8 Ways to Create a Sleep Sanctuary
To make your bedroom an (ultra-functional) picture of bliss, follow the decorating pros’ M.O.’s.
In the market for a new one? If your ceiling is a standard height (8 to 10 feet), look for a style that's 45 to 54 inches from the floor to the top. (This applies to rectangular headboards; arched versions can be taller in the middle.) You want enough height to be able to lean back, but there should be no more than one foot of headboard above the tallest pillow; otherwise any art will be pushed too high. An upholstered version adds a nice layer of texture and is the most comfortable type for sitting up in bed.
Nightstands that are the height of the bed or an inch or two lower—generally 24 to 27 inches high—look best. If you want to try a mismatched pair of tables, make sure both are the same height or within two inches of each other. A surface that's at least 18 inches deep allows you to fit a lamp plus an object or two, like a clock, a stack of books, or a vase.
A bench at the foot of the bed helps a room feel pulled-together (and provides a curl-up spot for kids who “can't sleep”). But if you don't have at least three feet of space between the bench and the opposite wall, you're better off skipping it, to keep the room from feeling crowded. Avoid a dinky bench: It should fill about two-thirds the width of the bed.
The wall area above the bed is prime real estate for art. But because it's such a prominent spot, a piece that’s too puny or one that’s overwhelmingly large can ruin the room. Art that fills about two-thirds of the space above the bed both vertically and horizontally is pretty much no-fail.
To unify two very different bedside tables, top them with a pair of matching lamps. A drum-style shade is always a safe bet—the clean shape will never feel dated.
Like reading in bed? The bottom of the nightstand lamp's shade should be 13 to 15 inches above the surface of the mattress to give you the best light.
Toss a cozy throw over your duvet during the winter. (A twin-size bed blanket works just as well as one that’s labeled a “throw.”) In the warmer months, keep the throw on a chair in the room instead, just like you would toss one over the back of a sofa.
If you want your feet to land on a cozy spot when you swing them off the bed, stay away from sisal and seagrass rugs, which are rough to the touch; your best bet is a plush wool or cotton option. In terms of sizing, the ideal floor covering gives you at least 20 inches of rug on all three sides of the bed—any less looks cramped and awkward.