Make your bedroom a dream scene
Our bedrooms are supposed to be calm respites from the world, but too often they are bland - and, what's more, become repositories for all the books, clothes and washing we are too tired to put away.
Interior designer Emma Blomfield said there was a reason bedrooms often fell to the bottom of the decorating list.
"I think the bedroom gets forgotten quite easily because everyone focuses on the living and dining areas, which are the spaces that guests see when they come over," said the author of Keeping House: Creating Spaces for Sanctuary and Celebration (Hardie Grant Books, $29.99).
But there are ways to set up a clutter-free and stylish bedroom. And, below, Ms Blomfield explains how.
Start with the bed
If you're styling the bedroom from scratch, Ms Blomfield recommended buying the bed first.
"I always say that for any room in the house, always start with the largest piece."
She said upholstered bedheads were a popular choice. "You can do velvet, studded, patterned or fabric. There are thousands of options, but just make sure that it will work with your linen."
Then gradually add in the necessary pieces: side tables, lamps, bed linen and artwork.
If you're adding an ottoman to the end of the bed or an armchair to a corner, make sure they don't crowd the space.
"Measure your room before you buy anything and if you can, mark out with newspaper on the floor where the different furniture may go," Ms Blomfield said. "You can then see if you have enough room for it all."
Buy good-quality linen
When it comes to bed linen, it pays to get the best you can afford.
"You're lying on it all night, so it's worth investing in good-quality linen," Ms Blomfield pointed out.
But don't focus too much on thread count.
"People think a 1000-thread-count sheet is amazing, but that is actually quite a heavy material," Ms Blomfield said. "There is also no industry standard in creating the 1000 thread count, so they don't always end up being the same quality."
Ms Blomfield aims for a thread count of 300 to 400. "I also make sure it's 100 per cent cotton, 100 per cent linen or a cotton/bamboo mix."
She recommended staying away from polyester sheets as they could make you sweat.
Get moody with lighting
Lighting the bedroom tends to be relatively straightforward.
"It's not (usually) an area where you need to do a specific task, such as studying or writing, so this means you can go for moodier lighting in the bedroom," Ms Blomfield said.
For those who like to read in bed at night, an anglepoise lamp (with an arm or angled) is ideal as you can focus the light on your book.
For overhead lighting, Ms Blomfield suggested installing something dimmable, which you could adjust according to the time of day. "Then you can add lamps and candles to create atmosphere."
Give your window treatments a bit of love, too, based on whether you like total darkness at night or to wake up with the sun streaming in.
"You may want sheer curtains you pull closed during the day for privacy and then blockout curtains that go over the top for total blackout at night," Ms Blomfield said. "Or you may go for blinds or plantation shutters."
Invest in storage
If you have a smaller bedroom, buy a bed with drawers, and bedside tables with drawers and cupboards, to make the most of the little space you have.
"You can use hangers that hang on the back of the door as extra hooks for clothes that you wear frequently," Ms Blomfield suggested. "Some floor-standing mirrors have hooks incorporated into them, too."
A chest of drawers is an obvious choice for clothes storage, but you can also use your bedside-table drawers for clothes you wear frequently.
While Ms Blomfield was not a fan of a giant TV in the boudoir, she suggested if you must have one, try to obscure it as much as possible.
"If you have a beautiful armoire (ornate cupboard), you can place it inside and close it off during the day," she said. "Or you can mount the TV on your wall opposite your bed so it doesn't detract from your decor."
What to avoid
Here are some common bedroom-styling errors, according to Ms Blomfield:
• Spending all your money on cushions and throws and having none left for the more important items, such as a quality mattress.
• Opting for designer bed linen over quality and personal preference.
• Putting old inserts into pillowslips and cushion covers, making the cushions and pillows appear pancake flat.
• Buying a bed that is too big for the bedroom, leaving no space for bedside tables.
• Having messy bedside tables. Use a tray to corral some of your smaller objects.