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8 bedroom decorating mistakes you should avoid

Given how much time you spend in your bedroom, you want it to be top-notch! To ensure your bedroom is as stylish and functional as possible, avoid these eight common design mistakes that the pros will quickly catch.

Too coordinated

A one-size-fits-all look just isn't what designers are looking for in the bedroom. “Mixing textures and patterns adds depth and personality,” explains Elle Cole, founder of Elle Cole Interiors in Dallas, Texas. Jewel Marlowe, founder of Jeweled Interiors in Fairfax Station, Virginia, echoes similar sentiments. “There's no need to buy the entire bedding set in one bag,” she says. “You might even be happier mixing and matching pillows in different sizes and patterns, a separate comforter set or a bedspread. It's an opportunity to have fun and be creative.”

Designers say this is true for matching bedroom furniture, too. “It can completely take away the character of a room,” says Divya Vaswani, founder of Divya Vaswani Interiors in Atlanta, Georgia. “Not only is there too many pieces of furniture and it looks cluttered, it also doesn't allow for a creative, unique flow for the bedroom.”

Overcrowding of the room

Your bedroom should never be overcrowded with furniture, whether it's big or small. “Resist the urge to have too many accessories and let the room breathe,” advises Cole. Make sure your bed is the focal point of the room, advises Debbie Mathews, founder of Debbie Mathews Antiques & Designs in Nashville, Tennessee. “I often tell my clients that the bed should be the center of the ball and the center of attention.”

Decorating with too much color

Going bold in the bedroom isn't always the best choice. “I've seen a lot of bedrooms that really incorporate a lot of intense color through paint and wallpaper, and I'm just not a fan of that kind of design work for a bedroom,” says Sara Swabb, the founder of Storie Collective in Washington, D.C. “This room should be designed with peace and quiet in mind, ideal for relaxing and sleeping.” That doesn't mean you have to forgo color altogether, Swabb adds, but she recommends a softer approach.

Don't pay attention to the scale

If a nightstand isn't nearly the same height as the top of the mattress, a bedroom can look a little odd, Swabb notes. “Not only does it look odd, but it also compromises the functionality of the nightstand,” she says. Size is also important when it comes to flooring. “A rug that's too small can act like a stamp in the room, drawing the eye to the center instead of enhancing the space and making it feel larger but warm at the same time,” says Whitney Durham, founder of Whitney Durham Interiors in Atlanta.

Underbed for your bed

Make sure your bed is outfitted with the right amount of linens and pillows. “I always recommend at least two layers of sleeping pillows, one layer of throw pillows and a bed-sized blanket or bedspread for a classic, full look,” says Kevin O'Gara, founder of Kevin Francis Design in Atlanta. Go all out and buy linens that you'll actually enjoy using every night. “Wait until your favorite brand goes on sale and you'll be thankful,” says Vaswani. “Good linens can be expensive, but there's something magical about slipping into the most luxurious sheets at night. It instantly upgrades your room.”

Neglect of lighting conditions

Make sure your bedroom is well-lit and avoid harsh overhead lights. Instead, opt for “soft, layered lighting,” suggests Cole. O'Gara agrees. “I really believe that overhead lighting should be avoided in bedrooms (especially at night), so it's especially important to provide enough ambient light throughout the room so you don't have to turn on overhead lights in the evening,” he says. If you're a bookworm, provide reading-friendly lighting next to the bed. “I often recommend wall lights with swing arms that are adjustable so you can read in many different bed positions,” says Mathews.

ALISON GOOTEE; Styling by Dakota Willimon


Skip a fan

Instead of installing a ceiling light, opt for a fan! “Sleep, good sleep, is one of the best things we can do for ourselves, so opt for a fan if it helps you do that,” says Liza Nicole Angelucci, founder of Liza Nicole Interiors in Greenville, Delaware. “Tip: buy one that blends in with the ceiling, and if your ceiling is painted, buy a white fan and have it painted to match.”

Save on window treatments

Another way to get the best sleep possible is to invest in quality window treatments. “You should always make sure you have a blackout solution available for guests or people who don't sleep well and need total darkness to sleep,” says Erin Paige Pitts, founder of Erin Paige Pitts Interiors in Annapolis, Maryland, and Delray Beach, Florida.