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Some rooms feel precisely as they should—inviting kitchens, relaxing sunrooms full of beautiful houseplants, or a luxurious bathroom with a claw-footed tub and plenty of thick, fluffy towels. There’s usually a simple reason for this: they were designed with certain key elements in mind, specific features that capture the idea and essence of what the room is meant to be used for and define it by their simple inclusion.

Designing a room ahead of time can be challenging—from locating a contractor who can handle any needed renovations to choosing the right color for walls, window treatments, and accents. Sometimes, these choices can be daunting. Below are five things to keep in mind when designing the master bedroom of your dreams.


1. So Important, The Room Is Named For It

Every bedroom needs to have a bed—it’s the purpose of the room and should be central to every other design choice. Let’s be frank: beds can be a bit of an eyesore until dressed and decorated. Left blank, they can dominate a room and make it feel unwelcoming and even a bit clinical.

Designing a bedroom from scratch provides an opportunity to create one of those perfectly suited, comfortable spaces that define what it is to be a bedroom. It won’t be a big, blank rectangle in the middle of the floor by the time you’re done, so don’t worry about this bit too much. With that said, it’s essential to consider the bed itself carefully—and the type of mattress you’re interested in—before continuing.

There are many (many!) choices when it comes to picking a mattress. Though every individual has their preferences, most people find sleeping on a medium-firm mattress offers the best mix of comfort and support.

Size is another consideration—if you’re lucky enough to have the room for it, you can go all the way up to California King, the largest bed size commercially available. If you’re unfamiliar with mattress sizes, consult a guide to mattress dimensions (and be sure your bed frame dimensions match).

Once you’ve determined the size of the mattress, you can choose a bed to go around it—anything from a simple, footless design with a headboard affixed to a wall to a freestanding canopy bed. It will determine—and even define—the rest of the room, so take your time and choose something you’re sure to be happy with for a long time.


2. Plan for Ease and Comfort

Anyone who has traveled much has stayed in their share of hotel rooms and may have noticed that most have strikingly similar floor plans. Generally, beds will be placed about two-thirds to three-quarters of the way to the farthest wall from the door. This kind of “one-sided access” is prevalent for one straightforward reason: it’s a comfortable place to put a bed and allows for maximum utilization of the rest of the space in the bedroom.

You do want to be sure access to the bed is unobstructed and that the edges of the bed are at least three feet away from obstructing walls or large pieces of furniture. Don’t position a bed directly under or adjacent to a window, as strong light can make for uncomfortable mornings (and ruin a weekend lie-in).


3. Carefully Place Accessories

Most bedrooms have only a few other pieces of furniture—nightstands, a bureau, perhaps a couple of chairs. You can also add freestanding storage in the form of a foot-of-the-bed trunk or chest for a more casual or adventurous feel.

Try to avoid cluttering up the space needlessly, and carefully consider putting a TV in the bedroom. The room should be used primarily for rest, and its various design elements should reflect that.


4. A Room With A View

If it’s an option, a corner bedroom provides windows on two (or more!) walls, which brings a couple of attractive benefits. In warmer weather, open windows will create a wonderfully ventilating cross draft that will keep rooms cool and comfortable. With more windows, you also have the option of controlling the amount of light that shines into the room, either at different times of the day or with shades or curtains that can be closed or drawn as you desire.

If you’re truly fortunate, one or more of your bedroom windows will have a view that lends itself to quiet, relaxed reflection. Greenery is always an excellent feature, but even city skylines can be calming if framed correctly (and behind good noise proofing).


5. Privacy for Peace of Mind

Having a bedroom door that affords some privacy, whether open or closed, is a wonderful feature. Some of the things we do in bedrooms—like changing clothes or relaxing after a long soak in an en suite bath—require privacy. The feeling that you might be walked in on or visible through a partly open door is not one conducive to relaxation. If all else fails, several sheer curtains hung across the inside of the doorframe can provide talk-through, light translucent privacy.


Of Sheep and Sandmen

The primary purpose of a bedroom is sleep, and it’s the one room of your house that you’ll spend roughly a third of your time in. Keep this in mind when choosing colors, accessories, and other features to incorporate in your ideal resting space, and you’ll enjoy the time you spend there, whether it’s engaged in forty winks or a full, restive night’s sleep.