Step-by-step Bedroom Design Basics
11/24 Styling Guides

Step-by-step Bedroom Design Basics

Our ingredients for a well-designed bedroom

Your bedroom should feel like a sanctuary…

and after years of remodeling, restyling, and designing projects for our clients, we’ve noticed that the bedroom is often one of the most overlooked spaces in the home. While the bedroom might not be the most seen by visitors, it is likely one of the rooms where you spend the most time, so it’s worth putting extra time and intention into designing a space that feels like a retreat.

Although every space is different, we like to follow a few basic steps when designing a bedroom, big or small.

Step No. 1: Space plan for the shape of your room 

Whether you’re starting from scratch or you’re giving your bedroom space a refresh, identifying the essentials based on the shape and function of your room is always the best place to start. In a smaller bedroom space, you may only have room for a bed and nightstands but no dresser, or you may have room for one nightstand, depending on how the door opens and where the windows are placed. When possible, we avoid placing the bed in front of any window to get the most natural light possible.

No matter what the size of your bedroom space is, measuring is essential! In a uniquely shaped bedroom, look for opportunities to add function in every corner, be it a small desk or seating area! If you’re working in your own home, you can even tape out markings for where the pieces will be placed based on your measurements.

Step No. 2: Select your bed 

Since the bed is typically the focal point of any bedroom space, it’s usually the first furniture piece we select when designing a bedroom. Whether you choose something minimal or statement-making, the bed sets the tone for the room, influencing every other element in the space.

In smaller, darker bedroom spaces, we like using lighter-colored, upholstered beds to create the illusion of openness and bring a softened feeling to the room. In bedrooms where we want to make a statement or draw the eye up to tall ceilings, we may choose something that calls more attention and adds drama, like a canopy bed.

From our McGee & Co. 2021 Spring Collection

Focal-point worthy beds

Set the tone in your space with a designer-detailed bed.
More bed favorites
Floyd Iron Bed
Hoffman Bed
Sutherland Canopy Bed
Faris Bed
Walt Bed

Step No. 3: Choose nightstands

Nightstands are typically the second piece we select when designing a bedroom. They anchor the bed, add storage and function, and bring a new element to the space. We love mixing and matching furniture styles and materials in the bedroom to create a thoughtful, curated feeling, so we tend not to match the nightstand with the bed. For example, if we start with an upholstered bed, we’d likely choose a nightstand in a wood or metal finish to bring in more interest.

From our Home on The Ranch 

Nightstands we love

Anchor the bed while adding form and function to your space.
Explore nightstands
Kendall Nightstand
Pierre Double Nightstand
Kelan 2-Drawer Nightstand
Alto Nightstand
Baird Chest

Step No. 4: Select a dresser 

Once we have our bed and nightstand pieces locked in, we move on to choosing the dresser. We like to mix materials here, too, and select a piece contrasting from our nightstands, bed, or both! A dresser is a great way to add an interesting texture, material, or element to your room and can provide the perfect opportunity for styling to bring in personality.

From our McGee & Co. 2020 Summer Catalogue shot at The McGee Home

Elevated dressers

Beautiful storage solutions for every bedroom.
More dressers we love
Mackenna Dresser
Kendall Dresser
Longhurst Dresser
Uli Dresser
Huxton Dresser

Step No. 5: Ground the space with a rug 

We use a rug in nearly every room, even carpeted spaces! Rugs have a way of grounding the feeling of a design like nothing else while bringing so much warmth, texture, tone, and pattern. Simply adding a rug in your bedroom will elevate the look and feel more than you’d expect, and it’s a great way to add some interest and personality if your main pieces are streamlined and neutral.

When it comes to sizing, we like to leave at least 8″ of space from the nightstands to the beginning of the rug and make sure the rug extends the bed by at least 1 foot. Typical rug sizing for a King bed is 9×12, and for a queen bed, we usually go with an 8×10.

From our McGee & Co. 2021 Summer Catalogue

Most-loved rugs

Add warmth, texture, tone, and pattern to your bedroom with a rug.
Rugs we love
Granada Indoor / Outdoor Rug
Kyran Rug
James Rug
Calistoga Rug
Hamden Hand-Knotted Rug
Tiaro Rug
Bavaria Indoor / Outdoor Rug
Edina Plaid Indoor / Outdoor Rug
Gordes Shag Rug
Grandby Rug
Holburn Rug
Newton Rug

Step. No. 6: Add layered lighting

Lighting makes a world of difference in setting the mood for a bedroom. Whether it’s overhead lighting, lamp lighting, or even sconce lighting, consider layering your pieces to create a cozy and relaxing ambiance for every time of day. We love incorporating sconces above nightstands to free up table-side space and bring in a playful hotel-like feeling to a room.

From our Rye NY Project

Bedroom-worthy lighting favorites

Set the mood in your bedroom with layered lighting.
Explore more lighting
Piaf Chandelier
Decker Table Lamp
Bastian Chandelier
Scarlett Pendant
Toulon Table Lamp

Step No. 7: Incorporate additional furniture

When we have extra space in a bedroom for additional furniture, we love to consider extra seating. Whether it’s a bench at the end of the bed, a lounge chair reading nook in the corner, or even a small sette by the window, extra bedroom seating encourages a peaceful environment.

From our Home on The Ranch 

Bedroom seating

Layer in extra seating to create a cozy feeling in your bedroom.
All bedroom furniture picks
Alma Chair
Beau Bench
Knox Chair
Crawford Bench
Alma Ottoman
Eloise Woven Bench
Kelvin Woven Ottoman
Greely Bench
Edwin Leather Ottoman

Step. No. 8: Add in décor  

Once you have all of your main pieces, it’s time for the fun part! When it comes to bedroom decor, we like to add serene artwork, space-expanding mirrors, and simple styling accessories to bring personality to dressers and nightstands alike. Consider the small details that bring a room to life, like a pretty vase with florals by your bedside, stacked coffee table books, and hand-poured candles to ignite the senses.

From our McGee & Co. 2021 Summer Catalogue

Bedroom décor heroes

Bring your bedroom to life with artwork, mirrors, and decorative details.
More décor favorites
Sketched Thoughts
Keene Floor Mirror
Hollis Glass Vase
Thicket Patch
Jace Inset Circle Mirror
Oedipus Bowl
Abstract 1
Wylie Arched Mirror
Langston Vase
Malibu Pier
Kelby Glass Vase
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