New York-based interior designer Darci Hether can attest that creating a soothing sleep space is an exercise in restraint. Soft, muted color palettes, warm white light, luxurious bedding, and the absence of electronics are just part of her tried and true formula for the most intimate room in the home. “I think I may be one of the last people in America who does not have a television in my bedroom and I sleep like a baby every night,” she says. Read on for Hether’s expert tips for creating the cozy boudoir of your dreams.
An easy designer trick to keep the room as dark (or as bright!) as you need is to line the typical Roman shade or drapery panel in blackout fabric. This simple—and often cost-effective—idea is a fool-proof way to make sure daylight doesn’t creep in too early.
“When getting dressed in the morning, I like to make sure there is enough overhead light to see clearly," says Hether. "But during the evening hours, when one needs to wind down, the light is more subtle with the use of sconces and recessed lighting that softly washes the wall." The Philips Hue White Ambiance Starter Kit and its related app will put you in full control of the vibe, morning, noon and night, so you can create that soft lighting that's required to really unplug.
For an overall feeling of cocoon-like warmth, Hether suggests using a wall treatment. “Painting or wallpapering a room in a darker hue can help create a calming atmosphere," she says. But don't stop there. "It's also the overall totality of the colors, textures, and lighting that evokes serenity in the space.”
Clearing out unneeded stuff simplifies everything. For an easy way to contain what you do want to keep, like books or a notepad, Hether suggests keeping a cross-functional tray or basket on a bedside table so everything has a place of its own (and, as a bonus, it also protects the furniture underneath).
“I don’t have a green thumb, but I always have fresh cut flowers on my bedside table and dresser,” says Hether. “Not only do they add life and personality to the room, but they are a happy hello every time I wake up in the morning.” Plus, they're an easy way to include a pop of color without permanently committing to a shade.
In the bedroom, busy patterns and bright tones could have an opposite effect on a peaceful evening. Hether’s rule of thumb is to use a combination of fabrics, like cashmere for throws and simply tailored drapery panels, that easily take the room from loud and cluttered to quiet and calm without going overly monotone.
Buying a mattress is a completely personal endeavor, but Hether has been known to sway her clients with a few ideas, both for comfort and aesthetic purposes. “A very important conversation to have is the thickness of the mattress,” she says. “There is no such thing as standard thickness and it could greatly impact the overall height of the bed.”
“I love creating a small seating nook that encourages solitude,” says Hether. “It’s always a little luxury to have a separate place for reading or to simply put on a pair of shoes.”