How to Create the Best Bedroom Layout

Simple tips for designing your dream bedroom

White bedroom with two arm chairs in front of made up bed.

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The right layout can make all of the difference in a space. It can make a small room feel larger and a dark room feel brighter, and it can turn a blank slate into a warm, cozy, and composed interior. And nowhere is it more important to get your layout right than in the bedroom.

Ready to turn your bedroom into the sanctuary that you deserve? Here’s how to create a space that makes the best use of what you have—and that meets your most ambitious design expectations.

Map Out Your Dimensions

Before you can plan what goes where, you need to know precisely what you’re working with. Use a tape measurer to map out the dimensions of your room, making sure to account for doors, closets, and windows. From there, you can either lay out the dimensions on a piece of graph paper (one square = one foot), or you can input the results into room design software.

Accuracy is key here, so consider bringing on another set of hands to ensure that you get your measurements right. When you’re done, you should have a true-to-form representation of your exact bedroom size and shape that will make it easy to plan out what’s going to go where. If you’re putting the dimensions down on paper, make several copies before getting to work so that you can play around with different ideas (and have a back-up in case you make a mistake).

Gather Your Inspiration

Creating an original bedroom layout doesn’t mean that you have to reinvent the wheel. Looking at existing layouts will help you zero in on exactly what you want to achieve in the space, particularly in terms of style and feel. Pinterest, Instagram, and design sites are all great places to start, and will offer plenty of variety so that you can start to whittle down your preferences.

As you browse, try to pinpoint any specific features that stand out to you again and again. What overall style appeals to you most? What feeling are you trying to capture and recreate? Even if you don’t (or can’t) translate everything you like into your own space, starting with outside inspiration is essential for formulating your thoughts and getting the best idea of the results that you want to end up with.

Find Your Balance Lines and Focus

Inspiration aside, you can only work with the existing room that you have. That doesn’t mean you don’t have options, but it does mean that you have to establish what makes your room unique and how you’ll be able to bring your ideas to life within it.

To do this, start by finding your balance lines. These are lines that intersect the room in half vertically and horizontally, ultimately leaving you with four quadrants that will need to be balanced out with each other in terms of “weight”—i.e. furniture and other material details.

Next, find the room’s focal point. This could be a set feature, such as a window or a fireplace, or it might just be a wall that inherently draws the eye when you walk in. A focal point can also be something that you intend to put in during decorating—think a gallery or accent wall. Stick to one focus, since you’ll build out your design from here.

Arrange Your Furniture

Take the measurements of your furniture (or estimate, based on what you intend to buy) so that you can lay out each piece on your layout map. Keeping in mind that any major piece of furniture—which in this case, is likely your bed—should be laid out first, and should be placed strategically with regards to your room’s focal point.

Some general rules to remember as you arrange your furniture:

  • Keep traffic patterns in mind and make sure you leave space for natural movement throughout the room.
  • Use your balance lines to maintain the flow of the space, and be sure not to place multiple pieces of heavy furniture in a single quadrant.
  • Use rugs to define different areas in a large bedroom, and add luxury and comfort to a small room. (Another hint: stick with a light colored rug in a small bedroom to make it appear larger.)

Once you’ve got your layout down on paper or the screen, use painter’s tape to map it out on the floor itself, or get to arranging and rework the layout as needed. Leave final touches like artwork and decor to the end, after each piece of furniture is in place.

By taking the time to go through all of the necessary steps of creating a bedroom layout, you'll end up with a room that not only makes the most sense, but that you’ll most likely be satisfied with. If you ever get bored with it, go back to the drawing board and start over.