How to Get the Bedroom of Your Dreams

One of greatest moments of a protracted, hectic day typically comes at the very finish, if you fall into mattress, pull up the covers and drop off to sleep.

Unless, of course, your bed room is an uninviting mess.

A poorly chosen paint shade you’d slightly overlook, an uncomfortable rug underfoot and the glare of streetlights outdoors are just a few of the issues that may conspire to create a room you’d slightly keep away from — the reverse of a super surroundings for deep sleep.

“Our bedroom environment is probably the most modifiable factor that can influence our sleep health,” mentioned Natalie Dautovich, an assistant professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University and the environmental fellow for the National Sleep Foundation, which has declared March eight the starting of Sleep Awareness Week. “There are things we can do to improve the bedroom that will help us to fall asleep more easily, return to sleep when we wake up during the night and stay asleep until our desired wake time.”

Specifically, “the ideal bedroom environment is dark, quiet and cool — very cavelike, in a sense,” Dr. Dautovich mentioned.

But by including consolation and a sense of safety, we are able to do significantly better than a cave. For tips about how to design a restful bed room, we consulted designers and scientists.

When your goal is to create a comforting surroundings, the bed room is just not the place to experiment with dazzling patterns or daring colours like lime inexperienced or fiery orange.

“I like to make bedrooms super calm,” mentioned Timothy Godbold, an interior designer in Southampton, N.Y., who favors a crisp palette of whites and light grays with few, if any, pops of bright color. “My clients tend to be super busy people who work a lot, so when they go to bed, they want to clear their minds.”

But the look and feeling of velvet isn’t its only asset — it also helps keep the room quiet. “It’s dead silent,” she said, “because of the acoustical quality of the velvet on top of the cotton batting.”

An economical way of achieving a similar effect is to use wallpaper with the look of fabric. In some of her projects, Ms. Pickart has used Suede Lounge wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries, which looks and feels like natural suede once it has been installed.

An easy way to make a room with wood floors quieter and more inviting is to add carpet.

“We always love a carpet in a bedroom,” said Lee Cavanaugh, a design partner at Cullman & Kravis. “It’s nice to be able to step out of bed and not just feel a cold wood floor.”

The softer the carpet the better, since it’s a place where you’ll often be barefoot. When the budget allows, “we like to use a carpet with silk in it, because that’s really soft,” Ms. Cullman said. But there are a number of pleasing options that are less expensive, including rugs made from wool, cotton and other natural fibers.

Usually, designers install a wall-to-wall carpet or a large area rug that extends under the bed and other furniture, leaving a border of exposed wood around the edges of the room.

The choice comes down to the desired look, as well as the layout of the room, Mr. Cunningham said. Often, he said, if there is a walk-in closet or dressing room adjacent to the bedroom, “we’ll do wall-to-wall, just so it can run into the closet.”

“Light is the most dominant cue for our circadian sleep-wake system,” Dr. Dautovich said, so controlling the illumination from windows is important.

The easiest way to reduce the light from outside — whether it’s from the moon, an early sunrise, streetlights or the headlights of passing cars — is with blackout shades or curtains that have a blackout lining.

“The way the sun rises at dawn is particularly powerful. The gradual onset of light cues the body to suppress melatonin and start feeling alert,” Dr. Dautovich said. “If your desired wake time is after dawn, then blackout curtains can help with that.”

Of course, bedrooms aren’t used solely at night. Most people also want privacy and some light control during the day, without having to make the room completely dark. Many designers use multiple layers of window coverings that might include blackout shades inside the window and sheer curtains over top.

Cullman & Kravis frequently goes one step further and installs blackout and solar shades inside the top of each window, and then a decorative treatment, like embroidered curtain panels, over the window casing, for a softer appearance.

In bedrooms with many windows, Mr. Godbold recommended installing motorized shades that can be raised and lowered with the push of a button (or smartphone tap), from a company like the Shade Store or Hunter Douglas.

“You don’t necessarily have to have electrical wires in your walls” near the window casings, he said. “There are a lot of battery-operated ones that are really good.”

A platform or a four-poster bed? A soft or firm mattress? Many pillows or just a few?

When designing the centerpiece of the bedroom, so much comes down to personal preference and sleep habits. But there are some rules of thumb.

In general, “our mattress height is usually around 24 or 25 inches,” Mr. Cunningham said, although some people may like it a few inches lower. To avoid ending up with a bed that’s uncomfortably high, he said, consider how the height of the bed frame, box spring and mattress will add up when shopping for components.

For a reassuring sense of enclosure, Mr. Cunningham often uses four-poster beds in his projects. (He has also designed an upholstered model of his own, which he sells through his Manhattan showroom, Marked.)

It’s also possible to create the illusion of a four-poster bed, if you don’t want to splurge for one. In a house in Greenwich, Conn., Mr. Cunningham installed a ceiling-mounted drapery rail above the bed, with long, sheer curtains that can encircle it and park at the four corners when open.

As for choosing a mattress, Ms. Pickart stressed the importance of trying out several mattresses in person to find your preferred comfort level, rather than taking a chance with an online order. “It’s something that you return to every day to recover and prepare for the next day,” she said. “You really have to take your time and find the right thing.”

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