14 Things To Toss From Your Bedroom, According to Southern Designers
"A bedroom is for sleeping, not storing.”
“Bedrooms should be places of calm and rest,” says designer Maggie Griffin. While some things really should go for good, tossing things from the bedroom doesn’t always mean they have to leave your possession—you just find the right home for the misplaced items. Out are the days of overly-stuffed rooms and outdated design trends, it’s all about a pared-down and refreshing bedroom suite.
“A bedroom should be one of the most minimal rooms in terms of furnishings,” says Atlanta based designer Katie Wolf. "Necessities include: a bed, nightstands, adequate lighting (like table lamps or sconces), and a comfy rug underfoot. If space allows, a bench at the foot of the bed to toss any decorative pillows at night and a chaise or chair and ottoman is nice to have as well.” From bookshelves and overly-cluttered dressers to lighting and furniture sets, these are 14 things Southern designers say it’s time to retire or replace in the bedroom.
Clutter, Clutter, And More Clutter
Do you have a dresser or bedside table drawer that has become a bedroom junk drawer? Well, it’s high time to clean it out. “Declutter your nightstands!" says Griffin. "Remove any piles of mail or cluttered accessories and stash reading materials in the top drawer of your nightstand along with any other night time essentials.” It’s easier said than done, but the furniture you select for your bedroom can help. “When shopping for bedside tables, consoles and other foundational furnishings, their storage capacity should be high on your list of priorities. Tuck necessities into drawers, availing your surfaces to lamps and thoughtful accessories,” suggests Austin, Texas, interior designer Annie Downing.
When we asked some of our favorite Southern designers their advice on what to let go of in the bedroom, nearly everyone claimed the television must go. “I’m firmly in the ‘no TV in the bedroom’ camp,” says designer Laura Hodges. “I would suggest keeping the bedroom as a restful retreat with artwork, filtered natural light, and beautiful bedding as the focus.”
“Let the bedroom be calming—a true respite from the responsibilities and hurriedness of life,” advises Dallas, Texas, based designer Lisa Henderson.
“Even if you have a gorgeous Samsung Frame TV, the only bedroom that should have a TV in it is the guest room,” adds Bethany Adams of Bethany Adams Interiors.
Old Newspapers, Books, And Magazines
Obviously we’re not talking about Southern Living magazines (wink, wink), but we do advise paring down the bedside table stack. “Periodically clean out old magazines and books—they tend to just add clutter to your relaxation space, making it less relaxing,” says Atlanta designer Andi Morse. While it’s probably time to toss outdated newspapers, catalogs, and tattered books, we’re all for holding onto the good stuff. For those you want to keep, just find a new home for it elsewhere—perhaps on a bookshelf or organized in a cabinet that doesn't live in the bedroom.
Perfectly Matching Furniture
While there is a time and place for a pair of nightstands or set of bedside lamps, there is more than one way to create a cohesive space. All the furniture pieces in your bedroom don’t have to be the same finish or style, instead consider using antiques or family heirloom pieces for an asymmetrical look and embracing imperfection. “We always try to show our clients how mixing up styles and finishes can create a more lived-in, layered look,” says designer Jennie Holland.
“Make sure to get rid of old gadgets like former tv clickers and untouched alarm clocks. They add clutter and you’ll wonder if you still use them,” says Morse. You’re not alone if you find yourself holding onto various power cords, chargers, dated cameras, and remotes ‘just in case’, but we all know they’re a thing of the past, so just throw them out.
This isn’t a casual feat like tossing old papers and unnecessary decor, but if you’re doing a bedroom refresh, consider if it’s time to invest in a new mattress too. “It’s best to change your mattress every 8-10 years, but you can maximize the lifespan with a mattress protector and by investing in the best quality you can afford,” says Hodges.
Anything Work Related
When possible, keep work out of your bedroom. “Laptops, paperwork, and other work-related items should be kept far away from your bedroom. Allow your bedroom to serve only a few purposes and your comforting surroundings will cue your brain to feel ready for sleep,” advises Hodges. If need be, set up your remote-work station in the guest bedroom, but consider what you’ll do when you have visitors.
Yes, we love beautiful throw pillows! But that doesn’t mean you need a small army of them. “Try to edit your bedroom collection and you’ll be so happy you did it,” says Avery Cox of Avery Cox Design. She advises picking a few larger pillows and getting rid of or finding a new home for smaller ones.
Decorative lighting can completely change the design and feel of a space—it sets the tone. “Ditch the overhead lighting and punctuate your bedroom with beautiful and functional lamps and sconces,” says Downing. Consider relying on dimmable lights and table lamps to create a more lived-in and layered feel. “Recessed lights aren’t very flattering and can make the ceiling feel busy, especially when you’re staring up at it from your bed,” adds Hodges. When opting for a single pendant or simple chandelier, designer Lauren Lowe of Lauren Elaine Interiors suggests a dimmer for more diffused lighting distribution.
“Studies show that bedrooms that function exclusively for sleeping and rest actually promote better quality of sleep. Books, plants, and beautiful artwork set the stage for relaxation, not technology and to-do lists," explains Lowe. While we acknowledge in the new work-from-home world that sometimes you have to get creative in finding a space to work within your home, if you can help it, find a new place for the desk that's not your bedroom. “You need a separate area to be your work zone that’s not in your sleep zone. You’ll have a more restful sleep by keeping it separate,” says Morse.
“Freshen your bed with new white linens,” says Griffin. Considering we spend about a third (or more) of each day in our bed, we deserve a little luxury when it comes to our bed sheets. Cox emphasizes the importance of finding the right ones to give you the best rest. Replace the stained, ripped, and pilling linens with crisp sets to refresh your bedding and ditch or repurpose the miscellaneous ones in your linen cabinet too.
Digital Alarm Clocks
Traditional digital alarm clocks can be an eyesore and while everyone has a pocket-sized alarm in their hand at all times these days, we don’t always want to rely on our phones in the bedroom. “If a bedside alarm clock is necessary, opt for a more aesthetically pleasing analogue version instead,” suggests Lauren Sullivan of Well x Design.
Stark White Walls
From barely-there pinks to calming blues, there are plenty of bedroom paint colors beyond plain white that you can reach for that will still leave you with a blank canvas. “People want their bedroom to feel cozy and warm, so we are doing textured wallpaper instead of plain white or warm cozy colors,” says Aileen Warren of Jackson Warren Interiors.
LED Light Bulbs
Changing your lighting source is one of the easiest ways to completely change the feel of any space. “A bedroom should be a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, so soft lighting is a must! LED bulbs do not have the same dimming capabilities as incandescent bulbs and also have a cooler color temperature. Dimmable warm, soft lighting from bedside sconces invite you to find a moment of peace,” says Lowe.
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