Why does our bedroom become the dumping ground? The place we stash things? The door we keep closed when company comes over?
My parents did it. My mom stashed everything under the sun in her sock drawer so she wouldn’t lose it. If it was too big for the sock drawer it went in the corner of her room, like tall rolls of wrapping paper at Christmas time. When we had company over my parents threw all the coats on their bed and shut the door.
Growing up I thought it was because we lived in a small house. I thought it was a storage issue. But now I know that’s not true.
My house is at least double the size of my parents and I started doing the same thing. When company came over, I’d tidy up the rest of the house and then throw everything else in our bedroom and shut the door. I know friends who do it too.
Sometimes it gets to the point that you don’t even care what your bedroom looks like, because you don’t spend that much time looking at it. Quick! Get in bed and turn out the light.
You start to let your bedroom go.
But it’s supposed to be your sanctuary. With kids, pets, a demanding job, you deserve a place to retreat to at the end of the day. A place where you feel rested. Not a place where you feel like the piles of stuff might swallow you whole.
5 Steps to a Pulled Together Bedroom
I don’t know why we let our bedrooms fall apart, but I do know you can pull yours back together. And when you do, you’ll vow never to let it become a mess again. You’ll want to keep the door open all the time even when company comes over. Instead of cringing and reaching for the door handle, you’ll smile when you walk by your room.
What I can do is show you how to transform your room into a beautiful space to start and end your day in. The best part is, a bedroom transformation doesn’t have to be expensive. My bedroom makeover is the perfect example of the Free Decorating philosophy in action. I mixed lots of existing pieces with a couple of new items to give my bedroom a complete refresh.
1. Hit the (Color) Saturation point
For a quick, impactful transition try saturating your room with one key accent color. For my bedroom makeover I took the existing teal accent color and played it up by adding more teal elements in key places around the room. Whenever you introduce an accent color to a room you should use it in at least three places. For the biggest color impact, you should use your main accent color on all the key elements in your room. In my room, that meant introducing teal curtain panels, teal art over the bed, and some teal accents in the decorative pillows. I also shopped my house for a few teal vases and lanterns to use on the dresser to keep the color going all the way around the room.
Your accent color doesn’t have to be this bold. You can saturate your room with a softer color or even a neutral. The point is to use the color intentionally in lots of places. Choose a color that makes you happy and comfortable—this room is all for you.
Psst. Grab the free Color and Pattern Cheat Sheet below to help pick a color palette for your room.
2. Go Big or Go Home with Your Art
We started with a small sunburst mirror over our bed, which I love, but always knew was too small for over a king-sized headboard. Since new art wasn’t in the budget, I started eyeing all the options around the house. I considered trying a bigger mirror, but big heavy objects hanging over the bed kind of freak me out. I considered a gallery of pieces, but we already have two other gallery walls in this same room. I needed something big and beautiful.
Enter my almost forgotten Jane Bellows prints. They’ve been living for the last five years in our foyer, where they looked great, but we never got to enjoy them. One quick trip to the bedroom and I knew they would make the space. The colors were perfect for the various teals, turquoises, and mints in the room. There’s even a few hints of yellow to tie into our golden headboard.
Not only are they the perfect width to fill the space above the headboard, but they also make the room look taller. Our bedroom has a vaulted ceiling, but it never really looked that grand. Now, our big art draws the eye up and makes the room look as grand as it is. This trick will help rooms with flat ceilings look taller too.
3. Bring on the Drama
Besides the bed and maybe an accent chair if you have room for one, everything else in your bedroom is hard. Walls, windows, dressers, nightstands. All the softness and fabric ends up on the bed. To make your room more luxe, spread out the softness with window treatments.
What started as a mission to find not ugly black out curtains led me to my favorite element in the entire room. I went to Ikea expecting to buy the Werna navy blackout curtains, but once I saw them in person I didn’t like the fabric and knew the navy wasn’t right for our room. Then my eye caught the dark turquoise Sanela curtain panels and it was love at first sight. How could I, Ms. Teal & Lime, pass up scrumptious teal curtain panels? I couldn’t. I just hoped the mister would love them as much as me. He was sold the first night when he saw how dark they made our room even though they aren’t black-out panels. It was a win-win—pretty for me and practical for him.
We used four curtain panels for our giant window to 1) give enough fullness for the large window (something our old skinny panels on each end lacked) and 2) to cover the entire window when closed (the other thing our non-functional old panels couldn’t do).
With the expense of the new window treatments, I got crafty when it came to finding a curtain rod that could span over 130 inches. A new, quality curtain rod could have easily set me back double the cost of the curtains. But I remembered we used to have a super long curtain rod in our living room. When we took it down, I used half of it in my office and the other half was stashed in a closet. With a quick curtain rod switcheroo between a few rooms, I freed up the extra long and awesome West Elm curtain rod (similar to this one in the 108-144″ length) and saved $150, making my curtain panel splurge justifiable.
4. Make the Bedding to Die For
With the new-to-this-room art, our existing trellis lampshades, and the new dramatic teal curtains, our old plain white comforter was looking a little drab. I couldn’t get excited about the room with our mismatched we-can-make-this-work-for-now bedding. I was craving pattern!
Enter our Crane & Canopy bedding with an over-scale chevron dot print. The neutral color and subtle print became the perfect foundation for more pattern on the pillows. I nabbed the turquoise velvet pillows and the ikat dot pillow from the family room. Then, to tie it all together I made two more pillows in my favorite floral fabric, Cloud Gazebo, which I had in my fabric stash.
Moral of the story: Give your bedding a little love. You don’t have to buy a bed in a bag or be a wizard at mixing fabric patterns to create a beautiful bed. Start with a great bedding set you love and then layer on the decorative accent pillows. Watch the video in this post to get my simple no-fail formula for mixing patterns so you can make your bedding look amazing.
5. Style Your Surfaces
Clear off the dressers and the nightstands to make way for some meaningful decor. Years ago I never gave much thought to nightstand decor. I thought a lamp was enough. At the same time, I was completely dismayed by the pile up of crap on our nightstands. Who wants to sleep next to piles of paper and random bits and bobs?
I realized we wouldn’t be so quick to leave messes if our nightstands were well-decorated. If they weren’t just a surface, but rather a display space. I wanted to roll over to grab a sip of water in the morning and see something pretty.
About two years ago I first styled or nightstands. I went for simple, but impactful with personalized touches. Our nightstands haven’t changed much in two years…because we love the way they look. And we keep them clean now. The only thing I tweaked was changing out the wood vase on my husbands nightstand for a teal vase I already had. Just wanted an extra pop of teal on that side of the room. A little styling can go a long way towards creating a space you enjoy spending time in.
The theme that took this room to the next level was color saturation. In the color department, only the teal curtain panels were new. I shopped my home to round up all the other teal elements. Bringing them all together in one space made a greater impact. Choosing and sticking to a consistent color palette for your room will make a huge difference. The color palette I chose for this room is analogous. Ana-lo-what? Grab the free Color and Pattern Cheat Sheet below to learn about the three basic color palettes you can use to decorate your room.
Free Color and Pattern Cheat Sheet
Learn my favorite no-fail tips for mixing and matching colors and fabric patterns.