Build a Better Bedroom

The best bedroom upgrades blend science and design. Beth Keim, owner of Charlotte, N.C.-based design firm Lucy and Company, shares her secrets of bedroom design.

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Bed Placement 101

Place the bed opposite the entry door so it’s the first thing you see as you enter the room — even if there are windows, says Beth Keim, owner of Charlotte, N.C.-based design firm Lucy and Company. “The bed can be on your window wall with a gorgeous wallpaper backdrop or flanking curtains.”

Under Foot

Define certain spaces, like a reading nook or the foot of the bed, with smaller, patterned rugs. “I tell my clients not to forget about the floor—I call it the ‘fifth wall,’” says Keim. “You can even layer them on top of a large, area rug.”

Blind Basics

Keim steers her clients away from off-the-rack metal or wood blinds. “They can look busy with their horizontal lines and often lack imagination.” Instead, Keim recommends choosing bamboo or custom roller shades. “You can even pair these with narrow curtain panels that don’t have to close. You’ll need less yardage, which saves on the budget.”

Added Height

Visually add height to a room by hanging curtains at least 8 to 12 inches higher than the window casing, if space allows. Keim says width is important, too. “Bringing your curtain hardware a good 12 inches off the sides of the window will not block too much of the window and allows you to see more of the fabric’s pattern.”

Lights Out

Select curtain panels with black-out liners. “Not only will you appreciate the privacy, but it also keeps the fabric color and pattern uniform when you hang your curtains above the window casing,” says Keim.

Gallery Wall

Group art and photos rather than scattering them throughout the room. “Vary the size and shape; vary the frames and mediums. Mix a mirror into the grouping. It adds interest!” Keim says.

Spotlight on Lamps

Create a sense of calm by using bedside tables that are the same height and pairing lamps with similar bases and shades. “I tend to favor drum shades, which are more modern in style and give you more light both upward and downward,” says Keim.


Consider flanking the bed with sconces instead of bedside lamps. Keim advises to pay attention to sconce placement: “Center sconces over the side table, and hang them fairly low—generally about 20 inches off the table. Put them in the exact same place on each side of the bed,” she says. “You want to be able to reach it from the bed, but you don’t want a bulb shining down over your head.”

Rug Placement

To soften a room with hardwood floors without the expense of a room-size area rug, center a large rug horizontally under the bed. “It needs to come out from the foot of the bed as much as the room will allow, and make sure you have enough room on the sides so that you can step on it when you get out of the bed,” Keim says.

From the Top

Enlarge a small room by dropping pendant lights from the ceiling over bedside tables. “This allows for a clean side-table surface and offers a great space-saver if you have a large bed in a small space,” Keim explains.

Express Yourself

Keim’s number-one piece of advice: “Don’t buy a bedroom set! Having matching dressers, side tables and bed looks heavy and, frankly, lacks any creativity!”