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Bedroom decorating ideas – the ultimate guide

Our tips for creating inspirational, restful bedroom schemes. Words by Rachel Leedham

The most personal room within the home, the bedroom needs to be a place that we can retreat to and relax in, re-emerging feeling rejuvenated and restored. There are many bedroom ideas that will help to create a welcoming space, from a carefully chosen colour palette to inviting bedroom furniture or adjustable, layered lighting. Whether your room is spacious or a diminutive attic bedroom, read on for tips to create your very own sanctuary. 


 

Switch on to bedside lighting

 

Linwood/Moleskin Velvet

 

Good bedside lighting is essential: it provides task lighting for reading in bed and it helps to make a focal point of the bed itself. Make sure you layer your lighting with the addition of, say, a ceiling light, a floor lamp and perhaps a table lamp on a dressing table, and consider dimmer switches in order to adjust the ambience. It is also important to ensure your bedside lights can be controlled independently, to avoid disturbing a sleeping partner. For small bedroom ideas, think vertically: wall lights or pendants are perfect as they save space and free up bedside tables for other essentials. In this guest bedroom, a mix of a pendant light and a table lamp capture the room’s relaxed, mismatched aesthetic, and make it possible to introduce an upholstered stool – which wouldn’t easily accommodate a table lamp – to bring more fabric and colour into the space. The old school style pendant is exactly the same hue as the angled lamp, a blue that beautifully offsets an upholstered headboard in our gorgeously soft yet hardwearing Moleskin Velvet in Gold. A lovely, retro scheme that encourages guests to feel at ease.



Use vibrant accent colours to bring a scheme to life

 

Linwood/The English Garden

 

While a restful scheme is one of the best bedroom decorating ideas, that doesn’t mean to say that you can’t have fun with accent colours. A predominantly calming bedroom can be given a lift with a pop of colour introduced with accessories such as cushions, lampshades or a striking piece of wall art. In this elegant master bedroom, we used a linen in a timeless tree of life pattern – Kitty in Aqua Leaf – for the curtains, upholstered bed and bolster cushion, picking out the blue with a somewhat bolder turquoise for the metal bed frame. A bobbin bedside table was painted sunflower yellow, a brighter interpretation of the gold tone that runs through the print. More contemporary touches come in the form of scalloped detailing on the pelmet and the rug, which enlivens a neutral bedroom carpet. The result is traditional yet fresh, calming yet inspired.




Create a focal point with a statement headboard

 

Linwood/Velvet Wonderland


For bedroom ideas that bring a true sense of luxury to a space, you cannot beat a statement headboard. This is the favoured piece of bedroom furniture of many an interior designer, and for good reason: a striking headboard will bring shape and colour to the room, making the bed the focal point. An upholstered headboard is also a relatively economical way to showcase a beautiful fabric, as it requires far less meterage than curtains or a sofa. If you are lucky to have high ceilings, emphasise this with a tall, shapely piece – Kit Kemp of Firmdale hotels is the master of this look, creating beautiful, curvy designs that resemble works of art. And if your bedroom space is lacking in height, consider a low-slung design, perhaps exaggerating the width to help widen the room and anchor the bed within the space; interior designer Sophie Ashby often incorporates reading lights and even floating bedside tables into her stylish bespoke designs. For this master bedroom, we opted for an upholstered headboard in a tall wing shape that provides a lovely cossetting feel for the user. For the fabric, we chose Nightfall, a dramatic, dream-like printed velvet which depicts an otherworldly forest. To keep the look calming, gentle shades of green were used for the walls and bed throw, punctuated with soft terracotta hues. A bedroom idea that captures the sophistication of a boutique hotel, perfectly balancing drama with a restful feel.

 


Decorate with pattern and colour

 

Linwood/Belleville

A relaxing bedroom doesn’t have to be a neutral one: indeed, some of the best bedroom ideas use rich pattern and colour to create a warm, welcoming space that feels cosy and enveloping. One of the most successful ways to do this is to keep to the same tonal palette: choose a key print and select textiles and paint colours that perfectly complement the main background hue so that nothing jars and the eye can move around the space with ease. We played with tomato reds in this gracious master bedroom, using an exotic printed linen, Miji in Tomato, for a shapely oversized headboard and floor-to-ceiling curtains, both of which play to the strength of the room’s high ceiling. The wall colour, valance and rug were selected to blend beautifully with the background hue of the print so that the effect is harmonious and incredibly cocooning. A key tip is to avoid using too many different patterns which could make the space feel overly busy: here, the only other pattern comes in the form of a flatweave rug, which is layered on top of simple sisal flooring. A touch of contrast is all-important and here, it comes in the form of a textured green throw which brings a fresh counterpoint to the warm orange tones. An incredibly welcoming bedroom idea that is the decorating equivalent of a big hug.

 


Layer white on white

 

Linwood/Sienna

Soothing and restorative, an all-white bedroom is perfect for creating a tranquil haven to retreat to at the end of a long day. A pale scheme can help maximise the available natural light and, if your bedroom is also your dressing space, a neutral canvas makes it easier to pull outfits together at a glance. Key to creating a calming, all-white bedroom is to avoid using too much stark white and instead design with a Scandinavian eye by layering subtly different tones: think chalk, almond, soft stone and pale putty. The result is a bedroom scheme that is far more nuanced and inviting, rather than flat and cold. Similarly, a mix of textures is important: a shaggy white rug, painted wooden furniture, knitted cushions or a cashmere throw are bedroom decorating ideas that will all help to add depth to a pale scheme, inducing a sense of calm. In this contemporary bedroom, simple curtains were made up in Sienna in Almond, our textural bouclé fabric combining linen, cotton and viscose yarns. The colour of the fabric beautifully complements the pale stone walls and oatmeal throw, which are in turn offset with crisp white bedlinen. The perfect scheme for staying cool throughout the seasons. 



Bring a touch of nostalgia with country style prints

 

Linwood/Arcadia

 

For bedroom ideas that lend a touch of nostalgia and a hint of romance, you cannot go wrong with pretty botanical prints. Both welcoming and familiar, they bring a sense of reassurance and a softness to a scheme that is ideal for creating a restful feel. Keep the look informal by using mismatched florals, picking out designs that share a similar tonal palette. A subtly curved headboard upholstered in Tresco, a quintessentially English trailing floral, inspired the decorating ideas for this pretty master bedroom. We took our cue from the soft gold, peppermint and pink tones of the print to select botanical prints in varying scales for the cushions, creating a scheme that offers a contemporary take on shabby chic. Note the use of a weathered trunk as a bedside table – a brilliant bedroom idea for storing bulky items such as spare duvets or blankets. An ottoman storage bed is another multi-tasking piece of bedroom furniture that will accommodate items you don’t need to regularly access.


 
Pick a colour scheme that aids rest

 

Linwood/Wonderalnd Pearl

The bedroom needs to be a place where you can truly relax and unwind, and a carefully thought-out colour scheme plays an important role in creating a calming effect. For a cocooning feel, shades of terracotta or earthy reds are current favourite bedroom decorating ideas, while plaster pink is immensely flattering in any bedroom space. Blues and greens are perennial favourites for creating a connection with nature: try layering different tones for a wonderful feeling of tranquillity. And for a soothing, delicate mood, opt for a mix of pastel tones: this ethereal wallpaper, Wonderland in Pearl, has a painterly pattern that works beautifully in a traditional or a contemporary bedroom. Try painting wooden furniture – such as this sweet bobbin table – in similar pastel shades or highlight the ceiling with complementary dreamy tones. Bedlinens in knocked-back, neutral shades further the tranquil effect.

 

 
Freshen up your window dressings

 

Linwood/The English Garden

 

One of the best bedroom ideas for introducing pattern or colour to a scheme is a new window treatment. When choosing window dressings, think carefully about what you need. Do you want your curtains or blinds to have blackout linings, in order to achieve complete darkness? Is your room overlooked, as you may wish to add voile curtains or blinds for privacy? And is daylight limited, in which case you will perhaps want to ensure that your choice of window treatment maximises the available natural light? The limited size and pretty architecture of this window called for a simple roll-up blind that doesn’t cover up the panelling either side of the window, yet still beautifully showcases the lovely pure linen fabric, Hester in Classic Blue. The stripe helps emphasise the height of the window while the oak leaf motif is pretty, fresh and quintessentially English. 



Wallpaper panels

 

Linwood/The Wave/Ocean

Strong bedroom ideas see creativity at the fore, and the introduction of a touch of pattern can be just what it takes to turn a bedroom space into an inspirational haven. If you are nervous about using wallpaper on all four walls, consider a wallpaper panel: hang it behind the bed, using it to highlight, say, a chimney breast or an alcove. You can also opt to frame your panel as if it were a piece of wall art. This bedroom decorating idea works equally well with a favourite fabric, which can be stretched onto a panel to create a striking statement wall hanging. The arresting design shown here is The Wave in Ocean, an abstract wallpaper that takes its inspiration from an archive design discovered in Paris. The undulating waves have a calming effect, as does the palette of tonal blues. Perfect for creating a soothing space that invites relaxation.



Be inspired by nature

Linwood/Belleville


Creating the sense of being immersed in nature is one of the most successful decorating ideas for bringing a sense of calm to a bedroom space. Look to the palette outside to select paint colours that have a relaxing effect, and introduce floral prints that bring the beauty of an English garden right into the space. A reading corner was created in this master bedroom with a wonderfully inviting piece of bedroom furniture – a comfortable chaise upholstered in Louis in Jade, a pure linen in an exuberant Chinoiserie style. Tongue and groove walls painted in restful sage green complement the print, while white woodwork provides balance and keeps the look fresh. Choose a neutral carpet to help ground the scheme: this jute option adds texture and works beautifully with the natural theme. 

 

Our bedroom decorating ideas are proof that welcoming, restful spaces come in many guises, from knocked-back schemes to colourful rooms that invite nature indoors. With careful thought, you can create a space that feels both tranquil and inspirational – a room you cannot wait to return to at the end of a busy day.




FAQs

How do I choose the right bedroom furniture? If space and budget allow, built-in furniture is a fantastic way to tailor your storage needs and it will help the room feel more streamlined. Don’t be fooled into thinking that lots of small pieces of bedroom furniture will help a small bedroom feel bigger: instead, consider a couple of oversized pieces, such as a statement headboard or a large pendant lamp. Think about multi-tasking designs to increase your storage options: trunks for bedside tables or an ottoman at the end of the bed to house bulky bedding. Don’t forget to map out the bed within the space before you order it, to check that you can circulate around it with ease. And invest in the best mattress you can afford, as it is probably the piece of furniture that will get the most use in your home!


What are the latest trends in bedrooms? Just like the other areas of our homes, we are becoming braver with our bedroom decorating ideas, introducing colour and pattern and making a statement with features such as a striking headboard or an arresting artwork. If you have fallen in love with a wallpaper or fabric but worry that it may be too busy for your own bedroom, consider it for a guest bedroom – if you have one – as a more lively scheme is perfect for a short-term stay. 


What are the easiest ways to ring the changes in a bedroom? Accessories are a fantastic quick-fix solution: think bold bedding to make the bed the centre of attention, or source a striking bedspread to break up an expanse of white bedlinen. Remember that a headboard or a simple blind are both relatively economical ways to showcase a beautiful fabric and don’t forget the power of paint: use it to zone the space, such as the area around the bed, or opt for a two-tone palette in harmonious hues.