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Redoing a Bedroom? Read This!

From minor refreshes to significant remodels, follow our advice and you could beautify any bedroom and create a blissful sleep space.

Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Refresh or Remodel

You can probably get away with DIYing cosmetic bedroom upgrades—a coat of paint and new furnishings—if your bedroom just looks a little tired, you are adding a guest room, or a child is ready to graduate from nursery to toddler room. But transforming a too-small or basic space into a luxurious master suite often means a significant renovation by a contractor that can cost five figures. Read on for inspired bedroom ideas, from budgeting and buying advice, to demolition, decor, and financing.

Get Creative with Color

Photo by Stacey Brandford

Few things can transform a room with the ease and affordability of a new coat of paint. While cool, pale hues have long been considered the gold standard for a restful bedroom, there’s no reason you can’t get a little daring.

Bright Ideas:

  • Try a bright pop of contrasting color on the ceiling.
  • Stencil an accent wall.
  • Not ready to commit to a whole new color scheme? Paint a single piece of furniture with surprising stripes, or stain it for a weathered, antique look.

Add an Accent

Photo by William Geddes

In lieu of a headboard, add interest by creating a visual focal point behind the bed.

Bright Ideas:

  • Create an accent wall with peel-and-stick reclaimed wood boards or faux paneling.
  • Even easier: Try an applique peel-and-stick headboard. It's easy to apply and remove, so you'll get a great new look with zero commitment.

Save Space with a Statement Barn Door

Photo by William Geddes

Create a seamless, sleek divide between the bedroom and bath by swapping out a standard swinging door for an eye-catching, uber-trendy barn door. These doors are versatile and attractive, and save precious floor space, too.

Shop Smart: Check out salvage yards for vintage doors with lots of character at a low price.

Cool it Down

Photo by Mark Lohman

While ceiling fans do not actually cool the room, as air conditioners do, they can make the room feel about four degrees cooler than it really is and keep mosquitoes from alighting on your skin while you’re sleeping. They can also help you save in winter; simply reverse the ceiling fan rotation, and it will push warm air downward.

Shop Smart: If your bedroom has a light fixture centered over the foot of the bed, you won't need to tear out walls to install a ceiling fan. You'll just need to upgrade the ceiling box with one that can handle the added weight and motion, and then wire the fan in its place. Look for fans that have earned the Energy Star label; they use about a third less energy than a conventional ceiling unit.

Invest to Rest

Photo by Cynthia Brown Studio

No longer just for the elderly or for those wanting to sit up in bed to watch television, today’s high-tech adjustable beds offer an incredible range of features to help you get a good night’s sleep, such as adjustable hard/softness settings, foot warming, silent alarms, and remote controls that allow you to elevate your snoring partner’s sleep angle just enough to silence the racket.

Shop Smart: Models like the Saatva adjustable bed vary greatly in price and can cost thousands; the more tech that’s involved, the higher the cost. So be sure to shop around before you buy.

Budget Guidelines for a Major Bedroom Remodel

Sometimes nothing short of a major, down-to-the-studs remodel will give you the space you need or the Zen-like sleep sanctuary you desire. But if you're looking for payback at resale, consider this: The amount you should be willing to spend on any major renovation is related to the value of that room as a percentage of your overall house value.

Prepare for Sleepless Nights

Photo by Nat Rea

Embarking on a master bedroom's gut renovation isn't for the faint of heart. But if you have another place to rest your head while work is being done, and your dreams of a bigger, more luxurious boudoir outweigh the mess and expense, read on for some of the features and factors you'll want to consider while your walls are open.

Create a Quiet Zone

Photo by Anthony Tieuli

If your bedroom is on the main floor, or adjacent to a laundry room or common area, it's likely that your Zen zone is often interrupted by excessive noise. Consider muffling the mayhem by installing stone wool insulation within interior walls and ceiling partitions—its high density and unique fiber structure absorb sound and reduce noise traveling from one room to another, improving your comfort.

Lighten Up (Or Dim Down)

Photo by Mark Lohman

Before the drywall goes back up, ask your electrician to install a multi-zone lighting system that allows you to choose among a handful of different lighting scenes. With a single touch of the remote control, you'll be able to select options such as turning all the lights on, creating a low-light romantic atmosphere, leaving a sleep-friendly blue night-light on, turning on task lighting, and more. For a less expensive DIY solution with similar functionality, you can purchase a wireless remote system that controls light sockets you simply thread into your lighting fixtures, or outlet adapters that you use to plug in your lamps.

Think Beyond the Sconce

Photo courtesy of Seagull Lighting

For a stylish update, swap your traditional bedside sconces for trendy pendants on either side of the bed.

Get Organized

Photo by Mark Lohman

A few bins under the bed are great for stashing shoes, but why not build a wall of shelves instead? Take advantage of every inch of space with under-bed and side-table drawers that combine to create a stunning backdrop for the master bed. A custom unit can run thousands of dollars. But with a little imagination and some elbow grease, you can piece one together from stock cabinets.

Keep Cool

Photo by William Geddes

You don't have to install a whole-house air-conditioning system, or suffer the noise of a window unit, to enjoy HVAC in your bedroom. Ductless (or mini-split) systems are wall-mounted indoor units paired with an outdoor compressor. They're relatively inexpensive to install, and if you don't object to having a device hanging on your wall, they deliver reliable, super-energy-efficient comfort.

Add Architectural Interest

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

Few architectural details are as adept at adding instant character to a room as crown molding. A common decorative flourish, crown molding creates a beautiful transition between the walls and ceiling. If your ceilings are very high, be sure to choose a larger-profile molding that will stand out.

DIY It: Adding your own crown molding may seem intimidating, but there are now several easy-to-install versions that cut smoothly and install quickly with joint compound, so you can get the look without quite so much hassle.

Create Cottage Charm

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

To give your bedroom a dose of casual coziness, think wooden wall treatments. Choose beadboard for a beachy vibe, square-edged nickel-gap shiplap (shown here) to add cottage character, or vertical board-and-batten for farmhouse style. Install it as an accent wall, a waist-high wainscot, or capping the ceiling. The options are endless and can run from just $1 per linear foot for unfinished pine to up to $20 per linear foot for reclaimed or premium wood species.

Branch Out—Or Up

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

If your master is simply not "suite" enough, consider expanding up into the attic or bumping out into an adjacent room. You can create a dramatic, soaring ceiling, or finally get that en suite bath or walk-in closet you've always dreamed of.


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