We all want somewhere we can retreat to after a long day, so getting your bedroom furniture ideas right is key to creating a restful and relaxing scheme. Bedrooms come in all shapes and sizes - and you’ll have your own sense of style to add into the mix too - but the function is always universal. By making some clever furniture choices, you’ll create a room that ticks every box, while making the space an even more enticing place to relax.
The notion of relaxing can, and should, extend to more than just sleeping - and the furniture you use in a bedroom can help to redefine how you use it. ‘Bedrooms should be as inviting during the day as they are at night, so they are more than just places to sleep,’ says New York-based interior designer Katie Ridder.
With help from the experts, we’ve compiled both inspirational and achievable ideas that can help to expand and evolve a modern bedroom into a sanctuary, no matter what time of day it is!
Bedroom furniture ideas
1. Set up a seating area
It may not be first on your shopping list, but including seating in your bedroom layout will make it feel infinitely more luxurious. ‘Bedrooms used to be for sleeping only, but now they’re a place to read, relax or even work if you want to - so if you have the space, creating a seating area is very desirable,’ says Brigette Romanek, founder of Romanek Design Studio.
Brigette recommends being realistic about how much space you’re able to dedicate without compromising on the usability of the room. ‘Take into account the amount of space you have and keep in mind you’ll need to be able to walk comfortably around all the furniture,’ she says. ‘A pair of chairs, a single armchair or a bench at the end of the bed are all great options - just ensure the upholstery fabric complements everything else in the space.’
Another factor to consider is how exactly you want to use the seating area. ‘Should it promote relaxation, or will you be working there? Should the materials be soft and cozy, or do you need the chairs to be upright so you can work? Whatever you choose, always make sure it supports what’s important to you,’ says Brigette.
2. Create a window seat
You don’t necessarily need to have a large space to create a seating area in your bedroom - as demonstrated in this beautiful room designed by Tara Bernerd & Partners. ‘A window seat is a wonderful addition to a smaller bedroom,’ explains founder and internationally renowned designer Tara Bernerd. ‘It allows you to introduce seating where there might otherwise not be space - a window seat also invites you to take advantage of a beautiful view or to bask in the sunlight that shines through.’
To turn your window seat into a space you’ll love to use, style it with plump cushions, adding a slim side table and wall light or slender floor lamp for maximum comfort.
When it comes to selecting bedroom furniture, Tara advises evaluating your space and assessing what is realistically achievable; ‘It’s all about working with the layout and utilizing the space you have intelligently,’ she says. ‘I like to take a refined approach and believe bedroom furniture should be soft and simple to create a calm and tranquil space.’
3. Scale up
As well as form and function, you should also take into account the scale of a piece of furniture in relation to the size of the room - not only do you want it to fit stylistically and practically, but it should feel right proportionately too.
‘When choosing bedroom furniture, one of the most important things to consider is scale,’ explains Kirsten Blazek, founder of A1000xBetter. ‘You always want the large furniture pieces - the bed, nightstands and wardrobes - to be properly scaled for the space, ensuring a large room has pieces with decent proportions while small bedrooms should utilize slimline designs.’
Rules are, of course, made to be broken and there are always exceptions. Playing with scale can make for a more visually interesting room, as Kirsten explains; ‘It can be fun to add some unexpected elements - such as an oversized table lamp. Just be sure it balances with the furniture and doesn’t overpower.’
4. Consider a day bed
It might at first feel a little overindulgent to have both a bed and a daybed, but if there’s one place you can afford to introduce a little indulgence, it’s in a bedroom. While the bed is where you go to rest your head at night, a daybed is the perfect place to steal a few moments of relaxation in the sunlight hours.
When thinking about positioning, layout and general bedroom Feng Shui, it can be a good idea to place a daybed near a window, giving you the opportunity to have a space to recline while enjoying a view. You don’t want it to feel too cozy and snug - you’ve got your bed for that purpose! Instead, it’s a place to quickly recharge and get some headspace within a hectic day.
5. Add a pop of color
While a bedroom should primarily be for relaxing, this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with color. Wooden furniture is often the default when decorating, but if you’re wanting to add personality to your space, then opting for colorful bedroom furniture is one way to make an impact.
Interior designer Victoria Maria expertly combines colors and textures in her work to great effect; ‘I enjoy combining patterns, materials and styles to create colorful interiors that are a source of infinite joy,’ she says, ‘and furniture is a really great way to add color and life to a bedroom.’
If you’re not sure where to start, Victoria advises going with your gut and exploring what you’re drawn to - especially if it’s a little outside the box. ‘I would really think about furniture that has an interesting shape or stands out in some way, perhaps it’s a beautiful color or unusual material,’ she says. ‘I usually start projects with an object, an image or a piece of furniture that catches my eye and then from there, I start to weave a story and build the scheme.’
6. Opt for a four-poster bed
Is there anything more opulent and luxurious than a four poster bed? If you’re wanting to create an elegant bedroom with wow-factor, this furniture piece is a must. ‘Four poster beds are great for creating a sense of intimacy within bedrooms that have higher ceilings,’ says New York based interior designer Katie Ridder.
You don’t, however, necessarily need to have a vaulted ceiling to include a four poster bed within your scheme as Katie explains; ‘In a room with lower ceilings, a four poster bed can help to create a sense of height as it draws the eye up.’
Katie also emphasizes the importance of thinking beyond the bed, and considering other furniture elements within the room to make the space a more welcoming place to be. ‘What I find to be very important is a comfortable upholstered chair and ottoman for reading,’ she says. ‘For families, I’d suggest going for a sofa if you can - it makes a great spot for reading to children in the evening.’
7. Build it in
Freestanding pieces are a great solution for many bedrooms, but if you’re after something a little more bespoke, fitting built-in furniture can help to really utilize every inch of space. It can be tailored to your exact needs and requirements, offering maximum functionality.
Bedroom storage is also an opportunity to get creative and design something showstopping, as California based Holly Kopman, founder of Holly A Kopman Design, explains. ‘We made the built-in closet a design feature by selecting custom wood to make it a really stand out piece,’ she says. ‘The headboard and nightstand piece with an upholstered bed base and sconces was also designed by us, and makes for a super sleek look.’
8. Find a bedside table for plenty of storage
A comfortable bed is obviously a number one essential for every bedroom, but a bedside table comes in at a close second. It’s the helpful companion to restful evenings and lazy mornings, providing a surface for a glass of water and your favorite bedtime read or a hot coffee and the day's papers.
‘The humble bedside table is often overlooked when decorating a bedroom, but it’s key for maintaining tidiness while still having all your necessities to hand,’ says Natascha Dartnall founder of ND Studios. ‘Nightstands with storage are a winner, especially when they look as good as this one from West Elm!’
9. Achieve maximum flexibility with a modular system
Over the years, our needs and requirements tend to shift and change, so it makes sense to opt for bedroom furniture that can adapt. Modular systems can be added to or modified to adjust their function or look - you can expand on an existing piece if you require more space, or you can scale it down if you move somewhere smaller.
‘Modular furniture makes sense for a bedroom, because our needs and the functionality we expect from our interiors changes over time,’ says Søren Hvalsøe Garde, founder of Danish furniture designer brand Garde Hvalsøe. ‘Rather than having to regularly reconfigure built-in storage systems through often costly work, a modular furniture system enables more flexibility and adaptability - not to mention sustainability, as it removes the need to buy more furniture over time.’
What furniture traditionally goes in a bedroom?
The advice from our experts is resounding; think beyond the traditional trifecta of matching bed, bedside table and wardrobe. While these are all undeniably important in every bedroom design, there’s also scope to branch out a little to create a room that you can relax in throughout the day.
Consider adding seating - a comfy armchair, a generous sofa, a daybed, an upholstered bench at the end of the bed, or a window seat, there’s lots of possibilities no matter how large or small your space is.
Mix and match different styles, introducing pops of color across furniture pieces and sourcing statement designs just as you might in other rooms. This makes for a more dynamic scheme that represents your style and will create a room you’ll want to retreat to.
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Interiors stylist and journalist Amy Neason was the Deputy Style and Interiors editor at House Beautiful for years. She is now a freelance props and set stylist, creating work for a range of national publications and brands such as Imogen Heath. She has previously worked at Established & Sons, and her skills include styling still life and interiors shots for editorial features and sourcing unique products to create inspirational imagery.
She is particularly respected for interpreting seasonal trends into feature ideas and style stories.
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