A Sense of Direction
Having a plan or a vision for your bedroom is a way to start off on the right foot. Gather inspiration shots, then make a list of things you like and that are essential to you. Start by establishing a plan for the foundational elements (furniture, color, style, and space considerations) and then build in the other elements.
Foundation: Style Points
When choosing a style, don't feel like you have to pigeonhole yourself into a prescribed traditional/cottage/modern aesthetic. However, it's still important to pick a style direction to guide your decision. And styles can be as varied as contemporary farmhouse, beachy cottage, classic glam, or eclectically vintage. A defined style will guide decisions for furniture, colors, accessories, and the other elements that you bring into your bedroom.
Foundation: Space Considerations
Unless you're completely gutting a room or building a new home, working with the space your house gives you is vital to bedroom design success. Look at the architectural features, window placement, room dimensions and layout -- anything you can't change without a sledgehammer or some serious remodeling -- and factor in these characteristics as you're making design decisions.
The bed is obviously important, as are nightstands and dressers. Consider what types of furniture you want in your room (and what can fit). For example, do you prefer an open nightstand or one packed with drawers? Is space limited and will your dresser need to double as a nightstand? What else can you fit into your space? A roomy armchair or chaise? Or just a slim chair?
Foundation: Color Scheme
Color plays into many bedroom design decisions, so establishing a palette will help give you a sense of direction. Let your color scheme guide you not only as your choosing paint colors and accessories, but also as you choose other, less obvious decisions. For example, wood finishes read as color, and selecting finishes that coordinate with your color scheme will build a smart design. In this bedroom, a pickled wood finish on the bed picks up the gray tones in the wallpaper and bedding, integrating the piece into the room's scheme.
A Focal Point
Every room needs an anchor and the bed is a natural candidate in the bedroom. Place the bed in the spot that makes the most sense for the room's design, but if you have some flexibility, position it in a way that commands attention, such as across from the door, so it's the first thing you see when you walk into the room. A stunning headboard and beautiful bedding will help solidify the bedroom's focal point status.
If you do anything for your bed, invest in good quality sheets and cozy blankets (your sleeping patterns will thank you). But beyond these nighttime essentials, don't miss your opportunity to take your bedroom to the next level. Gather an assortment of shams and decorative pillows and throws and start dressing up your bed.
A lamp isn't just a lamp, nor is art just art. Even the small things you bring into your bedroom have an impact on the overall design. Look to accessories as a small (but important) way to further your color scheme, advance a style, and introduce different textures and finishes to your space.
Notes of Personality
Just because you're the only one who sees your bedroom on a regular basis doesn't mean you need to leave it devoid of personality. Incorporate things you love, sentimental mementos, or quirky finds that just make you smile.
Bedrooms are all about being comfortable. Work little creature comforts into your bedroom's design and you'll love the space even more. Assemble a "care package" for your nightstand with lotion, tissues, a water decanter, and any other little comforts you might want bedside. Infuse your bedroom with a soothing scent as a final flourish.
Layering different elements will also convey a sense of comfort in your bedroom. Place a plush accent rug over carpet or a larger foundational rug. Add a duvet over your comforter and fold it at the end of the bed.
The Right Lighting
Overhead lighting on dimmers puts the ability to customize illumination in your hands. You can keep light dim during early waking hours and end-of-the-day unwinding, or turn it up to full-force when folding laundry and hanging out. Layer in task lighting with bedside fixtures and other areas of the bedroom, such as seating areas or desks. Use accent lighting to highlight particular bedroom features (such as architectural elements or art).
In an ideal world, you'd be able to keep stuff to a minimum in your bedroom. But when space is tight, a smart storage strategy is a must. Tap into the space around or beneath the bed for extra storage space and invest in concealed storage, such as an ottoman for extra blankets or even shoes.
In addition to your electrical lights, take control of your natural light sources, too. Layered window treatments offer different configurations for every situation. Use blinds and curtains in tandem to block out most (if not all) natural light. Sheer or lightweight curtains diffuse natural light, but still offer some privacy.
Opportunities for Evolution
Leave a little room in your bedroom design for new opportunities and subtle shifts when the mood strikes or you find a new throw pillow you can't live without. And don't feel like you need to complete your bedroom in a weekend. Lay a strong foundation, but take your time in gathering items, whether you're replacing the old or starting fresh.