I once met with a client about redecorating her living room. She showed me around the house, which was quite beautiful, and when we got to her bedroom, she showed me a very plain room, with hand-me-down furniture, very inefficient lighting, and no decor at all. I asked her about it, wondering why we were working on her living room when her bedroom needed so much TLC. She said, “Everyone sees the living room; only my husband and I see the bedroom!” My immediate thought was: Aren’t you and your husband deserving of a beautiful space too? Master bedrooms are often the last rooms to be tackled, but, as the room you retreat to at the end of a busy day, wouldn’t it be great to move it up the priority list?

Here are some tips to make your master bedroom the retreat you deserve.

ICP_18971. Highlight the bed.

The bed is the focal point of the room, and should take center stage. It should go on the longest wall in the room, and should be the first thing you see when you enter. Besides new bedding, which I will get to in a moment, add some interest to the wall behind the bed using an accent color on the wall, or a beautiful wallpaper, or a paint technique like wide horizontal stripes.

2. Address the lighting.

Bedside table lamps should be on the taller side— if your night stands are 24”-30” tall, then the lamps should be around 30-32” or so— to provide adequate light for reading. As an alternative, install wall-mounted light fixtures, or pendant lights above each nightstand. In my own bedroom, I asked my contractor to install pendant lights, with a dimmer switch on each side of the bed. Pendants or wall lights are a great option when you want as much room as possible on top of the bedside tables.

If you like to look at decorating magazines, you’ve probably noticed a popular lighting trend: installing a hanging light fixture above the bed. This is not only a great look, but it also provides good general lighting for the entire room.

ICP_66163. Dress the bed.

Treat yourself to beautiful bedding— a duvet cover is great because it can be laundered easily, but some people prefer comforters or quilts. I like to dress a bed with a quilt or coverlet, with a folded comforter at the foot of the bed. I also really like pillows. A beautiful bed has decorative pillow shams, as well as throw pillows. Pillows add color, texture, pattern and are a perfect finishing touch. Even if you or your partner are averse to pillows (I know they end up on the floor every night), please add at least one! The bed just doesn’t look finished without decorative pillows.


Every bed needs a headboard— this could be wood, iron, or upholstered. I love the look of upholstered headboards. Remember that headboards can always be re-upholstered or painted, so as you are shopping, look for shapes you like, and don’t worry too much about the color of the wood or fabric. That can always be changed. You might find a great bargain online or at a consignment store.


4. Dress the windows.

Maybe you already have room-darkening shades or blinds— that’s great. But adding fabric will do wonders for the room. Consider curtain panels in a color that coordinates with your bedding, or a tailored valance like a box pleat or mock Roman shade style. I like to use colors and styles with a timeless quality to them, so in general, simple styles are best.


5. Add hotel room amenities.

ICP_5829Comfortable hotel rooms have some additional seating— perhaps a chair and small table by the window, or a reading chair in the corner. If you like to work in your bedroom, consider adding a writing table or small desk for a laptop. A bench at the end of the bed is a nice place to sit and put on shoes, or lay out your clothes for the day. Think about your favorite hotel— wouldn’t it be nice to feel like you are on vacation in your own bedroom?