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Designing the Master Bedroom

At the end of a long day everyone longs for the comfort of their bedroom. But the reward to retire for the day is so much sweeter when you have a beautiful bedroom that beckons.

You'll find your bedroom beckons to you to linger longer in the morning and retire earlier at night when you make the space about more than just sleeping. Pair a chair or two with a side table to create a cozy reading spot. Do you like the glamour of a chaise lounge? Or make use of the often-wasted space between two windows with a writing desk or a vanity

Consider an eye-catching upholstered headboard. Soft and cushy with no hard edges, an upholstered headboard is an ideal choice when sink-in comfort tops the boudoir wish list.

Bedroom windows generally need room-darkening window treatments that block light in the morning and provide privacy at night. But window treatments help set a room's overall style. Swagged and gathered draperies suggest romantic elegance, Roman shades speak of tailored sophistication, and shutters convey casual cottage style. Layer both room-darkening shades and draperies to address both functional and decorative elements.

Night tables have evolved from workhorse to fashionable sidekick. Use them as a way to express your style while providing must-have storage. If symmetry matters, use matching side tables to bookend a bed. However, there's no rule that says night tables must be copies of each other. When space allows, consider using a dresser or bachelor chest bedside the bed to provide roomy real estate for nighttime essentials and loads of storage. Or, cozy a writing desk and chair up to the bedside.

Select bedding with varying patterns for interest, but make sure each pattern features the same primary hue to make mixing and matching a success. Color matters…select cool or neutral hues to create a room that exudes serenity and calm, bright and warm colors to foster a sense of good cheer, energy, or coziness. TIP: When shopping for linens, don't be fooled by high thread counts. While it's true a higher thread count -- the number of threads per square inch -- can mean better quality, the true test is actually what the sheets are made from. For top-notch sheets that are durable, mostly lint-free, and luxuriously soft, look for Pima, Egyptian, or Supima cotton. A 250-thread-count sheet set made from these cottons can feel softer after washing than a 400- or 500-thread-count set made from a cotton-polyester blend.

Take advantage of the prime real estate at the foot of the bed to make a style statement while doubling as a spot to sit and put on or take off your shoes. Use a graceful bench to transform the area into an inviting seating spot while balancing the visual presence of a grand bed. To create extra storage, choose a classic trunk topped with a soft cushion or a pair of ottomans.

Successful lighting schemes blanket a room in layers of illumination. Use lamps on both sides of a bed to provide soft task lighting for reading. The bottom of the shade should fall at eye level when you're seated. Need more space on a bedside table - consider swing-arm sconces mounted to the wall. Nestled next to seating pieces, floor lamps add both vertical interest and task lighting. Overhead, consider a chandelier for can't-be-beat romance.

For an ensuite bath, use color to tie the rooms together; both spaces will feel larger as a result. Share accessories between the bedroom and bath to bring the bedroom mood into the bath. This makes the bath feel furnished rather than utilitarian.

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