Bedroom ideas for a better night’s sleepJen Wiss-Carline
We spend a surprising amount of time in the bedroom – around 227,468 hours sleeping during our lifetime on average, and countless more relaxing at the end of a long hard day. It makes sense that of all the rooms in the house, the bedroom should be a cosy safe haven waiting to welcome us when the day is done. Here, we’ll share 10 quick easy bedroom ideas you can use to refresh your room and improve your night’s sleep – without spending a fortune on redecorating.
Lifestyle coach June Saruwatari believes that hang onto far more objects than we need, and, instead of motivating us, they become talismans of guilt and shame.”You hold onto things based on hope,” she says, or because it’s something you think you might need one day. But unnecessary items clutter up our life and make a room feel less relaxing to be in. June suggests that you ask four questions of every object: “Do you honestly need this item? Do you love it? Does it have some sort of significance in your life? Does it serve a purpose?” If the answer to any of the questions is no, get rid. Take your unwanted stuff to a charity shop or sell it on eBay – but don’t let it weigh you, or your bedroom, down.
Above: The large mirror behind the bed creates a sense of space while reflecting the light and view outside.
A fresh, light bedroom feels inviting, and mirrors are a brilliant way to achieve that look – while making your room look twice the size. A large mirror positioned near the window will help to reflect the light around the room, making it look lighter and brighter – while also reflecting the view. Mirrors placed near other light sources, such as lamps, also help to maximise the light’s reach. Mirrored wardrobes help hide the clutter so your room feels more relaxing, without making the room feel smaller.
Change your bedding
It may sound like an obvious one as bedroom ideas go, but how long have you had your current bedding? Bedding can become a reservoir for sweat, skin cells, oil, dust and dust mites (with the average bed harbouring ten million of them!). Although a good wash at 60 degrees can kill off most mites, over time dirt and stains can build up and be difficult to remove. Buying a new bed set gives you a fresh start and instantly makes your room look fresher and cleaner.
If your bedding is reasonably new, make sure you’re washing it at least once a week. Fresh bedding smells good and helps us relax, contributing to a good night’s sleep. By contrast, dirty bedding feels uncomfortable and can be unpleasant to smell. A build up of dirt on your bedding can also lead to health problems such as allergies and asthma. Duvets should be washed twice a year as a minimum, and replaced every five years – while pillows should be changed every two.
Rethink the lighting
Above: In a room with good natural light, a central pendant isn’t always needed. This room has two large table lamps for relaxing in the evening and a floor lamp creating an overhead light source next to the chair for reading.
Too many of us settle for a single pendant light in the middle of the bedroom, not appreciating that all rooms need multiple light sources to support the various tasks and uses of the room.
First, maximise the natural light – make sure you can roll up blinds and pin back curtains, so you don’t need to use artificial lights during the daytime. At nighttime, blackout curtains or blinds are essential to block out the light for restful sleep.
A central pendant or chandelier creates a focal point for the room, ideal for when you’re folding away clothes or doing tasks that need a bright light source.
Reading lamps next to the bed are ideal for curling up with your favourite book (or iPad) and enjoying some nighttime quiet time.
A floor lamp is perfect for creating a cosy atmosphere and useful for indirect light that isn’t as harsh as the ceiling lamp. Candles or fairy lights can also be useful for creating atmospheric light, perfect for when you don’t want the space to be too bright.
Finally, if you do your hair or make up in your bedroom, make sure you have a bright light at the ready – desk lamps or floor lamps that you can angle are both perfect for this job.
Buy a cosy rug
There are so many reasons why you should place rugs around your house that go beyond making things look pretty, and these are especially true in the bedroom. Rugs are cosy and inviting – you can snuggle up on them in the evening or curl your toes into them first thing in the morning. They are practical too, reducing echo in the room, dampening the sound that goes through to the floor below, covering imperfections and helping to prevent slips. Consider placing two soft runners either side of the bed, or a large rug with a high pile at the end. Rugs can also be used to section off areas of the room – for example, defining a sleeping, dressing and sitting area, without the need for screens.
Throw on some cushions
Cushions sometimes get bad press as unnecessary decorative items (Ben Stiller furiously stabbing the cushions he hates so much in ‘Along Came Polly’ springs to mind). In fact, cushions aren’t just there to look pretty – they can turn your bed into a comfy place to sit and relax in the evening, while adding texture and interest to your decor. Synthetic cushion pads usually offer the best value without the risk of allergy that comes with natural fillings. Choose different colours and fabrics that complement rather than exact match your bedding and bedroom colour scheme.
Cover up the radiator
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a brand spanking new home with attractive modern radiators, your radiator is probably a bit of an eyesore. An easy fix is to buy a radiator cabinet – these come in a wide range of sizes and can be purchased as plain MDF ready for painting in whatever colour you like (usually cheapest) or MDF that has been painted white. Radiator cabinets cover up your unsightly radiator, making your room feel tidier and more organised while giving you a nice shelf to put decorative items on as well.
If you do choose the unpainted MDF cabinets, these tend to soak up any paint you put on them – so you’ll either need to use an undercoat, or apply a coat first that has about 10% water added.
Buy a new bed
Most people know that they should change their mattress every seven years, but did you know that your bed also suffers from strain that is less visible? The Sleep Council recommend that you change both your mattress and bed together, to ensure your bed is giving you the right support. Beds and mattresses should be changed if you’re getting a bad night’s sleep or waking up with aches and pains, regardless of how long ago you bought them. Invest in a high quality sturdy bed that will offer the right support for your spine and you’ll be more likely to get a good night’s sleep.
Bring the outside in
Above: If you’ve been looking for an excuse not to make the bed, this is it.
Airing your bedroom costs nothing – but it’s the most important tip on this page. Every day when you wake, open the windows and pull back the bed covers to the foot of the bed. Leave your room like this for as long as possible – at least an hour if you can. Cheryl Mendelson, author of “Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House”, explains why – which makes for a rather unpleasant read and an excellent excuse for not making your bed every morning.
“While you are sleeping, you breathe about two pounds of moisture, along with breath odours and flocks of microorganisms, into the air, your pillow and your bedding. You also perspire, perhaps a cup’s worth, and exude skin oils and body smells. And you use up the room’s oxygen and replace it with exhaled carbon dioxide. When there are two or more people in the bed or the room, these effects are multiplied. All this explains why, if you sleep with closed windows, the room has a characteristic stale morning smell (although you might not perceive it until you leave for a few minutes and then return.) Unless you leave the bed covers pulled down and the windows open for an hour or two, the moisture you have left in the bed either does not evaporate or evaporates very slowly, which makes for an environment in pillows and mattress in which dust mites, molds, and other microbial life have more of an opportunity to multiply. Opening the windows lets in new air to dilute the pollutants (microbial and particulate), carry them off, and bring in fresh supplies of oxygen.”
Invest in some plants
Plants? In the bedroom? Whilst it might be the least likely place you’d expect to see a potted yukka, there’s some science behind the madness. House plants have the power to clean and improve indoor air quality, although you’ll need to choose the right plants to get the full benefits. The Snake Plant (or ‘Mother-In-Law’s Tongue’) is a popular and attractive choice for the bedroom because it converts CO2 (carbon dioxide) to O2 (oxygen) at night which is thought to be helpful for sleep. Other plants release CO2 at night which makes them less ideal.