How to Make Your Bedroom Better for the Environment and You
By Laura Gaskill, Houzz
Wouldn't it be lovely to enter your bedroom at the end of a long day to find a clean, peaceful oasis of calm instead of a tangled disarray of dirty laundry and piles of clutter?
If that seems like a stretch, you are not alone. It may be easy to put off decorating and sprucing up this private zone, but because sleep (and by extension, quality of life) depends on it, it's worth it to make your bedroom a place you can't wait to relax.
Related: Decorating Ideas for Small Bedrooms
The following steps cover simple tasks (most of which can be completed in a weekend) that will make your bedroom healthier, cleaner, less cluttered and more peaceful — a beautiful, harmonious space where you can let go of your day.
New Orleans Bedroom, original photo on Houzz
1. Envision a deeply restorative space. The best way to begin any design project is with a clear vision of your hopes for the end result. Take a moment to ponder what your ideal bedroom space would look like and how it would feel — the scent, the textures, the sounds. Create as clear a picture as you possibly can, and hold that in your mind as you move forward with the project.
Incorporated, original photo on Houzz
2. Clean the air. Air quality affects health and wellness, and poor air quality can impact sleep. The easiest way to clean the air in your bedroom is simply to open your windows. Commit to letting fresh air into your bedroom for at least 10 minutes each day, and the air quality is sure to improve. To take it a step further, you may want to add several potted plants and an air purifier.
3. Limit technology and remove emotional clutter. When you visualized your ideal bedroom, I'd wager that it wasn't filled with clutter or the tangle of wires dangling from your laptop. Giving yourself a break from tech devices at night will help promote deeper rest and is probably a good idea healthwise as well.
Also, take a moment to consider the things you have stored in your bedroom. Are there boxes of bills and paperwork that make your stomach knot each time you see them? Piles of clothes that no longer fit, workout tools you don't use or photos of friends you have a tense relationship with? All of these things can contribute to stress and insomnia, so out they must go.
4. Clean thoroughly and naturally. Often, our bedrooms fall way down to the bottom of our cleaning to-do list, simply because not many others have to see these private spaces. But keeping your bedroom clean and dust-free is essential for creating a healthy, restful environment. It's time to quit procrastinating and break out the cleaning supplies.>
Using an all-purpose natural cleaner, warm water and a microfiber cloth, clean bookshelves, windowsills and baseboards, where paint chips and dust tend to collect. If you have a hanging light fixture or fan, mirror, mantel or window shades, give those a wipedown as well. Vacuum floors and mop (for hard floors) or steam clean (for carpets).
A+B KASHA Designs, original photo on Houzz
5. Leave your shoes at the door. Now that your bedroom is clutter-free and clean, it's time to commit to keeping it that way. Start a no-shoes policy — in your whole house if you can, but at least in the bedroom. Place a table or basket outside your bedroom door to remind you to drop work materials, cell phones and other gadgets before entering your new zone of calm.
Organic Chamber Pillows, original photo on Houzz
6. Create an organic bed. If you are in need of a new mattress (and can afford to spring for it) by all means go for one of the wonderful organic versions on the market today. But if not, that doesn't mean you can't green up your bed. Try topping your mattress with a natural mattress pad and adding organic pillows and sheets. Organic goods are so mainstream now, they can be found at all price points.
West Elm, for instance, is a great source for organic bedding basics, such as the organic pillows shown here, and fun sheets at a reasonable price.
A+B KASHA Designs, original photo on Houzz
7. Consider the walls and floors. While it does take more effort than any of the previous steps, addressing your walls and floors is an important part of creating a more ecofriendly bedroom. If you are looking to change the wall color, seek out paint containing low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If you have old, peeling paint that may contain lead, use caution and seek professional guidance for the best way to cover it.
For the floor, I recommend choosing hard flooring over wall-to-wall carpeting, which is notoriously difficult to clean and tends to contain VOCs. If you already have wall-to-wall carpeting in place, you can choose to have it removed or simply cover much of it with a natural fiber area rug.
The Couture Rooms, original photo on Houzz
8. Choose the right color palette for your needs. Do you find it more difficult to get to sleep at night or to get going in the morning? If you need help unwinding at night, choosing cool colors such as blue, lavender, gray and silver can put you in the right frame of mind to relax. On the other hand, if you conk right out at night and need to hit the snooze button multiple times before dragging yourself out of bed, you may want to put warm, energizing tones, such as gold, honey and sunshine yellow, to work for you.