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How to make a bedroom cozy and inviting

I love cozy rooms that invite you in and make you never want to leave. What’s cozy to one person may not be to another, and a lot of it depends on the size of your room and how much natural light you’re getting. But if you’re looking for ideas, this should get you started.

The Walls

  • Avoid white if you’ve got good natural light. White walls can turn garish in bright light. Warm, pastel, neutral colors – almond, peach, light brown – are very safe.
  • White for dark or small rooms. On the other hand, if your room doesn’t get enough light or seems small and cramped, white can really open it up. White walls will literally reflect any light that’s coming in, and make the room seem bigger and brighter.
  • Rich, dark colors. If you have a lot of natural light and you like dark colors, a rich coffee color or deep green might work for you. I once saw a gorgeous bedroom done in deep, soft purple, but I’m not sure I could sleep in there. Brown and green are warm and rich.
  • Bright colors? Bright colors are not considered conducive to sleep. If you’re convinced red is the way to go, I’d test it first – maybe tape up lots of pieces of red construction paper for a few days and see how it goes. Generally, it’s recommended to avoid these colors in the bedroom.
  • Blue. Blue is a tricky color. It can be cozy or depressing – depends on your reaction to it, and the shade you choose. Some people find a wedgewood blue comforting. Pale blue can look like the sky. Deeper shades of blue are very conducive to sleep, but they need a lot of natural light or it can be a depressing place to wake up.

Bed in cozy bedroom


  • Woods. I love rich, dark, walnut-colored woods without a hint of red. Some people prefer bleached out wood that looks like it just came in from a winter in New England on the porch. Oak has a hint of red and maple has a hint of yellow, both of which tend to make people feel antsy, not get cozy. Great for lively meals in dining spaces, for example, but not the best choice for bedrooms.
  • Leather. Leather chairs and sofas can be cozy in a living room or den with the right decor, but in bedrooms they usually feel too shiny and slick.
  • Upholstered. Furniture covered in fabric – such as a nice upholstered reading chair in the corner – can add to the inviting feeling.
  • Glass. There is nothing cozy about glass. It’s cold and unyielding. It might make an awesome table or desk, but not in the bedroom.
  • Metal is cold, too. Avoid it.
  • TVs. Televisions are not cozy unless they’re retro with the big wood cabinets. If you want a TV in the bedroom, consider getting an entertainment armoire so you can hide it away when it’s not in use.


The colors and textures you choose for your drapes, covers and carpet depend on the choices you’ve made about the walls and furniture.

  • Carpet beats hardwood and tile. If cozy’s what you’re going for, you need carpet, or at least a big rug. If you don’t want that for some reason (some allergy sufferers are told to avoid carpet), choose hardwood that lacks a red or yellow tone, or even paint your hardwood a color. Or choose tiles – maybe a warm Southwestern pattern.
  • Curtains beat blinds. There are a lot of good reasons to have blinds – and in apartments they’re almost unavoidable – but curtains are soft and flowing. If you do use blinds, consider putting window treatments around them so you can still have the effect of fabric. Thin shears can add a touch of delicate, while thicker drapes look rich and inviting.
  • Texture. Generally, fluffy, deeply textured, non-shiny fabrics seem more cozy than smooth, silk-like fabrics. You may want a knitted blanket rather than a slick bedspread, for example.

None of these rules are hard and fast. And remember, whatever your decor: there’s nothing more uninviting than clutter. Just keeping a room tidy and organized, with each piece of stuff having a home, makes a room way more inviting than one that’s dusty and disorganized.