Bedroom Decorating 101

When it comes to the content of this blog, we’re always listening to what you guys want to see here. Plus, we always like to peruse the data from our analytics to see which topics really resonate with our community. Our Rookie Mistakes series is by far our most popular blog series, and we’re hoping to build another series that can really help you when it comes to decorating your home room-by-room.Bedroom decorating 101

So welcome to the first post in our room decorating 101 series! While we aren’t design experts, we have learned a lot over the last 6 years about how to (and how not to!) bring a space together.  Bridget in her master bedroomOur plan is to tackle a different room in the house every month, so by the end of the year, you’ll have a comprehensive guide to decorating the home of your dreams. First up, bedroom decorating 101!

Bedroom Decorating 101Bedroom decorating 101

Let us say that when it comes to decorating there aren’t any exact rules! Every space, home, and family is different so our words are not the end all be all for decorating a space. Instead, we hope these insights can guide you as you consider your layout, large furniture purchases, and how to bring the entire look together. No judgment from us, we just want to help as much as we can!

Bedroom Dos

Dos and don'ts for decorating a bedroom

Buy a Large Rug – The #1 mistake we see in bedrooms is using too small of a rug for the space. In a perfect world, you would have 24″ on all three sides of our bed. This rookie mistake post outlines the perils (okay, that is a bit dramatic…) of a too small rug. While this post showcases our comprehensive rug buying guide!Buy the correct sized rug for your room

Here’s how we usually navigate rug buying when it comes to bed size…

  • Full = 6′ x 9′ rug
  • Queen = 8′ x 10′ rug
  • King = 9′ x 12′ rug

Consider Symmetry – Do you have to have matching nightstands and table lamps? Not at all. But we will say that it will make decorating a tad easier. We both opt for symmetry on the bedroom wall when possible because it eliminates extra design decisions and makes the room feel more cohesive.A wood nightstand in the bedroom

Buy the Correct Sized Nightstand – So you don’t have to have matching nightstands, but please make sure they’re the right scale! You want to consider the size of your bed when purchasing. 24″-27″ is a good average height, but with a king, you can go larger and a twin you can go smaller. You just want to make sure that the height of the nightstand is within 5″ of the mattress (higher or lower). No one wants to bend all the way down to grab a glass of water from their nightstand when in bed.Choose the right sized nightstand when decorating your bedroom

Also, think about storage when buying. If you like to have lots of stuff nearby when in bed (books, eye mask, lotion, etc.) definitely buy something with drawers so you can hide all your bedtime goodies!

Have a TV Plan – This is a hot topic in the design world…do you have a television in the bedroom? We have it both ways in our homes (Casey and Finn don’t have one, while Bridget and Matt do). Gallery wall around a TVWe’d say the best thing you can do is be on the same page as your spouse. Then if you do add a TV, don’t let it be the focal point of the space. You can mount it neatly on the wall with a gallery wall around it, or hide it behind a hutch so you can close the doors when not in use. Just be mindful about it and don’t let all of the remotes and cables get out of hand!

Add Personal Accessories – Your bedroom should be a personal retreat away from the chaos of the world and it should be filled with items you love! A few treasures here and there will make your space less generic and more YOU!Adding personal accessories to a space This post has some great ideas on personal art and this one has ideas for not-so-generic decor you can add.

Incorporate a Bench – A bench at the end of a bed can be super stylish and functional (gotta love a spot to rest your butt as you put on your shoes!). But, again, consider scale. Leather bench at the end of a bedYou don’t want the bench to be wider than the bed. A good rule to follow is about 3/4ths the length of the bed (no smaller than that).

Bedroom Don’tsBedroom decorating 101

Overclutter the Room – Your bedroom should be calming, relaxing, and a sanctuary away from the world. Filling it with tons of decor, accessories, and extra crap is a no-no. Don’t feel like you need to decorate every single surface. Instead, keep some areas clear so there is room to breathe. Mix and match furniture

Choose All Matching Furniture – We talked allllll about this don’t in this rookie mistake post, but it’s worth repeating. Buying a matching furniture set may be budget-friendly and it certainly cuts down on decision making, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for your space. A room will look much more interesting and layered if you choose various pieces for your bedroom. Mixing and matching is the way to go!

Neglect Lighting – Harsh overhead lighting isn’t flattering on anyone and you certainly don’t want to solely rely on that in the bedroom. Instead, incorporate all kinds of lighting. Moody guest room at nightTable lamps, floor lamps, sconces…the options are endless. Also, consider putting any overhead lights on a dimmer switch so you can control the amount of light in the space. More details on the best way to layer light in this blog post.

Overfill with Large Furniture – We’ve both been in far too many bedrooms that are stuffed to the brim with furniture. You don’t have to have 12 pieces of furniture to fill up a room, and you certainly don’t have to use all overstuffed and large items. Don't fill a bedroom with too many pieces of furnitureInstead, consider what you really need in a room and start there! Leave plenty of walkway room so you can easily get around and enjoy the space. Where to hang a sconce

Forget Scale with Lighting – You already know lighting is key, but don’t forget to choose items that are proportionate for the room. Here are some tips…

  • Chandeliers: Measure your room’s length and width (in feet) and add these 2 numbers together.  This number is the ideal diameter for your light fixture. For example, a 10×10 room would need a 20″ diameter chandelier.
  • Sconces: Sit in bed upright. You want to make sure the bottom of the shade is around chin level when sitting, to avoid the light shining in your eyes too harshly.

Bedroom Decorating – Save vs. Splurge

Now, where should you spend the most money in the bedroom? And where can you save a few bucks?

Where to SplurgeSplurge on quality bedding and a good mattress

You should splurge on items that make a big difference in your daily life. A good mattress and bedding is key to a good night’s sleep, so definitely don’t skimp on these items. Window treatments are also important in a bedroom because you want to make sure you block out light and have privacy. While we’ve DIY’ed blackout curtains before if you want to splurge you can definitely consider custom drapery.

  • Mattress
  • Bedding
  • Quality Sheets
  • Window Treatments

Where to SaveArt in the bedroom

Everything else in the room doesn’t need to be expensive! In fact, it’s probably best to not spend too much money on accessories or pillows in a bedroom because then you won’t feel bad if you want to change things up every year!

  • Rug
  • Nightstands
  • Headboard
  • Pillows
  • Lamps
  • Art & Accessories

Our Favorite Bedroom StaplesLowe's makeover reveal with The DIY Playbook

Here are some of the pieces we both use and love in our own bedrooms!

  • Bridget’s platform bed
  • White duvet: This is our favorite duvet that we use in just about every space. The quality is top notch and we love a textured duvet because it hides wrinkles.
  • Quilt: The quilts from Target are great and we use one folded at the end of the bed for a cohesive look.
  • Gold mirror: A round mirror above the bed always looks good and this one is such a steal!
  • White lamps: We’ve used these white table lamps multiple times. A great deal for the pair.
  • Throw pillows: We often find throw pillows at HomeGoods or Marshalls, but we both own some from Tonic Living too.
  • Lavender linen spray: Spray your sheets for sweet smells at bedtime.

How to decorate your master bedroom

We hope this post will act as a helpful resource as you tackle your own bedroom decorating. With a few small tweaks, you can create the bedroom of your dreams.