How to Design a Bedroom

Your bedroom is where the magic happens (sleep, people!). Believe it or not, your bedroom design can have a direct impact on how well you are—or aren’t—sleeping. If you don't find your bedroom calling to you after a long workday, then it might be time for an interior design bedroom makeover.

Say goodbye to sleepless nights and bad feng shui. We’re going to show you how to transform your bedroom into a sanctuary so beautiful and zen that you’ll find yourself questioning whether or not you’ve stumbled into a 5-star hotel. Here's how to design a bedroom (the Spoak way!).

Last updated
May 16, 2024
Table of Contents:
How to Design a Bedroom
: Step One

Find inspiration

Image Credit: Nathan Van Egmond

There’s no such thing as a design project without inspiration. When you think of your dream bedroom, what images come to mind? If you’re anything like us, you already have a mental checklist of the top best hotel bedrooms you’ve ever slept in.

Maybe your best shut-eye happened in a luxe canopy bed in Tulum, or perhaps it was much simpler: the guest room in your friend’s cottage that prioritized comfort. Think about what you love about your inspiration—whether it be something you have already experienced, a magazine clipping, or an image you found on Pinterest—and write down what specifically you love about it.

Pick colors that make you feel something

Color theory (the science behind how we interpret colors) plays a big role in any interior design project, but especially in the bedroom because it’s a room where we naturally spend a lot of time. Select a color scheme that reflects your desired atmosphere, and choose 4-6 colors to create a color palette that supports that. Remember that one of these colors will inevitably be your bedroom paint color, so choose wisely based on the vibe you’re going for.

EXPERT OPINION by
Lisa Galano
"People gravitate toward blue in the primary bedroom because it evokes a sense of calm, but there are other colors that can achieve that same feeling too. Try using muted tones of green, which is reminiscent of nature, or shades of purple which feel uplifting."

Create a bedroom mood board

Wondering what to do with all the inspiration that’s running through your head? Simple: add it to a mood board. Creating a mood board will help you organize your room ideas and put them on paper (metaphorically, if you’re using an online mood board tool) with the goal of outlining your bedroom decorating vision. You can combine full-inspiration images and product clippings with words and colors that speak to you. Let the designer in you run wild, and don’t worry too much about how the design styles will come together at this point.

pink bedroom mood board
Mood board designed by Sofie Way (via Spoak)
How to Design a Bedroom
: Step two

Make a plan

Image Credit: Caitlin Mills (via Design Files)

Daydreaming is great, but once the big ideas are out in the open, it’s time to actually come up with a plan of how to make them concrete. There are many facets to consider at this stage in the process, and you might find yourself wondering:

  • How will I plan to use the space?
  • How much money do I need to make my bedroom ideas happen?
  • Is it okay to cut corners on costs somewhere?
  • What will my bedroom layout look like?
  • Do I need all these things?

Breathe! 🧘‍♀️ Let’s break down the questions one by one.

Determine the purpose of your bedroom

Yes, your bedroom is primarily used for sleeping, but consider how else you will be using the room. Are there other functions that your bedroom needs to serve? For instance, maybe you need to make room for a home office or create an area where you can take product photography for a side hustle. Whatever the functions may be, getting clear on them upfront will ensure that you’re making the best possible decisions for your bedroom to look and feel good.

Create a floor plan (or two)

Floor plans are where you start to get into the nitty-gritty. Assess your bedroom and take measurements of everything—really, everything! Measure your walls, windows, doors, outlet covers, and all the weird nooks and crannies. Your floor plan measurements will help you create the best possible room layout and understand the available floor space and any limitations (read: creative opportunities) you may have.

bedroom floor plan
Floor plan designed by Didem Gurevin (via Spoak)
PRO-TIP: When creating your floor plan, take spatial planning into consideration (how people will live, function, and move through the space you're designing). If you’re designing your bedroom, then the person you’ll want to consider is you! Put yourself first. You’re the VIP here. 😏

Figure out your budget

We’ll be the first to remind you that you don’t need all the money in the world to create a bedroom that is well-designed and beautiful. However, it’s important to know how much money you can spend on your bedroom makeover before jumping into the project. The last thing you want is to be surprised when you didn’t allocate your funds properly. Find a budgeting tool that will help you organize your budget and track how much you’re spending throughout the duration of your makeover, that way, you can make any adjustments needed before it’s too late.

One of the most common questions we get when it comes to budgeting is knowing where to splurge vs. save. As with most things in design, this will vary depending on your personal needs, but generally speaking, we recommend splurging on the essentials, aka items that will enhance your sleep and quality of life (think mattress—California king-sized bed, anyone? 👀—bedding, window treatments, and pillows). You can save your money by hunting for stylish, lower-cost furniture and decor like nightstands, headboards, floor lamps, rugs, art, accessories, and so on.

PRO-TIP: Get on your favorite brand’s email lists to stay up to date on their big sales. Brands typically have 1-2 hefty sales a year, and these are great opportunities to splurge on a high-ticket item. Also, don't sleep on vintage or secondhand furniture!

Choose your bedroom furniture size wisely

Knowing what size furniture to buy and where to place it in your bedroom is a delicate dance. If your bedroom furniture is too big, things could feel cramped, and if it is too small, you could be swimming in your bedroom. Consider the scale of your furniture in relation to the size of the room.

EXPERT OPINION by
Hilah Stahl
"This might sound really obvious, but if you have a large bedroom, buy proportionally large furniture! It’s the most effective way to 'fill' the space without adding a bunch of clutter. Even better: create spaces or zones with a single function so that you’re not sourcing both big *and* multifunctional pieces."

Here are a few design tips we’ve learned along the way:

  • Prioritize small furniture in a small space. Include smaller furniture pieces to avoid clutter and allow for a better flow. Better yet, include flexible furnishing solutions so you can move things around.
  • Make the most out of awkward situations. An off-center bed placement isn’t a faux pas; if your bedroom layout needs your bed to be off-centered, then make it a focal point!
  • Get a rug to center all the furniture in your room. If your bed and bedside tables can fit within the rug entirely, make sure you have at least 24” extending beyond the bedsides.
  • Ditch the solo rug entirely and play with runners. Using runners on each side of the bed (that are wider than the bedside tables) can be more cost-effective and help fill out a bedroom.
  • Keep your bedside tables close, but not too close. They should be placed roughly 2”- 4” from the bed frame so you can reach them easily in your sleepy stupor. Also, try to keep your bedside tables at the same height as your bed frame.
  • Play around with depth, but be careful in a small bedroom. Bedside tables should be up to 24” deep. Any deeper, and it can get pretty awkward for the average person to get in and out of bed. If you’re a gymnast, you do you.
How to Design a Bedroom
: Step three

Visualize & decide

Image Credit: mk. s

Now that you’ve got a plan in place, it’s time to visualize what your bedroom will look like and make some big decisions. Use an online design tool to create renderings of all your design ideas, try out different pieces of furniture, and play around with them until your room feels just right.

Set the mood with lighting

The physical feeling you have in a space is directly correlated with the lighting. It’s a fact! When you’re selecting your bedroom lighting, keep in mind the 2-3 adjectives you’d want guests (or yourself) to use to describe how the space feels.

While there’s no limit to the number of lighting sources a bedroom can have, you should have at least two to set your mood. Here are some considerations to think about when creating a lighting plan:

  • It’s about quality, not quantity. Consider how much natural light your bedroom already has and where you need to compensate to create illumination. If you don’t need a ton of extra lighting, don’t push it!
  • Successful lighting plans match the light levels to the tasks being performed in the space. For example, think of overhead light in the center of a bedroom, sconces near a nightstand, or a table lamp for reading.
  • Use dimmers to your advantage. Don’t let harsh lighting damper your mood—use a dimmer to adjust your lighting to perfection.

Don’t skimp out on quality bedding

You sleep in your bed every night, so investing in a duvet and sheets that make you feel like you’re being hugged by a cloud is not a bad idea.

Do you prefer a softer feel when it comes to bedsheets, or do crisp sheets make you feel more rested? Do you run hot while you sleep? There are a lot of considerations when it comes to selecting bedding, but knowing the answers to these questions will lead you to the perfect bed sheet fabric. Here are some to consider:

  • Cotton percale: Naturally breathable, keeping you pleasantly cool at night; easy to clean, but can be expensive
  • Cotton sateen: Soft and smooth, more wrinkle-resistant than cotton percale but more susceptible to pilling
  • Linen: Very durable and keeps you cool at night, but feels a bit coarser than cotton and wrinkles easily
  • Silk: Luxurious and less prone to wrinkles, but not super easy to clean and can be expensive
  • Synthetic: Budget-friendly and widely available, but not environmentally friendly

Choose wisely. Future you will be thanking you!

Play around with wallpaper

It’s easy to focus on design elements like paint, furniture, and lighting in a bedroom, but wallpaper can also be a fun decorating moment. If you like the idea of trying out bold, loud patterns in your bedroom but you’re scared it will feel like too much, start with an accent wall in your room. Or, if wallpaper isn’t in your budget, you can DIY a pattern with paint, tape, and a little bit of creativity.

EXPERT OPINION by
How to Design a Bedroom
: Step four

Install & accessorize

Image Credit: Becca Kessel (via Spoak)

If you’ve made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back! Big design decisions have been made, you've ordered your products, and can install everything in your space. This is the step where you get to see the fruits of your labor, and there’s no better feeling than that.

Add in texture with curtains and pillows

We often hear about texture in interior design, but if you’re wondering what the heck that actually means… you’re not alone. Texture is, literally, the appearance of how something looks or feels. A room without texture often feels undone or like something is missing. An easy way to get ahead of that empty feeling is by layering texture to your bedroom sanctuary through textiles, like curtains (even blackout curtains can add texture), throw blankets, area rugs, and decorative pillows. The more, the merrier.

PRO-TIP: We probably sound like a broken record player by now, but use colors and textures to your advantage! If you keep the colors in your bedroom simpler and more neutral and vary the textures in the room, you’ll give off the illusion of an airier space. If you’re a color lover, try painting the ceiling a bold or dark color—this can make the space feel bigger. 

Personalize with home decor

Add a personal touch to your bedroom through artwork, photographs, and items that reflect your style and personality. Remember that this step takes time! You can go ahead and rush into accessorizing a space, but the joy comes with doing it over time. Here are some ideas:

  • Create a gallery wall, but not the regular kind. Art can be anything! Don’t feel limited to curating fancy pieces of artwork (those are nice, too); you can frame a love letter from a family member and make it feel just as special.
  • DIY a statement piece in your bedroom. Want to make a chandelier out of floral paper cutouts? Add paneling to the bottom half of your wall? Paint a mural around your upholstered headboard? Be our guest! Your room is yours to experiment with.
EXPERT OPINION by
Lisa Galano
“Layer your smaller home decor and accessories on top of larger ones to add depth and keep the small items from 'floating' on the surface. For example, put a small sculpture on top of a stack of large coffee table books or place candles on a tray!”

Don’t forget about storage

We love a multi-functional decorating idea, and bedroom storage is top on our list. You can never have enough bedroom storage, especially small spaces, so consider finding unique storage solutions that will make your bedroom look nice and serve as an extra place to hide all of your dirty laundry. 😉

An upholstered bench with built-in storage will double as a seating area and piece of furniture that can live on the foot of the bed. Blessed with an en suite? We love using dual-use furniture to connect the bridge between two rooms.

How to Design a Bedroom
: Step five

Enjoy!

Image Credit: Country Living Magazine

And just like that, your bedroom design dreams have come true! The most important step in design is to simply enjoy the process. It’s easy to get caught up in the what-ifs and wonder if what you’re doing is right. You did it! Now we’ll leave you with some final pieces of advice:

  • Don’t be afraid to switch things up if needed. Just because you completed your initial bedroom design doesn’t mean you can’t switch things up when you get bored of them. Play around with placement and decor until it feels right again.
  • Take advantage of the seasons. Seasonal refreshes are one of our favorite ways to freshen up our bedrooms. Swap your darker fall-colored pillows with lighter ones for spring, or change up the area rug in your room for a big impact.
  • Clean your windows to do wonders for your lighting. This one is easy to overlook, but if your bedroom has windows you can clean, do it! You’d be surprised at how much brighter your room will get.
  • Schedule regular decluttering sessions. Donate old clothes you don’t wear anymore and remove any unwanted items to give you space for something new.
PRO-TIP: Consider selling any used furniture items on Kaiyo or Facebook Marketplace to earn money back for your belongings. More money for future decorating!

The most rewarding part about designing your own space is that you got there on your own, so go ahead and do a happy dance and get some shut-eye for us all. 

EXPERT OPINION by
Great things take time. Even better things take an email.
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