A good night’s sleep is often the ultimate cure for any sickness or stress you might be suffering (those reading this who have had decidedly less than 40 winks last night will surely attest to the negative consequences of not getting a good slumber). In my last post, How to Turn Your Bed into a Sleep Haven, I highlighted various ways you can enlist your bed itself to work extra hard at helping you get to – and stay in – the land of nod. Now, it’s time to talk about the rest of your bedroom, and how it can also help with your sleep quest. From the aesthetics and colours of the room itself, to your choices in storage and window treatments, transform your room into a relaxing retreat and you’ve already won half the battle.
Create a relaxing retreat
It’s common sense to avoid overly garish colours and patterns in a room you’re trying to relax in, but simply painting the space white might not be the best option – particularly in the UK, where our cool light can make pure white appear cold. Yet colour psychology advocates blues, greens and lavenders – all falling on the cool side of the colour wheel – as the most restful, calming tones to use within a bedroom.
Sticking to shades with brown pigment in their base will stop things looking chilly, however – easily spotted by their slightly earthy warmth. Interestingly, the darker the hue, the more pronounced this calming effect can be, which works out rather well for the current trend for indigo tones in interiors.
If you prefer a neutral look, go for pale paints with just a hint of these colours on your wall and bring in bolder hits of these hues through your accessories. As these colours all sit alongside each other on the colour wheel and work together harmoniously, you could combine them to add interest to your scheme without anything jumping out too much, keeping it all fairly easy on the eye.
Read more on creating a relaxing bedroom colour scheme.
Indigo Night. 2013 Dulux Colour of the Year. Modeled by Nicola Roberts.
Picture option/credit: Indigo Night matt emulsion by Dulux (www.dulux.co.uk)
Bust that Clutter
Looking at a heap of mess is never going to be a relaxing proposition at any time, least of all when you’re trying to doze off. Sneak in storage wherever you can.
Aside from obvious items like wardrobes and chests of drawers, try placing an ottoman at the end of your bed to hold spare blankets and bedding, opt for a bed with added storage beneath it or an ottoman bed itself, utilise storage boxes to help organise items like shoes and out-of-season clothes, or even employ a stack of suitcases or trunks to act as a bedside table, with added storage within. Ensure there are hooks on the back of your bedroom door, so if you’re too tired to tidy clothes away before bed, you can at least get them off the floor.
Check out a range of great storage beds.
In the Dark
We’re pre-programmed to sleep when it’s dark, and an early sunrise can rouse us sooner than we’d like, so pay particular attention to your window treatments. Opt for blinds or curtains that have a blackout fabric lining, and ensure they generously cover the window to minimise chinks of light streaming through.
As a rule of thumb, curtain and blind specialists Hillarys advise hanging curtains from floor to ceiling and 18” wider than your window at either side, for minimal light seepage. Shutters are also a brilliant choice for a bedroom as you can accurately adjust the amount of light they let in to suit your purposes, while having them fully shut will ensure almost all external light is kept outside.
If changing your window treatments isn’t an option, plump for an eye mask instead. Forget those cheap ones languishing in the bottom drawer picked up for free on flights, however, and splash out on something a little more comfortable and luxurious in silk or satin (look at Janey Whitehorn’s selection, which have the bonus of being lavender-filled too).
Filling your room with things you love will, understandably, make you keen to get to bed every night. But don’t over-stimulate: keep distractions to a minimum, especially the area to which your eye line falls, opting for items with a tonal familiarity rather than lots of contrasting colours.
Finally, stick to a single, simple artwork or large photograph rather than a gallery wall, which will encourage the eye to dart around it and therefore add stimulaton, and keep patterns calming and restful, like the gently undulating waves seen in Abigail Edwards’ Seascape wallpaper. If you have bare floorboards, throw down a large rug to add both physical and visual softness.
Keep an eye out for more articles by Joanna Thornhill in our Sleep Better category and let us know how you get on with creating your own relaxing retreat in the comments section.