You know the tried-and-true advice for getting better sleep: Limit before-bed screen time, skip afternoon caffeine, stick to a schedule. It’s all effective, but only to a point—because your bedroom environment may actually be sabotaging your shut-eye. “The bedroom is becoming less of a sanctuary for sleep and more of a second living room, office, and kitchen,” says James Wyatt, PhD, director of the Section of Sleep Disorders and Sleep-Wake Research at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. And try as you might, it’s really hard to get decent sleep in Grand Central Terminal. So we tapped experts for advice on setting up a bedroom that promotes deep, restorative sleep and looks gorgeous, too. You’ll see those ideas in action in these three inspiring rooms. Nighty night.
Type of Bed
Upholstered headboards help muffle sleep-interrupting sounds. Interior designer Paige Schnell suggests using low-maintenance fabrics, like distressed leather or the easy-to-clean tweed options by Sunbrella.
Limit the mash-up of patterns in your bedroom by maxing out at two shams and one oversize lumbar pillow, says Schnell. Place a bench at the foot of your bed to catch those cushions at night, rather than tossing them on the potentially dusty floor.
Consider Your Artwork
Opt for soothing abstract pieces or landscapes, and avoid anything too contrasting or dramatic.
To buy: Paint: Solitude by Benjamin Moore (AF-545); benjaminmoore.com for info. Anemone by Denise Wong (framed art), $237; minted.com. Lula white and brass gourd table lamp, $70; lampsplus.com. Hampshire white nightstand, $299; landofnod.com. Herringbone indigo woven cotton rug, $588 (9 by 12 ft.); annieselke.com. Harbour bench, $898; serenaandlily.com. The Soft White Pleated bed skirt, $89 (queen); craneandcanopy.com. Butterfield duvet in ocean, $498 (queen), and standard sham, $144; matouk.com. Oscar/Oliver Theodora bolster throw pillow, $70; bedbathandbeyond.com. Tamsen Curve upholstered headboard, $1,149 (queen); potterybarn.com. The Real Sleep by Real Simple mattress, $995 (queen); realsleep.com. The Leesa bed frame; $125 (queen); leesa.com.
“The darker your bedroom is, the easier it can be to fall asleep, and the better your sleep quality will be,” says Wyatt. The light from a street lamp or the glow from a neighbor’s TV still filters through your closed eyelids. And exposure to light, even if it’s dim, can interfere with the secretion of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and your body’s internal clock.
These clutter zones can feel like a to-do list, and the resulting distraction makes it harder to sleep. Schnell recommends side tables that have at least one shelf (to stash a book or magazine) as well as one drawer or cabinet (to keep papers and personal items out of sight). Edit down the top of the table to a lamp, alarm clock, glass of water, and feel-good photo.
“Placing our bed against a wall where we have a clear view of the door and, if it’s feasible, the window can make us feel safer and alleviate worry that prevents complete relaxation,” says design psychologist Sally Augustin, PhD. Avoid backing your bed up against a window; drafts or blaring sun might disturb your slumber.
Define your sleep zone with the help of a soft area rug, suggests Augustin. It lends a cozy feel to the space, provides a warm landing pad for your feet, and helps buffer noise while you’re asleep. Opt for plush fibers—like soft wool or a wool blend—for maximum comfort.
No Phones, Please
Keep your device on sleep mode overnight and stash it out of sight in the nightstand drawer.
To buy: Paint: Magnolia Home in Ella Rose, from $42 per gallon; shop.magnoliamarket.com. Cotton Luster Velvet blackout curtain in platinum, $139 (96 in.); westelm.com. Vienna full-spectrum modern crystal column table lamp, $150; lampsplus.com. Parada upholstered panel headboard in beige, $270 (queen); wayfair.com. Mums hemstichedSupima percale sheet set in aqua mist, $178 (queen); garnethill.com. Fossil embroidered ivory decorative pillow, $116; annieselke.com. Jadeite velvet throw pillow, $10; worldmarket.com. Shelly round velvet pillow, $39; urbanoutfitters.com. The Valencia Porcelain Green pintuck duvet cover, $139 (queen); craneandcanopy.com. Forest Floor gray rug, $399 (5 by 8 ft.); landofnod.com. Celine Collection nightstand, $350; pier1.com.
According to believers in fengshui, a raised bed frame allows energy to easily flow underneath you, which leads to deeper slumber. Laura Benko, a fengshui expert in Brooklyn, New York, says that storing clutter in the space beneath your bed blocks that energy flow.
Instead of using bold patterns or colors, add personality by mixing up textures (like a chunky knit throw and embroidered pillows) in calming neutrals.
Keep It Natural
Organic materials elicit a sense of calm, so incorporate branches, plants, or fresh flowers into your space.
To buy: Paint: Emerald Interior in Gossamer Veil (SW 9165); sherwin-williams.com for info. Durango bed set with rails, $529 (queen); houzz.com. Wyatt sconce, $219; cedarandmoss.com. Emmerson reclaimed wood nightstand, $349; westelm.com. Venus hand-knotted wool viscose rug, $1,048 (5 by 8 ft.), and Trimaran stripe indoor/outdoor Wouf dog bed, from $98; annieselke.com. Scattered embroidered linen duvet cover, $498 (full/queen); coyuchi.com. Nublado throw, $395; the-citizenry.com. Bridge Street Siena oblong throw pillow in marshmallow, $40; bedbathandbeyond.com. Falling Leaves pillow, $229; rebeccaatwood.com. Randa indoor/outdoor pillow in taupe, $79; luluandgeorgia.com. Classic Core sheet set in cream, $129 (queen); brooklinen.com.