Creating a sanctuary for sleep starts with buying the right bed


A bedroom should be a place of tranquillity, a room to relax in and a retreat from the hustle and bustle. If you're planning to redecorate your bedroom there are a few simple things to take account of before you start.

The first thing to consider before doing up any room is the furniture layout. Ideally your bed should not be located under a window. Instead, if possible, put it against a wall facing away from the door. Of course, the size of your bedroom will dictate how much furniture you can have but, big or small, you should try to avoid cluttering the room with too many pieces.

The next thing to consider is storage. While freestanding wardrobes look beautiful, they are not entirely practical unless they are going in a guest bedroom where storage will not be such an issue. Built-in wardrobes are a great choice and ensure your bedroom is kept clutter free. Opt for a gloss or mirrored finish to maximise the sense of space.

Think about the mood you want to create, and choose your palette carefully. Traditional colours for bedrooms are soft and muted, but darker tones such as deep plums or rich burgundies can create a very luxurious and cosy environment. Crisp whites are always a winner, especially for bed linen. If you have furniture that you can’t bear to part with but that doesn’t work with your preferred colour scheme, consider updating it. For example, we had a client whose budget didn’t allow replacing the bed and side tables so we repainted them.

But the most important thing of all when it comes to creating a perfect bedroom is your choice of bed. This is definitely one of the most important pieces of furniture that you will ever have to buy. So do your homework and buy the best you can.

Another important consideration is your choice of lighting. This will have a dramatic effect on the atmosphere of the room. Make sure the ceiling lighting is on a dimmer switch to control the lighting levels. If you love to curl up with a good book, choose adjustable bedside lights such as an Anglepoise. And for a hotel feel, opt for wall lights either side of the bed rather than standard table lights.

What to put on your floors depends very much on your personal preference. I am a fan of carpets in bedrooms, but timber has a wonderful texture underfoot and if you do opt for a hard floor finish, introduce a rug for a hint of luxury.

Don’t forget to put something on the walls. Art is the best way to add the finishing touch to any room. If art is not your thing, have some of your family photos framed? Mirrors are good in bedrooms as they are practical and glamorous. And for a real statement, opt for a feature wallpaper.

Think carefully about curtains and blinds. Blackout blinds are always a smart choice, especially for children’s rooms. When it comes to window dressing, curtains or blinds really finish off a room. Silks are stunning in bedrooms and work best for ballgown-style curtains. Bear in mind that sunlight can damage silk, so it’s a good idea to interline curtains.

Denise O’Connor is an architect and design consultant