7 Tips for Designing Your Bedroom

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Have you ever been in a room that just feels right? Nine times out of 10, it’s because it has a simple design that functions well. But creating a simple design is harder than it looks — particularly in bedrooms. 

Why? Because every bedroom absolutely has to have a bed in it. And beds are big and ungainly, and dictate the placement of every other object in the room. But if you’re lucky enough to be planning a bedroom from scratch or remodeling an existing bedroom, you can control the other elements and create a space that’s both practical andpretty. 

The bedrooms shown here manage that feat with panache. Even if you don’t have a great view, access to the outdoors or plenty of space to work with, the principles they embody and the simplicity they show can inspire your own bedroom design project. 

Because the bedroom is one of the simplest rooms in the house, it’s often overlooked. One of the first steps to a great bedroom design is having an efficient and well-designed floor plan that gives you everything you want — no matter how much space you start with. 

Here are seven tips to help you get the most out of your bedroom. 

1. Simple circulation. Try to keep your circulation on one side of the room. Hotels do a great job of this. There’s a reason 90 percent of hotels have the same floor plan: because it’s simple and it works. 

Circulation plans become a little more challenging with en suite rooms (bedrooms with bathrooms attached) or bedrooms that have doors to the outside.


To save on space, pay attention to where you locate the bathroom and closet in your bedroom. Rooms that have bathroom or closet access before the sleeping area require a longer hall (see the left-hand plan). If you organize the circulation so the bathroom and closet are accessed through the sleeping area (right-hand plan), you don’t need a separate hall, and you can add the circulation space into the room to make it feel larger, too. 

2. Focus on the view. A bedroom always feels nicer when the first thing you experience is a pleasant view out the window — as opposed to a view looking straight at the bed. If you’re designing a new bedroom or reworking an old one, try to come up with a layout that focuses on the vista — whether it’s something as stunning as a lake or as simple as your backyard. 

3. Keep privacy in mind. It’s always nice when you can leave the bedroom door open without forsaking all of your privacy. The small foyer in this example provides separation from the family room. I always try to avoid designing a layout in which you look directly into the bedroom from a more public space, like a great room, kitchen or family room.


4. Connect with the outdoors. While this might not be feasible in all climates, connecting a room with the outdoors is a great way to make the space feel larger and admit more natural light. If your bedroom is on the ground floor (or is on the second story and has an adjacent terrace), adding a set of French doors can instantly increase visual space.  

5. Consider the furniture layout. Your bedroom’s architecture should take your furniture into account. Bedroom floor plans usually have a bed wall — but what about dressers, nightstands, TVs, chairs and a desk? Work with your architect or designer to make sure there is enough space beside the bed for nightstands and ample circulation so you can access three sides of the mattress. 

6. Increase light and ventilation. Locating your bedroom at the corner of your home can give you windows on two or more adjacent walls. This gives you the added benefit of cross ventilation and a softer natural light. 

7. Take your time. Great design takes a while and usually requires refining before you come up with the perfect plan for your lifestyle. Don’t rush through the design — it’s worth taking a little extra time up front to make sure you have a more efficient and functional plan in the end. 

The truth is, great design doesn’t necessarily mean a space that’s overly complex and expensive to build. A space that functions better, costs less to build, is more efficient to run and is easier to maintain can be an outstanding example of great design. 

Spare Room? Lucky You. Here are 12 Fresh Ways to Use It

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Let’s say you have an extra room in your house and you’re not sure what to do with it. Talk about a champagne problem! It does happen, though. Whether you have a rarely used dining room, the kids are now grown and gone, or you just ended up with a spare room, this is a chance to think about your space in a completely new way. 

There’s no need to be practical or stay inside the lines. Why not indulge a hobby or create a retreat of your own? Here are some ideas to consider. Then tell us: How have you found a new use for a room?

Contemplation room. This is a private place for clearing your head or thinking things through. It’s best to keep it free of clutter and technology. I suggest comfortable seating that takes advantage of any available view. 

Sleeping room. As I get older I have really come to enjoy a nap on the weekends, so a sleeping room would be high on my list. No phones, no TV, no reason for anyone else to disturb your sleep. 

Spa. C’mon, how great would this be? No need to drive to the spa; have a professional come to your very own spa room for a massage or facial. 

Morning room. This is a room for your favorite morning routine, whether that’s a cup of tea, stretching, praying or meditating. The furnishings can be as simple as floor cushions and throw pillows. Include light-controlled windows for bright sunshine or shade, depending on your mood. 

Studio. An art studio need not be large, just full of great natural light. Arrange a comfortable chair with easels close to a window. Consider neutral colors for walls and floor coverings. Include a space to store supplies and a sink for cleanup if possible.


Reading room. Are you a serious bookworm? Is your idea of a guilty pleasure to sneak away and read the latest bestseller? Arrange your reading room by genre and include the biggest and most comfortable seating possible. Plan for surface and wall lighting, as well as overhead lighting, so you can read any time of day or night. 

Private bar. How about a closet or room where you can serve up drinks like the pros? Ideally a bar would have a small sink and refrigerator or ice maker. Close off the space with doors that make it disappear when not in use.


Music room. If you are a musician or have budding musicians in the house, you know about the speakers, amplifiers, instrument stands and sheet music that accumulate. What a treat to have a dedicated room for this. Include a rug, window treatments and any type of upholstered furniture to help with sound buffering. 

Planting room. I really like the idea of having an in-house room to store plant supplies, cutting shears and pots. It’s very practical to have a large sink for washing garden fruit and vegetables or making bouquets with flowers from the yard.  

Fun zone. Sometimes it’s just easier to surrender to the toys. I know many families that have made peace with the idea of giving up one room to keep toys contained versus having them all over the house. A fun zone/toy room can easily be reclaimed for another use when the children are grown.


Kitchenette. An extra space for a quick snack or refreshment can add convenience to a large house. Stock the kitchenette with snacks and beverages that are easy to grab on the run. 

Coffee room. If you have serious coffee drinkers in the house, you might want to consider a coffee room. An oversize closet or old pantry would work great as a coffee space. You just need enough space for a coffee maker, storage and ideally a water source. An added bonus would be a small refrigerator for creamer and milk.

Emerald: 2013 Color of the Year

Every December, designers of all creeds impatiently wait for Pantone’s (the world leader in color) announcement of its new color of the year. Whatever color is announced is present in all the fashion and decor of the following year. For 2013, Pantone® chose emerald as its color of the year.

Here’s what the Pantone® press release has to say about emerald:

Photo: Emerald Steps | Uploaded by Pinterest User: Donita Paul via Decorative Communications

Most often associated with brilliant, precious gemstones, the perception of Emerald is sophisticated and luxurious. Since antiquity, this luminous, magnificent hue has been the color of beauty and new life in many cultures and religions. It’s also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity – no other color conveys regeneration more than green. For centuries, many countries have chosen green to represent healing and unity.”

So, for all you fashion-minded decorators out there, how should you use emerald in your home decor? Here are some suggestions:

Emerald in the Kitchen

What rooms of the house would use emerald at its best? The kitchen, for one, is one of the best places to use shades of green. Thinking of redoing your backsplash with a pretty mosaic (all the rage these days)? Choose one that uses emerald in its color scheme, along with other warm shades of green and yellow.

If you need to add to your dinnerware, emerald is a good color choice. Not only will it make your food look more appetizing, but it will also add a dash of sophistication to your table. Green dinnerware will look great on a white tablecloth, but will work just as well with yellows, grays and even turquoise.

For the more daring, an accent wall in emerald will do wonders for your kitchen or dining room. It will inspire calm and bring back nature to meal times.

Emerald in the Living Room

Emerald can be used in different moods and styles, depending on the colors it’s paired with. To enhance the sophistication of emerald, use it with neutrals like gunmental, pewter and beige. Paint an accent wall in emerald with a grey couch in front of it, along with emerald accessories all over the room.

Emerald can also bring you back to your childhood’s country cottage. Remember that old dark green couch that squeaked every time someone sat on it? Paired with colors such as red and blue, emerald inspires the quiet and “old but loved” feeling of the country cottage. Green, red, blue and yellow are typical colors of the traditional tartan; use this to inspire a decor that gives you a sense of heritage.

As an accent color, emerald works well with brown, burgundy and warm yellow. It adds a daring splash of nature-inspired color to any neutral-based decor.

Emerald in the Bathroom

Another room where green has a great place is the bathroom. Along with shades of blue and gray, emerald will bring a instant touch of freshness and sophistication to the bathroom. Keep the blues muted and mixed with gray, and use emerald as an accent in the backsplash or shower tile, with plants (I love to add one of those small potted bamboos on the counter) or with hand towels. 

Emerald is a great color for your soap tray-glass-toothbrush holder kit. I like to use these accessories to change the mood of my bathroom periodically, without spending a fortune. If you add a shower curtain that uses emerald, you can transform your bathroom for less than $100.

Emerald in the Bedroom

It’s easy to add a dash of emerald in your bedroom, especially if your decor already uses neutrals. Emerald bed linen, a few cushions or even a new coat of emerald paint on your furniture will give your bedroom a dash of sophistication or of nature, depending on your style. A potted plant with dark green leaves or emerald curtains will make any bedroom feel more organic.

If you want to go all in and redecorate, using emerald as a main bedroom color is a great choice if you value calm, healing and renewal. No wonder green is a popular color in hospitals! (Not that we want your bedroom to look like a hospital room.) If you decide to plant your walls in emerald green, keep one of the walls in a neutral beige to avoid the “oppressive forest” feeling. Use colors found in nature, like brown and sand as accents. A few pops of bright colors like pink, blue and yellow will remind you of flowers growing on the forest floor.