Six Ways to Remodel Your Bedroom—Without Actually Remodeling

Designers offer their best decorating ideas for furniture, lighting, the bedding and headboard.

Your bedroom is your sanctuary. It's the room where you retreat and recharge, get dressed each morning and unwind every night. Redesign a home for everything—from an extra blanket to the novel you've been meaning to read—and you'll be closer to a good nights' sleep.

red and blue floral patterned textiles in bedroom
Eric Piasecki

Rebecca Atwood, textile designer, agrees. "I recommend building a collection of bedding that you can rotate year-round," she says, as one revamping idea. "Patterns, textures, and colors that all go together—think a tight color palette or tonal textures. This way, no matter what's clean, it all goes together. Rotating your bedding means it will last longer, too." Here, we tapped our most trusted experts for their suggestions on turning the bedroom into your favorite room of the house.


When you choose the perfect bedding, it's mostly about the feel of it in your hands and against your skin. "The elements I look for is touch and feel—often correlated with thread count, but not entirely," explains Christina Bryant, founder of St. Frank, "finishing—handwork like flange, closures, and other details—and color or pattern." This touch-and-feel approach to shopping, Atwood agrees, is a matter of preference. "First, think about the material," she says. "It's very personal. If you like something crisp, go with a cotton percale. Silky? A cotton sateen. I also love a washed linen. There's something about the texture that feels so nice, and it's very breathable and cool."

Then, it's about layering: "Once you've got your sheeting down, play with pillowcases, a cotton coverlet, duvet, and throw," suggests Atwood. "You don't need all of those pieces all the time, but it's nice to have various layers depending on the seasons."


If a bed is the focal point of the room, its headboard is the framing structure. Customize your own at the recommendation of Decorist designer Carmen René Smith of Aquilo Interiors. "You can create any shape, size, height, fabric color, or thickness," she says. "Figure out your design, head to the hardware store and purchase some sheets of plywood—no thinner than 1/4 inch—a staple gun, drill, and some screws to attach the headboard to the wall. Next, head to the fabric store to pick up some rolls of foam—whatever thickness you want—hot glue, a glue gun, and a fabric that gives you butterflies. Then, put them all together and attach your headboard to the wall." The final effect is instant opulence.

Hanging Curtains, Pillows, and Upholstery

Consider new fabrics in the rest of the room, too. Upholstery, as Atwood suggests, can be used to recover a headboard, add a patterned bench to the end of your bed, or a chair in the corner. Another option? Window treatments. "If you want something airy, go with sheers; or for a cozy feeling, a textured woven," suggests Atwood. "A canopy is very romantic."

"Swapping out your decorative pillows makes for an instant upgrade," adds Bryant. "This doesn't have to be an elaborate change­—even a single long lumbar pillow on crisp sheets will do."

Wallpaper or Mural

For dramatic effect, a peel-and-stick wallpaper in pretty patterns or a bold wall mural makes a statement in the room—and can even transport you to a world of your dreams. "I always try to add a bit of fantasy in every room of my own home," says Smith. "During a time where we are unable to travel to distant places, it is really refreshing to have a fantasy room that feels like a holiday under your own roof."


Even in a room where our nighttime routines are the emphasis, lighting is a key element of design. A soothing ambience is often achieved with several kinds of lighting fixtures—an overhead light for general illumination, wall sconces on either side of the mirror for dressing, or a table lamp on the nightstand for reading, for example. A wall switch near the door should operate at least one of these sources of light, so you don't find yourself stumbling around in the dark. Decorist designer Baylee Floyd of Baylee Deyon Design says that adding a stately light fixture can instantly enhance your bedroom. Her pick of choice? "I love a good chandelier above the bed," she says. "This is an easy addition to add to your space to give it a more custom feel."

Furniture and Floor Space

For all but the most spartan sorts, a bedside table is a necessity. But you shouldn't limit yourself to an ordinary nightstand. A small dresser, desk, or set of nesting tables can serve as a splendid stand-in. Take a closer look at the details, too: Swapping out hardware or table legs are the type of special upgrades that give furniture a more custom-designed feel. "Add a vintage knob or pull to a more modern dresser for an eclectic blend of styles," recommends Smith. "Also, changing the furniture legs can create a fresh look. Adding a taller leg lifts the dresser off the ground to create a light and open feel. I always head to Pretty Pegs to find the cutest legs for my furniture pieces."

When planning a room's layout, don't limit yourself to empty floor space—think in new dimensions and you'll greatly increase your design opportunities. "My favorite thing to do is play musical chairs with the rugs in my house," says Floyd. "Normally in the living room and bedroom, you have at least an 8-by-10 or 9-by-12 size rug, so I love to switch up the rugs in these rooms to instantly make both spaces feel updated and new again." Don't feel limited by carpeting, either: "A lot of people also tend to think that because they have carpeting in their bedrooms, they can't have a rug—not at all true!" reassures Floyd. "I love to layer large vintage and fun patterned rugs over outdated bedroom carpet to give it that layered and cozy feel that will instantly refresh your space."

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