Inspiration

An interior designer shares the top 5 golden rules for bedroom design

Designer Mary-Ellen Hinton from Hello Saturday has some hot tips for beautiful bedroom design

Bedrooms equal sleep. It follows that they should be a place of tranquility, somewhere to calm yourself after a day of sensory overload. Except it’s not always so cut and dried, particularly because many of us also use our bedroom as a refuge and place to be alone, a personal space in which to watch Netflix or even a study for an upcoming exam. So, follow your heart and create a bedroom that brings your dreams alive in the daytime as well as at night.

We would just say, pay attention to the mattress and the bed. Make sure they’re comfortable and, because they will undoubtedly be the focus of the room, choose your headboard and bedding with care. You will also need a degree of functionality about the room, so ensure that the wardrobe space is sufficient for your needs, that the curtains or blinds provide as much darkness as you need to sleep and that your lighting is suitably ambient but still good enough to allow you to read a book without eye strain.

1. Bedheads are essential 

Whether you’re designing a child’s room or main bedroom, a feature bedhead is non-negotiable. It not only helps anchor the bed, but also makes the room feel complete. Think round, oblong, wall-to-wall, velvet, rattan, linen, custom-made timber – the options are endless. With lots of companies now making custom bedheads in New Zealand there are options to suit every room and taste. In a child’s room you can even use paint to create a bedhead – paint a shape on the wall behind the bed or paint the lower half of the room a different colour from the upper half.

2. Focus on lighting

Lighting is one of the most important accessories in any home and an easy way to create the wow factor – think of it like jewellery for a room. In bedrooms, pendant lights are ideal if the ceilings are high enough. In the main bedroom a pendant should be positioned above the foot of the bed, in the centre, so it’s out of the way of the room’s open space. Bedside lights can be used to create ambience at night. If you’re renovating or building, consider hanging a pendant or positioning a wall light above each bedside table. The light switch should line up vertically with the lights and sit 700mm from the floor so it’s higher than all bedside tables. Power points should also align with the lights, sitting just above the skirting board.

3. Always consider proportion

For a bedroom to work you need to think about proportion. Balance is created when all aspects of a room are in proportion with one another, so if your bed looks too big or your bedside tables look too small, they probably are. When you’re laying out your room, check the size of the bed – draw it on the wall or floor if you can. If your child’s bedroom is big, don’t push the single bed right into the corner. Leaving even a small amount of space (200mm) between the bed and an adjacent wall will allow you to make the bed more easily, as well as helping the room look in proportion, as your eye can drop behind the bed rather than hitting the wall and running up.

4. Add pattern

Pattern can add depth and interest to a room but should always be carefully considered. My rule of thumb is that duvet covers should be plain, with pattern added through pillows, cushions or throws.

A plain duvet gives a room a cohesive look, as your eye will more easily take in the whole room rather than fixing on a polarising duvet. If you love pattern, go wild with wallpaper to create a point of difference in a bedroom. In kids’ rooms it adds playfulness, while in a master bedroom it can create a feeling of luxury. For smaller spaces it’s best to use wallpaper on just one wall so as not to overwhelm the room.

5. Layer, layer, layer

Once the other elements are right, adding layers will take your room from plain to sophisticated. But this doesn’t just mean adding a couple of throw pillows. Try a quilt or sheepskin at the end of the bed or euro pillows propped up behind standard pillows. Varying the colour of the pillows creates depth and adds interest. Rugs also add an additional texture layer.

 

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