Houseplans Blog

Time for Bed

Time for Bed
Get a better night's sleep with a peaceful bedroom.
More than 40 percent of Americans sleep less than seven hours a night, and sleeping less than six hours a night is a major factor in job burnout, writes Arianna Huffington in her new book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time (Harmony). It may be time to transform your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary. Ms. Huffington and two interior design experts offer their best bedroom hacks.

5 Ways to Design a Better Night’s Sleep

1. Color.
Think blue, green, or gray. Ms. Huffington’s luxurious SoHo master bedroom is a call to sleep in restful shades of blue and harmonizing accent colors. St. Francisville, Louisiana-based interior designer Ellen Kennon, owner of Full Spectrum Paints, considers certain shades of blue ideal for bedrooms because blue has been known to reduce inflammation and induce sleep. “I like pale sky blues and shades bordering between pale blues and greens,” Kennon says. “And subtle greens not only soothe and calm but refresh at the same time.” If a client has crown molding and the walls are green or brown, Kennon might suggest sky blue for the ceiling. In hotter climates like Louisiana, darker greens can be both cozy and cooling.
Washington, D.C.-based interior designer Kirsten Lytle, NCIDQ, says that most of her clients ask for calm bedrooms in neutral colors. 

“The key to creating that feeling is a low-contrast color palette that brings interest through a variety of textures rather than splashy colors or dizzy patterns,” Lytle says. She says that gray is a popular bedroom wall color these days, especially Blue Springs by Benjamin Moore, and Comfort Gray by Sherwin Williams. Kennon often recommends Full Spectrum’s Gustavian Grey reminiscent of 18th century Swedish colors and furnishings inspired by King Gustav III. FYI—pastels are huge as accent colors right now, especially pale pink, blue, and green, which pair well with gray. For those who want a soft white, Lytle suggests Benjamin Moore’s Simply White. On the other hand, both Kennon and Lytle have clients who want warm colors on their bedroom walls from rich adobe browns to soft yellow, burnt orange, deep reds and even pink.

A bedroom from Plan 928-10 by Wayne Visbeen shows a particularly restful palette of grays and blues.

2. Lighting.
“Lighting is one of the most important triggers for your body to prepare for bed,” Lytle says. In The Sleep Revolution, Ms. Huffington explains that the blue light given off by electronic devices suppresses melatonin, making it harder to sleep. Her solution? Banish all tech and blue-light-emitting devices from the bedroom at least thirty minutes before turning off the lights (Ms. Huffington’s phone and electronic devices recharge in the foyer outside her bedroom). Layer your bedroom lighting by mixing natural daylight from windows and skylights with traditional lighting and uplighting. Adding blackout curtains can help you sleep better and layering them with sheers and shades allows for maximum light and privacy control. Install dimmer switches on bedside lights for convenience and keeping unflattering recessed can lighting out of the bedroom to reduce glare and help you look your best.

This bedroom, in Plan 48-651, combines translucent shades, uplights, and reading lamps to layer the lighting.

3. Mattresses and More. “
It’s not really a surprise that a quality mattress is a key factor in getting a good night’s sleep,” Ms. Huffington says. The Sleep Revolution lists several mattress companies to check out including: Casper (, Coco-Mat (, Sleep Number (, Tempur-Pedic (, Yogabed (, Leesa (, Helix (, and Saatva ( ).
 For bedding, Kennon is a fan of soft, luxurious, sheets. Ms. Huffington sleeps on organic cotton sheets from the Huffington collection, carried by Coco-Mat, designed by her younger daughter, Isabella, 25. Lytle suggests adding a fluffy down comforter to satin sheets and silk or 100 percent cotton pillowcases (beware that with satin sheets the blankets may slip off the bed in the middle of the night). Beneath those sheets, don’t forget to put a hypoallergenic mattress cover, which helps contain dust and allergens. Customizing your pillow to the position in which you sleep helps your spine line up correctly, and using heavy or weighted blankets can help some people relax and fall asleep, especially those with anxiety, ADHD, or PTSD. For more comfort, try layers of textiles such as soft throws and rugs.

To separate your bed from the rest of the room and help create layers of space, consider adding bed curtains or a screen. “As you pass through each portal, transition, or doorway into your bedroom, you become more intimate, more peaceful, more restful,” Lytle says. And Ms. Huffington has luscious blue bed curtains around the bed in her SoHo home.

4. Furniture.
Make your bed the centerpiece of your bedroom. Use a big headboard to make a dramatic statement and keep the furniture balanced, but not perfectly symmetrical, so that it feels restful, yet personal. Place your bed opposite the entry so that you can see the door and let it be just your bed. Provide an alternative (like Ms. Huffington’s exquisite blue bergère chair covered in brocade Fortuny fabric) for other activities like reading. And don’t forget to give yourself some space, literally. Keep only bedroom furniture in the bedroom, outfitting closets with drawers to replace dressers, allowing the room to be sparse. Open space in your bedroom invites stretching, meditation and yoga. Keep things organized by storing throw pillows in a chest at the foot of the bed or in closed containers in the closet (see our post 12 Essential Storage Tips).

The simple four poster painted blue in a bedroom from Plan 901-120 gives the room a calm structure.

5. Artwork and nature.
The things that you see in your bedroom should be restful, Kennon says. The artwork should be deeply meaningful, peaceful and personal, Lytle adds. Use an inspiring image to set the mood and perhaps add a touch of the erotic if it suits you. Set out a few candles—typical scents recommended for sleep are lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood, but bergamot and night-blooming jasmine can also be delicious. And consider adding some plants since they purify the air as you sleep.

Abstract artwork in this bedroom, from Plan 888-17 by Nicholas Lee, echoes the grassy backyard view through French doors.

As Huffington writes: “When we walk through the door of our bedroom, it should be a symbolic movement that marks leaving the day, with all of its problems and unfinished business, behind us.” Sleep well!

To see a collection of plans with distinctive master suites, click here.

Time for Bed Inspiration

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