Ever since I was a kid my bedroom was my kingdom and my sanctuary. My bed is my island oasis in the sea of life’s complexities. I know there are others of you out there raising your hands in agreement right now.I call you my bedroom disciples – the rest of you settle in for a conversion because I’m preaching today from my list of 11 things to make your bedroom the perfect sanctuary.
Start by taking your bedroom more seriously – your good health and happiness may depend on it! I always find it surprising when I meet with clients who believe their bedroom is the least important room in their home. Of course I want to convert them to the holy realm of bedroom bliss.
You start and end your day in your bedroom – and yes open loft living is counted as your bedroom. The purpose of the room is to serve you, to nurture you and fuel you for the hard work of living in this busy crazy world. It is sacred. Creating a space that promotes calmness, physical intimacy, good sleep and overall rejuvenation is vital to your happiness, good health and good performance. Your brain does some pretty important work while you are sleeping and by creating a place to sleep deeply and allow this work to be done well is too important to ignore or postpone. Creating a space that supports the soul filling act of sleeping, reading and snuggling the people and pets you love is essential. If you don’t want to hear this from an interior designer then listen to Russell Foster, a circadian neuroscientist, in his Ted Talk ‘Why Do We Sleep?’.
How do you create this magical place? The following is a list to create a perfect sleep environment which coincidentally produces a perfect climate for all the other important bedroom activities. It is textbook symbiosis!
Let’s begin with a fun fact; you will spend about 1/3 of your life sleeping. Sleep is the most important thing you can do to be healthy both physically and mentally. Arianna Huffington’s thoughts on how the power of sleep can contribute to your everyday success is very compelling.
If at all possible have a door on your bedroom, ideally with a lock. The sense of your own private realm is very powerful. A door also helps with controlling sound and temperature, children and pets….
Temperature and light control:
A cool dark room is optimum for good sleeping. Assess your bedroom and find all possible ways to keep that room cool and dark when sleeping. Window treatments are a great way to do this. Lined drapes are the perfect window treatment for bedrooms. They are ideal for the acoustics in a room and fantastic insulators and light controllers. If you get lots of sun during the day close them before you leave home. This helps keep the room cool during the day. If drapes are not possible there are other window treatment options but when choosing one make sure to consider both light and temperature control. Sometimes two window treatments are required to achieve what you need in your room. Yes drapes are expensive, all window treatments are, assess the value, your health and wellness is absolutely worth it.
The Perfect Bed:
The perfect bed has a mattress that is comfortable for you. It is personal and never wrong if it fits your body and gives you a good night sleep. How often to replace the mattress is always up to you, when it isn’t comfortable any more – change it. Take good care of it, if the manufacturer says rotate it then do that. Keep it covered with a good dust mite resistant mattress pad. Don’t complain about your mattress, get a new one.
Get two sets of sheets and pillow cases that feel so good on your skin that unless it feels like your sheets you never want to have any other fabric near you.
Get pillows that are perfect for you and put dust mite pillow protectors on them. If your pillows aren’t fantastic and thrilling to put your head on then find pillows that are. They are out there and worth hunting for; do not settle for pancake crappy pillows. That is just wrong and unhealthy self-destructive behavior!
Duvets are better than comforters, mostly because of the covers that can be washed, often. Select a duvet that is perfect for you. At Good Space we are frequently faced with couple sleeping problems such as our clients Thrasher and Stillness who share a king size bed. For them we did two extra-long twin width duvets in simple duvet covers. Each of them has their own duvet and peace prevails. We covered the whole bed with a beautiful coverlet that conceals the two separate duvets. If you share your bed with a hottie or a chilly you can actually have your duvet in a half and half format. The duvet is lighter on one side for the hottie and heavier on the other for the chilly. Put this duvet in a beautiful soft cover and nobody knows except you!
Decorations on your bed:
Anyone who looks at the Good Space portfolio will see that we do put decorative pillows on the beds. However, I believe they should be kept to a minimum and ideally have a purpose. Like hiding the wrinkly sleeping pillows, anything else should be there to make you happy – like a beautiful fabric or a colour that delights you. Ideally it doesn’t take you long to make or unmake your bed.
The best bedrooms have great light control. You can manage the natural light with window treatments and the rest you do with fixtures. Put a dimmer on every switch that controls a light fixture in your bedroom. Great bedside lamps are important whether you read in bed or not. Choose dimmable lamps or add a cord dimmer. Lamps on dimmers are great for creating any mood you want to have in your bedroom. On the topic of electricity… there should always be an accessible outlet or extension cord or power bar by each side of the bed. It makes life so much easier for clocks and charging devices. If your lamps don’t come dimmable, put your bedside lamps on a cord like the Dimma cord dimmer switch from Ikea.
If you have piles of junk, dirty laundry or work stuff piled in your room then you are doing really awful things to you and your sacred space. Do what you need to do to put it right. Create systems, hire a professional organizer or a good interior designer but take care of yourself. Lack of storage is the frequent lament we hear from our Good Space clients. Storage systems are in abundance now and with some planning and attentive shopping, solutions are close at hand. Products like lift storage beds used to be a pricy custom option but are now offered at most furniture retailers. The growing awareness in the value of order combined with many of us living in smaller spaces has driven furniture manufacturers to respond to the demand. So, the excuse of not finding storage solutions is a weak reason for sleeping in chaos. Check out the Malm from Ikea for just under $400.
The Elephant In The Room…
The debate about a TV in the bedroom is one we meet often in our work in residential interior design. I personally fall on the no TV in my bedroom side of the debate, I drape a scarf or towel over the TV in hotel rooms…. and I realize for some people that having a TV in the bedroom is important to them. I believe the bedroom is a place of intimacy and peacefulness and a TV is an interloper and can destroy the connection to your quieter self and whoever is with you in your bedroom. I also realize that most people have a TV in their bedroom so I think some guidelines and agreed upon boundaries are a good way to deal with it. It is sad when two people share a bedroom and only one of them is comfortable, it entirely reverses what the bedroom is meant for.
Electronic Reading: As for device reading in bed, the news is not good. There are an increasing amount of studies concluding that reading on a tablet, smart phone or other device before bed is not only detrimental to your nights sleep but can mess with your health overall. For more on this check out this article on reading before bed from the Huffington Post.