When you think of your bedroom, you (hopefully) think of it as a safe haven where you can relax at the end of a long day. But sometimes that space skews more stressful than calming—and that’s often a direct result of your design choices. Some decor options are definitely more stimulating than others, and honestly, others are just plain bad. To troubleshoot, we’ve asked some of our favorite designers to share the features they would never have in their own bedrooms so you can take notes and figure out what works best for you.
1. Charging Station
“I would never put a charging station or store a lot of wires or wireless gadgets in the bedroom,” says NYC-based designer Robin Henry. “I think you should keep electromagnetic waves to a minimum while you sleep.” Beyond that, it looks super messy to have all those wires clumped together. However, if you absolutely have to have your cell phone next to you while you sleep, Henry recommends storing it in a shungite brick case, which looks sleek and is supposed to help block out electromagnetic fields, or EMFs.
2. Light-Up Alarm Clock
“Light is the biggest distractor when it comes to sleep!” says Henry. She recommends using an old-school alarm clock (like this ultra chic Scandi-inspired option), which will get you up on time without disturbing your sleep cycle.
3. Curio Cabinets and “Display Furniture”
“Your bedroom should be quiet and serene, a place to relax and recharge,” says lead designer Maggie Griffin. “Avoid furniture that will clutter your space with display items, like curio cabinets.” Instead, she recommends simple, clean lines with rustic touches, like this soothing lounge chair.
4. Gallery Walls
“Tons of pictures on your wall can be a complete eyesore,” says Griffin. “I had a client who hung a photo of their in-laws above the bed—that’s a big no-no. Instead, stick to just a few small framed photos of you and your children, partner, family or friends.”
5. Harsh Lighting
Strong lighting definitely has its place, but according to Gen Sohr of Pencil & Paper, the bedroom is not one of them. “Right now, we’re eliminating the harsh lighting from recessed lighting in bedrooms and replacing it with softer, more intimate lighting options,” she says. “Pair pretty bedside lamps with wall sconces and a decorative ceiling fixture for a warmer, more elegant feel.”
6. Matching Bed Linens
Get rid of the matchy-matchy old-school bed linens and look to add a pop. “Instead of completely matching bed linens, I prefer to layer in family heirlooms (think your grandmother’s monogrammed pillowcases) or a vintage coverlet—anything that adds a touch of pattern or texture,” says Sohr. “This helps create interest and it just feels much more personal.”
7. Blackout Shades
“I don’t think there’s a need for bedroom shutters that eliminate all light,” says Sohr. “We love the layered look and versatility of matchstick blinds paired with curtains. This makes for a pretty and functional option, and the curtains can have blackout lining too.”
8. Bare Floors
Almost every designer we spoke with expressed that a bedroom should be cozy and comfy, which means bare floors are an absolute no-no. You may not want wall-to-wall carpeting, but a simple shag rug will do wonders to elevate your space.
9. Workout Machines
“I cannot tell you the number of Pelotons strewn with clothing that I’ve seen in bedrooms!” says Henry. “They are the world’s ugliest coat hangers. Besides, who wants to think about working out when you’re trying to relax?” Instead, she recommends keeping workout machines in another room entirely, if possible. If not, at least keep them as far away from your bed as possible.