Expert Advice For Designing a More Restorative Bedroom

Far from going analog with your alarm clock and calling it a day, setting yourself up for a restorative night’s sleep extends to the setup of the room where you lay your head (and yes, even the sheets). To give us all a relaxing nudge in the right direction, three design pros share expert advice for creating a more restorative bedroom. Here, they reveal personal rituals, preferred paint colors, and must-haves for a space custom made for winding down and nodding off.

restorative bedroom decorating ideas
A bedroom designed by Chloe Warner, painted in “Indychara Blue” by Farrow & Ball.

Color Theory

Designers agree that it’s best to avoid strong or “energizing” wall colors if you’re aiming for a soothing bedroom. “Your bedroom should be your sanctuary, a place where you relax, restore yourself and find your peace at the end of a busy day,” says New York-based designer Jenny Wolf of Jenny Wolf Interiors. “My preference for the bedroom are colors that are not too bright and not too many patterns. I like the bedroom to feel calming, so I like an edited color palette: neutrals, greys, greens, even a moody darker paint can be quite soothing. Some of my favorites are Farrow and Ball, Shaded White, Lamp Room Gray, and Pigeon. It’s not the most obvious choice, but a darker color can have a pleasingly cocooning effect. “For a naturally cozy feeling, paint the bedroom a dark color,” advises Chloe Warner of Bay Area design firm Redmond Aldrich. “Inchyra Blue from Farrow & Ball is a personal favorite,” she says.

restorative bedroom decorating ideas
Susan Work’s dreamy nightstand setup. Photo by Nicole Franzen.

Nightstand Know-How

As the last surface you see at night and the first to greet you in the morning, the bedside should radiate calm. Nightstands with a drawer are great for keeping clutter at bay. As for the surface, “Creating a cozy bedside scene is so essential,” says Susan Work of San Francisco’s HOMEWORK architectural design firm. “Currently, I have a vintage iron hand mold sculpture that holds all my rings. Displaying my jewelry in a fun way makes me happy.” Items that trigger fond memories and feelings of gratitude can help calm the mind, or as Susan says, “symbols that evoke love and happiness.” For her this includes “a sweet anniversary card from my hubby.” Along with these are her pink fur eye mask (“Essential!”) and an aromatherapy diffuser to help her wind down and relax. Jenny Wolf also deems scent an important sense to consider. “I keep a variety of candles with beautiful scents and a little sage in the nightstand.”

The Right Light

“Lighting is extremely important in the bedroom,” says Jenny Wolf. The key here is the ability to slowly ease yourself into darkness. “Dimmers are a must!” You also want to avoid having any contact with the harshness of a bare bulb when you’re in bed, which includes overhead lighting that you’ll be viewing from below. “Make sure all the bulbs in the room are obscured by shades,” advises Chloe Warner.

restorative bedroom decorating tips
Photo courtesy of Jenny Wolf

Sheet Show

What constitutes a great set of sheets varies from person to person (let the sateen versus linen debate begin) and season to season, but finding the right set for you can make getting into bed a surprisingly enjoyable event. For designer Jenny Wolf, “A bedroom is not complete without a great set of sheets. I always choose white and super soft, and I love Ralph Lauren’s sateen collection. You will never want to get out of bed!” Consider yourself warned.

Ritual Behavior

“I personally have a very neurotic bedtime ritual,” reveals Chloe Warner. “It includes fresh water, Instagram scrolling, then Marie Badescue Rose Water spray on my pillowcase, Hum Melatonin and ByTerry Rose Lip Balm. Then I read until I fall asleep.” So what’s she reading these days? “I’m currently loving Milkman, but without the support of my book club I gravitate towards less meaty fare, like the great Cormoran Strike detective series by Robert Galbraith – Lethal White is the latest, and I think the greatest, of the four books so far.”

Shop all Bedroom Essentials >>


Lead photo by John Merkl, Design by Benjamin Dhong

January 23, 2019

Chairish is the design lover's indispensable online source for chic and unique decor, art, furniture and home decorating inspiration. Shop our expert curation of exclusive and diverse inventory with 1,000+ new arrivals daily. Happy hunting!