Whether a sprawling master suite or a small guest room, beautiful bedrooms of all kinds typically represent serenity, decompression, peace and tranquility. However, over the last year, a space typically used just for a good night’s sleep has turned into something entirely different. Our bedrooms have doubled as home offices, conference rooms, research stations, study halls and classrooms. During this time, thousands have committed themselves to permanent remote work. People have slowly transitioned their workspaces to other rooms of their homes, erected ADU home offices, or constructed additions to their homes. As pre-pandemic life slowly reemerges, we will finally be able to fully reclaim our bedrooms as spaces of rest and relaxation. Follow below for countless bedroom design ideas and twelve tips for beautiful bedrooms one can easily apply when creating their own dream retreat.
HOW THE ROLE OF BEDROOMS HAS CHANGED DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
According to a 2019 Pew Research Center study, “more than 157 million Americans are part of the U.S. workforce.” As of December 2020, 41.8% of this labor force was still working remotely as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning in February 2020, millions of Americans transitioned from in-office work to remote work. This led to people transforming their homes into immediate and wholly unprepared places of work and study for themselves and for their families. According to May Wong in her June 2020 article, “Stanford research provides a snapshot of a new working-from-home economy” for Stanford News, “more than half of those surveyed who are now working from home are doing so either in shared rooms or their bedrooms.” Thankfully, Americans have adjusted to this new normal over the last few months. Millions have chosen to continue working remotely after relocating to homes with larger outdoor spaces and indoor square footage. Others have chosen to retrofit a basement or attic or to construct an addition to their existing home in order to reclaim their bedrooms. But why does the modern bedroom — a place of privacy and detachment from the realities of everyday life — mean so much to us?
WHY THE MODERN BEDROOM MEANS SO MUCH TO US
Jonathan Glancey explains people remain obsessed with a separate, dedicated sleeping space in his article, “The evolution of the modern bedroom” for The BBC. Glancey writes that throughout history, “our sleeping arrangements…evolved remarkably slowly” until the 1600s, when “dedicated rooms for beds started to emerge.” In 17th century Europe, a new — and enduring — concept exploded when the “bedroom evolved…and privacy became both prized and possible.” The bed became a focal point of interior architecture. It is a symbol of separation from the outside world, from responsibilities, and other residents within one’s household. However, Glancey explains that the idea of serenity and privacy within the master bedroom all but disappeared with the increased usage of technology.
With an unintended but growing focus on physical and mental health, the COVID-19 pandemic might have reoriented our priorities. We moved into a tech-less sigh of relief as we unplugged into bed with only our thoughts and a fluffy duvet. With one in four Americans expected to continue working remotely in 2021 and over 36 million expected to work from home permanently by 2025, the separation between office space and post-work space will only become more important over the next five years. In a time of upheaval and unexpected changes, writes Glancey, “most people still crave a simple and serene bedroom, while dreaming perhaps of warm nights under stars cradled in a bed much like the one found in South Africa first made 77,000 years ago.”
12 TIPS FOR BEAUTIFUL BEDROOMS
#1 BEGIN WITH A COLOR SCHEME
Trends will come and go, but your personal style can be preserved in your master bedroom by first establishing a solid base. Whether your space will be bold and bright or soft and neutral, this base is typically a designer-approved color scheme. You might prefer vibrant shades for an energizing space or more subtle tones for a serene boudoir. Selecting a palette that reflects the mood you want your master bedroom to convey is the best way to begin creating your dream bedroom. In her article, “Bedroom Color Ideas That Will Create a Relaxing Oasis” for Architectural Digest, Elizabeth Sharp offers advice for choosing the proper palette for beautiful bedrooms.
She states that color has an instant and enduring psychological effect on the inhabitant of a space. Sharp claims that “color can instantly change not only the look of the room, but also how you feel when you’re in it.” Sharp writes that there are myriad options for creating a cohesive look in one’s bedroom, all of which begin with an appropriate tonal base. Those redecorating their bedrooms can either “focus on one color, bringing in different shades, or mix in complementary hues from the same color family.” Sharp explains that no color or combination is off-limits. She states that the design must be inspired, set the desired tone, and not fight against other primary, important elements.
#2 ADD A METALLIC TOUCH
Yellow gold, copper, silver and chrome have all been proclaimed by designers as very much “in” for 2021 interiors — particularly in beautiful bedrooms. Metallic accents have immense staying power due to their ability to bounce light around a space and add a touch of glamour and luxury. For a subtle approach to including metallic touches, we recommend considering a metallic grasscloth wallpaper, muted metallic drawer pulls, and subtle accents in furniture legs and ferrules. In our article “8 INSPIRED, SOPHISTICATED SPACES TO MAKE YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH GRASSCLOTH WALLPAPER,” we explored the stunning impact metallic woven wallpapers can have on a small space. We noted that metallic grasscloth wall coverings are ideal for small bedroom and cramped spaces like powder rooms and laundry rooms [because they] bounce light.” This scattering of light “creates the illusion of wider walls or taller ceilings, depending on placement.” York Wallcoverings’ Solid Metallic Pearl Texture Wallpaper — available through Neiman Marcus — is just one beautiful example.
Light fixtures and bed frames are two additional stunning ways to add an air of richness and a sense of depth to bedrooms regardless of size. To create your own gorgeous, luxe space filled with sparkle and shine, we would recommend the following pieces — each of which fits a different interior design aesthetic. The brass Halo Sconce by Kalin Asenov — available through 1stDibs — is perfect for the homeowner obsessed with history, astronomy or mid-century-inspired design. The simple, linear Box Frame Bed Frame in Antique Brass from West Elm is perfect for neutral yet beautiful bedrooms with minimalist design schemes. For delicate, feminine decor in a bedroom, the Whitby Canopy Bed Frame from FrontGate or the Athena Table Lamp by Robert Abbey from Perigold are two great options.
#3 SPLURGE ON HIGH-QUALITY LINENS & PILLOWS
Nothing makes a guest bedroom or master suite feel more special, comforting and elegant than high-quality linens and pillows. In our article “HOW TO PICK THE PERFECT PILLOW STYLES FOR A POLISHED BEDROOM,” we explain how to choose the proper sizes, colors and textures for decorative and functional pillows in your bedroom. We recommend choosing colors that “complement the [existing] color palette” and which “pick up the colors in the rug [to] create a cohesive look.” If you can’t find anything for your space, follow advice from the MarthaStewart.com article “15 Little Things You Can Do to Beautify Your Bedroom.” The article suggests “personalizing your pillows” for a “fresh way to upgrade your space,” stating that “throw pillows are a simple way to jazz up any space.”
As for sheets, coverlets and duvets, Lexi Sachs has great recommendations in her article “The Best Bedding to Buy in 2021” for House Beautiful. Sachs suggests opting for sheets that are made from 100% cotton, polyester microfiber or eco-friendly eucalyptus lyocell. Each is wrinkle-resistant, hypoallergenic and moisture-wicking, making for comfortable nights of what we hope will be hours of uninterrupted deep sleep! To choose the best bedsheets for your bedroom, Sachs suggests “checking the fiber content” and “choosing the construction” carefully. For throw pillows, we love the embroidered Metallic Blocks Pillow Cover in Pink Stone from West Elm. For pillowcases your face will rest on, we suggest the 30 Momme 100% 6A Grade Mulberry Silk Pillowcase from Awulook on Etsy. To add a bit of history and texture, we love the William Morris Strawberry Thief print pillow cover in Indigo & Mineral available through Rejuvenation.
For Mountain Lane, Laura selected high-quality linens from Frette.
#4 OPT FOR LARGE STATEMENT LIGHTING
For those of us who love to read in bed, having eye-level, layered lighting is a must. One might imagine that oversized statement lighting could only work in the grand master suites of single family homes boasting considerable square-footage. However, statement lighting is actually quite achievable no matter the size of your bedroom. Pendant, wall and nightstand lights can all function as statement accent lighting — even in cramped spaces. For small bedrooms, consider dimmable wall lights with directional heads for a variety of in-bed activities from reading to crafting to working.
We love those by Gantri, who is an eco-conscious, plant-based producer of designer-made residential lighting. They are pefect because they can all be plugged into an outlet rather than wired through the wall. With either frosted lamp shades or soft matte exteriors, the Arpeggio and Gio Wall Lights are two of our favorites! We also love the Orillia Chandelier from Rejuvenation and the Mica Pendant Light from 1stDibs. For more bedroom lighting inspiration, head over to our article “WARM AND ROMANTIC: TOUR THE GARNET RESIDENCE.”
#5 ADD WARMTH & DIMENSION WITH WOOD VENEERS
While wall colors and coverings are great options to personalize a bedroom, there is no reason to limit yourself to only two-dimensional decor options. Members of the Laura U Design Collective love to use wood veneers from Maya Romanoff and similar wall coverings from Phillip Jeffries to imitate earthier elements found in other parts of the home for a cohesive feel. For inspiration, head over to our Garnet Residence article. Post-reno, the stunning home featured an amalgamation of warm woods and cozy, upholstered spaces perfect for lounging and entertaining alike. In the fireplace room of the home, “the wood covering of the fireplace’s overmantle — designed by Maya Romanoff — interacts seamlessly with the designer stone slip.”
Circa floor lamps, a Phillip Jeffries metallic ceiling wallcovering, Sho Modern end tables, and Donghia tie backs were all chosen to finish off the space. The Romanoff wood veneer overmantle remained the space’s focal point. In the master bedroom of the Garnet Residence, LUDC chose to add Maya Romanoff chevron wood paneling above the fireplace. This addition thoughtfully recalls the paneling above the fireplace in the Fireplace Room. Consider carrying elements of your own home into your bedroom for a property-wide cohesive look.
#6 NEVER NEGLECT THE CEILINGS
There are dozens of ways in which to augment the ceiling of your bedroom to both dramatic and subtle — but always stunning — effect. High gloss tiles, coffered ceilings, hand-painted murals, metallic wallpapers and more all add much-needed visual interest. We turned to the Elle Decor article “OUR FAVORITE CEILING IDEAS TO ELEVATE A ROOM” for a bit of inspiration. The piece is awash with silver and gold leaf accents, lacquered features and unusual artistic elements. A few of our favorites include a custom-made flora fixture, neutral spots, psychedelic stripes and a hand-made plaster tracery. The most important thing to remember when doing up your bedroom’s ceiling is that the sky’s the limit!
#7 AVOID LEAVING THE CLOSET AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT
While many enjoy the transportive quality of a closed off bedroom closet, opening up the doors of your closet can add both character and square footage to the space. If possible, consider how your closet might enhance your bedroom. Curating your closet as an extension of the bedroom encourages a flow of intentional design from each functional space to the next. The ClosetWorks blog post “Trends in Home Storage Design Include Open Closets Without Doors” notes that “open closets have become standard in many European countries [and] the trend has finally crossed the ocean and homeowners throughout the United States.” According to the post, “the premise behind open closets is that they…fully integrate clothing with the character of the room, creating a true dressing room space within the bedroom.” The post explains the benefits of open closets for small bedrooms. For instance, the post demonstrates how “by removing the doors to your closet, you can also visually increase the square footage of the room.”
#8 CONSIDER UNCONVENTIONAL FURNITURE
We love the idea of personalizing beautiful bedrooms with unusual furniture that serves a special — and perfectly functional — purpose. In 2021, many historic interiors trends are back in style — from Art Deco and Art Nouveau to Victorian and Craftsman. Embrace the nostalgia of traveling back in time by including a pair of Tete-a-Tete chairs or a Tete-a-Tete sofa into your bedroom’s furniture arrangement. They make the perfect addition to a conversation pit, fireplace or reading nook, adding an air of mystery and flirtation while encouraging intimacy. The blush velvet Roar + Rabbit Tete-a-Tete Chair from West Elm and the Tulip Tete-A-Tete in Rosewood from Anthropologie are two of our favorites.
#9 MAKE YOUR BED COZIER WITH A CANOPY
In her article “40 CANOPY BEDS FIT FOR ROYALTY” for Elle Decor, Emily Silverman explains why the four-poster style is so timeless. She writes that canopy beds offer “old world charm.” Newer iterations offered by beloved contemporary designers offer a “traditional with a twist” aesthetic that can complement any bedroom. The companion piece, “8 WAYS TO DECORATE AROUND FOUR-POSTER BEDS” by Olivia Rassow, for Elle Decor outlines how to achieve the look yourself without going overboard. Rassow suggests choosing a complimentary wallpaper in a small print, painting surroundings to blend in and “adding a contrasting headboard” for visual interest. A few of our favorite modern four-posters that still manage to feel fresh while oozing romanticism are from West Elm, CB2, Lulu and Georgia and 1stDibs.
#10 MIX & MATCH OLDER PIECES WITH CONTEMPORARY ARTWORK
Layering the old with the new adds dimension, depth, character and warmth to a space. In beautiful bedrooms, it serves to tie together family and personal history or nostalgia with the joy of the here and now. In her article, “Interior design: how to mix old and new for a lovely, lived in look” for RealHomes, Gabrielle Blackman explains the best ways to combine antique and modern art for a layered, storied look. As with our first tip in this list, Blackman recommends starting off by determining the desired aesthetic and atmosphere for the space. She suggests questioning if “you want the interior design mix of old and new to feel elegant, fresh, lived-in, relaxed, classic or unorthodox.” When you have settled on the desired style and feeling, Blackman recommends mixing the pieces evenly.
She writes that “a room that cleverly combines old and new is cohesive and calm; there’s no single ‘feature’ item and the eye travels from one design to another, taking in the style of each.” To ensure that your beautiful bedroom is “stylish, not chaotic, every item used must be of good quality or beautiful in its own right.” Combinations of pieces should “allow the individual charm of each to be appreciated.” When pairing old and new works of art, we suggest heading over to resale platforms like 1stDibs and Chairish. We love the following pieces, each from different periods. In order of appearance, these include an untitled Antique American Oil Painting Portrait Young Woman Necklace from the 1880s and the 1970s Portrait of a Woman with Stripes by Rip Matteson. Next are the 1940 Darkness (portrait of a young woman) by Fletcher Martin and the 2020 Girl with a Bunportrait by Karoline Kroiss. Last is François Chapuis’ charcoal and watercolor sketch entitled Portrait of a Woman from the 1970s. Together, these pieces create a stunning cohesive collection.
# 11 PLACE A PAIR OF STOOLS OR A SETTEE IN FRONT OF THE BED
To make the best use of small bedrooms, place a pair of stools or a settee in front of your bed instead of a solid trunk, storage bench or ottoman. Choosing X-base stools or metal-framed love seats rather than trunks or benches will reduce the blockiness common of the latter furniture pieces. Altogether, this will create a softer, airier space that appears more open, more welcoming and more spacious. For inspiration, we love the photo above from the LUDC archive and the following three pieces currently available through 1stDibs, Homary and West Elm.
#12 EMBRACE BEAUTIFUL STORAGE
Everyone keeps collectibles, clothing and linens in their bedrooms — among many other possessions. By selecting stunning storage, one can create a space that balances thoughtful design with optimal function. We love the idea of storing laundry, linens and last season’s clothes in baskets like the woven blue and beige Serena and Lily piece. Another way to put storage on display is to match pieces to interior architecture elements like curved or arched ceilings, windows and niches. For such a space, we love the playful Fern Storage Cabinet from Anthropologie. The Pottery BarnRosalie Extra-Wide Dresser. can be used to cleverly store sweaters and jeans. Books and collectibles can be easily placed on the Linear Wall Shelf in Walnut from West Elm.