Mastering the Master Bedroom

Mastering the Master Bedroom


Interior design by MAS Design.

Easy ideas for creating an oasis of style and calm.

It’s the first room you see in the morning; it’s the last you see at night. And if you get the recommended eight hours of sleep a day, it’s also likely the space where you spend the most time. So why is the master bedroom often the last to get any decorating love?

They’re not public-facing by nature, so it’s understandable to feel like changes made here aren’t as important as ones made in the rest of the house. But a great bedroom can change the way you feel about your home. Here’s how to transform yours into an oasis of style and calm.

First, assess the current state of affairs. What words would you use to describe the room now? If jumbled, chaotic, and messy come to mind, a thorough cleaning is in order. Fold the laundry pile, hang up that workbag, and put away your shoes. Make a commitment to doing so regularly, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much calmer the space will feel.

Next, examine your lighting. You’ll want focused light for reading, so good bedside lamps or sconces are a must. Ambient lighting can come from a pretty table lamp, and your dresser likely provides the perfect spot. Remember, too, that good bedroom lighting isn’t created solely by what you add: What you keep out is just as important. If you like to sleep in total darkness, you’ll want to use curtains or blinds with a blackout lining. If you prefer to wake with the sun, treatments lined with translucent cotton are a better bet.

Textiles are an integral part of any good bedroom design. So ask yourself what fabrics suit you best. Sateen makes for smooth bedding, but it can feel a little warm. Percale is always cool and crisp to the touch, though it’s not quite as soft. And if you don’t mind a few wrinkles, consider linen. It’s always breathable and soft, and this designer finds its rumpled hand to be the height of chic.

With your bedding in place, it’s time to talk decoration. Bedrooms don’t need much: a pretty piece of art or two is usually enough. In fact, when it comes to creating a restful space, less is always more. So if you’ve got an empty corner, resist filling it with another piece of furniture, like a chair or chaise. It will be a magnet for the clutter you worked so hard to banish at the start. Better to go with an indoor tree, like a ficus or a fiddle leaf fig. It will offer a lovely burst of green, and your messy spouse will have a hard time using it for hanging up his or her coat.

Go forth and give your bedroom some love. A pretty space will set you up for a positive day and make you feel glad when you lay down your head at night. No other room can do the same.


Sarah Coombs is an interior designer based in Alameda.