How to Decorate Your Bedroom Like an Interior Designer

Brightly-lit bedroom with open french doors leading to outdoor patio

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

Take your bedroom from blah to beautiful with the simple and encouraging advice of three top interior designers. We've tapped the brilliant decorating minds of Kari Ann Peniche-Williams of DAF House, Tiffani Stutzman of Tiffani Stutzman Design, and Annie Elliott of Annie Elliot Design for guidance they give their clients when it comes to transforming the bedroom. You'll be inspired by their big ideas to suggestions on the small touches you can add to your bedroom to create that dreamy oasis you've always wanted.

Color Is Key

It’s no surprise that our designers start by choosing a color for the bedroom. Decide on the mood or tone you want to set in the bedroom, then choose a color that reflects that feeling, says Peniche-Williams.

Don't be afraid of strong color, adds Peniche-Williams. "I even like darker colors in small rooms. But if you prefer neutral walls, add a pop of color by painting the ceiling."

Stutzman suggests using dark colors in a bedroom. “Soft or dark colors create a more serene environment than bright ones," she says. Examples of soft colors for walls and rugs are pale blue, blush pink, or light gray. Examples of dark colors include navy blue, plum, or sage green. 

If a large-scale painting project isn't in your bedroom redo plans, choose one accent wall in your bedroom on which to add color, even if it's with wallpaper. Or, simply forget your walls, and add color by painting an old piece of furniture in your bedroom a fun color.

Light It Right

While it's mostly lights out in the bedroom, it's still critical for other things you do in the space besides sleep. Interior designers take lighting the bedroom seriously, and all agree that most people overlook the importance of how much style light fixtures can bring into the bedroom. Instead of generic ceiling lights, personalize a bedroom with a chandelier or bedside lamps with character, says Peniche-Williams.

Dimmers are most important in a bedroom because it quickly sets a mood, says Elliott. She suggests dimmers for table lamps, as well, which will create an instantaneous warm, cozy atmosphere. She's not a fan of too many overhead lights in the bedroom, but if you have them, make sure they're on dimmers, too. 

Texture Equals Cozy

Another decorating element that's often ignored is the addition of texture. Bringing texture into the bedroom adds a layer of opulence and comfort. Stutzman brings soft, relaxing, and plush textures into the bedroom, such as a slipper chair covered in velvet, a silk area rug, throw pillows covered in faux fur, or a cable knit throw. Objects, such as a lacquered table or chrome light fixture are better kept out of a tranquil environment and placed in the living spaces outside the bedroom.

Elliott likes soft texture on the floor. She recommends tossing down a small sheepskin rug, even over carpeting, to soothe and pamper bare feet.

Selecting an Upholstered Headboard

Many designer bedrooms have big, beautiful upholstered headboards as a key design element. That's because it's an easy way to create focus, depth, and texture in the room. Use these designer tips when selecting a plush headboard:

  • Go for a tufted headboard for maximum texture.
  • A headboard covered in velvet adds an opulent look.
  • For flexibility, choose a neutral hue for your headboard so it'll work with any color bedding.

Clear the Clutter

Decorators agree that clutter quashes a relaxing or romantic vibe. Elliot says that an uncluttered room helps you instantly feel calmer when walking into a bedroom. She urges clients to reduce clutter that naturally finds its way onto bedroom furniture.

A bedroom filled with lots of small objects makes the eye dart around the room, says Stutzman. “One large item on a bureau, bookcase, or table makes a bedroom visually more relaxing," she says.

Peniche-Williams likes to bring in large headboards into a bedroom. “Having a headboard that nearly reaches the ceiling makes a bedroom feel grand and luxurious.” You wouldn't need many more decorative items in a bedroom when the focus is on the headboard.

An orderly bedroom evokes a sense of peace, as well, says Peniche-Williams. Even a small gesture, such as making sure your artwork hangs neatly in place by using mounting tape behind each frame, creates a feeling of organization in the room.

Little Things Count

Interior designers are notorious for keeping a few secret decorating tricks up their sleeves. Along the way, our three designers have learned how adding little touches go a long way in a bedroom.

Elliott's secret sauce is to focus on seasonal style in the bedroom. “Keep your bedding a solid color, preferably crisp white, all year round," she says. "But change the accent pillows and throws with the seasons." She'll use a lightweight herringbone cotton throw in the summer and a plaid mohair blanket in the winter, for example.

“Include nature in your bedroom," says Peniche-Williams. "A simple orchid or a potted tree is a beautiful, purifying, and soothing touch that goes with every style of decor." 

Finally, designers suggest using fresh scents to change the room's mood. Besides candles and air fresheners, there are other ways to make your bedroom smell delicious. For example, make your own natural air freshener by mixing in a small spray bottle a cup of distilled water, a few tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, and about two dozen drops of your favorite essential oil. Spritz the mixture into the air, or even a light amount on your mattress and sheets.