It’s important to walk into a room and instantly know its purpose. Additionally, having a defined focal point invites one into a room. When walking into a bedroom, I want to easily see the bed, since the main purpose of the room is lying in that bed, and I especially prefer to have the bed’s headboard directly facing me, as it and/or art above it is generally the best focal point in a bedroom.
Bedroom Layout Tips from a Richmond VA Interior Designer
If you cannot achieve a layout where the bed fits with its headboard facing you, do not fear. Draw out your options on graph paper or in an online tool like floorplanner.com (I teach people how to use this tool and how to design a room step-by-step in my Chic, Kid-Proof course) to see if you can fit the bed so that you only have to turn your head right or left to see the headboard when entering the room.
Try to avoid positioning your bed so that no one has to walk all the way around it to access an en-suite bathroom. Pro Tip: Try to limit you and/or your partner’s walking distance to a max of two lengths/sides of the bed to access the bathroom. Example: It’s not ideal if someone has to walk around their side of the bed, the end of the bed, plus another side of the bed, in order to access the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Once your ideal bed position is determined, only then should you figure out what kind of end tables or nightstands are best suited to the space. It is always nice to create symmetry or visual balance to cement your focal point. This can be done with matching nightstands or end tables. Please ensure the height is within 2-4″ of your mattress height when on its bed frame. Many people make the mistake of having very short tables next to their bed and they do not allow you to have easy reach of items like a phone, a book, or even a reading lamp.
Interestingly, I have a bedroom where the bed is not perfectly centered on the focal point wall, so I had to accommodate by having different sized night stands. On my husband’s side of the bed, he has a 3-drawer antique chest in front of a window and on my side, I have an antique secretary that is narrower and taller, with a mirror over it to balance the window on my husband’s side. I created symmetry by hanging two matching swing arm sconces over our bed for night time ambiance and reading.
If you have space for extra furniture beyond a bed and nightstands, you might consider what activities you do in your bedroom besides laying in bed–gentle yoga, light exercise, longer phone calls, etc. Consider the furniture pieces you need for those activities and then create separate activity zones (the bed and nightstands are one activity zone) for those activities. Just ensure you have enough walking space between activity zones. You’ll want a minimum of 30″ between a chair and the side of a bed. If you have a long proportioned room, you can often get a couple of chairs or a bench at the end of a bed’s footboard. I’m not a believer in adding furniture to a space that won’t be used, so having larger scaled furniture or artwork for the space is often better than simply adding more furniture.
If you’re struggling with your bedroom layout, we are interior designers in Richmond VA who would love to help you via our remote and in-person Strategic Design Consultations.