Is your bedroom suffering from decorating neglect? Try these easy steps to turn it into the restful retreat you deserve.

Is your bedroom suffering from decorating neglect? Try these easy steps to turn it into the restful retreat you deserve.

Before you think about fun stuff like colors and fabrics, make sure your bedroom is fully functional. Start by drawing up a floor plan that works for your daily life. For instance, if two people are going to share the bed, you don't want one side of the bed pushed up against a wall, making it difficult for the person on the inside to get out of bed easily.

As you think through your floor plan, determine which pieces of furniture will stay, which will go and what you need to add to make the room work better. If your room feels tight and cramped, consider paring down your furnishings. For example, if you have a TV in your bedroom that's housed in a large cabinet, replace the cabinet with a console table that eats up less room.

If your room is large and lofty, you might need to add a few larger pieces of furniture to ground the space.

Many new homes have lots of built-in storage in closets, minimizing the need for dressers in the bedroom. But I still encourage customers with large spaces to fill to add a dresser, armoire or bookcase to give the room some visual appeal and balance.

After 12 years, I'm redoing my bedroom, so I'm going through the same process myself. The doors and windows are configured in such a way that there is really only one place I can put my bed –– right in front of the window. Since I can't use a large headboard to anchor my bed in the space because it will cover up the window, I'm going to anchor my bed in an unusual way. I'm going to place a mirrored screen on either side of the bed, then put bedside tables in front of the screens. Can't wait to see how it turns out!

I think that picking out textiles, like bedding, window coverings and upholstered furnishings, is one of the most fun parts of redesigning a bedroom.

And "fun" is the optimal word when you're talking about my friend Rich's bedroom. You can't bask in the tangerine glow of his bedding ensemble and not smile. Rich is a master at designing with bold colors and patterns. He intuitively knows how much bright color and strong pattern will fill a room with energy but not overwhelm the senses. His knockout bedding includes a bright orange quilt and zebra-pattern Euro shams.

In my bedroom redo, the window panels will be made out of a linen fabric that sports a muted animal print in shades of camel and cream. The bedding will take its cue from the drapery panels, and it will be a soft, textural mix of different shades of cream and camel.

When you pick your color palette for your bedroom, make sure it's something that warms your heart.

Once you have the right furniture in the right places, and your bedding and window coverings are magnificent, it's time to finish off the space with interesting art and accents.

If you have a collection, feature a few choice pieces on your bedside table or dresser top. Or work in a few special family heirlooms. How about some snapshots of family and friends?

Finally, fill the walls of your bedroom with fabulous artwork. In my newly redecorated bedroom, I'm going to feature a montage of tasteful nudes, mixing classic styles with pieces that are more contemporary. I've been collecting the art through the years; now I'll have a place to hang the works all together in one dramatic grouping.
    
The column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garrity's blog at www.nellhills.com. She can be reached at marycarol@nellhills.com.