There’s nothing more important at home than a cozy bedroom.
But what actually makes a bedroom feel cozy?
The exact definition of “cozy” varies from person to person, but it’s safe to say that paint color, flooring, lighting, furniture, bedding, curtains, decor and rugs all have a part to play. Each of these is important, as they all work together, adding up to a bedroom that invites you to curl up and take a nap.
Whether you’re looking to spruce up your primary bedroom or make a guest room feel more homey, here are 10 decorating ideas to help make your room feel extra cozy.
1. Paint color makes a room
A comfy cocoon doesn’t happen magically. It takes planning from the ground up. And the first step to imagining any room is paint color.
Paint color preferences are highly subjective. One person’s dream teal accent wall can be another person’s nightmare. But here’s where it gets fun. You get to be you in this most personal of spaces – the bedroom. And if it’s a space you share with a partner, both people’s tastes can be addressed if you really listen to each other and incorporate the other’s suggestions.
Start your paint color journey at your local hardware or paint store. I recommend using intuition to see which hues you’re most drawn to. Do the light blues speak to you? Or is a creamy white calling your name? Don’t be surprised if a dark burgundy is tugging on your heartstrings. Every color is beautiful if you see beauty in it.
If your idea of a cozy color scheme is off-white walls and pastel everything, go for it. Someone else may crave something dark brown and cave-like. Always consider the available light in your space. Is your bedroom dark or does it enjoy ample natural light? Keep in mind that a darker room may require going lighter on the walls.
Take all lifestyle and sleep patterns into account — after all the bedroom is your sleep space. Are you an early riser, do you love to read in bed, do you require total darkness to sleep deeply? Each consideration will inform your choice of wall color.
When it comes to finalizing your color palette, I recommend choosing three options and painting a 24” x 24” swatch of each color side by side (with some space in between) on a wall. See how the color changes at different times of day. Ceilings are easy in comparison, as most rooms benefit from a white ceiling -- it makes your ceiling appear higher.
2. Flooring, from the ground up
If you can change out flooring, think about what will give you that cozy feeling when you step out of bed in the morning.
Most people like the cozy comfort of a rug or carpet to ease the transition from sleeping to waking. If you have hard flooring, consider a soft rug under your bed. Even if you already have carpeting, you may want to add a rug to your room as a design element. Or switch out your carpet for a hardwood floor. Today’s options include many materials that mimic hardwood and are just as comfortable – but less expensive.
Primary or guest bedrooms with King size beds require at least an 8’ x 10’ size area rug. Measure if you’re not sure. A room with a Queen bed can usually support an 8’ x 10’ but sometimes needs something smaller (6’ x 9’ or 5’ x 8’).
Pro tip: Make sure your rug doesn’t compete with your bedding, so if you have a small-patterned rug, try a larger pattern mixed with a solid color in your bedding. Nothing adds a layer of cozy quite like a rug underfoot.
3. The bed — the star of the show
The star of the bedroom is always the bed. And it’s also the place where you can cozy up with your choice of bed material, bedding, colors, textures, styles and patterns.
Upholstered beds overtook wooden beds in popularity many years ago and are favored by many who seek a soft place to prop up while enjoying a bedtime read or catching up on emails from the coziest home office setting. To max out the cozy vibe, an upholstered bed is always a wise choice.
You can opt for a tall, tufted headboard with nailhead trim or a simple upholstered bed in linen or flax. Upholstered beds come with side rails and footboards, or you can be extra thrifty and choose an affordable stand-alone headboard. Keep in mind you’ll still need a bed frame as well as a bedskirt to hide your box spring.
4. Up the cozy factor with bedding
As important as the choice of bed, your bedding is the finishing touch and the place where you can really go to town and make your space feel cozy.
Nothing conveys a sense of soft coziness as much as layers of luxe bedding and throw pillows. Do you prefer a soft duvet instead of a top sheet? This trend is catching on, as a lot of people are discovering they love the free feeling of not being fully “tucked-in” by a top sheet. Do you love the look of multiple pillows on your bed? If so, you’re halfway to cozy heaven.
Pile on the fluff! There’s no reason to hold back. Just have a plan for how you want your pillowscape to look. Play around, there are no wrong combinations. This is all about what you love.
In our staging business, we pay a lot of attention to bedding, and our rule of thumb is to layer on multiple levels of comforters, blankets, pillows and knit throws to create a bed so sink-in-able that potential buyers can barely resist jumping on top of them (and believe me, they jump!)
Pro tip: Use two fluffy duvets on your bed. One that lays over your sheets/blankets and is folded back about 1/3 of the way down (to reveal the pretty sheets). Then fold the second fluffy duvet in thirds and put that at the foot of the bed. Add a small throw casually tossed at an angle on top of that. Go for a double layer of bed pillows stacked on top of each other, followed by two Euro shams (26” x 26”) and then two decorative pillows, one square and one lumbar size for the finishing touch.
5. Embrace soft lighting
Comforting, soft lighting is super important in bedrooms, as most people opt to use lamps on nightstands in place of overhead light fixtures. Consider lamps with a three-way switch so that you can adjust the brightness depending on the need.
A traditional look can be achieved with matching gourd or column lamps (try today’s on-trend conical lampshades to update any lamp base). If your style is more casual, many desk and task style lamps look great atop nightstands as well. They have the added convenience of being articulated so you can direct the glow where you want it.
6. Not just a one nightstand
I’m a believer in matching nightstands and lamps – even in very eclectic or boho spaces. It just feels right. Not to say we haven’t tried mismatching in our staging business, but generally a refined bedroom design can be had more easily if you go for the match. You can always experiment with two different nightstands if they feel visually balanced. A good rule of thumb is to mismatch either the nightstands or the lamps, but not both. Consider how you use nightstands.
At home, my nightstands have two ample drawers each and serve as additional storage. Maybe you want more of a design statement, in which case, open frame nightstands without drawers may be just the ticket. Leave room on top for a ring tray, a place to set a cup of tea or coffee and some good nighttime reads.
7. Add some storage and extra space for decor
Even with today’s walk-in closets, some of us need the additional clothing storage a dresser offers. If your bedroom is large enough, a long, low dresser is the best choice (especially for a primary bedroom or any room with a King bed).
Your dresser top affords you additional space for a glowy lamp, some décor and books, and maybe a framed photo or two. Up the cozy factor by adding a large basket next to your dresser stuffed with wool throws as an extra bed layer for chilly nights.
8. Have a seat
If you have enough room for a chair in a bedroom or even a bench at the foot of the bed, count yourself as lucky. And what better way to conjure up the feeling of a rainy afternoon hideout? There’s nothing cozier than enjoying a cup of tea in your own personal reading nook.
Even if you have a small bedroom and don’t think you have space, you may be surprised. Measure your chair and the available space and put a piece of blue painter’s tape on the floor to signify each corner of the chair. Make sure there’s enough room to walk around it. If the numbers work, you can squeeze it into a corner and amplify your coziness big time. If a chair isn’t in the cards, try a bench at the foot of your bed. It can also hold a small stack of books or an extra throw blanket.
9. Make your bedroom a gallery of things you love
In our staging and home design business, we almost always place art over the bed. Sometimes it’s a square piece of art or a round mirror or medallion. If your headboard is very tall, you may not need art, but in most bedrooms, a striking piece is called for.
On other walls, we like to place two artworks of the exact same size together side by side, or one large piece of framed art. We’ve also used wall hangings, textiles and macrame for their cozy factor — if you’re a craft person you can DIY some wall hanging for an extra personal touch.
For a cohesive look, match the colors in your art to your bedding. It will lull you into a nice zen space – and that’s what a cozy room is all about.
Art in a bedroom should be the proper size (many people use art that’s too small) and hung so that the center of the art sits at the average person’s eye level. This means that for many sizes of art you’ll want the top of the frame to sit at 6’ so that the center falls level to your eyes. If your ceilings are higher than average, add a few inches to your hanging height.
As for room decor, keep it simple. A vase of greenery, an interesting object or candle and a stack of large books on a dresser are all you need. On nightstands, a scented candle jar, small bouquet of flowers, water glass, a tray to set reading glasses and a couple of books should do.
10. Mother nature calling
We love the look of a tree — either real or faux — in a bedroom. If you have tall ceilings (bonus cozy living points if you have ceiling beams), you can place an olive tree or fiddle leaf fig in a pot inside a basket and it transforms your room, bringing in nature and a sense of peace.
If you’re working with a small space, there’s almost always room for a plant in a stand. Look for tropicals like Monstera plants for that vacation vibe or a lemon tree for the traditionalist.
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