The guest room in Emily Henderson’s Mountain House.
20 October 2020

How to Create a Bedroom Sanctuary

Add some hygge to your bedroom for the ultimate nighttime retreat.

With many of us spending more time at home, there’s no better time to invest in the spaces we spend so much time—the bedroom being one of them. Let these tips inspire you to create the perfect bedroom sanctuary that feels inviting and encourages a good night’s sleep.

Maximize Natural Light During the Day, Reduce Blue Light at Night

Natural light helps regulate your circadian rhythm, telling your body when it’s time to sleep and wake. By using as much natural light as you can in a space, you help your body know when to go to sleep. Whenever you can during the day, keep the sunlight shining in and at night, do your best to keep it dark so you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

If possible, try to keep blue light out of the bedroom. Blue light affects the sleep cycle by blocking melatonin, the hormone responsible for helping you drift off to dreamland. If you watch TV or stare at a computer or phone before going to sleep, it could interfere with your ability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. Do yourself a favor by leaving your phone out of the bedroom at night in favor of a good book and decorate your wall with calming art instead of a flat screen.

Window Treatments

While we’re all about keeping your beautiful windows unobstructed, it’s important to make sure your bedroom is dark while you sleep. Full darkness is also important for regulating your circadian rhythm by signaling to your body that it’s time to sleep.

If you live in an area where there are streetlights or house lights that shine into your bedroom, it can be helpful to use blackout shades on the windows. If you live in an area where there aren’t many lights around or your bedroom faces an area that stays dark, you can probably get away without having shades if you’re interested in waking up with the sun.

Add Elements of Coziness

What’s more cozy than layers? From rugs to blankets and everything in between, adding layers of coziness can bring warmth, visually and literally, to a room. A pillow here and a throw blanket there will do wonders to bring some hygge to the space.

Especially if you don’t have carpet in your bedroom, consider adding a rug for added warmth. Even if you do have carpet, a rug tucked partially under the bed draws your eye to the bed and can make a large room feel cozier. A fireplace in your bedroom can add maximum warmth, but if you don’t have one, try adding candles for a similar feel.

Keep in mind that snuggling into a big comfy bed with an amazing comforter is only cozy if the room stays cool. Most research supports the notion that sleeping in a room around 65 degrees is optimal for a good night’s sleep and can help you fall asleep faster.

Aim for Minimalism

While adding elements of coziness brings character and comfort to the room, keeping a bedroom uncluttered is also important, so don’t overdo it! A clear mind at bedtime can help you fall asleep easier and it’s difficult to have a clear mind when your room is full of excess stuff. Plus, when there’s more stuff, there’s more to keep clean and organized. Make things even easier on yourself and make the bed and tidy your bedroom in the morning so you’ve already got a head start on productivity that can give you momentum for the rest of the day.

The type and style of windows you choose in a bedroom space can contribute to a sense of simplicity and uncluttered lines. Consider a modern, narrow frame style in a neutral interior finish that will let natural light flow without adding visual clutter.

Pro Tip: If you’re someone who tends to worry about the things you need to do as you’re trying to fall asleep, consider keeping a pad of paper and a pen next to your bed so you can write down anything that comes to mind and rest easy knowing that you can take care of it the next day.

Choose Cool Colors

Bright reds, oranges, and pinks may be beautiful, but they may also make it difficult to fall asleep. If you love warm colors, consider using them as accents instead of painting the whole room with them. Pops of bright colors on an accent wall or throw pillows are a welcome addition to any bedroom.

Cool colors, on the other hand, are synonymous with peace and relaxation, especially blue. A report from the University of Kentucky cites that there is a correlation between color and our physical reaction.

“Some studies indicate that red tends to increase perspiration, excite brain waves and raise the blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiration,” according to the report. “Blue tends to have a reverse effect by lowering blood pressure and pulse rate. Brain waves tend to decline and skin response is less.”

Consider Bringing Nature In

Biophilic design is the concept of fostering a connection to the outdoors by bringing elements of nature into the design of a space. Rooted in evolutionary psychology, it’s scientifically proven to make you feel good. Humans have always sought natural elements to feel safe, secure, and in an optimal emotional state—it’s ingrained in us from the earliest days of living on terrain like meadows and the savanna. Add nods to nature in your bedroom with elements like wood, plants and fresh flowers, or nature-inspired art.

Top photo by Sara Tramp