Welcome to Week 6 (our bonus week) of Calling It Home’s One Room Challenge! Woohoo! I’m excited to have the extra week, since one of my projects didn’t work out the way I planned and I’m still working on a plan B. That’s the hard part about applied design… even if you have an amazing idea for how to do a project, if it doesn’t turn out to work, you’re pretty much back to square one. Luckily, the clever tips on this list make it easy for your bedroom design to be beautiful AND functional!
There are so many thoughtful decisions that go into creating a truly comfortable and functional sleeping space. Follow these tips, and don’t let your gorgeous bedroom design get caught up on annoying hiccups in user experience!
1. Don’t let ugly cords bring your bedroom design down
Did you know that the German language has a word for that hopeless mess of cords that tends to pop up behind entertainment centers and under desks? Germans call it “Kabelsalat”, which translates to “cable salad”. German has a word for everything!
There are about a million clever hacks for how to hide ugly cords, but my favorite is the simplest. No need to put a bunch of holes in the wall!
Wrap a couple of extra long zip ties around your cords and the leg of a nearby piece of furniture (or under the bed, like in this picture), tighten, and cut off the excess zip tie. Now your cables are out of sight and not being pulled around the bedroom floor. It’s easy, tight, and reversible, so if you decide to change your design, you’re not getting out the putty and paint.
2. Designate a landing spot for decorative pillows
Luxurious: piling your soft bed high with glamorous, airy pillows. Swoon!
Not so luxurious: realizing you don’t have anywhere to put those pillows at bedtime, and tossing them apologetically onto the floor. Sorry, babes!
It sounds obvious that you need a place to stash your pillows, but it’s one design feature that’s really easy to overlook! Keep a chair, bench, or trunk somewhere in the bedroom so it’s easy to store decorative pillows at night.
But be aware that you might have to keep a taser on hand in case your significant other decides to use the chair as a dumping ground for sort-of-dirty-but-not-quite-dirty-enough-for-the-laundry-basket clothes.
3. Use a clothespin clip to keep your charging cord close at hand
Who likes fumbling around on the floor for their charging cord, then trying to wedge it between the crap on their nightstand so it won’t fall off again? Not me.
3M Command Spring Clip to the rescue! It’s shaped like a clothespin, and like all 3M Command products, it’s a breeze to install. The best part? When you want to remove it, the adhesive pulls cleanly off of most surfaces. 3M Command products come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and I swear by them. They’re especially useful to renters who want to avoid putting a bunch of holes in the walls.
No more cord lost behind the night stand. It’s these little details that go beyond the aesthetics of bedroom design and really make a difference in your everyday user experience.
4. Invest in extra-long charging cords
On the topic of charging cords, why not upgrade your bedtime browsing experience with an extra-long cord? I didn’t even know these existed until BoyfriendMan surprised me with a multi-pack. At first, I was a little skeptical of how useful they would be. After two months and counting using a 10 foot charging cord next to the bed, I’m never going back!
Gone are the days of perching on the edge of the bed, rolled to one side for uncomfortably long stretches of time in order to reach your phone. And having extra length on the cord allows you to keep a natural, unstressed angle where the cord meets the phone, so it lasts longer without wearing out. Win win win.
5. Make sure you can actually see your clock
Another tip that sounds super obvious, but it’s easy to underestimate its value. For the last two years the only clock in the room wasn’t visible from the bed, so if we wanted to see the time, we had to root around for our phones. Not a super efficient way to keep track of time, especially in the morning when you have to be on the ball and out the door.
Try setting your clock right across from the bed so it’s visible with a quick glance. You’ll be surprised at how much simpler it is to manage your time!
6. Keep all the pet hair in one place for easy cleanup
Anyone who has a furbaby at home knows the struggle of cleaning up pet hair. My cat Mimi is a super floofy grade A hair monster (think dust bunnies the size of actual baby bunnies), so when I read that the new duvet cover I wanted to buy attracted cat hair, I almost didn’t buy it. But I had already set my heart on this duvet cover! I knew there had to be something I could do to keep the cat off of it.
We have a couple of microfiber plush blankets that live on our couch, and I notice that nine times out of ten, that’s where Mimi chooses to lay down for a snooze. Apparently other people online have noticed that their pets love the softness of this style of blanket too. Who wouldn’t?
I bought this ultra-plush faux fur microfiber blanket in the hopes of attracting the cat to lie on it instead of the duvet, and so far it’s worked like a charm! The cat loves to snuggle it. I love how much easier it is to clean this posh little throw blanket than it is to clean the whole damn duvet cover.
7. Keep an alarm clock in the bathroom
Okay, this might seem like it doesn’t fit exactly into the category of bedroom design, but trust me! It can have a dramatic effect on your morning routine.
For starters, having quick access to a clock is a game changer if you’re the kind of person who loses track of time while putting on your makeup. It doesn’t seem like it should take ten or fifteen minutes to make yourself look fly every morning, but Parkinson’s Law takes over and all of a sudden you’re running late. With a bathroom clock, you can keep an eye on that time!
The other benefit of having an alarm clock in the bathroom really comes in handy if you’re a heavy sleeper. If you think you could probably sleep through a helicopter landing on your roof, try setting the alarm on the clock in the bathroom. The more annoying the sound, the better! It’s impossible to just roll over and turn off the alarm. And if you have to go all the way to the bathroom to shut the alarm off, you’re already up and out of bed, so you might as well use the bathroom, brush your teeth, and start your morning routine.
Do be aware that your bed partner or housemates may have less tolerance for this Level 2 alarm setup, depending on how much you ended up tasing them for dumping their clothes on the pillow chair.
8. Make your life easier with a remote control outlet
Call me crazy, or maybe just lazy, but if a product takes a lot of work to use I’m probably not going to use it. So when I brought home these IKEA chain lights, I was confused to see that there wasn’t any sort of switch on the cord to turn them on and off. Must be because they’re listed as outdoor lights?
While I loved the look of the lights, I knew damn well that I wasn’t going to be dropping to the ground every time I wanted to use them in my bedroom. Enter my new favorite toy: a remote control outlet!
Mine only works in Europe, but I know they make them for the States too. Keep one remote on each side of the bed, and never have to worry about leaning halfway off the bed to turn off your reading lamp again. It’s so gloriously easy, and it’s so novel that I keep turning it on and off just for funsies.
It makes me feel like we’re living in the future. You don’t have to press a button on the wall like some peasant to turn on the light… now you can press a button in your hand!
9. Wake up to a brightly lit room
Nothing tells our body it’s time to wake up like sunlight. This time of year, sunlight might be in short supply, even if you don’t have just one tiny window blocked by a tree… like someone I know. Not that she’s salty about it.
Luckily, the miracles of modern technology never cease to amaze. Last year I used a birthday gift card to splurge on a hella fancy-pants sunrise simulation alarm clock by Philips (thanks, Dad!). You just set the time you want to wake up, and the face of the clock will gently get brighter and brighter in the 30 minutes before your alarm goes off. This theoretically allows your body to adjust to the morning light as if it were the sun, resulting in an easier wake up experience.
Not going to lie, I think I sabotage myself by burying my face under the covers as the light gets brighter, so it doesn’t wake me up with the light alone. But it’s really nice having a bright room to wake up to! It sends a message that yes, it is indeed time to start the day, and not time to go back to sleep.
Even if I do sometimes choose just to go back to sleep.
For a DIY version at a fraction of the price, try using an outlet timer with a bright lamp. You won’t get the gradual brightening that you would with the sunrise simulation clock, but if you need an extra pick-me-up to shake you out of sleep in the mornings, this could do the trick.
Even better, get creative with it. You could set multiple lights to come on at different times to mimic the gradual lightening effect. Or use a rope light to spell out a good morning message to greet you. Go crazy! You could wake up to colored disco lights every morning. That could be your life.
Bedroom design for
beauty optimal user experience!
Ultimately, design is so much more than visual elements, so planning a functional bedroom design goes way beyond the aesthetic features. You spend a lot of time in your bedroom, so you might as well make it comfortable and clever. Follow these tips for a bedroom that’s not just beautiful, but also delivers an optimized user experience by functioning beautifully.
What thoughtful features have you used to enhance your bedroom design? Or any other room?
One Room Challenge Master Bedroom Posts
Week 1 – Are You Sure That’s a Good Idea? | before pics
Week 2 – Mood Board Got Me Like | mood board
Week 3 – DIY Dramatic Art, Faux Plants? | artwork
Week 5 – 6 Unconventional Night Stand Ideas | night stands
Week 6 – 9 Tips for Functional Bedroom Design | bedroom UX