We know it right away when walking into a great hotel room: Everything is perfectly proportioned, the bed is meticulously made and the lighting casts a soft glow on attractive and functional furniture. The rug has the ideal softness under bare feet, and the artwork is eye-catching but not overpowering. Hoteliers craft their guest rooms so effortlessly, so why can it feel so hard to replicate the same look at home?
It may boil down to a few decorating mistakes designers always notice when walking into clients’ bedrooms. From ignoring clutter to failing to address mood lighting, these small errors can have a huge impact on the overall look and feel of a room. We tapped some of the best interior designers in the industry to share the mistakes to avoid at all cost when decorating a bedroom. Are you guilty of these decorating faux pas?
Mistake No. 1: Forgetting about artwork
“Oftentimes the bedroom gets overlooked when it comes to artwork,” Melissa Warner Rothblum and Julie Massucco Kleiner of Massucco Warner Miller told us. “Not being a public space, it’s easy to get all the basics into a bedroom and then leave the walls bare.” While people often reserve their best artwork for the living or dining room, Rothblum and Kleiner suggest putting the same attention on art in less prominent rooms: “You go to sleep and wake up in your bedroom almost every day – so why not see something wonderful on the walls?”
Mistake No. 2: Disregarding mood lighting
“We think it’s so sad when a bedroom ceiling is left bare or has a ho-hum flush mount stuck up there,” add the Massucco Warner Miller designers. “Have fun with lighting in the bedroom! There is no rule that says chandeliers are reserved for dining rooms.”
For interior designer Tim Campbell, there is more to a bedroom than just overhead lighting – reading lights are also essential: “Add indirect and task lighting that keeps the glare of light away from the eye,” he says. The more sources of lighting you have, the better it is for the eyes (and the mood).
Mistake No. 3: Not considering scale
Interior designer Trip Haenisch always notices furniture that is too large or small for the bedroom. “Properly scaled furniture is tricky,” he says. “Everything looks the same size online. If you lay out the furniture with blue tape, it can help avoid a lot of mistakes.” To do this, take the measurements of the piece you want to buy, and tape the width and length in a rectangle on the floor. You’ll have a much better sense of the piece in the space.
Mistake No. 4: Ignoring clutter
“A bedroom is supposed to be relaxing and breathable,” Shannon Wollack and Brittany Zwickl of Studio Life.Style tell us. “We suggest eliminating unnecessary items and making sure the furniture is not too large for the room.” Adequate storage can help minimize clutter. For the items you want to keep in sight, small trays and catchalls can help everything feel more organized.
Mistake No. 5: Decorating with bright colors
Wollack and Zwickl are also careful not to use too many bright colors in a bedroom. “We like to use calm, natural colors to keep the space serene and timeless. To add a sheen texture that is not overpowering, we suggest a natural grass cloth.” Warm, light neutrals work beautifully in the bedroom, and a variation in textures helps the space feel softer and more inviting.
Mistake No. 6: Overlooking the headboard
The designers at Massucco Warner Miller also suggest paying special attention to the headboard: “There’s no reason for boxy beige headboards. Do an offbeat fabric on your headboard, or choose an unusual shape.” The headboard covers such an important portion of the space and should be treated as such. “If an off-the-shelf headboard has uninspiring fabric options, have it recovered just like you would a chair – and don’t hold back with color!”
Mistake No. 7: Going overboard with pillows
One of Haenisch’s pet peeves in the bedroom is a bed that gets swallowed up by pillows: “I prefer using four regular pillows – two on each side – and only one or two decorative pillows maximum.” When it comes to decorative pillows, it’s all about quality, not quantity!
Mistake No. 8: Neglecting your bedding
Another mistake that Haenisch always notices? Neglected bedding: “If you think about it, we spend almost one-third of our lives in bed. Nice linens are worth the investment!” Pay special attention to the quality and look of your sheets – not only will it improve your decor, but you might sleep better too.
Mistake No. 9: Not considering storage
“When your nightstand does not have storage, things start to pile up and a create an unnecessary mess,” explain Wollack and Zwickl. “It’s best to have nightstands with drawers that can hold books, chargers, and other necessities. We try to only use nightstands that have drawers with built-in chargers so there aren’t a lot of exposed cords.”
By Gabrielle Savoie, Domaine. Get the latest on home decor trends, design ideas, shopping guides and food news, and take a look inside your favorite celebrity homes on DomaineHome.com.