Home - April 22, 2016

7 Steps to Decorating Your Bedroom

Since the very beginning of this whole room-redecorating journey, I intended to share as much as possible with you all. In fact, I actually decided to redo my bedroom so that I could share it with you. I figured it would be a great opportunity to branch out and share different types of  content that you all might find interesting. If you missed it, I shared the 5 reasons I decided it was time to redecorate my bedroom a few weeks ago and now I’m going to explain my process and HOW I did it.

Rather than simply sharing my personal experience, I wanted to take it a step further and turn what I learned into a resource for YOU that could potentially help or inspire you with your own decorating adventures (so you can keep this one in your back pocket!). I recently sat down and considered my entire journey since October (about 6 months ago) and was able to detail out 7 general steps to decorating a bedroom that anyone should consider. And I’ll be posting the big bedroom REVEAL next week (date TBD) and showing you how it all came together!

How To Decorate Your Room

In this post, you’ll find a step-by-step guide that’ll take you through how to decorate your room starting with gathering inspiration and ending with pulling it all together. I’ll outline each step in a general sense and then explain what this step looked like for me. Let’s get started – here goes it!

salt lake city home tour via style me pretty

Image Source: Style Me Pretty

Step One: Gather Inspiration

As I’m sure you could’ve guessed, the best place to start is by gathering a little inspiration to get a better idea of what you like. Although I’m telling you to start here, you’ll most likely be gathering inspiration throughout the entire process.

For me, this step felt sluggish and super unproductive. I’d spend hours flipping through magazines and scrolling through Pinterest, and have nothing to show for it. But I think the inspiration-gathering process in general – no matter what you’re preparing for – feels this way. It reminded me of doing research for a paper or trying to figure out what your thesis is going to be – lots of time and not much tangible evidence.

But although it’s not always the most productive “step”, it’s definitely a necessary one to get your brain going and the inspirational juices flowing. Whether it means flipping through old magazines or scouting Pinterest and home decor websites, I would suggest gathering lots and lots of inspiration and storing it in a way that makes sense to you so that you can easily refer back to it when needed.

pink tufted headboard via lonny
Shades of neutral bed with faux fur throw

Sources: Lonny Mag Article

I would suggest ONLY gathering images of bedrooms – despite how tempting it is to save, pin or tear out those images of beautiful living rooms, studies and kitchens. Your taste can actually be quite different for other areas of your home and it’s important to hone in on what your preferences are for a bedroom specifically.

Initially, I didn’t limit my scope to bedrooms when pulling inspiration. I didn’t intend to, but I ended up gathering TONS of ideas and inspiration that weren’t very helpful because the different room styles don’t always translate well. As you can imagine, a living room or office is going to have a different vibe than your bedroom is.

Locust Valley, New York, home designed by Celerie Kemble

Source: Celerie Kemble via Lonny Mag

Step Two: Take stock of what you have

I would suggest going through the list of things a typical bedroom includes and note what you already have and what you might need. As you consider each, ask yourself if you could repurpose or sell the items you already own.

I’m sure you’re well aware of what goes in a bedroom, but even still it’s nice to go through a list and consider the different pieces. So for reference’s sake, here’s a quick list of things most bedrooms have: bed frame or bed, bedding, throw pillows, bedside tables, lighting (overhead and table), chest of drawers or other storage, a place to sit that’s not the bed, decor details such as pictures, art, wall decor, and lastly an area rug.

Since I knew I wanted to incorporate my bedroom makeover with my blog content, I was pretty committed to restarting from the beginning and redoing everything. That way, I could better explain the struggles I had and truly experience the entire decorating process (except that I didn’t have an interior designer lol – maybe next time!). The only thing I ended up hanging onto was my maple wood chest of drawers that my parents gave me. But if I were to redo my bedroom without planning on making blog content as a result, I would for sure do a better job of repurposing items I already had (duh).

Blue and white print bed

Image Source: House Beautiful

Step Three: Consider Your Limitations and Circumstances

It’s important to take a step back and consider the big picture. I’m going to list out a few things to keep in mind and consider before making any big moves in decorating your room.

TIMING – Consider how long you’ll be in this bedroom. Obviously you’re going to decorate with a different mentality when you’re still renting versus when you’ve just bought a house. There’s a sense of permanence when you own the place, but that’s not to say that you shouldn’t start decorating when you’re renting. After all, you don’t want to start from scratch when the time does come to purchase a home.

Considering your commitment to this space will inform your buying decisions and set the tone for the permanence of the items in this specific room. For instance, some purchases might work well in the current bedroom but would need to be repurposed or rearranged to fit into another room (with different decor and details) if you ever decided to move. On the flip side, if you’re staying a  long time, then you can buy confidently for this specific room knowing that these things will always be in the same space.

Neutral bedroom by interior designer will wick via lonny mag

Source: Interior Designer Will Wick via Lonny Mag

FLOORING – Do you have carpet or wood floors? I’d argue that a rug isn’t necessarily CRUCIAL for the beginning stages. You can always add this on later – although some decorators would argue the opposite. I think it really depends on whether or not you want a statement rug (and then base the rest of your decor around it) OR if you want it to just “complete” your room and compliment the rest of your decor.

YOUR BUDGET – Make a budget but don’t let this hold you back too much. It’s important to figure out what you want in an ideal sense first and then you can figure out how to make it work within your budget later. For instance, once you know what items are of value to your room, you might consider doing different IKEA hacks or buying previously owned items for other items. The key is figuring out what you’re looking for!

SPACE & ORGANIZATION – Where do you currently keep your clothes, shoes and accessories? Do you have a closet (some people don’t..)? If so, are you using that space well and in the best and most efficient way possible?


Image Source: Lonny

Consider the Different Bedroom Living Areas Your Room Will Provide

Vanity/Getting Ready Area – do you have a designated place to get ready each morning/night? Maybe you’re one of those girls that actually gets ready in her bathroom – I most surely am NOT. I find that having a place where I “get ready” helps me keep that area tidy because I’ve made sure that I have storage nearby to put my blow dryer, brushes and makeup.

Desk area – do you have a spot in your room to put your computer? Even if you mostly use it while in bed, it’s sometimes nice to have the option to sit at a desk.

Bedside Area – my bedside area is also my go to junk spot. Consider what you have next to your bed and the proper storage for those items, i.e. nightstand, coffee table, etc.

Accessories and Jewelry – this is a big one for most women. Think about how you get ready in the morning and how you would like to have your jewelry and accessories displayed. This will really save you time and be a great opportunity to organize your most valued items.

Sitting Area – how much space do you have in your bedroom? If you have extra room or make it work, you might want to consider including a place to sit that’s NOT the bed. You never know when a sitting area could be convenient, even if it’s just a place to sit and take off your sneakers.


Step Four: Determine Your Personal Decorating Style

Taking some time to articulate your decorating style will help you make decisions quicker and with more confidence. I briefly summarized some of the most popular styles in my most recent home decor post titled Top 5 Decorating Styles Explained & DefinedOnce you can narrow it down to one or two decorating styles, I would suggest looking at more images that fall into that same category to gather more inspiration.

This step was actually one of the MOST helpful in my personal decorating journey. During the first few weeks of this project, I had the hardest time making a decision about ANYTHING. I couldn’t commit to any direction or pull the trigger on any purchase because I was scared I wouldn’t like it. For the life of me, I just COULD NOT imagine how it would look or whether I’d like it in my room. Unlike putting outfits together, you can’t try on bedroom decor like you can clothes.

Taking some time to identify which decorating style I preferred helped me speed up the process. Once I got a better idea of what I liked, it was easier to pick thing out and pull the trigger on purchasing them – knowing that everything with mesh together in some way or another.


Source: Design Sponge


Step Five: Choose a Color Theme

The way I see it, when it comes to decorating a bedroom, you could either play it safe and go with neutrals or take a risk with bold color. If you’re going for an eclectic or punchy look and you know that you love color, then you could decide to commit to something dramatic and center your entire room around it. But I just couldn’t make that kind of commitment because I know myself well and I change my mind way too often!

redecorating my bedroom color story

After going through the inspiration-gathering stage, I was sort of a hot mess. And although figuring out my decorating stye helped a little bit, I still felt stuck because I couldn’t figure out which direction I wanted to go in. But most of all, I couldn’t choose a color scheme! I liked too many things. Above is an image I put together just to show you a quick glimpse of all the colors I loved and considered using in my room. But of course, I couldn’t use all of them together…

I couldn’t figure out if I wanted to do an all neutral room or a fun and colorful room. It’s pretty strange actually – it’s like I have some kind of schizophrenic taste that likes traditional and transitional interiors yet also likes to have a bit of fun and eclectic-ness to it. On one hand I love bold and punchy decor – bright colors, loud prints, and statement-worthy investments. But then on the other hands, I’m such a sucker for the restoration hardware-esque look with minimal color and simple design.

But one thing I realized after looking at lots of photos of bedrooms (after weeding out the living rooms and offices – like I mentioned in the previous step) is that most of them only had one or two colors – anything more than that kind of killed the relaxing vibe. Unlike living rooms – which can contain several different colors without being overwhelming – bedrooms need to be simpler. If you’ve got too many colors going on it can be difficult to create a cohesive look.


Images Sources: [LEFT] Style Me Pretty’s Abby Larson (as seen in Domino); Interior Design and Styling by Lauren and Suzanne McGrath; Photography by Brittany Amrbidge for Style Me Pretty // [RIGHT] Au Lit Fine linens found via Style & Home Article

These were two of the images (above) that really stuck out to me when gathering inspiration.

In my opinion, an all white bed (with a few pops of neutral colors) is ideal. Something about having mostly neutrals (like the images above) or Restoration Hardware is almost irresistible and super relaxing – probably because it reminds me of a hotel bed!

I decided to go with white bedding because I simply can’t imagine having any other color! I decided to play it safe with the wall color and headboard as well to create a predominantly neutral bedroom. This way, if I wanted to add more color later, I could do it easily by adding colored accents or small decor without having to repaint my walls or get a new bed (aka minimal cost and effort).

Step Six: Make a BIG THINGS list

Make a list of the top things that drive you CRAZY in your room right now. Is there anything you know that you FOR SURE want to change? Write it down. Making this list and committing to making these changes is going to help you get the ball rolling and gain some momentum. Ask yourself, if money wasn’t an issue, what would you change? Prioritize the things you absolutely can’t stand and commit to making a change.

This was an easy step for me. Like I mentioned in one of my recent home decor posts (“5 Reasons I Knew It was Time To Redecorate”), I already knew I HAD To get rid of those nasty yellow walls. I had been wanting to do it from the second I moved it, but was putting it off because I was hesitant to put money into a home I was renting.

Additionally, start thinking of things you absolutely MUST have or would like to have. Imagine the perfect bedroom (or find a picture) and identify what it is about that specific bedroom that makes it so dreamy. Write it down.

And if you can’t decide where to start or what to buy first, I’d suggest starting with what you love. If you really like a piece of furniture or really love the idea of having an armoire in your room, go for it. If you love it, you’ll figure out a way to make it work. The important thing is that you already LOVE it even if it ends up in another room eventually.

I already told you about what was on my MUST CHANGE list. So what was on my must have list? Easy, a new bed or headboard. Personally, I think a bed (or headboard) can make or break a bedroom. So the next thing I wanted to figure out was what kind of bed I was going to get. For me, it was between a grand 4 post bed or an oversized tufted headboard. I went with the latter because my ceilings aren’t really high enough (in my opinion) for the look I would have wanted with a 4 post bed.

blush pink headboard mirrored side tables lonny march 2011

This pink headboard (above) might be the main culprit for why I was so dead set on the whole oversized headboard look. There’s just something so regal about it, don’t you think?

I looked online for days to try and find the bed I was envisioning, but I couldn’t seem to find anything that really wow-ed me. I wanted my headboard to be WAY taller than my Euro Pillows and I wanted it to have a grandeur look to it – kind of like hotel room beds sometimes do. After chatting with my mom about my struggles of finding a bed she suggested I get one custom made. After making a few calls and daydreaming a bit about it, the decision was pretty easy. I was super excited to make exactly what I wanted come to life.

I went back and forth between wanting to do a crazy colored headboard (and go for a Jonathan Adler spunky-ish look) or going with something more traditional and less risky like white or cream. Given that I’m relatively risk-adverse by nature (ahemm! I’m an accountant by trade!), I ended up going with a cream and gold headboard (#duh). And Plus, I knew it would give me some flexibility in the future if I wanted to try out different looks slash switch things up.


michelle adams bedroom leopard print benches

Image Source: My Domaine

Also on my MUST HAVE list – X Benches. Ever since I saw these leopard X-benches from the 2012 issue of Lonny magazine (pg. 90), I knew I NEEDED to have some in my life – I was only waiting for the right moment. And although I will forever be obsessed with the leopard print ones, I wanted to try something different for this round of decorating (I can always get the leopard later) because I feel like EVERYONE has the leopard x-benches (especially a lot of bloggers) and I wanted to do something different.

beverly hills hotel palm print

I’ve always (!) been a fan of the banana leaf palm print at the beverly hills hotel and have always wanted to incorporate that into my house in some way or another. I figured this would be a fun way to bring the print in and if I didn’t like how it looked in my bedroom, I could always repurpose the benches in my future living room. Actually, the fabric is an outdoor fabric so they would also be great for a patio! Regardless, I knew I couldn’t go wrong! Needless to say, I committed to get some X-benches in the palm print :)

Step Seven: Accessorize

Then What? Start repurposing old things, investing in new things and putting it all together! And take as many photos along the way because sometimes we can see things better in a photograph or certain elements of a room stick out more when we’re looking at a picture of it.

This is definitely the most elaborate and rewarding step. After you’ve gathered all your supplies you will begin to see the rewards of having a bedroom that incorporates all your favorite things while creating a welcoming and cozy space just for you!