Modern bedroom furniture - how to furnish a contemporary space

Modern bedroom furniture is the key to creating a chic, contemporary space – from sleek storage to luxurious four posters, we explore how to get the look in your own home

The brilliant thing about modern bedroom furniture now is the sheer variety of options available – whether investing in a slick storage system, a statement bed or a pair of smart bedside tables – practical pieces are no longer safe and boring. Modern bedroom ideas mean that storage comes in a rainbow of appealing colours; while there is a headboard out there to suit every style tribe, from the boho queens who are going for the vintage vibes of rattan, to the urbanista favouring a madly OTT upscaled and upholstered headboard. And, freestanding or fitted, storage has become fun, rather than fuddy duddy. For every bit of bedroom furniture, you’ll find that lines are softer, colours bolder and tactility rules the day. And whether you are buying antique, investing in contemporary designer pieces or simply trying out the High Street’s latest offerings, excitingly it’s a new world order where anything really does go…

See also:Modern Bedroom Ideas – The Best Looks and How To Style Them

1. Add in a sofa

A neat two-seater parked at the end of the bed can create that boutique bolthole vibe in even the simplest bedroom scheme. All the online specialists and High Street stores have a plethora of sofa style options, but you can make it more individual – as well as eco-friendly – by choosing a vintage piece and getting it reupholstered. As it’s an accent piece, this is a design element where you can try out being a bit braver in your pattern or colour choices.

Soho House/Redchurch Townhouse

See also:Our Pick Of The Best Velvet Sofas

2. Bring the outside in

Bring biophilia into your bedroom by looking to the colours and materials that closely reflect the natural world. We are allau faitthese days with the health benefits – not to mention decorative appeal – of house plants, but take the obsession a step further by embracing a decorative palette of green hues; selecting wooden furniture and stripping back your floorboards. ‘A design for a bedroom will always include a plant scheme,’ says interior designer Suzy Hoodless . ‘I mix varying textures, heights and all manners of green to inject some life and bring a little of the outside in.’

Rimini kingsize bed, £1,130; Von bench with pad, from £1,115, both Ercol at Barker & Stonehouse

3. Build up modular storage

Whilele toutinterior design world agrees that fitted is to way to go to max out your storage, it’s also worth considering investing in a modular system that can be added to and adapted as your needs change and grow. ‘Customised wardrobe systems can be designed to fit around corners, into alcoves and over doors to quietly make the most of a room without making it feel claustrophobic, and there’s usually a huge range of finishes and colours to choose from,’ says Tina Mahony, Director at furniture store Go Modern. Plus, it has the added benefit that you can take this modern bedroom furniture with you should you move…

Montana System, from £300 for a square unit with door, Montana at ARAM store

4. Choose ‘cottagecore’

Lockdown saw us looking to the simpler things in life and, with it, came a re-evaluation of what’s thought of as timeless country styling: something more modest, with an artisan feel. Think trad metal beds; rough-hewn wooden benches or stools; linen sheets; stoneware pottery; patinated metals and checked wool blankets. In a way it’s about a return to more unfussy, pared-back pleasures and it’s a look that works brilliantly in a bedroom where you want to create a soothing and relaxing vibe.

All items, from a selection, A by Amara

5. Create a faux wall

Consider commissioning a carpenter to create a faux wall behind your bed. Think of it as an extension of the idea of the scaled-up headboards that have been so popular recently, but with it serving the purpose of being a handy shelf for decorativeobjets, pictures, lights or books. Alternatively take it higher, as Caryn Hibbert, Founder and Creative Director of the Thyme, has in the hotel’s rooms and hide a storage space behind it. ‘We created a false wall that reads to the eye as the perimeter wall of the room, but creates a seamless cupboard space that is invisible, totally minimalistic,’ she says.

Layered herringbone carpet, from £59.99 per sq m, Brintons

6. Customise your modern bedroom furniture

Bedside tables are one of those modern bedroom furniture essentials that should earn their keep. Make them work harder by choosing designs that include drawers or a cupboard. ‘If you have the space, go for something substantial with storage,’ agrees interior designer Adele Lonergan, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Covet & Noir. ‘We love a bit of symmetry in a bedroom, so use pairs of matching bedside cabinets.’ And rather than being a late-in-the-day afterthought, instead turn them into a key design feature by seeing them as another decorative opportunity for painting, papering or, as this show-stopping piece custom-made for Champalimaud Design shows, an opportunity to commission a one-off item tailor-made for you.

A bedroom at the Big Sky Residence designed by Champalimaud Design

7. Go large

Small room? Low ceilings? Don’t play it safe by scaling down your modern bedroom furniture – it won’t create the illusion of more space anyway. Instead do as interior designer Irene Gunter of Gunter & Cohas done and turn expectations on their head by playing with proportions. So take that feature headboard ceilingward and choose a generously sized sculptural lamp as a bedside light – it actually has the effect of creating a cosseting and cosy space in which to unwind.

A bedroom designed by Gunter & Co

8. Invest in a four-poster

The bed is, for obvious reasons,thekey piece of furniture in every bedroom and, as such, it’s worth investing time and resources in selecting a piece around which the whole decorating scheme can hang. In short, what you want is a statement bed. Just a couple of years back, finding a four-poster would have been a fairly fruitless search, but as we have all rediscovered the decorative power of the bed, it’s no surprise the four-poster has had a resurgence. ‘Four-poster beds have such an amazing impact in both large- and small-scale rooms,’ says interior designer Camilla Clark, Creative Director at Albion Nord. Good to know is that whether you favour wood or metal, clean minimalist lines or more decorative flourishes, there’s a version out there to suit your style. Plus, it’s not just a one-season wonder: ‘A four-poster offers an impact that will remain timeless for years to come,’ says Elena Paparozzi, Senior Furniture Buyer at Heal’s.

Marlow kingsize four-poster in walnut by Tim Rundle, £2,499, Heal’s 

See also:Fabulous Four Poster Bed Ideas for modern bedrooms

9. Make it about texture

The great thing about all the tactile materials, such as rattan and wicker, that are being used for furniture and are currentlyeverywhere, is that they suit all manner of styles, whether you lean more towards pared-back Japandi, vintage French chic or 70s boho. And they don’t just look good: ‘The demand for wicker, rattan and bamboo shows no sign of slowing down,’ says Lucy St George, Co-Founder of e-boutique Rockett St George . ‘With many of these beautiful, natural materials considered a more sustainable choice, they are also perfect for eco-conscious homes.’

Sungkai woven cane wooden wardrobe, £1,695, Rockett St George

10. Re-evaluate matching modern bedroom furniture

No longer consigned to retro suburbia, choosing matching furniture can actually be one of the easiest ways to create a look that hangs together. Opt for a bedroom range that offers a selection of different pieces in one style, material or finish. They’re not hard to source - whether from Habitat or Jonathan Adler, Pinch Designs or Molteni & C, the furniture set is the way to go for a properly pulled-together finish.

Ayrton nightstand, £795; Ayrton 3D dresser, £1,495; Belsa bed in charcoal, £1,795; Alba mohair throws, £145 each; Swirl table lamp in white, £175; Remi table lamp in red, £249, all Soho Home

11. Switch up your storage

One of the fastest ways to ring some changes in your bedroom is to choose a piece of freestanding modern bedroom furniture in an on-trend colour. Make it earn its keep by selecting it from one of the more modish storage ranges, so it serves a useful purpose as well as making an impact. Specialist suppliers such as Mustard Made and USM offer compact designs, while String and Montana have adaptable wall-mounted options – which means all of them work particularly well in smaller spaces.

Lowdown metal locker in olive, £249,

12. Try colourful cupboards

There are two ways to approach clothes storage – either to try to make it disappear by keeping it as plain and simple as possible or to make a feature of it. Freestanding wardrobes are big ticket purchases, so it’s easy to be tempted to play it safe, with neutral materials and colours, but the new-gen designer pieces demonstrate how unexpected colour combos can breathe life into practical pieces. While painting fitted cupboards in a bold hue – whether that matches the rest of the room for a wrap-round effect or is deliberately contrasting – can really lift the space.

Wardrobes painted in Porphyry Pink Estate Eggshell (from the Archive Collection, to order), from £27 per 750ml, Farrow & Ball

How can a modern grey bedroom be styled?

There’s a reason grey has enduring popularity as a decorating choice. It’s a modern neutral that works with all manner of furniture styles, other colours, and decorating themes – whether urban slick or country artisan. Because it comes in the full gamut of tones, from off-white to near-black, it can be as subtle or as bold as you need it to be. ‘How we view a grey is dependent on the light conditions,’ says Joa Studholme, Colour Curator for paint company Farrow & Ball, ‘But just as important is the contrast colour you choose to use on the woodwork and ceilings – a bright white can kill a subtle grey. It’s better to use a complementary tone, either slightly lighter or darker, for a more thought-through and calm look.’ Elisabeth Rogoff, Principal Designer at Champalimaud Designalso advises trying to vary the shades you select: ‘Remember that a highlight makes a lowlight attractive and vice versa, so play on shades of a colour, rather than using just one colour all over,’ she says. Then when it comes to dressing the space, think about the materials and finishes you select for everything from the furniture to fabrics: ‘Texture is key,’ says Camilla Clarke: ‘Bringing in a variety of different materials helps to create interest and diversity in a space. Use a warmer tone with greys, so the space doesn’t feel too cold.’

How can you get a good night’s sleep?

Practising good sleep hygiene is really a matter of common sense, although it’s worth thinking about the following areas when aiming for a good night’s sleep:

Ditch the tech and TV: blue lights wake you up, so try to avoid watching TV or looking at your phone a good hour before bed. Even better, don’t have either in your bedroom.

Keep it dark and cool: use blackout blinds or line curtains with blackout material to block any ambient light that might disturb. And aim for a slightly cooler room – a temperature of around 18C is good.

Invest in quality: buy the most comfortable mattress and best bedding you can afford – go for natural materials such as cotton, linen and silk, as these are breathable and wash well.

What are the best headboards to have in a modern bedroom?

When it comes to headboards, interior designer Jo Berryman ( is in no doubt about what she prefers: ‘I believe in statement over minimalism.’ And the kinds of upholstered headboards Berryman prefers are happilyde rigueur. ‘The headboard has become a brilliant focal point,’ says interior designer Martin Waller, Founder of Andrew Martin. ‘Don’t be afraid to choose a more outlandish style as this only adds more character. See it as art above your bed.’ While it’s now easy to buy or commission a headboard to suit your space, do think about the finish – all the designers we spoke to are agreed that headboards in softer materials are more appealing and comfortable, so aim for velvets, linens or soft wools. For the more minimally inclined, the newer, wrap-round ‘hugging’ headboards can offer comfort and noise-reduction in a subtler form that the more OTT sculptural styles. But, above all, do as Lucy St George advises: ‘Whether you go for a decorative headboard or a four-poster, the key is to focus not only on how the bed looks, but also how it makes you feel.’

As journalist with over 25 years experience, Kara has held staff positions at ELLE Decoration, Sunday Times Style and The Express. She has been a longtime contributor to Livingetc, and also been a regular writer for titles such as House Beautiful. She has always focussed on design and interiors, and her first book, At Home with Plants, was written with florist Ian Drummond and published in 2017.