Calming bedroom ideas: designing a restful room for better sleep 

Getting serious about your sleep starts in the bedroom.

Air. Water. Food. Sleep. For the most part, we see the first three as critical for survival. But that last one? Not so much. Yet restorative sleep – or the lack of it – can be the difference between a good, productive day and a bad one. 

And that’s where our calming bedroom ideas come in. While not all of life’s ups and downs can be solved by picking the right bed linen, having a well-considered bedroom design can certainly help make sleep easier. 

Restful bedCredit: Copyright Shutterstock / Ground Picture

A calming or cocoon-like colour on your bedroom walls; a curtain around your bed; black-out curtains that exclude light: any or all of these restful design ideas can make a difference when you want to signal to your brain that it is time to drift off. 

Note: The look and feel of your bedroom will aid in your restful sleep. But it doesn’t stop there. Discover ‘10 sleep truths from experts to help you rest better’. 

Photo framesCredit: Shutterstock / New Africa

1. Make it personal

Surround yourself with items that spark joy

Your bedroom shouldn’t be like anyone else’s. Top of the list of our ultimate calming bedroom ideas is: create a room that is unique to you, which you love. Your most intimate space should give you a profound feeling of home. This is achieved through adding your own personal touches. 

Is there someone in your life who makes your heart light? Add their framed photo. Is there an artist whose work makes you feel a deep sense of peace? Hang either their original art or a print on your bedroom walls. Has a loved one knitted you a beautiful throw? Keep it on your bed. 

Your bedroom should be a haven of peace – a curated retreat that signals to your mind that you are in your most safe, private and peaceful space. 

Being intentional about creating an intimate sanctuary of calm is the first step to enjoying your best possible sleep. 

2. Your mattress matters

Make sure you’re sleeping on the right one

Emma Original MattressCredit: Emma
Emma Original Mattress

We all need to be in healthy, committed relationships with our mattresses – after all, we spend, on average, 26 years of our lives asleep. One could argue that no other purchase for your home will affect the quality of your life more. 

That’s why comfortable mattresses are potentially big-ticket buys. And some effort should go into making the right purchase for you.  

Sleep consultants such as the academics at the Sleep Foundation have written great guidance for selecting a mattress that will give you a good night’s sleep. 

If you’d prefer to try out different mattresses in the flesh, our Editor-in-Chief for Homes, Amy Cutmore, recommends Dreams’ Sleepmatch service. You’ll be asked a few questions, and then lie on a bed, while technology maps your body and sleep position, before presenting you with your perfect match. She bought her latest mattress this way and has been having better sleep ever since. 

3. Do away with clutter

Too much mess won’t encourage rest

Credit: Shutterstock / travelarium.ph

We’ve all been there. That stack of must-read novels and half-read magazines piles up on the bedside table. A fresh pile of laundry is forgotten on the bedroom armchair when the doorbell rings. Before we know it, our bedrooms become less a haven and more a stressful reminder of the to-do list that needs our attention. 

Bottom line? A cluttered bedroom can be stressful, and stress is no good for sleep.

Tracy Hannigan, founder of Tracy the Sleep Coach, is a sleep expert who is in demand from the sleep-deprived all over the world. She says a restful, uncluttered, undistracting and beautiful bedroom is conducive to sleep for both good sleepers and those who struggle with their sleep.

“Piles of disorganisation and clutter raise our psychological arousal – even if we think we enjoy all of our belongings out, this increased arousal can contribute to sleeping difficulties.

“As we get older, we tend to spend more time in lighter sleep, particularly in the morning hours, and so any association with the bedroom that raises this arousal can make it more challenging to fall back to sleep in what is an already challenging time of the sleep cycle.” 

One calming bedroom idea to consider investing in is a storage ottoman. Placed at the foot of your bed, an ottoman is an attractive catch-all bin for any items that can be shuttled to another room later. 

It’s a clever case of, out of sight: out of mind. 

John Lewis’ Emily Upholstered Ottoman, below, comes in a range of colours to seamlessly fit in with your current décor. For a more affordable option, try Dunelm’s Secreto Ottoman, £129.

Emma Upholstered StorageCredit: John Lewis

For some great de-cluttering tips and tricks, check out Decluttering the Marie Kondo way – myth or magic?

4. Pick calming colours

Walls and accessories both play a part

Blue bedroomCredit: Sean Symington Interior Design
Sean Symington Interior Design creates a warm and restful bedroom using a burnt blue wall paint colour by Benjamin Moore – Gentleman’s Gray 2062-20

The colours you pick to use in your bedroom impact your ability to nod off easily. Of course, personal preference does come into play – bright orange bedrooms are not unheard of. Still, research shows that warmer (think darker and richer) tones of blue, green, white, beige and pink are your best bet for getting the restorative rest you need. 

We spoke to Sean Symington at Sean Symington Interior Design in Bath about picking colours for restful bedrooms. He said: “When presented with a bedroom design, immediately we want to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. We love using deep tones on walls contrasted with layers of texture and prints as they create a restful and relaxing environment. We think ultimately bedrooms should reflect a place of calm, solace and refuge in our everyday busy lives.” 

Don’t feel that to get your 40 winks, you need to pick up your paintbrushes this very minute. You can inject all of these key colours into your current bedroom design with a range of well-priced bedroom accents like rugs, throws and even table lamps.

Credit: Heal’s

A great way to have quick soothing colour impact might be to create a restful feature wall behind your bed, using removable wallpapers. These don’t require paste, meaning you can easily test which colour best gets you off to sleep. 

Pink wallpaperCredit: Graham & Brown

5. Embrace the darkness

Shut out that pesky sunlight

Black out curtainsCredit: Dunelm

Ever stayed at a hotel and closed the curtains to discover you could barely see your hand in front of your face? Chances are you have discovered one of the most effective calming bedroom ideas you can get your hands on – the amazing black-out curtain. 

Ok. The truth is no curtains can entirely black out all of the chinks of light wanting to make their way into your bedroom. But, with well-made black-out curtains suited to your window frame, you can certainly get very close. 

If you have sewing skills, making your own black-out curtains or modifying the ones you already have to block out light can be a short but very effective DIY job. 

No sewing skills? High street shops like Dunelm sell some well-priced readymade black-out curtains and blinds in a range of styles, from floral to plain. Its Henri and Saluzzo designs, shown above, start from £95.

6. Alternatively, create a canopy bed

Sleep cocooned by curtains

Still not dark enough? 

Another unabashedly romantic and gorgeous calming bedroom idea that can bolster your black-out curtains’ light banishing power is convert your bed into a curtained canopy bed.

This is a fairly easy DIY project that you can carry out with any regular bed by attaching curtain rods to the ceiling. 

As well as blocking out light, mounting curtains around your bed which you draw at bedtime is an excellent way to stay warmer – no more waking up shivering on a cold night.

7. Avoid blue light

Put down that iPad

Blue light from hand-held screens can make falling to sleep more difficult  Credit: Shutterstock / Microgen
Blue light from hand-held screens can make falling to sleep more difficult

Whether due to temperature, a need to pop to the bathroom or a hundred other niggles, waking up in the dead of night sometimes happens. The key to getting back to sleep quickly may come down to what light sources you reach. 

The role of light when it comes to our wellbeing – and within room décor – cannot be overstated. It may be tempting to look purely at the aesthetics of the fixture when selecting considering calming bedroom ideas, but when it comes to decent sleep, we need to look at lighting in a new light. 

Blue light – which is emitted by many modern devices – is the enemy of rest. Why? Research from Harvard University shows that blue light blocks the brain’s production of melatonin – the hormone that signals it’s time to sleep. 

While not using hand-held devices that emit blue light in bed is a great sleep tip, lighting designers allow us to go a step further. 

The easiest and most budget-friendly way to banish blue light might be to change all of your bedroom’s light bulbs to blue-light-blocking bulbs. Bulb options include screw fittings, bayonets and downlights. These will emit a warm amber spectrum light – this kind of lights won’t block your melatonin production. 

If you have a favourite reading lamp in your bedroom, swapping bulbs will allow you the best of both lighting worlds – marrying aesthetic and function. 

Phillips bedside lightCredit: Phillips

How about light fixtures designed just with sleep in mind?

There are quite a few bedside table lamps on the market designed for the sole purpose of helping you to sleep better. 

A good example is the Phillips Sleep and Wake-Up Light, £162.99. This cute little bedside table pleaser is designed to simulate sunrise and sunset – and along with a range of features, it also guides you through seven breathing exercises. 

8. Soundproof your space

Silence is golden – and beautiful too

See how the colour looks when you're most likely to be using the roomCredit: Acupanel
Check the colour when you’re most often using the room

A silent bedroom is bliss. Yet how often have you walked into a bedroom and seen decorative acoustic panelling on walls or ceilings? 

This design oversight is potentially a missed opportunity to incorporate one of the best calming bedroom ideas around. 

When choosing a decorative finish for you wall, acoustic panels don’t naturally come to mind. Blame it on the fact that we tend to associate noise blocking materials with what goes into walls, not on them.  

Companies like UK based Acoufelt have worked with top interior designers to change this. The brand has created a ‘1912’ collection featuring an array of acoustic wall panels in classically inspired patterns and nine sophisticated colours. 

Acoustic wall panels are lightweight and relatively easy to hang on walls, so you can enjoy the noise-dampening effects with very little effort and no structural alterations. 

Credit: Acoufelt

Written by Joy Archer she/her

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