Decorating tips for a better night’s sleep
How well are you sleeping? According to a study by the Better Sleep Council, almost half of Americans (48 percent) say they don’t get enough sleep. And while an Ambien or a capful of NyQuil might get you on your way to dreamland, solving your sleep problems could be as simple as making a few decorating adjustments in the bedroom. After all, your bedroom is the last thing you look at before you turn out the lights and the first thing you see in the morning. So changing your sleeping environment can improve your chances of getting the zzz’s you need.
Choose calming colors
Colors on the cooler spectrum like blue, green and gray can help calm your mind and relieve stress. While most people opt for pale shades of these colors for their bedroom, a big trend in the past few years has been toward darker hues — think navy blue or graphite gray — that, while bolder, are still soothing for the psyche. Avoid warmer tones like red and orange, which are energizing and can keep you up at night.
Don’t ‘let there be light’
Try to block as much light as you can from your bedroom, whether it’s sunlight in the morning or streetlights in the evening. Select blackout curtains, or if you have curtains you already love and don’t want to change, just add a blackout liner, which you can buy separately and then clip on to your regular curtains. An added benefit of blackout curtains is they help insulate your home to keep it warm in winter and cool in summer.
Muffle the sound
Hard surfaces, like hardwood floors and drywall, reflect sound, while soft textiles, like area rugs, curtains, pillows and bedding, absorb it. If your bedroom is large enough to accommodate them, upholstered furniture pieces such as armchairs or settees also muffle noise. In my bedroom, I upholstered the wall behind my bed. It helps reduce noise while adding a beautiful design element to the room.
It’s difficult to feel restful when your bedroom is cluttered. You’ll feel much more at peace when shoes and clothes are picked up, and the tops of nightstands and dressers are clear of papers and ATM receipts. Also, don’t forget to close the closet doors, as you want all those clothes and other contents out of sight. Clear room, clear mind.
Sorry, no TV
Although many people like to watch television before going to bed, catching up on your favorite programs will likely stimulate your brain rather than relax you. And if you’ve ever been in the middle of a Netflix marathon at 2 in the morning saying to yourself, “Just one more episode,” you know you always regret it the next day. So keep your television in the living room or den and reserve your bedroom for sleep. The same goes for laptops, smartphones and tablets: Keep them out of the bedroom, or you may fall into the rabbit hole known as Facebook.
Update your mattress
How old is your mattress? The Better Sleep Council recommends trading in your old mattress for a new one after five to seven years, and an Oklahoma State University study shows that switching to a new mattress significantly improves sleep comfort and quality. You can also extend the life of your mattress by flipping and rotating it. And just because you have, say, a 15-year warranty doesn’t mean you’re supposed to use it for that long. A warranty is meant to protect you from product defects; it does not guarantee the mattress will be comfortable for 15 years.
One of the things that keeps many people up at night is an allergy attack. Safeguard against allergies by replacing wall-to-wall carpet with hardwood floors and encasing your mattress, pillows and comforters in dust mite covers. Also, invest in a HEPA air purifier, which can remove up to 99.97 percent of household airborne allergens and pollutants. I can’t sleep without my air purifier, not only because it cleans the air in my bedroom, but because the white noise it produces cancels out other sounds — like my snoring dogs.
Don’t sleep with pets
And speaking of dogs, here’s some common sleep advice that I’m guilty of not following: Ban pets from your bed. Pets can interfere with your sleep by taking up the whole mattress, kicking you while they sleep, making the bed uncomfortably hot, or shedding allergen-filled hairs on your clean sheets. I know I sleep much better when my two dogs are not in bed with me. But according to them, that’s just not going to happen. Well, at least I don’t have a television in my bedroom.
From drab to fab: A bedroom makeover for the new year
Change the wall color
The easiest — and least expensive — way to change the mood of a room is to paint it. This bedroom used to be off-white (actually worse — Swiss Coffee). A $25 gallon of light-blue paint washed the room in serenity while adding a much-needed base of color. We tested several blues on the wall before finding the right one. Stores such as Home Depot will sell you small samples of their colors that enable you to try out a few before making a final decision.
Spray paint the furniture
The client had a hand-me-down dresser and side tables with a light-brown finish that had dulled with age. The pieces, however, were still in good condition, and I liked their simple design with their cabriole legs. So instead of getting rid of the tables, I suggested spray painting them glossy black. Glossy spray paint is my go-to trick for transforming old furniture pieces. And you can always add new knobs and pulls to complete the luxe look.
Add a canopy
The room had a four-poster bed, but it needed some drama. The client had draped a fabric swag over it, but it didn’t do enough. I felt the bed needed a full canopy, but they can be expensive. A quick, inexpensive solution was to use curtain panels that could hang across the top and down the back of the bed. Pre-sewn pole pockets in the curtain panels, which are usually used to slide into drapery rods, slide into the horizontal bed poles at the front and back of the top frame for easy installation. Besides adding a dream-like feel, the canopy now filters the harsh overhead light above the bed.
Raise the window curtains
Most people hang their curtains too low, using the top edge of the window frame as the starting point. Notice how this room looks more expansive once the curtains are raised to ceiling height. It’s a quick fix that can make a huge difference.
Add pops of warm color
Because the light-blue walls have a gray undertone, I balanced this cooler hue with accents of warm pinks and coral. Colors need a counterpoint to help them stand out even more. Throw pillows, vases, candles and flowers are an easy way to add vibrant color — and a little goes a long way.
Ground the room in grays and creams
The danger in painting a room light blue is it can scream “baby nursery” or “bathroom.” But I kept the room sophisticated by grounding it in gray and cream neutrals. We applied a textured wallpaper border with the look of tin ceiling panels around the base of the walls and painted it a cream color. I used the same wallpaper border to frame a larger mirror (that had been a mirrored closet door), staining the framing dark gray to create a nice contrast with the walls. The new curtain panels are also charcoal gray.
Use mirror reflections
Speaking of mirrors, we added some decorative wall mirrors, and even a mirrored side table, to the room. Mirrors can do much more than enable us to check how we look. They reflect light to make a room brighter and they make a space appear larger. I also love how they act as ever-changing art — the colors and shapes reflected in the mirror change depending on where you stand in the room.
Use what you already have
A big lesson I was reminded of in this bedroom makeover was that you don’t always have to buy a bunch of new furniture. The old furniture had great bones, it just needed some sprucing up. Avoiding large purchases — except, in this case, for the mirrored side table, and even that was on sale — frees up money in your budget for new lamps, bedding and artwork. And saving money is always in style.