Bedroom Makeover

Makeover mania continues to sweep the nation from extreme home renovations to quick fixes and easy decor boosters; it seems everyone is looking for ways to enhance their living space. As the trend grows, it seems the bedroom is often neglected in lieu of updating more "public" areas of the home. However, the bedroom environment has a major impact on the quality and quantity of sleep. Improving it should be a top priority!

The bedroom should be the most luxurious and personal space in any home - a soothing oasis that is conducive to relaxation and indulgent comfort. And creating a personal sleep sanctuary that will meet your needs for rest and rejuvenation is easier than you may think.

Evaluate Your Current Bedroom

Before creating your sleep sanctuary, first evaluate your current bedroom environment and determine what works.and what doesn't. But what do you look for? How can you tell if your bedroom is or isn't conducive to quality sleep? While many sleep-robbing factors are evident, some are so obvious that we tend to overlook them day-to-day.

It is important to take a step back and carefully analyze your sleeping space. The best way to do this is to trust your gut and merely follow your senses...

Light

Sunlight is a natural, positive source of energy during the day, but it can disrupt deep, restful sleep. Light – such as the rising sun – is one of the body’s most powerful time cues and can wake up the brain long before the alarm goes off.

Ask yourself:

  • When sleeping, is your room as dark as possible?
  • Is there light coming through blinds or curtains in the early morning hours?
  • Are the TV or hallway lights left on while you are sleeping?
  • Is your alarm clock brightly illuminated and facing you throughout the night?

Touch

Comfort and support are key. The most critical component of any bedroom is the bed itself. Your mattress should not only meet your needs for comfort and support, but it should also be considered a major investment...and one that you make every 7 years. To top it off, it’s the soft textures of a bedroom that help make it cozy and inviting.

Ask yourself:

  • If you sleep with a partner, what size bed do you share?
  • Have you had your mattress for more than 7 years?
  • Do you wake up regularly with aches and pains?
  • Have you had a better night’s sleep somewhere other than your own bed (such as a hotel)?
  • How does the texture of your bedding make you feel?
  • Does your mattress or bedding show visible signs of wear and tear?

Smell

All homes have a unique aroma. Smells often subconsciously connect us to certain memories or moods. Some people may have an ability to block out unpleasant odors, but it still may have an impact on you throughout the night. Additionally, there are certain scents, like lavender, that help promote sleep and well-being.

Ask yourself:

  • Are there certain scents that make you feel especially calm and relaxed?
  • Do you occasionally ‘air out’ your bedroom and/or allow in fresh air?
  • Does your detergent and/or fabric softener have a negative or positive impact on sleep? Taste
  • Your bedroom is a true reflection of yourself. It should provide the ultimate comfort and support and be an invitingly special space. Your bedroom is where you begin and end each day, so it’s important to make it intimate and personal, but also keep it simple and uncluttered.

Taste

Ask yourself:

  • Is your bedroom well-organized?
  • Do you use your bedroom as a workspace or eating area?
  • Is there clutter or excess décor or clothing that could be removed?
  • Do you feel your bedroom adequately reflects your taste and personality?
  • Is your bedroom the first and last place you want to see every day?
  • Join the millions of Americans who are waking up to the reality that a new mattress can make all the difference.
  • Don't settle for less than you deserve. If you don't wake up thinking, "I love my bed!," it might be time to part ways and fall in love with a new one.

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Plan Your Makeover

When you realize your sleep habits and sleep environment are not the best they can be, it’s time to think about improvement. The investment in quality sleep does not happen overnight. Take the time to get inspired and focus on what you want from your new bedroom sanctuary.

Everyone has a different idea of the ideal. Start exploring your options and take notes to hone in on your taste, style and bedroom desires. Find inspiration in the everyday – and the every-night.

Homework Assignment: Start a Sleep Sanctuary Journal

Keep a notebook or small binder to organize your thoughts and ideas. In it, you can include:

  • Clippings from magazines – any pictures, quotes or design tips that inspire you Notes on colors, fabrics and furniture you like in your friends’ homes or in store displays
  • If you have a great night’s sleep in a hotel, make note of the surroundings and how it differs from your environment at home
  • Swatches of fabric and squares of paint samples
  • Pictures of natural scenes and landscapes you find inspiring, like the beach or mountains
  • A list of words that indicate the feeling you want your room to evoke
  • A rough sketch of your ideal bedroom (you don’t have to be an artist!)

After you have collected colors, scenes, fabrics and ideas that inspire you, the style of your dreamy sleep sanctuary will start to take shape. Taking notes will help streamline your vision and bring life to your ideal design.

Join the millions of Americans who are waking up to the reality that a new mattress can make all the difference.

Don't settle for less than you deserve. If you don't wake up thinking, "I love my bed!," it might be time to part ways and fall in love with a new one.

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Did You Know?
The 2005 Spa Industry Survey conducted by Coyle Hospitality Group reported that on average Americans spend $912 annually on spa services including hair care, nail care, skincare, and beauty services. In comparison, a $1,000 mattress set used over the course of five years would only cost $200 annually – providing a luxury experience night after night, not just on special occasions.

Prioritize Spending - Focus on the Bed

More and more people are falling in love with their beds as they replace their older mattresses with luxurious new models that cradle them in comfort. Your bed is the heart of your sleep sanctuary. Give it priority in your bedroom makeover by investing in the best quality and comfort you can afford.

To love yourself and your bed, keep in mind:

  • Replace Regularly: Experts agree that if you’ve had the same mattress for 5 to 7 years or more, it’s likely not providing you with optimal comfort and support.
  • Quality Counts: Choose top-quality pillows and mattresses to keep your spine properly aligned and cradle you in comfort. High-thread-count sheets, a plush comforter and duvet cover, matching shams and bed skirt and plenty of coordinated toss pillows to make it extra inviting and uniquely yours.
  • Size Matters: Purchasing a bed that is too small is a common mistake. A couple should select a queen- or king-sized mattress.

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Be Your Own Interior Designer

Focus on the elements of design when creating your new sleep sanctuary. Think of places that inspire peace and tranquility. While you don’t want to literally establish, for example, a beach or mountain scene in your bedroom, there are aspects of your favorite environments that you can subtly weave into your design.

Simple tips to get you on your way:

Color Counsel

The walls of your bedroom are a blank canvas for self-expression; bathe them with colors that reflect your personality and tones that make you feel at ease.

  • Opt for calming hues on walls: Vibrant colors may be your favorite, but they may not help trigger sleep and relaxation if they coat your walls. Neutral (e.g. taupes, grays, beiges, and whites) or muted tones and light pastels may be more suitable to help you wind down.
  • Consider the limitations of your space: Choose lighter colors to make a room appear larger, and darker colors to make a room appear more intimate and warm.
  • Go for splashes of color: Instead of blanketing your walls with color, perhaps a more subtle approach is to add color through décor and bedding. A pillow or artwork is a way to express your creative side without disrupting harmony.
  • Choose related color schemes: Shades that are parallel on the color wheel encourage rest more than using colors that contrast or are unrelated. If going for a contemporary feel, allow the contrast to be in the details. Incorporating the distinction into accents and décor or bedding, can cleverly achieve the desired look.
  • Use color to suggest mood: While not all people connect with certain colors the same, there is a general feeling that some tones can generate. Warm colors: rich shades of red, orange, yellow, can create a ‘cozy’ feel. Certain blues and blue- greens, or cool colors, can have a soothing effect. In some cases, they can even make the room seem a bit cooler

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It's All Natural

What does your favorite texture say about you?

Grass: You have a joyful spirit and enjoy a clean, natural style. Stick to coarser, natural fabric including Berber rugs and wool-based weaves.

Cotton: You are kind, sensitive, and warmhearted. Stick to soft, inviting fabrics that you can sink into at night and dig your toes into in the morning. Try jersey-knit sheets and soft, thick pile rugs.

Wood: You are calm, steady, and dependable. You will enjoy natural flooring with a smooth clean finish. Stick to small, simple area rugs if you want to add a spark of color to your natural flooring. Use bedding fabrics with clean lines and natural tones. Stay away from loud patterns and thick fabric weaves; focus on natural beauty.

Slate: You are strong willed, intuitive, and quiet. Install slate flooring if your room allows and accentuate bedroom surfaces with stones, rock gardens, and running water. Stick to fabrics that are smooth and cool.

Silk: You are passionate, bold, and daring. Use lightweight, flowing fabrics like silk, rayon, and sateen weaved cotton. Create a silky feel under your toes with rugs that have a short, tight pile.

Texture Tips

Texture should not be overlooked. The effect is not just tactile; it can be visual and evoke emotion. The materials you choose can create the touch and feel of your sanctuary that will massage your tension away, put you to sleep at night, and greet you in the morning.

  • Sheet tips: What’s next to your skin definitely matters. When shopping for sheets, test different thread counts, fabric compositions and weaves to determine what’s most soothing and comfortable to you.
  • Pillows pointers: Compare different fillings and weights to test the feel of pillows and comforters before purchasing.
  • Use nature as your inspiration: Consider natural textures and how they appeal to you. This can help set the tone for any room.
  • Texture creates emphasize: The use of contrasting textures can have a powerful effect, similar to color
  • Head to toe impact: A strategically placed rug of the right materials can have a positive effect. If your rug is the first thing to greet your feet in the morning, choose the softest and plushest material possible. Consider shag, silk, chenille, or even a faux fur.
  • Function comes first: Regardless of look, keep in mind that your sheets, comforters, and pillows need to serve a purpose. If you typically get too hot or too cold during the night, you should purchase materials that will accommodate your body and contribute to sleep.

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Décor Details

  • Try not to get stuck in the habit of cluttering your bedroom. Your mind is already full of the day’s clutter – keep your sanctuary clean and your accessories to a minimum to create a calming environment.
  • Make it meaningful: Showcase the elements of your life in the bedroom. Frame significant photographs and memorabilia to add a personal history to your sanctuary.
  • Add something organic: Plants and fresh flowers bring new energy into your sanctuary and remove toxins from the air.
  • Keep it simple: The accessories you choose to enhance your sanctuary should be meaningful. Don’t clutter your room with objects you don’t need or use.
  • Be organized: Rid yourself of any items in the bedroom that don’t serve a positive purpose. Don’t let your closets or dressers overflow. Keep the floor areaclear. Don’t store clutter under your bed. You may not be able to see it, but you’llpsychologically know that it’s there!
  • Power down: If you must have a television in your bedroom, hide it in an armoire. Keep the work materials and unnecessary electronics out of your bedroom, especially your laptop or desktop computer. Your bedroom is not an office, restaurant or gym.
  • Mix it up: Your accessories and finishing touches can be where you get really creative and let your character shine. Have fun with the accessories and artwork. Keep in mind that they are the first and last things you see everyday, so make them items you really love and that are special to you. Rearrange your accessories periodically to keep your bedroom fresh and fun.

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Lighting List

Our bodies are highly sensitive to light, even while sleeping. Light – such as the rising sun – is one of the body’s most powerful time cues and can wake up the brain long before the alarm goes off. When sleeping, make your room as dark as possible.

  • Keep light from coming in windows while sleeping. Whether it’s through a slit in the drapes or the glow of a street light through sheer curtains, block the light from entering your room. Try using black-out curtains, heavy drapes, or blinds to shut out sleep- disruptive light.
  • Use lighting to create a dramatic effect: Your lamps should provide a soft glow. Try using lampshades that cast a golden hue and keep the light intensity to a minimum. Use lower wattage bulbs in your room as well, perhaps 45 – 60 watts.
  • Have power over illumination: Consider installing dimmer switches so you can control the lighting in your room and intensify it when needed.
  • Watch out for alarming light: Never sleep with the television on. Even the light from your alarm clock can disrupt your sleep patterns. Purchase clocks with dimmer switches or turn your clock to face the wall while sleeping.
  • Mask out the glow: If you have no control over certain aspects of lighting, use an eye mask to obstruct the light.
  • Get sunlight during the day: Your exposure to light at the appropriate times helps to keep your body’s clock on track. If you can, get plenty of sunlight and spend sometime outdoors in the late afternoon and early morning.
  • Blow it out: While it may seem romantic and calming, using candles in your bedroom can be dangerous. Never use candles or any open flames near bedding. Never leave candles unattended. For more bedroom safety tips, visit www.safesleep.org.

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Sound Advice

Sudden, loud noises from inside or outside the home can disrupt your sleep sanctuary. Conversely, an environment that is too quiet can have a similar effect.

  • Gadgets be gone: Take noisy electronics out of the bedroom. That includes cell phones, blackberries, computers, and television sets. If you listen to music in the bedroom, choose soothing melodies.
  • Lull yourself to sleep: Steady, low sounds – like the whir of a fan, air purifier, air conditioner, or small fountain – help block out distracting noise. Another option is to turn the radio to low static and create ‘white noise’.
  • Plug your ears: If your partner snores, encourage him or her to visit a sleep specialist or try breathing strips or decongestants to alleviate the noise, for both of you. If you can’t block out noise, invest in comfortable and safe earplugs.
  • Keep quiet: If you can’t sleep, always get out of the bed after 20 minutes (so you don’t start associating your bed with sleeplessness). Occupy yourself with a calm and quiet activity, such as reading.

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Temperature Check

  • The ideal bedroom temperature is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. A room that's too warm or too cool can disrupt comfortable sleep.
  • Avoid over-layering: While multiple blankets and pillows have a lovely visual appeal, too many covers can cause a night of fitful sleep. Keep this in consideration when selecting the materials you will use on your bed, as well as when preparing for sleep.
  • Nightcap, anyone? While it may seem old-fashioned, heat does escape from your head. If it’s a problem for you, think about wearing a cap. Also, don’t forget to wear socks to keep you warm if your feet tend to get cold during the night.
  • Couples need to compromise: Neither your partner nor you should be miserable while sleeping. If one prefers intense heat or intense cold, meet in the middle. Adjust your pajamas, blankets (use your own) to help accommodate the needs of the other. Keep in mind if one partner has problems sleeping, it will impact you both.

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Arrangement Ideas

  • It’s important to create harmony and balance in your bedroom. Even if you don’t completely adhere to the ‘Feng shui’ concept, function is definitely a consideration when positioning items in your sleep sanctuary.
  • Bed placement: Try to keep your bed from facing the doorway or windows. In fact, do your best to keep it located on a different wall than the window altogether. Also, a sturdy headboard can help create a sense of stability.
  • Safety first: Make sure there is an unobstructed path to your bed to keep you from stepping on something or running into objects in the night.
  • All within reach: Keep your nightstands within reach or your bed and choose pieces that are an appropriate height and in proportion to the elevation level of your bed.
  • Make room for space: You can create space by making sure storage devices are closed and efficient – and use them to keep unnecessary items out of sight. Additionally, if you select a bed that sits high off the floor and use furniture that is more vertical than horizontal, you can create a more spacious feel.

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Make Your New Bedroom Work for You

A sleep sanctuary is part of a larger commitment to restful, rejuvenating sleep. You’ll enjoy the better quality of life that results from your efforts as long as you are patient and take note of all the environmental and behavioral factors that play a role in the total sleep experience.

Treat your body right. Good nutrition makes a difference. Get adequate rest, exercise and balance work and play. For the best sleep, avoid exercising or eating near bedtime. Eliminate alcohol and nicotine intake, especially before sleeping

Schedule time for sleep. Just like we manage our many ‘to-dos’, sleep is an appointment that you cannot miss. When the quality of your sleep improves, so does your mood and the quality of your life. Tonight’s rest can determine how your tomorrow will be, so it should be at top of any daily agenda.

Keep it clean and simple. Remember to keep your sleep environment uncluttered, dark, quiet and cool. Your bed should never be a desk, dining room table or a couch; so turn off the TV and keep the food and laptop out of the bed!

Ease your anxious mind. Wind down before bed. Take a bath, meditate, or do whatever it takes to relax and wipe away the day’s stress. If you find your mind racing while trying to go to sleep, keep a pad of paper next to your bed and jot down what’s on your mind. If you find yourself unable to sleep after 20 minutes, get out of the bed, go into another room and engage in a calming activity until you feel ready to sleep.

Take it day by day. Changing your schedule and attitude about sleep isn’t going to happen overnight. It requires lifestyle changes, dedication and practice. Just like improving any aspects of our health, making sleep a priority takes time. Remember that the return on the investment will be a happier, healthier life.

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