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Bedroom Design Guidelines

Your bedroom should be a comfortable and calming place to rest your weary body at the end of a long day. It should give off "Zen vibes" to support your ability to unwind as you change out of your work clothes, gym clothes and as you change into your PJs. When you think of an area that is supposed to be a place of peace and quiet reflection, you want to feel at ease. As Humans we react to our surroundings and changes in the environment through our senses, whether that’s through smell, touch, sight or hearing. When it comes to interior design, our senses can evoke certain emotions, too. A visually balanced space will make a room feel more intentional, harmonious and inviting.

As shocking as it may seem, many of us do not know how to really pull together a good bedroom design. Many times designing our bedrooms are an afterthought, receiving the "leftovers" from other spaces in our homes. We often focus our attention on other rooms in the house that our guests can see and in turn end up neglecting our own personal sanctuaries.

The following guidelines can assist you in helping your bedroom feel as pulled together and as harmonious as possible. So let's get into some rules on designing a bedroom that supports your rest and relaxation!

Start With The Furnishings

  • A common problem in most bedrooms is too much furniture or furnishings that are too large for the space—or both. Give yourself room to breathe in your bedroom by carefully choosing bedroom furniture that fits the scale of your bedroom, and decluttering often.

  • A nightstand or two is a necessity for most. Consider your needs. If you love to read volumes in bed, a small bedside pedestal table probably won’t work.

  • Consider the furniture arrangement, as well. If at all possible, beds should be placed far away from busy doorways or drafty windows. Consider the “traffic patterns” of your bedroom when placing your furniture.

The Nightstand

The nightstand height shouldn't be too high or too low. As a simple rule, the height of a nightstand should be level or nearly level with the height of your bed. We recommend measuring the height of your bed to the top of the mattress and then choosing a nightstand that's tabletop is within 3" of the mattress top for comfortable access to any nighttime essentials. Nightstand sizes depend on the space of a bedroom and the size of the bed frame. Standard nightstands are typically 21" – 29" wide and pair well with queen- or full-sized beds. Twin-sized beds look best with a narrower silhouette. For large king-sized beds, opt for a wider nightstand to match the scale. Mix it up for a more interesting and “designed” looking pairing instead of just purchasing the matchy matchy set.

Styling your nightstand: Your nightstand should be functional (a place to leave a book, water glass, reading glasses etc). You want the pieces you put on your nightstand to vary in size. This helps the eye move around. Mix up the shapes, too. Pair a sculptural lamp with a round dish and finish it off with a square frame. They will look eclectic and collected in the best way. The nightstand should be your simple happy place where just a hint of pattern should hang out. A little goes a long way and will bring in just the right amount of fun.

(lamp on both sides of the bed), you want to make sure the scale feels right. Because there are two of them, you don't want to have two giant lamps that are going to make your bed look too small.

If you decide to mix up the lighting, you want the scales to be different enough without your eye getting confused with where to look. While they’re different in terms of height and visual weight, neither of them are an intricate shape or decorated with complex patterns. They have similar elements and share some sort of similarities (a similar lampshade shape, color, materials or shape). They don’t need to be the same but they should compliment one another.


To get the ideal bedside sconce height measure 50″-60″ from the floor to the top of the fixture. It's best to make sure you leave enough space between the light and where you are situated in bed while sitting so that things don’t feel too cramped.

Table Lamps

The bedside lamp should be roughly one-third the width of the nightstand when measured at the lamp’s widest point (usually the base of the shade).Assuming that your nightstand is the same height as your mattress (or within a couple of inches), look for a lamp the same height as your nightstand plus an extra 2 or 3 inches. So if your nightstand is 24 inches high, a lamp that is around 27 inches tall will look best. The right size lampshade balances the lamp. Generally, the height of the lampshade should be approximately two-thirds the height of the lamp’s body, measuring from the bottom of the lamp to the base of the light bulb.

The Bed

Choosing the right size of bed is actually very important. The right size can give you space to move and sleep comfortably. There must be a lot of space around your bed so you can change the bedding easily and move around. You can place your night stands, side tables or other furniture in those spaces with the choosing the right size of bed.

First calculate the minimum space around your bed. You can easily calculate the space around your bed by calculating the dimensions of the bedroom by using the basic formula: length x width. You can split the room into two different sections if you don’t have a square room so it will be easy for you to calculate each section. You can now consider the size of bed once you have the size of your bedroom in your hand. A minimum of two feet space must be left around the bed to avoid your bed knocking into walls and enough space for drawers to open.


Ideally your rug should have at least 24″ on all three sides of your bed. Our typical sizing rules are: for a Twin go for a 5’x8′, a Full 6’x9′, a Queen 8’x10′ and a King 9’x12′.

If you have the room for a rug in your bedroom then you will want to make sure that you have some space on either side of the rug once it is tucked under your bed. If it is similar in width to your bed then it may look too squished and small for the size of your bedroom. If you don’t have room for one of the rug sizes that we suggest above, then you could always try doing two smaller 2×3′ rugs on either side of the bed or some sort of sheepskin throw if you are looking for extra comfort. A good rule of thumb is to have the legs of your footboard be on top of your rug.

This rule is one that can be broken depending on your room and how it is laid out, but typically you will want a good portion of your bed on the rug (and at a minimum the front legs). You can float a rug in front of your bed if you have a long narrow room but a large rug that fits under the bed will help to ground the room and keep the rug from looking like an afterthought.


The size of chandelier you choose for your bedroom depends on where you decide to hang the chandelier. Here are the sizing formulas for two common bedroom chandelier placements so you can know if you need a small bedroom chandelier or a larger option:

Centering the chandelier in your bedroom will most often mean placing it over the foot of your bed. If this is the look that most speaks to your fashion sense, you can use a simple formula to determine how big your chandelier should be. Measure the length and width of your room and add those two numbers together. The result converted to inches equals the diameter of an appropriately sized chandelier. For example, if your room is twelve feet wide and thirteen feet long, the perfect chandelier will be roughly twenty-five inches in diameter.

Another popular chandelier placement is to center the fixture over the bed—in this case, the size of the bed will play the biggest role in determining the size of your chandelier, as a large chandelier will overwhelm a smaller bed and a mini-chandelier won't pair well with a king- or queen- sized bed frame. Generally speaking, chandeliers with a diameter of thirty-six inches will suit a king- or queen-sized bed and chandeliers with a diameter of twenty-four inches will look best over a full- or twin-sized bed. In this case, other lighting layers such as sconces, table lamps, or ceiling fixtures should be utilized for larger rooms to ensure your space is appropriately lit throughout and the light sources don't appear unbalanced.

Whether you center your chandelier in the room or place your chandelier above the bed, the bottom of the chandelier should hang roughly seven feet above the ground. Be sure to adjust the height of your chandelier over your bed so the fixture isn't hanging too low. It shouldn't impede the view of any TV screens, nor pose a safety hazard as you sit up and climb in and out of bed.


Divide the space between the top of the window and the ceiling into thirds. Then hang your curtain rod in the top 1/3 portion. This will elongate the window and make your ceilings look taller. Your curtain rod should extend 10″-12″ of the width of the window on either side and will help visually elongate the width of the windows and when you pull the curtains all the way open there will be room on either side of the window for the curtains to live when you are allowing the natural light in during the day. The bottom of your curtain should “kiss” the floor. Avoid lots of pooling fabric or curtains that are too short.


The bench should be a few inches shorter than the bed or if the bed has a footboard then same height or slightly lower. Having the bench a few inches shorter than the bed will help to make the room more visually appealing. The bench should be 6″- 8″ narrower than the foot of the bed either side. If you have a Queen that means your bench should be around 45″ wide and a King should be around 60″ to 65″ wide. The key here is having the bench be around 3/4ths the length of the bed. You can combine two short benches or even a bench and a stool or basket. Whatever combo just needs to equal the 3/4ths rule.

We suggest mixing materials! Choose a bench that slightly contrasts with the material of your bed, or vice versa. So if your headboard is upholstered, then choose one with wood or metal accents or if your headboard is metal or wood, then opt for an upholstered bench. As long as you are consistent with your color palette of a few different colors then mixing materials will help to add interest to the room.


The most powerful place to put art is above the bed, which is where your eye is drawn to naturally when walking into a bedroom.

In general art above the bed looks best if it is either a bit larger, covering the same space or a be bit smaller than the bed / headboard (as long as it also incorporates other elements). When hanging a set of prints, it is best not to hang more than 3. An odd number of elements is a great idea for any space.

Make sure you center your art or set above the bed and think about the set as one piece of art.

The best starting point is to keep your finished piece (the edges of the canvas or frame) between 60-80% the width of the furniture it’s hanging over, and I tend to like it closer to the 80% mark.

Well there you have it! Guidelines to get you started on the perfect bedroom design. If you have any questions or would like help on an upcoming project feel free to contact us!

XO -- Cassy


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