Here's How to Pull Your Bedroom Together

Want to create a beautifully decorated bedroom? Start with the big picture.

Elegant neutral bedroom
The best bedrooms start with a vision. Lee Edwards/Getty Images

Browse through the most-pinned bedroom photos on Pinterest, and you’ll notice they share something in common; they all look finished and pulled-together. It’s a look that says, “This room belongs to someone who cares.” And the really wonderful thing about it is that creating a bedroom that looks Pinterest-ready doesn’t require a professional decorator, nor does it require a lot of time or a stack of money.

In fact, with a few simple tricks, anyone can transform a ho-hum or unappealing space into a room that wows. It’s all in knowing how to pull all the elements of the space together into a harmonious whole. And that involves two basic steps: 1. look at the big picture, and then 2. focus on the details. The end result? A bedroom that not only looks great, it makes you feel great.

The first steps to a bedroom that looks polished and put together are the big-picture issues.

1. Find Your Inspiration

Some people have a knack for knowing just how they want to decorate their rooms, but others struggle to crystalize their vision. If you belong to the second group, it helps to spend a bit of time looking for your inspiration before heading to the home décor store. Use Pinterest or a folder on your computer to gather photos of rooms you love. Tear pictures out of magazines or catalogs. Look to your wardrobe; is there a certain color you tend to choose over and over?

How about a piece of artwork you love, whether it’s a painting, a photograph, or even a tapestry? Add all of these images and ideas to your inspiration gallery.

Now, look for common elements. It might be a style of furniture, a color scheme, a decorating theme or a certain pattern: but most likely, you’ll find some commonality (it might be more than one) running through the various elements in your inspiration gallery.

This is the basis for a bedroom that you’ll love.

2. Have a Plan

Once you know what inspires you, it’s time to develop a decorating plan: your inspirations now become the unifying elements or underlying theme that gives the space a finished, put-together feel. That doesn’t mean everything needs to match; in fact, many of the best bedrooms are very eclectic in style. What it does mean is that your bedroom should look like some thought was given to the space: pattern is distributed throughout the room, one or two accent colors tie the space together, all the furniture (although each piece might be a different style) is complementary and the right scale for the room’s size, and the overall feel of the room is one of decorating harmony. This is the real beauty of creating an inspiration gallery; it makes the development of your decorating plan so much easier.

3. Get Over Your Fear

Behind many an unfinished, un-pulled-together bedroom lies a fear of “doing it wrong.” And so walls remain bare, unattractive castoffs serve as furniture, the color scheme is best described as “boring beige,” and there is a lack of personality, zip, or interest throughout the space. If this describes your room, it’s time to step past the fear.

In reality, interior decorating is an art, not a science. There are no laws written in stone. So follow your heart and the basic guidelines given here; you’ll find that once you’ve looked for your inspiration and then developed a basic plan, creating the bedroom of your dreams is easier (and less scary) than you thought.

Once you have an overall concept for your room, it’s time to take care of the details. Obviously, you need the basics – furniture, bed, accessories – but here are a few other items that are often overlooked, yet are crucial to creating a pulled-together room.

4. Color, Pattern and Texture are Your Friends

Judicious use of color, pattern, and texture lift a ho-hum room out of the doldrums and turn it into something special. The more you add, the more dramatic the room becomes, however; so if you want a soothing vibe in your room, stick with a limited palette.

The same rule works for pattern; keep things under control by scattering just one or two patterns throughout the space, or get wild with lots of different patterns (just make sure they relate to each other in some way, such as a common color). Texture is easy to work into a bedroom’s décor: throw pillows and blankets, area rugs, distressed or rustic finishes on furniture or accessories, lampshades and bedding all add to the interest of the space.

5. Conquer the Clutter

It goes without saying: a cluttered, disorganized room is never going to look pulled together. Take an afternoon (or a weekend if necessary) and get your room in order. Immediately, and without spending a dime, your space looks more polished and inviting.

6. Make Your Bed

No matter how gorgeous your bedroom, if the bed is a mess of crumpled sheets, tossed-back comforter, and sleepy looking pillows, the room is never going to look pulled together. You don’t have to make your bed tight enough to pass a drill sergeant’s inspection, and you don’t need elaborate stacks of throw pillows and shams to make the bed look good; you just need to take a minute or two each morning to pull the bedding into place. Anything beyond that is up to you.

7. Anchor Your Mattress

Because a mattress is such a large horizontal plane, it needs something to “anchor” it visually to the space. A headboard is the traditional way to achieve that goal, but certainly not your only option. There are many headboard alternatives that do the job beautifully:

  • Painted design or mural
  • Large artwork
  • Hanging quilt or tapestry
  • Old shutters or an antique door
  • Picket fencing or another type of decorative fence
  • Bookcases
  • Framed wallpaper or decoupage on the wall

8. Watch Your Windows

At a minimum, your bedroom windows need some type of covering for privacy, but in the best-looking bedrooms, the window treatments aren’t just utilitarian, they add decorative flair to the space. Drapes, shades, or blinds, the choice is up to you, but cover your windows with something that’s a plus, not a minus or a nothing special.

9. Decorate the Walls

Far too many people leave their bedroom walls bare and stark. And that leaves the space looking unfinished, unwelcoming, and without personality. The solution is easy: hang up at least one large piece of artwork that you really love. Place it over the head of the bed or over your dresser for maximum impact. One picture is a minimum, of course -- feel free to hang a few other pieces of art throughout the bedroom, but resist the urge to go overboard; large gallery walls are best left to the living room, as they can be overwhelming in a space devoted to sleep.