How to Turn Your Bedroom Into a Sanctuary

We spend a third of our lives sleeping – or at least we should. So, here’s how to ensure your bedroom is a relaxing haven.

There’s no better feeling than getting into bed after a long day. But sleeping is more than just a nice thing to do – it’s essential to our survival. It’s when our bodies work to repair organs, muscles and cells and when the brain rests and recovers. One of the most important factors in getting some decent shut-eye is where we sleep. We asked two interior designers for Berkeley to share their tips on how to turn your bedroom into an oasis of tranquillity.

Buy the Best Bed (And Bedding)

Berkeley Inspiration - Buy the best bed (and bedding)
This wall-mounted headboard and fabric-covered divan are the ultimate in comfort (Image credit: Simon Winson/Berkeley Group)

Whether it’s a mattress that sinks when you move around or creaky, painful springs – the most important thing to get right is the bed. Or more specifically, the mattress. It’s worth investing in this, always try it out first and bear in mind your sleeping style. If you sleep on your back, you’ll need a firm mattress to keep your spine aligned, whereas side sleepers will need a softer one to cushion the shoulders and hips.

Once your mattress is sorted – it’s onto the bed frame. Susan White, Founder and MD at Phoenix Interior Design, who has designed show homes for Berkeley Group, says: “The bed is the centrepiece of the room, and from a huge statement headboard to a sleek, modern leather panelled bed, this is where you should begin.” 

Don’t stint on the bed linen either. Look for 100 per cent Egyptian cotton with a high thread count, which will give a soft, smooth feel. Sophie Fuller, Interior Design Manager at Berkeley Group, says: “It’s a cliché but comfort is a real luxury. Choose the highest quality linen you can.” If you’re going for a spa feel then keep it crisp white. If prints are your thing then try natural patterns – trees, florals etc to keep the vibe zen.

Get the Light Right

Berkeley Inspiration - Get the light right
This table lamp creates a soft glow (Image credit: Simon Winson/Berkeley Group)

Lighting is a fantastic tool for creating atmosphere. Firstly, you need to consider blocking the light from outside – which can be an aesthetic as well as functional decision. Susan recommends “taking a layered approach to window dressing. Blackout blinds are the starting point. You could also layer a sheer linen blind over that and then dress the windows with beautiful draped curtains.” 

The type of lighting is also crucial. We’re looking for the opposite of that ‘end of the night in a club when all the lights suddenly blare on’ feeling. “Lighting at different heights is important – just ceiling lights can seem harsh. Table and floor lamps will help make the space feel more calm. This will create ambience but also provide great task lighting for practical things like getting dressed and cleaning,” says Sophie.

Sort Your Storage

Berkeley Inspiration - Sort your storage
Sleek built-in wardrobes offer plenty of storage space for a calm environment (Image credit: Berkeley Group) 

If you’ve ever walked into the kitchen when every single pot and pan has been used – you’ll know how mess can raise stress levels. So, as practical as it sounds – storage plays a big part in your bedroom sanctuary. Sophie says: “Making sure everything has its place and is put away immediately creates a calming environment to retreat to.”

And storage doesn’t have to be visible. Under bed drawers are great for getting stuff literally out of sight and out of mind, while a feature headboard could be a sneaky way of hiding a shelving unit. Colourful storage boxes or natural baskets are great for keeping toiletries in while adding detail. We love the natural tones and clean lines of these oak and walnut Stack Storage Boxes, designed by Kristina Dam (Nest, £249 each).

Berkeley Inspiration - Sort your storage - Boxes
These natural wood Stack Storage Boxes from Nest are perfect for keeping your room tidy (Image credit: Stine Christiansen)

Choose Calming Colours

Berkeley Inspiration - Choose calming colours
Touches of green add positive energy and a feeling of nature (Image credit: Berkeley Group) 

If you were to close your eyes and imagine yourself in a gorgeous, calm space – anywhere in the world – you might think of a beach or garden. Wherever you pictured, bear in mind the colours around you and think about bringing them into your sanctuary. Everyone is different – but in general terms – red is attention grabbing and urgent (think red traffic lights) and probably not right, whereas green evokes nature and peace. And neutrals do exactly as their name suggests.

“Bedroom colours do depend on the individual preferences, but muted tones in greys, blues, whites, cream and beige tend to work best. Or you can play with colours that have a positive energy like green or yellows. We’d probably avoid reds and oranges in a bedroom unless the client loved these colours,” says Susan.  

Make It a Sensory Experience 

Berkeley Inspiration - Make it a sensory experience
Use a diffuser to scent the room with calming essential oils (Image credit: Berkeley Group)

Take yourself back to your imaginary space again but now think about what you can hear, smell or feel. We’re not suggesting filling your bedroom with sand to recreate a beach, but a water diffuser gently bubbling away will help subtly suggest to your brain that you’re lying on one. “You should always consider your senses. Soft fabrics and bedding, plush carpet or rugs to sink your toes into and soothing scents are all key in creating a sanctuary,” says Sophie.

Pillow mists are a handy bedside companion – we love Neal’s Yard Remedies Goodnight Pillow Mist (£15), a blend of organic lavender, vetiver and mandarin essential oils to help promote a sense of calm. And while you should limit your screen time at night, the Pzizz app uses dreamscapes – a mix of sounds, voiceovers and sound effects, designed using the latest clinical research to calm your mind and help you sleep better.