Your bedroom is where you spend time regenerating, resetting, refreshing (really all the positive “re-words”). But while we’re social-distancing and, thus, spending more and more time indoors, our rooms can feel less and less like a special sanctuary. Indeed, feelings of claustrophobia and restlessness are likely at an all-time high. But there are definitely little ways to bring the magic back to our personal spaces, and who better to tap than interior designers who are upgrading their bedrooms as they navigate this new stressful lifestyle themselves? I asked Los Angeles-based interior designer Jenn Feldman (who also happens to be a comforting presence even 3,000 miles away through the phone) and NYC-based decorator Shanti Crawford of Indigo & Ochre Design to learn how we can all update our own bedrooms to enhance rest and relaxation.
“This isn’t about major overhauls; I just want to look back and say not only did I survive, but I thrived in the simplest ways that I could to maintain and appreciate the space that you worked so hard to create. We have to be realists about this and just be present and do the littlest things that make your environment feel like it’s coming to life in a different way,” she reminds us. Ahead, find ten easy ways to upgrade your bedroom for a better oasis. And because shopping for a ton of new things isn’t really an option either, we made sure to include things that you can do with what you already have lying around the house.
First and foremost, you should make sure your bedroom is clean. It’s not just better hygienically and aesthetically speaking, but it can also be less stressful. “None of us want be in this situation, but we’re in it, so we can at least keep our spaces clean, which can it can make you feel like you’re at least in control of your own room,” Feldman says. With a clean, fresh space, there’s less to overwhelm your senses. Plus, it’ll help you appreciate the things you love about your room and see it’s potential again.
Freshen Up the Walls
Whether you feel like embarking on an actual DIY project and repainting the entire bedroom or you just want to touch up your white walls, a little freshening up can go a long way. Check out our favorite bedroom colors and how to decorate around them here, or simply touch up yoru dry wall with a Magic Eraser to get rid of smudges and marks.
Keep Pillow Cases Fresh
This tip is especially helpful for anyone who has allergies. “Even taking off a pillow case and running it in the dryer for ten minutes (or simply letting it air out if you don’t have access to laundry machines and spraying it with a fabric refresher) can make it feel more fresh and help reset things a bit,” Feldman explains. “Ee’ re always cautious about carpets for people who have allergies, too,” so you may move a carpet out of your bedroom if you notice waking up with tons of allergies, she says.
Prep Your Bedside Table
Make sure you have everything you’ll need before bed and throughout the night within reach so you don’t have to get up and interrupt your sleep. Things like a noise machine, charger, carafe of whatever, a eye mask, lip balm, etc.
Get Rid of Clutter
Crawford also points out that decluttering can help you decide which items bring actual value and which do not. “I think rather than more things in the environment we hope to make calming, we’re probably better off having fewer but more meaningful things,” she says. With that in mind, some good things to to keep in your bedroom could be “a stack of books that we’ve been meaning to read (or re-read) and now have the time to do so or a framed photograph of people and/or places we love,” Crawford suggests. Then donate whatever items you don’t need anymore.
Keep Florals Close
“If you have the luxury of getting anything like a flower near your bedside, take advantage of it,” Feldman encourages. It may sound simple, but she believes that having a living thing next to the bed can help us “remember the simplicity of being alive.”
Wrap Yourself In Something Soft
“Wrap your in something that actually makes your skin feel nice,” she suggests. Allowing yourself to have other sensory experiences that help you focus on physical comforts and bring you outside of your head can make such a difference inn your mindset and mood. Feldman tells us she keeps cycling between two cashmere sweaters she splurged on, and the same can done with soft, comforting throw blankets.
Go Shopping In Your Living Room
“I keep trying to change the scenery,” Feldman tells us. And it doesn’t have to be anything dramatic. “I walked around my house yesterday and moved my picture frames. The ones in my living room are now in my bedroom. I wanted to be able to look at photos that make me happy, so now that I’m spending more time inn the bedroom, I moved them in there” the designer says. Similarly, you could go “shopping” for new pillows in the family room or living room. It may sound like a small change but reminds us to be realistic about the changes we can actually make. “
Block Out Light
If you don’t have blinds in your bedroom, or you’ve been having a hard time sleeping in because yours don’t keep the light out enough, Feldman says you’re probably overthinking it. “This is not a time for perfection, it’s a time of getting by. Can you get a sheet out? take the corners of the sheets, take some tape if you don’t even have nail. If not, try it with a table cloth, scarf, or pashmina. Get creative with larger fabric items.” As long as it can block out more light or create privacy, it’ll work.
Separate Your Work Space
If you’re bedroom is suddenly moonlighting as a home office, there are a few things you can do to signal the change in use-case as the work day comes to a close. Whether it’s dragging in a side table and stool to work to, installing a floating shelf as a little desk, actually getting out of bed will help maintain it as your relaxing sanctuary as opposed to associating it with stress and deadlines.
Ditch Your Devices
“During this incredibly stressful time, I think it is more important than ever to have a place to retreat to from the constant influx of (bad) news and worrisome statistics, so to the extent that we can at least keep laptops and phones elsewhere over night, I think that’s not a terrible choice. If that’s one habit I can carry over from self-isolation into the future, I’ll be delighted…looking for silver linings where I can,” Crawford advises.
Swap Out Bulbs
“One of the things that comes up in every conversation is choosing the right light bulb, and whether or not that actually makes a difference,” says Feldman. And they definitely. She always chooses LED soft white light bulbs for a gentle glow that’s not too bright nor too dark. “I use it in every install, everything we do.” Bulb-type aside, she also says lamps are key. “Overhead lighting is is great for tasks or when you’re looking for something, but, otherwise, ambient lighting is better.”
Light Your Favorite Candles
“Unlocking a few other sensory moments is making me feel like I have a little more balance,” the designer shares. Candles are great for stressful times because they can remind us of our favorite places and memories. Lighting one you love before you fall asleep can be very soothing. Just don’t forget to blow it out!
Incorporate Earthy Pieces
“Any elements of the earth are powerful right now,” Feldman believes. “I don’t always know how or why but there’s a power there. This can be anything from natural light to living, breathing florals, or any collections stones—even a marble bookend. We remind ourselves that the earth will be here to find us again, we just have to ride this out. I’m strengthened by the remembrance of those small things.”
Make Your Bed
A small thing, sure, but making your bed can really help you begin your day and also feel more relaxed and fresh when you go to bed at the end of the evening. “Because if nothing else, you’ll have accomplished at least one thing each day. But especially in this strange groundhog day situation we’re all experiencing, making your bed and better yet, climbing into a bed that’s been made at the end of the day helps delineate that day and yes, creates structure,” Crawford explains.