Top Designer Tips on Making Your Bedroom Special

Three interior decorators share their secrets.

Designer bedroom with dark brown walls
Decorate your dream bedroom. kevinjeon00/Getty Images

Looking for ways to give your bedroom that “special something,” but unable to afford to have an actual interior designer come to your home and work their magic? Well, you’re in luck, because we asked Kari Ann Peniche-Williams of DAF House, Tiffani Stutzman of Tiffani Stutzman Design, and Annie Elliott of Bossy Color Interiors for the great advice they offer to their own clients on taking a bedroom from blah to beautiful, and now we’re going to share these three top interior decorators’ advice with you.

So read on for their great tips and tricks for using color, lighting, texture and small touches to create your dream bedroom.

Color Your World

Color is king when it comes to setting a bedroom’s ambience, so it’s no surprise that our designers start there. Peniche-Williams recommends deciding on the mood or feel you want to set, and then picking the colors that reflect that mood. She’s not afraid of strong color, either, saying, “I personally love color! I even like darker colors in small rooms because, in most cases believe it or not, it can actually make the room appear bigger. If you’re afraid of too much color on your walls, look up to the ceiling as that might be the perfect spot to add a little pop of color or even wallpaper. If you decide not to use color on the walls then think about painting a fun shade on old furniture that you’ve grown tired of.”

Stutzman also likes dark colors in the bedroom, adding, “Soft or dark colors create a more serene environment than bright ones.

 Examples of soft colors are pale blue, blush pink, or light grey. Examples of dark colors are navy blue, plum, or sage green. Use soft or dark colors for wall paint, upholstery, and rugs.”

Light It Right

While the majority of your time in the bedroom is spent with lights out, you still need good lighting for tasks like dressing and reading, and softer lighting for romance, relaxing or lounging in bed watching TV.

So it’s not surprising that interior designers take lighting seriously. Says Peniche-Williams, “In my experience, people often overlook the importance of lighting fixtures. A chandelier or some bedside lamps are wonderful alternatives to generic ceiling lights and personalize your bedroom with added style. Because lighting sets the mood, don’t forget about dimmers!” Elliott agrees, adding, “Have two lights on either side of the bed: a small wall-mounted light for reading, and a larger table lamp for ambient light. Table lamps are so much nicer than overhead lighting -- they create a warm, cozy atmosphere. If you have overhead lights, make sure they're on dimmers. It's no substitute for table or floor lamps, but it helps!”

Don’t Forget About Texture

Most people consider color and pattern when it comes to decorating their homes, but many people forget about texture, which is just as important for adding interesting contrast to a space. Stutzman likes to use soft textures in the bedroom, advising, “Items with comfortable, plush textures create a more relaxing space than hard or shiny textures.

 A chair covered in velvet fabric, an area rug with silk fibers, a reclaimed wood table, or throw pillows covered in faux fur are great examples of objects that help set a tranquil vibe. Cold, hard textures, such as a lacquered table, a chrome light fixture, or a metal chair don’t work well in a serene environment.”

Cut the Clutter

One thing all of our decorators agree on is that clutter has got to go – Elliot claims that reducing clutter on your bedroom furniture’s surfaces will help you instantly feel calmer when walking into the room. Says Stutzman, “When decorating, use one large item instead of multiple small items. Where there are numerous smaller objects on a tabletop, bookcase, or wall, the eye darts around taking in all the items. When there is one large object, the eye can land on one thing and it is visually more relaxing.” Peniche-Williams agrees, adding that she likes to make that one large object an oversize headboard: “Having a headboard that nearly reaches the ceiling makes a bedroom feel grand and luxurious.”

Little Things Count

Accessories and finishing touches play the same role to your home that jewelry plays to your wardrobe: adding touches of color, personality, fun, and style that transform the look from ho-hum to special. Good interior designers have no shortage of tricks up their sleeves when it comes to the little touches that count for a lot.

Elliott likes to focus on the bed for seasonal style: “Keep your bedding solid -- preferably crisp white -- and change the accent pillows and the throw across the foot of the bed with the seasons. For example, use a light herringbone cotton throw in the summer and a plaid mohair blanket in the winter.” She’s also a fan of soft texture on the floor, recommending a small sheepskin rug – even layered over carpeting – to soothe and pamper bare feet.

Peniche-Williams offers several small, yet effective, decorating tricks:

  • “Keep in mind that the decorative choices you make for your bedroom don’t have to work with the rest of the decor in the house.” After all, your bedroom is your own private retreat.
  • “Place a piece of mounting tape behind picture frames hanging on the wall. Mounting tape will keep your pictures in place so they never look sloppy or uneven.”
  • “Remember to include nature in your bedroom. A simple orchid or a potted tree is a beautiful touch because green leaves go with every style and color, and are very soothing.” Plus, houseplants help to purify bedroom air.
  • “One of my favorite decorating tricks when working with a tight budget is creating curtain rods by spray-painting electrical conduit gold or silver, then attaching some pretty finials. No one will ever guess your window treatments cost less than $5.00!”   
  • “Scent actually has a way to change how a room appears so don’t forget about flowers or a candle in the bedroom. If you’re not a candle or flower kind of person, you can do a fresh cotton plug-in.”  

While ultimately, your own tastes and preferences are the most important factors in decorating your bedroom, there’s no question that a skillful interior decorator’s guidance can help unify those preferences into a gorgeous, restful, and functional space.