For some of us, getting a good night’s rest has been a challenge lately. I’m either waking up in the middle of the night, never falling asleep, or having extremely vivid nightmares. All I want to do is sleep until this pandemic is over, but I can’t even make it through a single night. I asked experts for calming bedroom ideas to help me with my sleepless nights.
If your 2020 slumber experience is going anything like mine, it might be worth paying more attention to the environment in which you sleep than ever. “When I design bedrooms, I’m all about creating a serene, relaxing escape from the world, which I think we all need right now,” says Los Angeles-based interior designer Rande Leaman.
This might be the understatement of the year, and until we can get back onto a beach with a piña colada in hand, our bedrooms (and the sleep we seek within them) are all we’ve got in terms of evading the harsh realities of the world. Below, find 16 tips for making yours as zen as possible.
Affordable, inspiring ideas for a calming bedroom
1. Perform an edit
To start with, Leaman advises evaluating which items currently in your bedroom can be removed. “With less stuff, we have the tendency to feel calmer,” she says. “I don’t mean you should make it sterile and get rid of everything—I’m a designer, so I love stuff—but I would just be a little discerning.”
2. Shop your home
Once that’s done, you can begin to add new items where appropriate. This doesn’t mean, however, that you have to spend money. “Look around your space and see what you might be able to steal from the living room, bathroom, like a really great candle that you love or some art that you can move around,” says Leaman. “We all get so stuck in how we decorated our places, but sometimes we don’t realize we can keep it fluid and redesign the bedroom to make it a little more serene based on what we already own.”
3. Try a citrus cleanse
“Chop up a lemon and put in a small bowl or glass, add a pinch of salt, and fill the vessel with water,” suggests Feng Shui Master Dana Claudat. “Leave it on your nightstand for a day or two (no longer, so it doesn’t mold) to eliminate any heavy energy in your bedroom.”
4. Bring your bedroom to life
Nature is an excellent source of zen, so Leaman recommends bringing flowers and plants into the bedroom. You don’t have to shop for them, either. Instead, she suggests picking them from your yard or while out on your daily walk. Nature-themed artwork or photography can help, too.
5. Make your bed
This is a small action with big impact. “Don’t leave it for later, do it at the start of the day,”says Leaman. “There’s a huge psychological benefit.” This is especially true, she explains, if you end up having to work from your bedroom—a behavior known to provoke insomnia—as it will help you mentally delineate between your waking bed and your sleeping bed.
6. Refresh your sheets
If you are able to spend a little money right now, Leaman recommends you prioritize the purchase of new sheets. “New sheets can make you feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, it feels so good to get into bed’,” she says. (If possible, try supporting local purveyors. In Los Angeles, I love Matteo, for example.)
7. Toss (or, drop) a weighted blanket onto your bed
Leaman swears by weighted blankets for better sleep, especially in anxious times.
8. Layer your linens with lavender
“If you have lavender oil, mix it in a spray bottle with filtered water and spray your sheets before bed,” says Claudat. She uses 10 drops per cup of water.
9. Clean, Clean, CLean
“If you can, wash your bedding more frequently to keep the energy clear,” says Claudat. “If you have it on hand, add in a little white vinegar to your wash for extra energy clearing.”
Some studies show that air pollution interferes with sleep. So while your city’s air might be cleaner than ever right now, that doesn’t mean your indoor air is likewise healthy. Placing a purifier in your bedroom might help you clear the air for a better night’s rest.
11. Use temporary wallpaper to create an accent wall
“Say you’re looking at your space and you’re like, ‘Oh my god, I hate my bedroom, I need to make it look pretty so I feel good’—there are some really cool do-it-yourself wallpapers that can make you feel like you have a whole new space,” says Leaman. “They’re fairly easy to use if you’re just doing an accent wall, like right behind your bed.” You can also paint a wall instead or, if you don’t feel like spending any money, Leaman has another crafty idea for a calming bedroom. “Look in your closet and see if you’ve got a large scarf or a cool throw, which you can thumbtack up behind your bed to give the illusion of a headboard,” she says.
12. Make a photo wall
“Along these lines, if you’re really missing your family, maybe make a wall comprised of pictures of friends and family,” she says. “It just makes you feel good—it looks pretty, it doesn’t cost a lot of money, and it gives you a good project to do in going through all your photos.”
“Color evokes emotion, and there are colors that help us sleep and colors that wake us up,” Leaman says. “For soothing colors I would go with cremes, blush, or any of the blues, which are really serene.” You don’t have to keep it soft, either. “When you think of calm colors, a lot of times you think of very light colors, really soft blush or soft blues, but you can also take that into the cozy, comforting colors that can feel almost cocooning, like a very dark gray or a very rich blue, like a navy blue. Colors Leaman would avoid include reds, oranges, and bright yellows.
14. Give in to your dark side
“I’m a huge fan of anything that’s room-darkening,” says Leaman. “I would suggest window coverings with blackout material to help you sleep better.”
15. Steal your style cues
If you’re feeling stuck, Leaman recommends looking to Instagram for inspiration. “Maybe purchase a few throw pillows, an accent rug, bedside lamps, or something that might give you the vibe you’re admiring on the cheap,” she says.
16. hire a professional
“A lot of designers are doing online sessions right now that don’t involve anything more than a consultation,” says Leaman. They offer a quarantine-friendly and relatively affordable way of obtaining a few quick and easy ideas for revamping your space from someone with an expert and novel eye.