How to decorate a bedroom – 10 tips to create a beautiful bedroom

Need help with your bedroom decor? We have plenty of ideas to get you started...

How to decorate a bedroom
(Image credit: Interior Fox)

So you want to learn how to decorate a bedroom?  Well good, you are in the right place, because we have created a super simple, easy to follow guide to help you create your dream space starting right at the beginning. 

Now, without wanted to brag, we have had our fair share of experience with decorating bedrooms, but we've also asked the experts and got stylists, color experts and designers to offer up their tips and advice too. From where to start when choosing a bedroom color scheme and how to decide on a style, to how to pick the best furniture and nail your bedroom lighting, we have it all covered right here...

  • If you are after more bedroom ideas to help get your inspired then head over to our gallery. 

Where do you start to decorate a bedroom?

The best place to start when decorating a bedroom is to decide on the overall style you want to go for. Getting this down will help to make decisions on color schemes, furniture choice (if you are buying new), decor and accessories loads more straightforward as you already have a clear idea of what look you are after. 

But certain elements might help you make a start too. You might fall for a statement bed frame that will be the jumping-off point, or you know you want a wall of a certain color that will lend itself to a certain style. There really is no right starting point but we will talk you through everything you can consider while planning your bedroom decor right here...

1. Choose a style for your bedroom

Blue and cream bedroom with patterned rug

(Image credit: Ikea)

Now, how to pick your style? Personally, we think the best way is to go old school with a mood board. Have a look over on Pinterest and pin bedrooms you like the look of, flick through magazines (Real Homes always has loads of lovely pics *wink wink*) and start following Instagram accounts whose home you like the style of. You'll quickly start to see some themes arising, and even if you notice you are loving more than one style, don't worry, there are no rules against mixing styles, in fact, that's what is going to make your bedroom decor feel personal to you. 

Scandi style modern bedroom with yellow throw

(Image credit: Racheal Smith)

If you are decorating a bedroom for the first time, it is likely that your tastes will change and that's totally allowed! But until you have a clear idea of what you love avoid investing in anything that is very clearly suited to one style, and instead use smaller, more affordable ways to bring that style into your space. Essentially, keep your spendy pieces like your bed and any larger storage pieces, relatively neutral so they can work with any look you throw at them.  

2. Carefully choose your bedroom furniture 

Grey bedroom with hanging house plants

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

Well, that leads us on nicely to how to choose furniture when decorating your bedroom. Once you have chosen the style you are going for with your furniture, next to think about is size. Draw up a floorplan of your space and make a list of what you want to include.  The bed is likely going to be the most dominant piece of furniture, so really think about what size and shape is going to work in your room. 

'A bed is the dominant feature of any bedroom, it is the focal point and acts as a base to center the rest of your scheme around.' says Jen & Marr from Interior Fox. ' An upholstered headboard is an easy way of injecting color and texture into your bedroom, especially when designing within a smaller space. For a luxurious look, introduce plush velvets in rich earthy tones, these work well against a neutral backdrop while keeping the space light and airy. Add contemporary piping in a contrasting color to the edge of your headboard, this instantly adds a twist to any standard headboard and broadens the color scheme.'

Bedroom with build in wardrobe and mural wall

(Image credit: China Cooper )

As well as picking the perfect bed, you'll need bedroom storage too. You might not think of something as practical as storage as being decoration, but check out this bedroom and how the storage picks add style to the room as well as a place to hide away clutter. As well as your closet, add small storage pieces that will double up as decoration like a vintage trunk, stylish rattan baskets and luxurious-looking ottomans. 

Hanging chair in the corner of a bedroom

(Image credit: David Giles)

A bedroom chair is something to consider adding too if you have the space. Not only do they provide a handy extra surface to sling (sorry carefully place) clothes, they look lovely and it can be so nice to have a space to relax away from your main living room. 

A hanging chair works well in smaller space because they technically don't take up any floor space light can still flow under it, and they are the perfect addition to modern boho bedrooms. But if you like a cozy, more traditional look a big squishy vintage armchair would make a great buy, or see if you can repurpose anything you have in your living room. 

3. Pick an overall color scheme 

Real Homes Home of the Year awards:

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer © Future)

Your color scheme is something you want to think about really early on with your bedroom decor. If you plan on painting the room it's one of the first jobs you'll need to do.

First off, consider the mood you want to create and what will suit the style you have chosen: bright and cheerful, cozy and muted, or dramatic? Then, think about your bedroom's orientation: how much sunlight does it get and how will the colors you're considering look under both natural daylight and lamplight? Now think about your bedroom's size: do you want your small bedroom to feel larger or does size really not matter that much to you in a bedroom? 

Bedroom with fireplace and dark grey doors

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

You can't go wrong with a white bedroom color scheme. If your space is small, white will expand it, if your space is dark, white will brighten it. It's also the perfect backdrop for so many different styles, so if you have a tendency to switch up your decor a lot, white would be the way to go. 

'As useful as it is, white is not an emotional color,' says Annie Sloan so you’ll need layers of texture and tones to bring depth and comfort. Use nuanced shades, from cool to warm, for a softer, more flattering look than a single, pure white.'  

Bedroom painted in Farrow and Ball Railings

(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)

And at the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the dark and moody hues, that are only increasing in popularity. We see more black bedrooms now than we do navy blue, and despite seeming like a bold color choice, black actually works in rooms of any size with any amount of natural light. 

'While dark colors for any room can often feel like a leap of faith, they can create surprisingly cocooning spaces, so don’t rule out using them in the bedroom, especially if the room is poorly blessed with natural light.' says Patrick O’Donnell of Farrow and Ball. 'Try something like Down Pipe which never feels too cold or overwhelming, especially when simply dressed in off white linen for a clean contrast.'

Obviously, it's not going to have the space-expanding effects of white, but using a darker color on the walls can blur the edges and make the room's dimensions less obvious, so don't be afraid to use it in smaller bedrooms too. 

Pale green bedroom with panelling

(Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez)

Want to dabble in the world of color? Greens and blues are always a good choice as they instantly give a room a serene, calming vibe. Opt for a light sage green and pair it with white and woods for a lovely soft color scheme. Or go for a bold blue, mixed with pops of vivid colors for a more vibrant feel – that's the best thing about decorating with blues and greens, no matter how bold you go it still always has that lovely soothing quality. 

Feeling inspired? We have a whole gallery of blue bedroom ideas for you to peruse and for all our bedroom color ideas head over to our in-depth guide.  

4. Add pattern with wallpaper

Queen's Gambit interiors

(Image credit: Anthropologie)

Paint may be the simplest (and most budget-friendly) way to decorate a bedroom, wallpaper is also a great way to bring some color and pattern into your room. Now how you go about it and what prints you choose depends on the look your want to go for. 

'To begin, you’ll need to decide on a pattern and palette that suits your aesthetic.' advises Nina Tarnowski, founder for Woodchip & Magnolia. 'Though don’t be afraid to push beyond your comfort zone, consider even taking the design up to the ceiling. A large floral design in deep tones can add depth and drama, but for those looking for a more subtle approach, try a vintage-inspired wall mural in a soft neutral.'

5. Or bring in some texture with panelling  

Bedroom with light curtain

(Image credit: Fritz Fryer)

And wallpaper isn't your only option if you want to adorn your walls with something other than paint. Wall paneling isn't just reserved for traditional bedrooms in period properties you can make it work in any space. The textures and warmth of the wood do lend themselves particularly well to boho or rustic bedrooms though. 

You can actually DIY this look too. There are plenty of shiplap kits if you want a more coastal vibe, or you can secure wooden boards to a single wall for a cozy cabin feel. 

6. Pick out artwork for your bedroom decor

When renovating their run-down period terrace, Ali and Rob created an open-plan extension that works for everyone

(Image credit: Rachel Manns)

Artwork, whether that be a band poster you've had since your teens that you can't let go of or a painting you bought at auction, is a great way to bring some personality into your bedroom decor. 

The gallery wall trend has stood the test of time, and they always look beautiful displayed above a bed or to spruce up a boring wall. And you can really tailor them to suit your tastes – if you like a minimal look pick a symmetrical layout and pick a clear color theme, and more a more laid-back look don't stick to such a rigid format and mismatch your frames. 

You could alternatively choose a single, oversized print to hang on your main wall. You could even use it as the basis for your whole bedroom, weaving the same colors throughout the room and really making the artwork the focus. 

Check out our gallery wall ideas feature if you need any more tips on curate the artwork in your bedroom. 

7. Add softness under foot with a rug

White bedroom with blue patterned rug

(Image credit: Carmine & Teal)

No bedroom decor is complete without a rug. They bring in color, pattern, texture, and warmth, a  rug 'pulls the scheme together and helps to zone a space when working with a larger room.' says Jen founder of Interior Fox. 

'And don’t be afraid to maximize: the bigger the rug, the better in our opinion. A large rug will create maximum comfort underfoot while adding warmth and texture to wooden floors. Our best design tip: make sure to place the rug underneath your furniture; this will bring your key furniture pieces together. To avoid the room feeling overcrowded, give the rug enough space from the wall, ensuring the sides of the floor are exposed.'

8. Perfect your bedroom lighting 

Loft bedroom with DIY headboard

(Image credit: Fiona Murray)

The majority of time you spend in your bedroom it will be dark, so it's important when decorating to plan your lighting. And lighting doesn't just have to be just practical, they can be part of your decor and really add to the scheme of the room.

When choosing what types of lighting to go for, think about how you use different areas of the room. You'll probably want a bedside light to read by, an overhead light for the whole room and a few lamps dotted around to create a lovely glow. You always want your lighting to be warm and soft, so pick warm bulbs and shades that will diffuse the light. Dimmable switches are great in bedrooms too if budget allows. 

In terms of design, think about whether you want your lighting to be a key feature in your room, like you see here with the gorgeous rattan pendants, or more in the background, in that case you might want to opt for subtle wall lights.

If you need more practical advice and inspiration head over to our bedroom lighting ideas guide. 

9. Invest in the best bedding and throw pillows 

Loft bedroom ideas

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

Bedding! Bedding and throw pillows are so important to your bedroom decor as the bed always tends to be the focus of the room.  We'd start with a plain color for your sheets as a base – try white, cream, grey, pastels, deep blue or even black – then get layering. Add throw pillows that you can easily switch out with the seasons or as your style changes, add a blanket for extra texture too.

10. Don't forget to dress your windows

With its rustic character and cosy interior, Karen and Adam Griggs’ former worker’s cottage comes into its own at Christmas

(Image credit: David Burton)

Window dressing are something we often overlook in bedroom decor, they are an afterthought, just something we need to pull over our windows when we sleep. But what you choose to dress your windows with is a design decision as well as a practical one. Obviously, you want them to block out light but you want them to look lovely too. 

In a bedroom, we would always recommend curtains. You can always add a blind underneath to block out more light, but the softness of curtains lends them so well to bedroom. Pick a floaty, gauzy fabric if you like a relaxed style or go for something heavy like velvet if you want more of a luxe feel.

Think about length too. If space will allow, go floor to ceiling as this will add height to the room and just gives a more luxurious look. 'Gone are the days of shorter curtains, they feel dated and can make a window feel small and boxed in. Instead opt for floor to ceiling curtains, ensuring there are no gaps.' say Jen and Marr founders of Interior Fox. 'This look adds height to a room, while keeping a clean a simple aesthetic.'

For more bedroom window ideas take a look at our gallery.

Hebe Hatton
Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer. As a renter, she is always looking for creative ways to make her flat feel like home. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration.