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Seven tips for decorating a bedroom

Our interior designers share their expertise on decorating a bedroom inspired by the techniques and processes we use in our Houses. From initial concepts to final touches, this is our step-by-step guide

By Megan Murray

Designing any part of your home is an important task, but decorating a bedroom takes particular consideration. While friends and family may eat, drink, lounge and be entertained in other areas of your house, the bedroom is just for you.

The intimate nature of this space calls for thoughtfulness. It's where you start and finish your day, and so the mood you create has the power to energise your mornings and calm your evenings.

Decorating a bedroom requires a careful alchemy of style and comfort - both of which are key when designing our Houses. 'The design will differ, but the approach is always the same,' says Lead Designer Severine Lammoglia of her work on our upcoming Houses in Paris and Rome. 'It needs to be comfortable and have a familiar feel. We want someone to enter a room and be at home.'

Here, we share the techniques that our design teams use to plan bedrooms from start to finish, considering furniture, lighting, accessories, and maximising space.

Deciding on an aesthetic

Our Houses may be large spaces, but each one is designed with an overall concept in mind. This is often influenced by the history of the building, the surrounding area, or simply how we want members to feel when they walk in. Once an initial vision has been decided, the design team will create mood boards of the imagery they are inspired by - from vintage furniture to pieces of art.

Lammoglia advises deciding on the look for your bedroom by collecting images that speak you.

'Get together as many references as possible and you'll begin to see some themes,' she says. 'The same colours, eras and styles will come up again and again - from here, you can build a picture the room's overall aesthetic and which direction to go in.'

Another consideration is how you will use the room. For example, if you love getting ready for your day, prioritise space for a dressing table. Or, if you love the view from your window, invest in a comfortable chair to place in front of it.

Every bedroom's design is unique, but throughout each one we create a uniting sense of calm and familiarity. Ask yourself, what mood do you want to be reflected in your space? Do you want it to feel fun, energising, expressive or serene?

Simple decorating steps

Decorating a bedroom can be overwhelming and sometimes it's hard to know where to start. Developing a step-by-step strategy is helpful, but it's important to maintain a holistic view throughout. 'Yes, we have a process, but rather than just finishing one step and moving onto the next, it's essential to look at the room's decor as a whole,' advises Lammoglia.

Our experts first identify what the key pieces will be. We focus on items such as headboards, curtains and an accent chair, and then choose other pieces and fabrics that'll complement these. By keeping the different elements in mind and how they will look together, you can create balance.

'After we've chosen the overall concept for the room and the main items of furniture, lighting and accessories are the final steps,' says Lammoglia. 'It's about building up layers to create depth and texture. Consider a few cushions and a throw for your bed, lampshades with detailing, and decorative objects for shelves.'

How to make a small bedroom feel bigger

If you have a compact space, a little planning can help maximise it. 'Small bedrooms are just as beautiful as larger ones, but there are certain techniques that we use in the Houses to create an illusion of spaciousness and optimise storage,' says Lammoglia.

While working on the soon-to-open House in Paris, she experimented with innovative storage solutions in the smallest rooms. 'We designed compartments to slide under the bed as a way of creating storage for clothes and to save on floor space. It's often forgotten about, but if your bed has room underneath, you should try to use it.'

'We also used shelving to open up the floor. Underneath, we attached hooks to give guests somewhere to hang their clothes without bringing a large piece of furniture into the room,' she explains.

Making the bed a focus

As the biggest piece of furniture in a bedroom, the bed plays a key role in the look and feel of the space.

'The bed is very important to us,' says Lammoglia. 'If you want to make the most of yours, then take it back to basics - your first concern should be comfort. We started working with Hypnos around six years ago, because their mattresses are fantastic quality, but you need to find the right fit for you.

'Following this, consider the headboard: the shape, size, colour, fabric, texture, and pattern. In many ways, this will set the tone for the room, so refer to your inspiration images and stay true to your initial concept to ensure continuity.

'Dressing the bed is key. There's a psychological association with seeing a big, well-dressed bed with lots of cushions and thinking positively about your sleep. Make it a really inviting place.'

Every bedroom throughout the Houses follows the same pillow formation. You can recreate this with our range of pillows on Soho Home. We dress each bed with three medium, square pillows along the back, against the headboard. Then, two large, firm pillows are layered in the middle, with two medium, long pillows at the front. Add a few decorative cushions, preferably with a patterned fabric, trim or some detail. Then, at the end of the bed, we always have a throw for an extra layer.

Another Soho House trick is to add seating at the foot of the bed. We either use two matching chairs or a small sofa to create a place for relaxing, reading, and just being.

Creating cosy lighting

Even if you decorate your bedroom with bright colours and busy patterns, come evening you'll probably want a calming ambience. Lighting is an important tool for achieving this, and there are certain techniques our interior designers use to ensure that lighting feels warm and soft.

'Lighting for a bedroom is multi-layered,' explains Lammoglia. 'There should be a variety at different heights around the room, so that the overhead lights aren't needed.

'We always use two lamps, which sit either side of the bed. There will also be a small reading lamp, like a toggle with a singular bulb. Then, we'll usually have a lamp on a sideboard and sconces on the walls, too - this is to create a low and high-level scheme. If there's space for a dressing table, we'll have wall lighting at the same height of a person's face to ensure it's just right for getting ready.'

Soho House also uses dimmer switches for every light in the Houses, as they're a crucial factor in creating a soft glow. This standard is continued in all of our lamps on Soho Home, so that you can do the same.

Choosing the right rug

A rug is essential when decorating a bedroom, as it helps bring warmth. 'We always place one underneath the bed, because when you step out in the morning, you don't want to be met with cold, hard flooring. You want something soft underneath your bare feet for a sense of comfort,' says Lammoglia.

A rug will also anchor the space, and again make the bed a design feature. Our designers' top tip is to ensure that you can see plenty of rug around the sides and bottom of your bed.

At Soho Home, they come in two main sizes: 200 x 300 cm and 170 x 240 cm. The larger option works well under a double, queen or king-size bed, while the smaller option can be used in a medium-size living room or under a desk in an office space.

Picking curtains

Choosing curtains is one of the biggest investments you make when designing a room, so it's important to get them right. Try to reflect the property with your choice of curtain: in period buildings like 76 Dean Street, we use heavy, rich curtains with trims and full pelmets, while lofty, airy spaces look great with linen or cotton.

If you're using patterned fabrics, buy more than you need because the repeat pattern will need to be matched when the widths are stitched together. And, if you're investing in good fabric, get your curtains made by professionals to avoid expensive mistakes. Be specific when requesting the type of pleats and finishes you want - different curtain makers use different terminology.

Not only is it important that your curtains look the part, but they'll also need to keep out the light. So, it's a good idea to interline them with a plain blackout fabric. And make sure that the curtains and tracks come back beyond the window, so that no light creeps in at the edges.