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Complete Guide to Creating a Modern Bedroom

What makes a modern bedroom? We could discuss trends - white walls, Kilim rugs, and sheepskin pillows, anyone? - but what truly makes a bedroom modern is what makes it personal.

What makes it work for you? Some people love a romantic feel, with layered textiles, richly toned walls, and candles everywhere, while others want a tranquil sanctuary with a simple, modern bed - nothing extra or out of place. Some folks can decorate their bedroom all in one afternoon, picking out all their favorite pieces to complete their unified vision, while others prefer (and/or can only afford to) to build their bedroom over time, only adding to it when they find elements they absolutely love.

The movement away from bedroom formality (exactly matching furniture sets and retailer-approved sheets, duvet, shams, and throw pillow combinations) allows for so much more personality and flexibility. You can swap out your bedside lamp when it starts to feel dated, add a new duvet when your old one has been washed a few too many times, add textiles whenever you bring them home from your travels, or change all accessories seasonally, retaining only the furniture.

For a bedroom to feel truly modern, it should feel like your bedroom: colors you find peaceful, bedding that is irresistibly comfortable to you, and rugs that you love stepping upon first thing in the morning. Whether your dream bedroom is sexy, cozy, elegant, cabin-esque, sweet and pretty, dark and dramatic, or spare and serene, you can bring it to life - and change it when your dreams change! Let's explore the main aspects of putting together a modern bedroom that suits you...

Modern Bedroom Furniture

Furniture is the foundation of your bedroom: a bed, nightstand, and dresser provide storage and a place to rest your weary head. You'll need a dresser that can accommodate whatever you like to store rolled or folded - socks, underthings, workout clothes, etc. - with a lovely surface on which to create vignettes, store jewelry, or stash your wallet and keys. You can go with one of our modern dressers, a cool find from somewhere else, or even mix in an antique.

A nightstand should be small enough to fit next to your bed (obviously), but large enough to hold a lamp, book, your phone, and a glass of water. You'll definitely want at least one drawer in which to hold private items, as well as bedside essentials such as earplugs, tissues, a charger, cough drops, lotion, and so on.

The emphasis used to be on bedroom sets, which are still definitely a great option! However, modern bedrooms often featured mismatched yet impeccably coordinated pieces. There are a few advantages to this decorating approach: you can buy one piece at a time as you can afford it, the room doesn't look too matchy-matchy, and you can easily switch out elements whenever you get sick of them or you're ready for an upgrade. Since modern bedroom furniture is so crucial to the look and function of your space - and since it's generally the most expensive aspect! - we're going to spend the most time on it here.

From left to right:
1. For a unified look, pick a bed, nightstand, and dresser in different styles but the same wood/finish. Here, the Orchid Nightstand is a sharp counterpoint to the lovely curved lines of the Currant Bed. You could finish the room with the Currant Dresser or the Orchid Chest, or add some linear appeal with the Hosta Chest.

2. In many people's minds, velvet + tufted = fancy and stuffy, but that's not true anymore! An ornate, curved, gorgeously tufted and plush bed can look right at home in the most modern of bedrooms. One way to make it work is to pick in a bed in a beautiful neutral, such as this pale grey velvet. You could dress this bed with neatly tailored grey bedding, pile it with cream and white throw pillows in sheepskin and chunky knit wool, or use it as a foundation for a boldly floral duvet. The Jane Nightstand is the aesthetic opposite of the Putnam bed, all high-gloss finish and futuristic style. Its lines are so clean and classic, however, that it won't clash with the more vintage-inspired bed. Rather, it will bring it perfectly into the 21st century. The Park Tallboy Dresser and the Mango Dresser could round out your bedroom well, with their white finishes and grey accents.

3. The linen-upholstered Nixon Bed is possibly the most adaptable bed of this bunch. Once again, you could augment its tailored style with menswear-inspired bedding and streamlined throw pillows, but you could also go with a bold abstract duvet, a gorgeously stitched linen quilt with quilted shams in complementary colors, watercolor florals on a grey base, or a striking graphic black, white, and grey comforter. This bed will serve you for years no matter how your personal style changes. We've paired it with the Broome Nightstand, which features a walnut facade, concrete top, and steel pulls. That combination is fantastically modern and adaptable, so you're not stuck with just one style or material. As for a dresser, your options are wide open. The grey oak Tavena Tall Chest and its chrome pulls would be super cool, while the Malvito Dresser would add warmth with its beautiful walnut but coordinate perfectly with the Broome thanks to its steel pulls.

4. Finally, the Azara Bed features a piece of wood that's so showstopping, it's sure to be the focal point of your bedroom. This bed is rustic yet absolutely elegant, and would work perfectly with a Scandinavian- or Japanese-inspired look. The Azara Nightstand and Dresser would look amazing with it for a true celebration of the unusual Tiger Bamboo. However, here we've paired it with the Vela Nightstand in deep oak to avoid distracting from the bed. The Grand Dresser and its copper pulls would be a stunning addition, but the imposing Florence Armoire would be amazing, too.


Bedding is where you can have the most fun when decorating your bedroom. There are a ton of affordable duvet sets out there, so you can switch yours out when the seasons and your moods change. You can also decide on a duvet that you adore, and then change the throw pillows and blankets to majorly change the aesthetic. No matter your style, focus on comfort, then throw in as much sophistication, playfulness, drama, sexiness, and/or coziness as you like.

From left from right:
1. This menswear-inspired bedding is perfect for people of all genders who love clean lines, impeccable tailoring, and a restrained palette. Combine various greys in a variety of textures and styles: pinstripes, wool, and so on. Start with the Yarn Dye Stripe Duvet Set from Target, toss on a few Dapper Pillows, and add the Nourish Throw for elegant warmth.

2. The Smastarr Duvet Set from IKEA is playful and poppy, with plenty of colors to work with. We added the Davis Pillow in seafoam, but you could also add corral, ballet pink, khaki, blue, and/or charcoal. The black Uphold Throw keeps things sophisticated rather than feeling childlike.

3. Go graphic with the Handrawn Geo Duvet Set from Target and its bold cream and navy angles. You can allow the pattern to shine by adding the cream Lamb Fur Pillow and Setinel Throw, or add ruby red or emerald green accessories to play against the navy.

4. Flip the script by starting with a jewel-toned duvet, such as the Cotton Duvet Cover Set from H&M, and adding accessories in muted versions of the same hues - in fabulous textures, of course. The Murky Water Velvet Pillow is impossibly beautiful and luxurious, and the Jackson Throw adds coziness without distracting from the more eye-catching pieces.


A bedroom rug might be the very first thing your feet encounter in the morning (and the last thing they touch at night), so you want to make sure it's lush and plush. And though you want the softness and coziness maximized, keep the design rather minimal. A bedroom is not the ideal place to play around with loud, bold rugs; let your bed take center stage with all of the other elements playing supporting roles. Subtle doesn't have to mean boring, though. These four rugs have as much personality as they do comfort, and they'd be at home in a wide variety of decors.

From right to left:
1. The Aros Ivory Rug is made of satisfyingly nubby 100% felted New Zealand wool, in a style that would be perfect for a hygge, Scandinavian-inspired room.

2. The handwoven 100% New Zealand wool Duncan Rug is a subdued play on more ornate so-called Oriental rugs, and the fade of the design keeps things relaxed and modern. You could potentially decorate your bedroom all in neutrals, with the red pattern of this rug providing the zest.

3. The ultra-plush pile of the Jasper 8003 Rug would be a great counterpoint to menswear-inspired bedding and clean-lined furniture. It would also work well with a sort of cozy cabin look or an ultra-glam grey and silver style.

4. Finally, the handwoven wool and silk Phoebe Rug is deliciously glam, with the black base adding a major hit of drama. Draw out the blues with your bedding (the Murky Water Pillow, above, would be perfect) or use it as the lone hit of color in a monochromatic room.

Overhead Lighting

We tend to think of pendants and chandeliers as belonging in the dining room, but the bedroom is the perfect place for a stunning overhead light. When you're picking out your lighting, keep a few things in mind: you'll want the light to cast a flattering light, for romantic occasions. However, you'll also want actual light that you can see by, for cleaning, putting away laundry, hanging out, and so on. And since the bedroom is all about beauty and enjoyment, you'll want a piece with a gorgeous shape to gaze upon whilst lounging in bed. That's a lot of demands to place upon one purchase, but it's not impossible! Find a fixture you love to look at that provides a reasonable amount of light, then augment with bedside lamps (more on that below).

From left to right:
1. The Astra Pendant Lamp is like a breathtaking piece of jewelry, perfect for adorning your bedroom.

2. Get the romantic effect of a candle-filled chandelier (without the wax melting everywhere) with the Goal Ceiling Light.

3. If your bedroom style is Japanese- or Scandinavian-inspired, the impeccable form of the Galileo Ceiling Light will be right at home.

4. The Yves Pendant Lamp is somehow fun, bold, classic, and sexy all at the same time. The Sputnik look was hot in the '60s, and it's even hotter today.

Bedside Lighting

In addition to room lighting, you're going to need bedside lamps. Here you can go two ways: focused and directional (perfect for reading, especially without bothering a bedmate) and diffuse (great for mood lighting and creating a calm atmosphere). Regardless of function, bedside lights pack a huge amount of style in a small package - with the right bedside lamps, you might not need any further ornamentation. Lately, fashion has moved slightly away from fabric lampshades towards metal and glass ones, but the fabric versions are classic.

From left to right:
1. The Franklin Table Lamp adds warmth and glamour, thanks to its stunning copper shade, and is perfect for bedtime reading.

2. The Balfour Table Lamp is the ultimate reading lamp, with a highly focused light and ultra-adjustable angles.

3. If you're going for the glow, you can't do any better than the Cambridge Table Lamp, with its glass globe perched on a modern wire frame.

4. Marble has always been hot and is only getting hotter, so the Run Table Lamp will always look amazing.


To complete your bedroom, always be on the lookout for little things you love: vintage trays to hold your jewelry, Mid-Century Modern hooks for your robe, perfume or colognes that look as great as they smell, the perfect (and perfectly affordable) carafe and glass set from IKEA, and/or art that you love so intimately you wouldn't want to hang it anywhere else. Add these to your bedroom whenever you find them, and swap them out when they no longer provide joy or function. This is your bedroom, so be sure it makes you happy!

posted on 11/1/2017



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