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  • Writer's pictureEvie Polkadot

The Seven Deadly Sins of Bedroom Design

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

We've all heard of the Seven Deadly Sins from the Bible, but do you know the Seven Deadly Sins of Bedroom Design? Well, I'm here to tell you what they are and why you need to take note of them for a better design future.

Your bedroom is the most important room in the house for both your physical and mental wellbeing, so it is essential that this room serves you well. So, let's look into the Seven Deadly Sins of Bedroom Design to ensure that you don't make mistakes which cost you dearly!

Deadly Sin No.1: Fear of Colour

Fear of colour is limiting. It binds you to a non-imaginative bedroom and that, in my opinion, is one of the deadliest sins there could be! Because, a bedroom without imagination is tragic.

Your bedroom should inspire you, no matter what age you are. When you wake up in the morning, your bedroom is the first thing you see; before you've even had time to process your thoughts, that bedroom around you is working its way into your subconscious and feeding your brain with vital information to start you off in the day ahead. And so, you want those thoughts to be stimulating, positive and uplifting; you want to start your day feeling ready to create, motivated to achieve and encouraged to succeed.

Waking up in a bedroom that is tired, lack-lustre and void of imagination will reflect in your mood and start you off on the wrong foot; if the first thing you see in the morning is a room that makes you sigh, that sigh will ripple itself through your emotions and right into your core. You're more likely to start your day feeling demotivated, groggy and lacking in mental stimulation and that won't serve you well at all!

That's not to say a neutral room can't be inspiring and motivational for some of us; Scandinavian design is all about 'Hygge' - the art of creating a cosy, content atmosphere - and that is all about neutrality; but, you'll find that Scandi design incorporates warm woods, homely fabrics and plant-life for added depth, texture and warmth. It all adds up when creating a neutral design, to bring in colour elsewhere.

Of course, being afraid of adding colour to your bedroom will also affect your desire to want to go to bed in the evenings, too. As children, we dread bedtime, because it means we have to close down for the day and fear we're going to miss out on something more exciting downstairs, so it's important to create a bedroom for children that they love to spend time in and that encourages them to go easily at bedtime. Adding in pretty nightlights - moving images, projected onto the ceiling, gentle music to send them to sleep, or soothing scents can all help to wind them down gently and distract them from whatever is going on outside of their bedroom.

On the contrary, as adults, we love our beds; but when our bedroom isn't doing it for us, bedtime is something we can often drag out, even if we're really tired. We like to feel rested in the evenings; after a long day at work, we want to feel cosy, comforted and indulged - and sometimes, we get that feeling more, watching TV in our dimly lit lounge, on our squishy sofa, than we do in our boring bedrooms.

And so, it is really important to make sure our bedroom entices us into it in the evenings; decorating it in our favourite colours and filling it with our favourite patterns is exactly what we should all be doing in our bedrooms in order to make us want to go to bed - to get the proper rest that we all need!

And let's not forget that our bedrooms serve us in more ways than just being a place to sleep at night; for those of us in relationships - or enjoying the single life to the fullest - our bedrooms also need to inspire us to be romantic and passionate! Creating an ambience is essential if you want your bedroom to help you to fulfil your desires - whatever those desires may be.

So, let me help you to stop being afraid of colour! Colour can enhance your life in so many ways and if you're avoiding it, because you're unsure of where to start and how best to use it - then get in touch! I'm sure I can put an end to those fears for you.

Please note: if you have the actual fear of colour, otherwise known as Chromophobia, please don't feel targeted by this tongue-in-cheek judgement; and please get some help... life is so much better with colour!

Deadly Sin No.2: Forgetting the Floor & Ceiling

Gone are the days when it was suitable to finish our bedrooms by throwing down the cheapest, ugliest carpet we could find - and so are the days when painting the ceiling white was the only option we had. These days we are all far more adventurous and conscious of our design choices; we have come far too far to make do with scratchy, beige office carpets and boring white ceilings in our bedrooms; we. need. comfort! We. need. excitement!

Crack open that tin of yellow, red, or blue paint and create a Big Top ceiling in your child's bedroom! Let go of your inhibitions and paint your ceiling the same colour as the walls! Relax - and realise you can make your ceiling more interesting! You are allowed to paint it with colour!

When we think of a cube, we say it has six sides, right? So, why do we always think of our bedrooms as only having four surfaces to think about? Four walls..? Why do we forget to think about the floor and the ceiling? Why do we think, floor = carpet, ceiling = light fitting - and that's it?

If you're still stuck in the past when it comes to these two forgotten, but equally important surfaces, then let me help you! Let me open your mind to the possibilities, opportunities and options out there, to make your bedroom so much more interesting than it already is!

When you wake up in the morning and you open your eyes, what do they see ahead of them? This question is especially for you back-sleepers out there; do your eyes open up and focus on a pure white, heavenly bright vision? Do you wonder for a moment if you've crossed over in the night and are making your way through that tunnel of light we all hear about? Or do they open up and focus on a soft pastel, a dark hue, or a riot of pattern? Perhaps the reflection of light on a metallic surface, or the depth of texture from a wooden feature; or even your own, beautiful reflection first thing in the morning..?

When you get out of bed, what do your feet feel beneath them? Do they feel cold, hard flooring? Maybe they feel rough, flat carpet fibres? Or do they, in fact, feel the cosy, soft depth of a full fibre rug, the warmth of underfloor heating, or a luxurious carpet..? I know what I'd prefer to be stepping on when I'm still feeling tired and trying to wake up!

We have so may options these days when it comes to making the most of our floors; there is a myriad of choice available, from LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tiles), to laminate flooring and hardwood, as well as other materials, such as bamboo, cork or tile; carpets made from natural plant fibres or a more luxurious Saxony, deep pile - and of course, rugs of all styles, sizes and textures - layered, or laid alone.

Our ceilings can be painted, wallpapered, or made more of a feature with wood, tin tiles, mirrors, gold leaf, lighting, or any other material! You just need the vision to make it happen!

Deadly Sin No.3: Bad Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important parts of design; it can be the entire difference between good design and a terrible job.

There is so much to learn about lighting; it's a vast and somewhat complicated part of interior design and is a category filled with options and guidelines. No more is lighting all about a single pendant on the ceiling and a lamp in the corner; it is about ambience, task, accent and decoration - setting the mood, getting things done, lighting things up and making a statement.

Ambient Lighting

This is the lighting used to light up the entire room - the ceiling light, or 'general' lighting in the space. This form of lighting should be even in level, should be controlled completely independently from any other light source in the room and should allow for safe navigation through the space.

Task Lighting

This is the lighting you use whenever you're completing a task; whether it be a lamp on the bedside table so you can read your book at night, a light-up mirror for getting ready in the morning, or lighting in the wardrobe so you can see your clothes clearer - this lighting assists you to complete your tasks with ease. The temperature of task lighting is an important factor, too. We'll discuss this further in a moment.

Accent Lighting

This is the lighting you need if you're looking to highlight a certain feature in the room; for example, picture lighting hanging above a piece of artwork, or a little light set inside a cabinet to show off a collection of items. Accent lighting helps to draw attention to a particular area in the room and it shines around three times more light on one area as you can achieve using ambient lighting alone.

Decorative Lighting

Just as the name implies, decorative lighting is there to look good, catch the eye and make a statement. Whether it be a fancy floor lamp, a beautiful table lamp, or a sparkly chandelier, decorative lighting is there to bring your scheme together and make your design more attractive.

So, now you know the types of lighting there are to think about, let's have a look at how you can use them in your bedroom; and it's all about 'layered lighting'.

Ceiling Lighting

Personally, I love a pendant light! Many people discard the old pendant light these days in favour of modern down-lighting; but these are often placed in a 'grid formation' and can be too clinical and formal - especially in a bedroom. Using down-lights in specific areas can work well though, such as in any little nooks or alcoves, but a much more attractive and cosy way to add a modern, recessed 'blanket lighting' is to have a shadow-gap installed - and then add a pendant light for a more decorative purpose. These can be connected to the same switch, so that they come on together, but one piece of advice we always always give is, use a dimmer switch!

A dimmer switch allows you to control the amount of light in the room, so that, if you need to turn the light on in the middle of the night, you aren't faced with glaring light hurting your eyes; it also allows for a cosier atmosphere when you need it.

Lamps and Bedside Lighting

Lamps are the epitome of cosy, evening lighting - and there is so much choice these days for creating a cosy mood.

Whether you have table lamps, floor lamps, wall sconces or low hanging pendants at your bedside, it is important to have some smaller lighting options in the bedroom. If you read at night, you'll need a lamp to light your pages; but it isn't all about reading in bed. That's right, my fellow lovers; it is also about creating that romantic atmosphere!

Laying in bed with your significant other will also call for low lighting; you want to see one another whilst you engage in that all-important pillow talk, right? Placing lamps across the room on dressers and dressing tables, or having a table lamp in a darkened corner is a great way to bring a cosy atmosphere to your room; placing lamps behind mirrors, or other tall objects is also a nice way to create a glow without seeing the entire light.

Temperature is Key!

Getting the temperature of your lighting right is an essential factor to the mood you will create in your bedroom. Although a cool white light is great for task lighting, it isn't really the right temperature for a bedroom; it is far too sterile and much better used in a kitchen... or a factory! A soft white light, however, can be used for ambience and task lighting and allows for the warmer tones you need to create a homely atmosphere.

I recently attended an interesting talk on lighting with Fritz Fryer Lighting at Clerkenwell Design Week; Fritz Fryer recommend we use between 300 and 400 lumens per square metre in the bedroom, with task lighting reaching between 700 and 800 lumens. This allows for a welcoming glow, whilst also giving you enough light to read, write and study in the bedroom, if needed.

In an article I found online, Alex Alonso recommends not going over 2700 kelvin in the bedroom; this gives a nice amber glow. Alex states that if you must have more light in your bedroom, then you could go up to 3000 kelvin, whilst using no more than 3 bulbs on your pendant light for a smaller room.

*Low kelvin = warm light

*High kelvin = cool light

(Daylight at noon = approx. 5500 kelvin).

Deadly Sin No.4: Getting Sucked into Trends

We all get a little pulled in by a trend; especially if, like me, you find the trend before it becomes a trend! It's all too easy to be swayed into buying tons of the one thing you absolutely love when it suddenly becomes popular and all the shops start to sell it. But..!

One day, that trend will fall out of favour; you will end up sick of the sight of that one thing you love because now, everybody has it. You'll want to get rid of the two hundred variations of this one thing everyone now has, but so will everybody else... until the next trend begins!

All trends do for us is spend our money, give us homes that look just like everybody else's, make us bored of the items and, in turn, make landfill even larger than it already is. So, let's not be sucked into trends!

Take a moment to really appreciate who you are. Think deeply about what makes you, you! What are the things you love... like, really love? What colours speak to you? Which pieces of art make your heart sing? Which fabrics does your skin love to feel most? What are your favourite memories, or your favourite places? Where do you get inspiration? What motivates you to get going, or makes you feel romantic?

All of these things make up the person you are; and this is where you need to start when designing your dream space. Remember - your bedroom is the one room in your house that is truly yours! It's your private space; the one room nobody else shares with you - unless you have a partner, of course and then it needs to be made up of both of you.

Fill your rooms with memories, one-off pieces that mean something to you. Antiques handed down, souvenirs from your travels. Mix these things with a few newer pieces; invest in items that will last a lifetime. You'll never regret choosing something carefully, or keeping something with sentimental meaning.

Deadly Sin No.5: Forgetting the Windows

Dressing windows correctly can really add a sense of drama, romance, imagination and glamour to your bedroom; whilst forgetting to add finer details to your windows can leave them feeling clinical, industrial, cold and void of detail.

Of course, there are windows out there that are an art all by themselves; Crittall, for example, are absolutely stunning without the need for fancy frills or cover-ups - but Crittall are an entirely different matter - and they are very industrial in style. Here, we're discussing every other window.

Before you choose your window treatments, you need to bear in mind the amount of natural, ambient light your room gets; you definitely don't want to make a dark space even darker if you can help it.

I am a huge fan of sheer curtains, whether they be voile, lace, or linen; a sheer curtain, for me, adds an air of mystery and a lot of romance - especially to a bedroom.

Seeing a sheer drape billowing in the breeze of an open window, with the sunlight passing through it, casting equally-sheer shadows on the walls, floor and ceiling - and the sweet sounds of nature beyond is one of the idyllic visions my mind conjures up every time I design a bedroom. I just love the 'Wuthering-Heights-slash-Dorothy-Draper-style-Nurse-Ratchet-slash-moody-music-video' vibes they bring to mind. Floaty, sheer curtains are one of those symbols I remember seeing a lot back in my childhood on television and they often symbolised innocence, love, heartbreak, mystery, eeriness and even danger in a multitude of things - but I loved that image every time and it still fills me with excitement today. Some things just never change!

So, sheers are something I will always recommend to my clients, because they allow the natural light to flood the room and they go with so many different design choices; it's all in the styling!

You can add a black out blind, or curtains if you want to block the light out at night, or you can use day/night blinds to filter the sunlight a little more. You could also use window films if your bedroom window gets too much sunlight; these options will help to cool the room, as well as diffusing the light, so not to be too disturbed or distracted.

When creating a dramatic window, I love to use double curtain poles; this allows me to hang sheers on the inner pole and heavier, bold and beautiful curtains in front. It creates drama, elegance and character - and it usually looks stunning!

Box pelmets, tassels and pom-pom trims are all wonderful for adding a pop of colour, or a bright contrast to your curtains, too!

Don't forget your windows!

Deadly Sin No.6: Skimping on Bedding

Firstly, I know decent bedding is expensive and that it's hard to pay out a lot of money when you just don't have it - I can totally relate! And I completely understand that telling you to spend out when you may not have that option is going to be frustrating to read - but hear me out!

I've mentioned before that we spend 1/3 of our lives in bed; if you were 81 years old, that's approximately 27 years spent lying in your bed sheets, on your mattress, in your bed! That's a lot of time!

For most of us, life is stressful; it's busy, filled with all kinds of worries, health issues and/or stress. We struggle to sleep well for a whole host of reasons and having bad quality bedding is only going to contribute further to that trouble.

Bearing in mind that our mattress has to last us around ten years: yes, they are excruciatingly expensive and one of those things we never really plan on renewing until the moment they're ready to be thrown out, but ten years is a long time to sleep on a cheap, badly made mattress. When it comes to our health - mental and physical - we shouldn't be skimping. We deserve the best we can get. We deserve true comfort and we deserve a decent sleep. So, don't cut costs on bedding; it will only cost you more dearly in the future.

As well as mattresses, we need to think about our linen.

I have been guilty of purchasing cheap bed linen because the price was attractive to my poor purse, but I always, always regretted it! From fitted sheets shrinking in the wash and causing holes in the corners as I try to force them onto the 'now-too-big' mattresses, to pillow cases falling apart at the seams and my legs itching due to cheap synthetic fibres, it really is worth spending the extra money for linen you know will last you a long time and will afford you a really lovely sleep.

Have you ever stayed in a hotel, or at a relatives house and had the best sleep, ever? Have you climbed into bed and felt like you're sleeping in luxury? Well, that's because you probably are!

Hotels obviously buy decent, cotton-rich linen because it has to last as long as it can and has to serve a lot of guests; Any high grade cotton (from 130 thread count - 70% cotton 30% polyester) is going to be a good quality sheet that feels lovely against your skin and is really comfortable to lie on. The higher the thread count, the more luxurious the feel. They are well worth the extra pennies!

At the cheaper end of the luxurious scale are Percale sheets (180 thread count) - and 100% Egyptian cotton sheets (200 thread count); these help to regulate temperature and are proven to give you a better night's sleep by preventing you from waking up too hot, or too cold - meaning that you wake up more refreshed! The extra strong fibres are soft and the quality is hard to compete with;

French Linen is another great choice for bedding; as well as the above qualities, it is also hypoallergenic and extremely durable, but it is at the higher end of the scale.

So, perhaps we all need to start up a bedding fund, ready for when we need to replace what we already have. Use those old sheets as decorating covers and treat yourself to a beautiful slumber!

Deadly Sin No.7: Bad Bed Styling

This is one of my absolute biggest peeves in interiors! I can't tell you the amount of times I have seen somebody's bedroom on TV and felt a wave of frustrated sadness wash over me when I've seen their dire bed-making skills! Their pillow - just one, not even two! - depressingly thrown on the bed; the duvet, wafer thin and draped over the bed like a wilted petal, no cushions, no throw - not even a sad little runner. It truly makes me die a little on the inside.

Don't forget your bed styling! It's so important!

I can't deny that I don't dress my bed every single day - but at the very least, I make it look comfortable and inviting. I give my duvet a good shake to puff it up, shake my pillows to bring some life back into them and pull it all tight, so it appears it hasn't been slept in yet!

But, on days when someone else might see your bedroom - even if they're just walking past the open door to get to the toilet - and especially if it's going to be on TV or in photos - I can't stress this enough - dress your bed!! Don't let them see your bedroom looking messy, cold, or unwelcoming; make them want to go in, sit down, look around... may be your private space, but that doesn't mean you can't make people wish it was theirs instead. Show it off! Be proud of it! Remind yourself every day how much you love that bed and how you can't wait to climb into it at night.

I always look at it this way: our beds are a direct extension of our personalities. You know how a lot of people say you can tell a lot about a person by how they keep their car? Well, I say we can tell a lot about a person by how they keep their bed! A person who takes care of their bed is likely to take care of themselves; an untidy, dirty bed doesn't say a lot for that person's self pride or hygiene, in my opinion! Just saying!

A person who dresses their bed and makes it look elegant - I believe - is likely to be a romantic person with high standards, whilst a person who just flops their duvet over, or worse still - doesn't make their bed at all is likely to be lacking in effort in general.

Don't get me wrong - we all have days where we leave the bed messy; I'm not talking about the odd day here and there - I'm talking about those for whom this is the norm.

Whether you use a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, or both - after airing your bed for a while, give them a good tug in the mornings to get out the creases - it will feel nicer to climb into at the end of the day; learn to fold in hospital corners, give your duvet a good fluff and do the same with your pillows! Layer your pillows - have at least two per side; add a couple of cushions - the more the merrier, I say! Add a throw - place it neatly across the bed's width, or drape it untidily on the bottom corner for a more lived-in vibe... whatever you do - make it look inviting! The bed Gods will reward you for it!

Make your bed! The more creative, the better! You'll be pleased you did!


And there concludes my Seven Deadly Sins of Bedroom Design! I hope I have helped you all not to sin in the future and I hope I can absolve you of those sins you are currently holding onto.

If you remember one thing from this blog, then please let it be that your bedroom is your private, sacred space; it needs to represent you and the things you love. It needs to help you to end each day in comfort and begin each day with hope and inspiration. It needs to be all about you - and, if you have one, your partner; and it needs to keep the spark alive... whatever that spark may ignite!

Thank you so much for reading.

Lots of love!

Evelyn M

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