Turning Your Bedroom into a Peaceful Sanctuary

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The difference between a bedroom that feels like a sanctuary and a straight-up place to sleep depends on a number of aesthetic and practical elements. And keep in mind the transformation doesn’t have to happen — ahem — overnight. 

Bed, Pillows, Linens 

One cardinal rule for creating a bedroom sanctuary is keeping things clean and tidy. That includes making your bed. Every day. 

Bed size matters, too. Will your bed feel cramped if your child or a pet occasionally sleeps with you? Is there enough room to spread out and really relax? Also, consider the size of the bedroom itself. In terms of proportion, is your bed a part of the room or does it overwhelm or even dominate the space?  

Some people love the comforting feel of flannel sheets, especially in the winter; others consider a high thread count essential. Whatever your preference, a touch of luxury matters. 

If you’re sleeping in the bed every night, most experts recommend washing sheets and pillowcases once a week. And here’s another word to the wise: The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America strongly suggests replacing pillows every two years and covering them with allergen barrier covers to prevent dust mites and other allergy triggers from taking hold.  


Many people try to save money by buying a discount mattress, but the result is often a restless night’s sleep. According to the Better Sleep Council, a mattress should last you about seven years. It also advises if you sleep better when staying at a hotel, B&B or even a friend’s house, chances are your mattress isn’t doing you any favors. While there aren’t any hard and fast rules about how much you should spend on a quality mattress, consider that you’ll spend about one third of your life sleeping on it. Check reviews and think of it as an investment in your happiness and productivity during the day. 

Furniture and Rugs 

If your dressers, headboard, night tables and other furnishings were purchased as part of a pre-packaged suite that’s okay, though it tends to “depersonalize” the space. A better solution is curating your furnishings, perhaps coordinating them around a common wood tone or paint color that ties things together. Aim for decor that looks purposeful, thoughtful and not overly matchy-matchy. Also, choose rugs that are easy to clean and maintain and comfortable on your bare feet. Consider placing them on a rug mat to avoid an accidental slip. 


A bedroom needs to be dark for sleeping but also bright and cheery when the sun’s out. Start by selecting room-darkening blinds or curtains that let you vary the amount of natural light. To control the mood at night, consider enlisting dimmer switches, especially for ceiling fixtures.  

Of course, there are certain areas — like at a desk or near a mirror — where brighter lighting is necessary. A desk lamp will take care of the first, while a strategically placed overhead light with a dimmer or floor lamp works well for the second. Do you often read in bed? If so, be mindful of that, too. 

Remember that light from electronic devices, such as phones, tables and even alarm clocks, can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Place them away from your immediate bedside and out of your line of vision.  


In general, light colors make your bedroom seem larger, while dark colors make it more intimate. Shades like orange or terra cotta are uplifting, while blues and greens have a more soothing, spa-like effect. Instead of painting your bedroom walls an intense shade, think about using bright pillowcases, vibrant wall art and other colorful room accents to liven up the space without disrupting the room’s harmony.  


If you have trouble falling asleep, add a fan or sound machine to block out distracting noises — especially if you or your partner snore. As for those electronics, silence them before getting under the covers.  


According to the Cleveland Clinic, the ideal bedroom temperature for sleeping falls between 60 F and 67 F. If your home has zoned heating areas, a programmable thermostat can help set a comfortable sleeping temperature. If you have a partner who prefers things a bit warmer or colder, use separate blankets so you can add or remove covers. 

Check out some more tips for turning the rest of your home into a tranquil oasis. 

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