5 Interior Design Mistakes to Avoid in Your Bedroom

bedroom interior design

Did you know you spend about 1/3 of your life in your bedroom? And if your boudoir doubles as your office (a no-no I can’t really scold since I do it myself), you likely spend even more. As an interior designer, I’m often surprised at how little effort people give a room in which they spend so much time.

If you’re frustrated with the design of your bedroom but don’t know where to start, try correcting these 5 basic interior design mistakes. Then, get ready to wake up in a whole new way!

MISTAKE #1: Not Planning for What You See When You First Wake Up


gwens morning viewLay down in your bed, close your eyes, and then reopen them. What do you see? A desktop full of work items you need to do that day? A pile of laundry? A chair you can’t see because it’s full of clothes?

Or, do you see a bouquet of flowers, your favorite art, a view of your garden or the even the sky?

Try this to start creating serenity in your bedroom:

Find a place where you can create beauty and calm to greet you in the morning. When I needed to incorporate my office into my bedroom, I made sure very little of my desk was visible from my bed. And when it is, I see a vignette of beautiful things first.



MISTAKE #2: Not Enough Variety in Lighting


Modern Bedroom Style Interior

This happens all the time: I walk into a bedroom and the only lighting is a harsh, ceiling light-fixture and a high-voltage lamp next to the bed. It’s not romantic, serene or soft.

Lighting is challenging to select because there are so many factors to consider. When I work with my interior design clients, I guide them through the maze of choices to create an effect that’s just right for them.

Try this for an instant improvement to your bedroom:

Incorporate three (yes, 3!) types of lighting into your bedroom. Options include: task, overhead, ambient, spot lights, up lights, reading, decorative, under cabinet, lamps, and many more.

MISTAKE #3: Not Considering Proper Storage



People hire me because when their friends and family come over for a visit they have to clear out the ‘public’ spaces and dump everything they cleared out into another room. They hope no one mistakes that other room for the bathroom, otherwise they’re busted!

Try these tools to keep your bedroom presentable.

  • Use a closet organizing system like Elfa from The Container Store. Closet design is a specialized skill. To get the most out of a system, it’s worth hiring an expert. (This month’s newsletter links to one of my favorite closet organizing tools. If you’re not on that list, join for exclusive tips and resources).
  • Use one of these versatile under-bed storage boxes for shoes, bedding, seasonal clothes, even office supplies.

MISTAKE #4: Not Creating a Relaxing and Serene Environment


Modern bedroom

Do you walk into your bedroom and feel relaxed? If not, what does ‘relaxing’ and ‘serene’ look like or feel like to you?

To a recent client of mine, serene meant soft colors, luxurious bedding, an area rug to sink her feet into and peaceful and calming artwork. To those basics I added texture, warmth and interest by selecting a side table with bit of bronze on it, subtle wall covering, and a tall fabric-style headboard to her bedroom like this one from Crate & Barrel.

bed with headboard

Try using a headboard instead of artwork above your bed. In earthquake country like San Francisco, we shouldn’t have heavy or glass artwork above our beds. Using a tall headboard is a good substitute.





MISTAKE #5: Not Considering Scale


scaleSelecting furniture that’s the right scale for your room is tricky. Everything looks the same size online. And when you’re in a store it’s difficult to visualize how a piece’s actual size will feel in your room.

Try this interior design tip I use to help my clients understand scale:

Lay out the furniture on the floor with blue tape. Measure the piece you want to buy and tape the width and length in a rectangle on the floor. You’ll have a much better sense of the piece in the space.


How I Can Help You


gwenIf all of this sounds overwhelming, time consuming, or unimaginable I can help you create a beautifully serene bedroom. As an interior designer focused on the San Francisco area, I can also help with challenges unique to small spaces – like creating the perfect bedroom when it doubles as your office!

Not sure about what it’s like to work with an interior designer? Look over the basic steps I take with my clients so you know what to expect. Or, to get a sense of how I work, read through mini stories about interior design, organizing and moving from my clients’ point of view.

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