This article is part of our series, Sleep Week: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Your Best Sleep Ever. Sleep Week is your destination for whole sleep happiness, curating our very best tips and product recommendations to help you create your coziest, most comfortable sleep environment yet.
Peaceful. Serene. Soothing. Most people want their bedroom to feel like a true refuge from the world: a calming place to rest and restore their energies. Getting a decent night’s sleep is easier said than done—but getting intentional about the energy in your bedroom is going to be the best place to start.
If relaxing and rejuvenating is the vibe you’re seeking for your own bedroom, you’ll want to take some notes. We reached out to a handful of interior designers and relaxation specialists to get their top tips on how to turn your bedroom into a relaxation oasis.
Meet the Expert
- Dr. Rebecca Leslie is a Licensed Psychologist specializing in insomnia.
- Mary Maydan is the Founder & Principal Designer at Maydan Architects.
- Reggie Bello is the Director of Housekeeping at Four Seasons Resort Orlando.
- Krystal Holm is the Creator of the Designed Life Method.
- Karin Sun is the Founder of the zen-inspired Crane & Canopy linen company.
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Add a Comfortable Chair
Dr. Rebecca Leslie, Licensed Psychologist, suggests having a comfortable chair in your bedroom with a cozy blanket on or near it. “If you are struggling falling asleep or staying asleep you do not want to stay in bed awake,” she explains. “If it’s been about 20 minutes and you can not sleep, you want to get out of bed. Having a chair in your bedroom is a great place to go.”
Not only will this provide you another spot to get in a more restful mood before returning to bed, but it also makes for a great reading nook during the day.Continue to 2 of 26 below.
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Don’t Overlook Aromatherapy
Dr. Leslie also suggests having candles, flowers, or a diffuser that can give off a relaxing smell like lavender. This will add to the relaxing mood while also creating a cozy atmosphere for bedtime.Continue to 3 of 26 below.
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“For my own bedroom, I selected for the walls and ceiling a creamy white color with a subtle touch of grayish-blue,” explains Mary Maydan, Founder & Principal Designer of Maydan Architects. “It created a very peaceful atmosphere. The artwork in the bedroom, which is one color of dark blue-gray in different textures, also achieves the same calming effect.”Continue to 4 of 26 below.
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Show What’s Going on Outside
“I designed a balcony with seating and planters that provide privacy and a view of greenery,” says Maydan. “We have solar and blackout shades which enables the room to be kept dark when needed, but being able to look at the stars in the sky at night and see beautiful nature in the morning greatly contributes to a feeling of peacefulness.”Continue to 5 of 26 below.
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Maydan recommends opting for a bed frame that’s low to the ground rather than one that so much as requires a stepping stool to hop into bed. “My bed itself is low and very comfortable, with a wide upholstered bed frame around the mattress,” she explains. “It adds to the feeling of coziness in the room.”Continue to 6 of 26 below.
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Do Your Own Turn-down Service
Reggie Bello, Director of Housekeeping at Four Seasons Resort Orlando, recommends making small adjustments to recreate the feeling of a calming environment in one’s bedroom at home. An hour or more before bedtime, he recommends preparing the bed for sleep by removing any decorative pillows and throws from the bed, laying pillows from standing to flat, and folding down the top of the bed linens to easily slip under.Continue to 7 of 26 below.
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Create a Temperate Environment
Bello also recommends cooling the room with a fan or air conditioning and leaving a dim bedside light on to create ambiance. “An aromatherapy diffuser or a white noise machine can also set the mood for sleep,” he notes.Continue to 8 of 26 below.
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Create Your Own Nightstand Amenities Kit
“Guests of Four Seasons Resort Orlando can request different mattress toppers and pillows for their own personal sleeping preference,” says Bello. “Also, the Housekeeping staff can provide items such as eye masks, ear plugs, small fans and diffusers, based upon request.” Take a cue from them: in order to make your bedroom feel like a relaxing hotel suite, consider stocking up on the amenities that you’d expect to find in a five-star hotel.Continue to 9 of 26 below.
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Do Away with Family Photos
It might sound controversial but Krystal Holm, Founder of Designed Life Studio strongly suggests you keep photos out of the bedroom. “Unless it is a photo of you and your partner, family photos do not belong in the bedroom,” she explains. The bedroom is for sleep and sex; kids and parents are conducive to neither, even in photograph form.”Continue to 10 of 26 below.
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Work with Layers
“Layer in lots of texture,” says Holm. “Rugs, curtains, linens and pillows, all of the texture will give a sense of lushness and luxury that instantly relaxes the body.”Continue to 11 of 26 below.
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Consider Earth Tones
“I recommend warm, rich earth tones such as copper, coral, cream, and cocoa for creating a cozy and welcoming atmosphere,” says Karin Sun, Founder of Crane & Canopy. “Using soft, natural colors also leads to a quiet, tranquil, and inviting energy in your bedroom.”
According to Sun, the addition of bright pinks and reds can increase the romance in a relationship; however, limit these colors to accents in the form of pillows, throws, or decorative pieces. “Use softer pinks for your bedding or wall color. Otherwise, it can be too overwhelming.”
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Position Your Bed Properly
“Position for your bed is as far away from the door as possible while still allowing you to keep an eye on the room’s entrance,” suggests Sun. “This allows for a feeling of safety and protection while you rest.”
Try not to position your bed under the lower angle of a pitched ceiling or a ceiling fan, says Sun. These features have a “depressing” energy that will literally push you down while you sleep. Also, be sure to avoid positioning your bed under a window because it lacks the symbolic support and protection of a solid wall. Headboards, especially those made of solid wood, are considered good feng shui because they provide the added strength and support you need behind your head.
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Show Off Your Curves
“When choosing bedroom furniture, try to pick pieces with soft lines and curvilinear forms,” says Sun. “Square corners have pointed energy and can create a sharp environment.” Sun also added that the “poison arrows” formed by right angles are thought to direct negative energy directly to your sleeping form.Continue to 14 of 26 below.
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In feng shui, clutter symbolizes unfinished business and impedes forward progress. Keep your furnishings to only the necessary pieces and keep clutter contained to allow chi to flow freely around the room. That includes clutter under your bed, says Sun.
This “less is more” approach applies to your closet too. Make sure your closet is clean and organized, which will help you give you a sense of control over your life. Add plants in the corners of your space to help prevent energy from stagnating there.
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Your bedroom should be a place of rest, contemplation, and intimacy. Exercise equipment, phones, and a TV give off and take up a lot of energy. “The bedroom is a place where you turn off the stresses of the day. If you must have your bedroom serve double duty, use a folding screen or hanging fabric to conceal them,” suggests Sun. “If you’re not willing to part with your TV, keep it in an armoire or cabinet so you can shut the door while you sleep.”Continue to 16 of 26 below.
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Let There be Light
When lighting your bedroom, flexibility is key. “You want lots of natural light during the day, soft light in the evening, and darkness while you sleep,” explains Sun. “Exposure to sunlight first thing in the morning influences your serotonin levels and can affect you for the rest of the day.”
When choosing your light, make sure to provide a variety of sources, including overhead, table, and wall lighting. This will allow for many different uses all throughout the day.
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Consider a Monochromatic Color Scheme
In this restful bedroom, the flooring, bedding, and window treatments are all chosen in shades of gray and off-white. Some variety is offered by black and chrome accent pieces and the green plant. Any monochromatic color scheme will have a restful effect, but a bedroom decorated in cool tones will be especially relaxing.Continue to 18 of 26 below.
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Add Texture to Keep Things Interesting
When you’re working with a completely neutral palette, the way to avoid snooze syndrome (and not the kind of snooze you want in a bedroom) is to add lots of texture. This lovely room gets it right: the layers of waffled and cotton bedding, the rattan and woven baskets, the area rug layered over simple flooring, the faux fur pillow. Despite all the pattern and texture, the room feels very peaceful.Continue to 19 of 26 below.
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Thoughtfully Add Patterns
Want to use pattern throughout your bedroom, but afraid of losing the soothing vibe you’re aiming for? Try a lovely French country bedroom: Choose one color to scatter throughout the room in a pattern and with accents. Stick to one pattern throughout for a truer French country mood. Such a technique adds lots of interest without detracting from the peacefulness of the room.Continue to 20 of 26 below.
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Try Serene Green
Green, with its connection to growing, living things, is a peaceful color, yet at the same time, it has a freshness and aliveness that feeds the soul. Decorating the bedroom with living plants or botanical designs both relaxes the senses and invigorates the mind. Potted plants; artwork depicting flowers, trees or fields; bedding or window treatments with botanical designs—it all works. Sticking with a palette of mostly mid-tone greens, as well as plenty of white, also ups the serenity factor.Continue to 21 of 26 below.
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Rest in the Dark
A chalky, deep shade of blue, green, or gray can be very restful. In fact, the right color can create a backdrop that tones down the entire room. The gorgeous bedroom shown here actually has quite a bit going on: the various printed pillows, the fuzzy blue throw, the rattan headboard and mixture of other materials. But the overall vibe is calm, and that’s mostly because of the dark slate-blue walls.Continue to 22 of 26 below.
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Layer Your Bedding
Your bed is the star of your bedroom, so it should set the pace for the entire room’s style. That means that in a room intended to help you relax, the bed should be as comfortable and inviting as possible. Layered bedding is the key to a luxurious bed that welcomes you into its relaxing embrace. Start with soft sheets, then a light blanket or quilt for warmth. Top those with a down-filled comforter in a duvet cover, and then toss a throw blanket across the foot of the bed. Finish the look with several throw pillows and shams, and you have a bed that feels as good as it looks.Continue to 23 of 26 below.
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A soothing room can be very feminine yet leave no doubt that it is the primary bedroom, not a child's bedroom. For proof, check out the elegant and serene room here. The walls are washed with the palest tint of lavender, barely more than a whisper of color, both in the paint and accent wallpaper. The upholstery on the headboard—though kicked up a notch in hue—and throw pillows keep the pastels coming. Add in a neutral carpet and soft brown throw, and you get a bedroom that’s soft, sweet, elegant, and tranquil—and definitely all grown up.Continue to 24 of 26 below.
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While the cool side of the spectrum is typically the most tranquil, that doesn’t mean you have to write off the other half of the color wheel. For proof, check out the demure room shown here. The walls and bedding are neutral and the headboard and side table are wooden, but the accents are primarily yellow: the throw blanket, decorative bowls, pottery, warm lighting, and decorative shams.
The simplicity and soft color keep the room in the peaceful zone—not at all spicy or hot, despite the use of a traditionally warm color.Continue to 25 of 26 below.
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This beautiful bedroom is a study in serene perfection. Mostly white, it’s kept far from sterility by the use of wooden accents in the headboard, side tables, and trunk at the end of the bed. There are several other soothing touches as well: plants, a flowy curtain, and careful mixing of various patterns with subtle color schemes.Continue to 26 of 26 below.
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White walls may seem boring, but they could be the easiest shortcut to serenity. For proof, take a look at the bedroom shown here. The creamy white walls look dreamy, while the just-a-little-glamorous bed frame and soft knit throw blanket ensure that the bed is as inviting and comfortable as possible.
Although there are very few purely decorative items in this bedroom, it’s not at all stark or cold. That’s because of the soft color, warm texture, and little touches of comfort—a peaceful haven, not a bare room.
Lee, Min-sun et al. Interaction With Indoor Plants May Reduce Psychological And Physiological Stress By Suppressing Autonomic Nervous System Activity In Young Adults: A Randomized Crossover Study. Journal Of Physiological Anthropology, vol 34, no. 1, 2015, Springer Science And Business Media LLC. doi:10.1186/s40101-015-0060-8