Bedroom Design Don'ts

Get expert decorating solutions that, no matter what your decorating style, will help transform your bedroom into the sanctuary you crave.

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A single, glaring overhead light creates harsh shadows and doesn't do much to help you see what's in dresser drawers or make out the words in the book you're trying to read. A light mounted from the center of the ceiling is, after all, directing light behind the place you need it to. "Plus, the downlight casts under-eye shadows that would make even Gisele Bündchen look bad," designer Lori Dennis jokes.

Instead, layer lighting throughout the room. In a bedroom, just as in any other space, you need ambient (general, ceiling-mounted) lighting to illuminate the entire room; task lighting (on bedside tables and vanities) to provide focused light for reading and other activities; and accent lighting (in the form of wall sconces, torchieres or art lights) to add drama, wash the room in soft illumination and lend a cozy, welcoming vibe. "Lights at different levels and in different areas create a mood that's pleasing and romantic," Dennis explains.

Make sure lighting is adjustable, too: Bedside lamps with pivoting arms let you direct light exactly where you need it. Dimmers allow you to adjust wattage depending on the time of day and the mood you want. And having lights on separate switches lets you customize the level of illumination; you can turn on lights in just one area of the room without fear of waking your slumbering mate.