You’d think that “SLEEP” would be the main goal when designing a bedroom but it’s often not. I’ve put TVs in bedrooms before (a big sleep no-no) and have indeed over-pillowed before (because it looks pretty and makes me happy), and I love the idea of fun patterns and bright colors even in a bedroom. But I’ve changed, (gotten older? wiser?) and now sleep is the #1 reason I use this room and it’s my thesis that “SLEEP” should be considered in all design decisions. So today I’m walking you through the elements of a bedroom designed for SLEEPING. We partnered with Target and their new Casaluna line (which is SO BEAUTIFUL) and if you haven’t seen it for yourself in-store, know that it’s their higher-end, all organic, sustainably made line at still an affordable price point for luxury. Plus it’s very, very beautiful so the designer in me is still satisfied, when awake. So if you need more sleep feel free to use this post as a guide for how to design your bedroom to do just that – SLEEP.
Keep It Minimal (But Warm)
There is truly such a difference between cold and minimal. Both don’t have “a lot of stuff” but only one is inviting. It’s actually quite simple – warm minimalism is achieved through textiles and textures in monochromatic or soothing colors. Here we have these soothing blues and creams in different textures, a rug that pulls them all together (that rug is very good in person, btw) and accented by wood and brass (both warm). Also consider adding a cat or some sort of cozy animal, in your color palette of course, to the bed – a lovely, textural living sculpture!
Stick To A Calm Color Palette
Chair | Stripe Blanket | Slippers | Blanket Ladder | Chunky Knit Blanket | Cable Knit Blanket | Green Vase | Art (not available) | Frame | Lamp (not available) | Dresser (vintage) | Ceramic (handmade by Sara)
Now “calm colors” means different things to different people so I’m not saying you have to use neutrals. But for “calm” I always think low contrast (not a ton of black and white busy patterns) and cooler tones (yellow and red aren’t typically “calm” but also do whatever you want, it’s your bedroom!)
Symmetry = Less Stimulation
Round Mirror | Large Wall Art (not available)
Your eye likes it when things match because it’s less work to process “what is happening” – so when your nightstands “match” it’s almost like we only have to do 1/2 the visual processing. I’m making us all sound like newborns that get exhausted with too much stimulation, as if two different nightstands would confuse our baby brains so wildly, but I’m telling you – our eyes and brains understand symmetry easily and stimulates our brain so much less (thus ready for sleep).
GOOD BEDDING = GOOD SLEEP
1. Consider Your Inserts
Regardless of your style, it’s time to seriously consider what goes on your bed – both inside your bedding and on top. (Obviously, the mattress is important too, but that’s not this post). We are talking inserts, pillows, sheets, blankets… But before you begin, ask yourself some questions to help guide you because there are a lot of options.
1. How cool or hot do you “run”? This might also shift by season (and often does). Depending on the answer there are light, medium, and heavy inserts and provide, well, light, medium, or heavy heat and weight. I’m a medium girl myself (in down, not down alt). Speaking of…
2. What “fill” best suits you?? Most bedding inserts are made from either Down or Down Alternative. What’s the real difference? I’ll break it *down* for you:
3. How many layers do you want? What is your level of comfort needed (mine is HIGH, Brian likes less)? Do you want to feel like you are swimming in softness (me)? Or have just the basics with less fuss (Brian)? We’ve landed on four king pillows, one comforter, and a big quilt for colder nights.
4. How important is machine washable? How often do you want to replace? Some materials (down, goose and wool) don’t do well in a typical washing machine so opt for down alternative going forward.
Once you know all of those things, you have the following basics to think about: mattress topper, comforter insert, and pillow inserts. This can be kinda intimidating (and an investment) so I’ve broken it down for you so you can purchase (if you need) with more confidence.
The mattress topper is a luxury for those of you who A. want to soften a firm mattress B. crave even more comfort, C. want to protect the mattress as much as possible and D. really want to sleep in the clouds. These are attached simply on top of your mattress and yes, add a cloud-like softness. They also can add heat so might be better in winter months. These options in the Casaluna collection are simple (in a good way) – Down, Down alternative, foam topper, and wool. The down and feather blend looks AMAZING and I’m tempted to get it for the kids here in winter as they have a similar one (in down alt) on their bed in LA and they LOVE it. The foam is more firm and feels more like a memory pad. But for those of you who like a “crisp bed” you probably don’t need a topper. You DO however, need a pillow.
Ideally, we’d all go into the store, be able to test these out ourselves, but these days that’s less convenient. My personal opinion is to get one that is more firm – like the medium-firm down alt for leaning against, and then Brian and I are leaders of team “SOFT DOWN“. It’s incredibly soft and fluffy. I’m curious if any of you have tried the “cool loft‘ and if so leave in the comments. The idea of it keeping you cool all night sounds dreamy.
Don’t be intimidated by the options – just remember if you like fluffy and still warm and you don’t mind not being able to wash it yourself then stick to down. If you are prone to allergies go with down alt. We now have the light-weight down for summer/fall and mid-weight down for winter.
IT’S TIME TO LOVE YOUR BEDDING
Now you’ve figured out the basics, let’s jump right into the sheets. The new Casaluna line is VERY PRETTY, and I know you can’t tell through photos that it is very soft and comfortable BUT IT IS. But choosing off of photos is hard because frankly they are very well styled and all look so attractive. So here is what to think about:
You have fabric options both in color AND texture. I’ll explain.
Stop worrying about thread count (that was just a marketing fad), think about touch and quality. Linen and Hemp are both so beautiful to look at and have a more handmade feel, but some (Brian) consider it too rough. I love a percale myself as they just feel crisp and fresh, but I can certainly lean toward Lyocell which is even softer (and has a bit of a sheen). Jersey is cozy and while I haven’t tried the temperature regulating sheet if this is a struggle of yours give it a roll. All the bedding is sustainably sourced and of VERY high quality.
Basic Bed Necessities
After sheets and pillows, you get to think about the other elements and layers you want. If you have a duvet cover with an insert you do NOT need a flat sheet (as the duvet cover is washable) and maybe you don’t like to have four pillows up top (we do). We’ve purposefully left off decorative pillows because they aren’t necessary for “sleep” but you can certainly add them.
Yah, But How Do We Layer The Textiles?
Ultimately this is about your preference on comfort, feel, and volume of layers. But if you are going to mix (yay!) as your official designer, I say go for it with as many different textures as possible (in a tonal, minimal colorway). In this bed, we have hemp sheets (top and bottom), linen/cotton blend shams, a comforter, quilted blanket, and knitted throw. Now you probably don’t need all of those, but it sure does look pretty, cozy and Lady (the cat) found it VERY easy to nap on, so if you need a cat spokesperson to convince you she’s it. If you want it to be simpler skip the top sheet and the throw, but I personally think that a quilt at the end that ties in with the shams at the top makes your very comfortable bed look also beautiful.
Consider The 5 (Fine, 4) Senses:
What if you tried to curate a sleep-inducing room for all 5 senses? How do you even address them to make your body fall asleep and stay asleep longer? Obviously what you touch (or touches you) is important with the bedding, but we’ve covered that. Now onto sight, smell, and sound and just know we are skipping taste but feel free to consume dark chocolate, wine, or tea before bed to ensure your perfect nighttime sleep-inducing sensory experience.
Sight – Reduce The Light
Not only do you want to keep it visually “minimal” but you want to have the right lighting for the before-bed-wind-down (reading) as well as reducing the light in the morning to sleep longer. For this consider:
1. Lamps. This could be a pendant on a convenient switch, a fabric shade like for more ambient lighting, or a metal shade for more directional lighting like this one. Just make sure it’s easy to reach and a low wattage bulb. If you need a reading light consider a smaller lamp clipped to your headboard with more directional light.
2. Window Treatments. We shot this in Sara’s bedroom and she had these custom blackout shades installed (that are so pretty). But there are many readymade blackout shades and curtains available. Quick HOT TIP – curtains block out the light better as most roman shades have some sort of light leak depending on the direction it faces and the time of year. We love these curtains from Target that block out light and are really affordable.
3. Sleep Masks. It does seem kinda silly that we obsess about blackout curtains when really you just need to cover your eyes with a snug piece of soft fabric. Historically sleep masks have either been really uncomfortable OR super expensive. Enter this new Casaluna silk mask. You barely feel it’s there, it blocks out the light and now I use it every night.
Smell (Let’s Call It “Fragrance”)
Essential oils via reed diffusers are so lovely and subtle, and lavender can tell your brain to relax and drift off. I wasn’t really into these until we bought some at the mountain house and I LOVE how they A. kinda look like flower arrangements and B. you don’t have to light them like a candle therefore more safe. They just give off a very subtle fragrance without you doing anything but refilling when empty.
Sound – SHHHH
As I was writing this I realized that we didn’t address sound in the photos! But consider this for yourself – would you sleep better with a white noise machine? Earplugs? Fall asleep to a meditation, song, or storytelling podcast? The Casaluna line of bedding doesn’t sing you to sleep, but creating a calm sound environment is also important for good sleeping (especially for us light sleepers). Brian swears by the Sleep With Me podcast – to get him to sleep and if he wakes up in the middle of the night he puts it on again and it works.
While I hope you are still awake I do hope this post helps you design your bedroom to actually SLEEP. We all know the rules – stay off the phone, don’t go straight from TV to sleep, etc. But the bedding you choose, including the inserts, can make a big difference on you first of WANTING to get into bed (I crave my bed), falling asleep, and even more importantly staying asleep. The Casaluna line was designed just for that, and being sustainably made you can also rest your conscious that you are doing best for the environment. High quality, good for the earth, BEAUTIFUL, and ready for you to have many great nights of sleep.