture to the end of your bed, 36 inches of clearance is ideal for your circulation path.

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  • 09 of 09

    Overcomplicating the Process

    Simple bedroom design

    Cathie Hong Interiors

    “Decorating any space can be daunting, and since the bedroom is not usually seen by guests, people often de-prioritize starting the project,” Pankonien says. “I would advise the novice decorator to keep the project simple and incorporate some of the luxuries from their favorite hotels."

    Opt for crisp white bedding, a beautiful and functional table lamp, and black-out window treatments in a neutral linen fabric, Pankonien suggests. These are all easy ways to start your cohesive bedroom design.