Putting together a great master bedroom is one of those things that is all for you. It’s not about what your company might think when they come over or about how your family life functions, it’s about how you feel when you go to bed and when you wake up to start the day in the morning.
It’s also often the last place on the list. We all tend to put more time and effort into creating a great kitchen or into making the kids’ bedrooms magical before we indulge in making our own bedrooms beautiful. Justifying the money & time spent seems so much easier when it comes to common shared areas of the house that help everyone have a better day. I have to say, though, that the master bedroom is probably my personal favorite place to transform. It just feels so darn good to create a room that is intimately beautiful for my clients - I know it’s going to be a place that restores them every day. I believe in the power of nice sheets and soft lighting.
Read through my list of master bedroom staples and check out my top 24 picks and see if it inspires you to create that lovely space that restores you and yours. You are so worth it.
1. A great color palette
Pick a simple color palette that consists of a neutral and one main color – you can go with just layers of neutrals if you want, or add in a color you love. Take a look at spring colors, dramatic jewel tones, or something from nature, but master bedrooms tend to look best with just one main color that is repeated in multiple places and echoed in some art or accessories elsewhere in the room. The master bedroom is a great place for soft touches of one color in many variations and shades, layered on top of neutrals - this echo and repetition of one color tends to create a soothing, relaxing mood in the room.
2. Luxurious bedding
Something thick and luxurious always looks great on a master bed. Adding some texture with pin-tucks, ruffles or ruching adds to the loft as well. If you don’t want to splurge on a high priced set right now, you can always use a duvet or comforter you already own and combine it with a duvet cover or even just a coverlet. There are lots of creative ways of achieving a rich, plush look without buying a new comforter. An old comforter, freshly washed and fluffed up, can easily be layered between a fresh top sheet and a thin coverlet - once it’s all folded down (I fold it over about 1/3 of the way down from the top and then tuck the raw edges under once more to create a really thick line), only the thick, plush folds will be visible and the old comforter will be perfectly hidden.
3. Quality sheets
Smooth, beautiful sheets in natural fibers are worth the investment. Look for 100% cotton or bamboo and for colors that add something to your color scheme. Sheets often start to look rumpled and pull off of the bottoms of the mattress edges by morning - if this bothers you, you can cover the top of the fitted sheet with an extra piece of fabric to cover the top 1/3 of the bed. I get creative here and use things like thin folded coverlets, throws, hemmed fabric and even curtain panels to lie across the top of the bed (just over the sheets but under the sleeper pillows). This trick also can bring in some color and texture to the bed.
4. Sleeper pillows
Add in layers of sleeper pillows (2, 4, 6… whatever you need to sleep with) and coordinate the pillowcases to your comforter or go with crisp white. These will form a base layer behind your decorative pillows, so although they are just practical they can still add some loft and coziness to the look of your bed and should color coordinate. If they are really not in ideal shape, consider stacking them and covering them all with a throw or coverlet, or even just hiding them under the comforter.
5. Decorative pillows
Here is where things really start to get luxurious. I am a huge fan of throw pillows - bang for buck, I think they add so much style and coziness to the bedroom for the investment. The only downside is that you do need to remove them before bed and carry them all back in the morning. I just stack mine on a dresser top, no big deal.
Is this where I confess that I have 5 decorative pillows on my bed… on top of 6 sleepers… and that my husband fully accepted the dusty pink sheets with raw-edge ruffles but said if I bring one more pillow onto our bed, we are going to have an issue? Yes, this is his life, the poor guy!
Decorative pillows – choose feather or down inserts whenever you can as they fluff and lay better. They are a worthwhile investment as you can just change out the covers over the years. There are many shapes and sizes, but the most common I use are below:
Euro pillows – huge squares, 26” x 26”, these can add huge impact. Use 2-3 for a king sized bed.
Standard toss pillows – these are most common in 16” or 20” squares, another place to bring in layers of color or repeat the main color of your bed. They can all be the same, all different, or a pair plus a few different ones. There’s really no rule here. Use 2-5 for a king sized bed
Accent pillow (bolster, small lumbar or shaped pillow) – just one of these is all that’s needed
6. Layers of texture
Texture is so vital to creating a cozy, relaxing space. You can look at the texture in your bedding, baskets, planters and other accessories, but my go-to is to layer texture in through the throw pillows and throw blankets. A small throw blanket that brings in some more color looks great folded or tossed at the foot of the bed, or folded in with the comforter at the top of the bedding (fold down the comforter about 1/3 of the way down, lay the throw on top of the fold, then tuck it under with the comforter at the fold and at the hem).
7. Interesting art
Let your art bring in some personality. Bringing in color, texture, mood and style through art is one of the easiest things you can do. Choose a few statement pieces that are in line with the mood you are trying to create, rather than lots of smaller pieces with nothing to say.
8. Stylish bedside lighting
Lighting is a simple and beautiful way to add some coziness and warmth to the room. Choose lighting with soft shades and bulbs that have warm, soft light. Bedside lighting can be through table lamps, floor lamps, wall sconces or hanging pendants.
Check out my Ultimate Bedside Lighting Guide blog post for more detailed tips & ideas.
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Hi, I'm Tara. I'm a professional interior designer living in rural Canada where I help the practical & down-to-earth to love where they live. I offer professional interior design services in person and online and am the author of a design & style guide to Living With Oak.
I believe you can become a happier person in a more beautiful home and I’m here to guide you in creating a practical plan to pull it all together. I’m here to offer interior design advice and inspiration to help you make that happen.