Here to Help: How to Decorate Your Bedroom

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Designed correctly, a bedroom can serve as your nightly sanctuary. Here are some for creating a space that feels calm and inviting.

PLAN THE FURNITURE. It's called a bedroom for a reason: The bed is the key piece of furniture. As such, it should be given pride of place in the room, most likely with the headboard positioned against one wall and paths for walking on both sides.

"Don't shove a bed in the corner," if at all possible, said Nick Olsen, a New York City interior designer. "They're impossible to make, and uncomfortable for two people to use."

If there's space, install nightstands on both sides of an adult bed for convenience. "Consider whether you need extra storage space," said Mr. Olsen. "You can use two dressers for nightstands" to provide space for folded clothing.

MAKE IT SOFT. "I would avoid anything that feels aggressive," Mr. Olsen said. "Even though I like bold colors in my decorating, I like paler tones in the bedrooms: gentle blues, greens and yellows."

Underfoot, Mr. Olsen advocates adding some kind of textile to warm up cold, hard floors — wall-to-wall carpeting, a large rug that extends underneath the bed or smaller rugs on either side of the bed.

MAKE THE BED. It's possible to make a bed with nothing more than a fitted sheet over the mattress, a nice duvet and a couple of pillows. But for something a little more formal, you need more layers.

Mr. Olsen recommended keeping the sheets simple — perhaps hotel-style white linens with a subtle embroidery detail at the edge — and bringing in color and pattern with the top two pillow shams and decorative pillow.

CONTROL THE LIGHT. If you're sensitive to sunlight when sleeping, you want to have the ability to eliminate it completely. The best way to do so is with a blackout roller shade or a Roman shade with a blackout lining.

Many designers use table lamps as well as wall-mounted lamps, either hardwired or plugged into an outlet, on either side of the bed. The table lamps provide an ambient glow, and the wall-mounted lamps provide directional light for reading.

In terms of control, "Every light should be on a dimmer," said Mr. Olsen — good advice for every room of the home.