Our bedrooms are the last thing we see at night and the first thing we wake up to each morning — not to mention we spend about a third of our lives sleeping in them. So it makes sense that we'd want to turn our bedroom into a sanctuary — at least as much of a sanctuary as our budgets allow.
And it's not just a matter of self-indulgence. In a piece for TinyBuddha, author and spiritual coach Omar Elbaga discussed the way spaces can affect our moods and sense of well-being. He noted how the use of certain colors, the arrangement of furniture, the placement of photos, and even the light of a space can affect how we feel when we're in it. He even recalled a time when he didn't like coming home at the end of the day because his physical space was so unsettling.
And any one who has come home to a messy room, or who continually curses the inconvenient placement of a chest of drawers or storage bench can vouch for the fact that it just sucks to not feel relaxed and at peace in your own bedroom.
If you've been feeling frustrated with your sleep space, or have just been stressed lately and want to create an oasis for yourself, here are 11 hacks that will help turn your bedroom into a total sanctuary.
1. Think About Lighting
Lighting is an extremely important part of creating ambiance in a space. In an article for WholeLiving, Joseph A. Rey-Barreau, a lighting designer with the American Lighting Association, said to avoid bright or fluorescent overhead lights, instead opting for floor and table lamps with dimmers. "Not using a dimmer is like buying a radio with no volume knob," he noted. You can also switch to a warm-toned or Edison bulb for an added cozy effect.
2. Keep Your Favorite Scents On Hand
A 2009 study published on PubMed.org found that teens who received aromatherapy were significantly less stressed than those who received a placebo, indicating that it could be a very effective treatment for stress management. Additionally, according to the National Institute of Health, aromatherapy is even used to help cancer patients, based on the theory that certain scents can have an impact on the brain's emotional center and provide sedative effects. So always keep your favorite relaxing scent on hand for when you're having one of those days.
3. Opt For Plush
An Apartment Therapy piece on creating a calm and cozy bedroom recommended embracing plush when going for a cozy feel. There's nothing like sinking into a plush mattress and getting enveloped in super soft bedding to make you feel comforted and protected at the end of a long day.
4. A Soft Carpet
According to Nancy Mitchell, Senior Writer at Apartment Therapy, a patterned rug with a texture you want to touch is a great way to add comfort and warmth to a room. Not to mention rugs on bare floors help keep in heat, meaning they are literally warming your space.
5. Spring For A Headboard
In a piece for Houzz.com, writer and design enthusiast Shawn Gauthier recommended springing for a headboard to help make your bed feel extra special and indulgent. And the nice thing about headboards is that they come in a wide variety of prices and styles, so are manageable on a lot of different budgets.
6. Opt For Neutrals
In a piece for Cosmo, head stylist at One Kings Lane Alexander Reid said many people make the mistake of going for bold and patterned styles to decorate their bedrooms, especially when it comes to large pieces like their bedspread or duvet. However, Reid advised sticking to more neutral and calming colors for your sleep space, and suggested adding only small pops of color if you must. Plus, "a pillow or throw can be soft and special, but it's also not too expensive to swap," he said.
7. Keep Feng Shui In Mind
In a piece for HGTV.com, Jayme Barrett, author of Feng Shui Your Life, offers several Feng Shui tips specifically for the bedroom. She noted that in traditional Feng Shui, your bed should face the door of the room so you have a view of the entrance, as it will subconsciously make you feel safer and more in control as you sleep.
Barrett also noted the importance of not having things like TVs, exercise equipment, or work-related stressors in your bedroom as, "The bedroom is a place where you need to turn off the stresses of the day." If you must keep some of this stuff in your sleep space, she recommended using a folding divider to keep it separate from the rest of the room. She also said that while art and decoration can be a good thing, the one thing you don't want in your bedroom specifically is pictures of your family — especially if in a long-term relationship. "You can have pictures of your parents and your kids all over the rest of the house, but the focus in the bedroom should be on yourself and your partner."
8. Keep It Organized!
Barrett also said that an organized bedroom is absolutely key to feeling at peace, as clutter is a reminder of things undone. She recommended prioritizing getting your closets organized and under control, and also noted that, "clutter under the bed has its own energy, which can disturb sleep — especially if it's work-related clutter."
And in the same piece, Terah Kathryn Collins, author of The Western Guide to Feng Shui, stressed the importance of getting rid of unnecessary objects — especially anything that reminds you of a negative experience or time in your life. "That includes the bedside tables you bought with your ex, and even the heirloom furniture that generations of your family have hated," she said.
9. Don't Forget About The Windows
In that piece for Cosmo, Reid said it's important not to ignore your window situation, noting that they not only block light and provide privacy, but really are an important part of the look and feel of the space. He specifically recommended going all out with two-layer curtains that go from window to floor, and said whatever you do, stay away from mini blinds.
10. Get Some Plants
According to Jonathan S. Kaplan, urban mindfulness expert and Ph.D, plants truly make us feel good. He said research has shown that the presence of plotted plants in our space has shown to do everything from helping with blood pressure, reducing anxiety, and generally increasing our satisfaction. So once you've done the basic reorganizing and rearranging of your room, consider a place for some green.
11. Invest In Noise-Canceling Headphones
This last one is a personal tip, and I know it's not exactly ideal; however, short of manually sound-proofing your bedroom (which I looked into, and it's actually pretty complicated), getting noise-canceling headphones is one of the fastest ways to block out the world around you as you read, surf the web, do your nails, and generally enjoy your space. And for those of you looking for something more serious, here's a relatively simple tutorial for soundproofing the cracks around your door.
Your bedroom should always be a place of calm, never stress. And while redecorating and reorganizing can take some time, it doesn't have to be overly costly, and more importantly, it can make a huge difference in your quality of life.