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coco republic master bedroom design white bedroom grey bed sheer curtains

10 Key Inclusions your Master Bedroom Design is Missing

Do you feel like your master bedroom design is falling a bit flat? Like something isn’t right? I hear you. I’ve been in many client bedrooms that feel this way. But let me assure you, it can be easily fixed.

The biggest issue with most people’s master bedroom design is that they’ve left some important elements out of the equation. Usually you pop in the functional items (bed, bedsides, a tallboy), purchase a quilt cover set and call it a day. Well the day is yet to be completely called, decorating junkies, because in today’s post I am going to give you the ideas you need to finish your room off.

The great thing about these ideas is that they’re not expensive. Well, not unless you want them to be. The things that are missing from your master bedroom design can be brought in regardless of whether your budget is small or mammoth. Many of them can also work regardless of the room size. I’m not going to suggest you install a built-in robe or wood panelling or a king-size bed. These things are smaller fixes that can make a really big difference.

The hero image in this post is a fave of mine from Coco Republic and features their stunning Cannes Bed.

dark bedroom wall ideas light grey bedroom feature wall from metricon display home

1. Art Above Your Bed

Art goes such a long way in making any space feel complete, and the bedroom is no different. Even if you opt to have some affordable canvas art above the bed, it will help immensely. You don’t have to spend a lot here, but you do need to ensure the art is in a size that works in comparison to the width of the bed below.

It’s always wise to opt for one landscape piece of art that runs almost the full width of the bed, or choose two square artworks of the same size and sit them side-by-side. Definitely don’t have art that runs past the width of your bed, or it will feel too dominant and the scale will be thrown off. On the flip side, ensure it’s not portrait in orientation either, because it just won’t be wide enough to make sense in relation to the bed.

Above is a really nice example. It’s from a Metricon display home and the art size is perfect.

If you need to find stunning abstract art for your bedroom, this post has you covered.

adairs kian chenille bed linen in blush and terracotta bedroom
Via Adairs

2. Layers and Layers of Bedding

One blanket on the bed and four pillows does not a bed make. Your master bedroom design will feel grand and more appealing if there is a concoction of varying layers and textures going on. You need at least 7 pillows at the head of the bed and a fairly decent quilt rollback (where you roll the quilt back at the head of the bed to reveal the other side of it).

On top of the rolled-back quilt cover you’d also need a blanket in a varying colour or texture, as well as a throw at the end of the bed. More is more when it comes to what you put atop your bed – and I won’t hear anyone say otherwise!

I know, I know; your partner will complain about the oodles and oodles of cushions. But I think it’s well worth it if it means you get to walk into your room each evening and have a bed that feels appealing.

Need help on the bed styling front? Here’s my step-by-step guide for styling the perfect bed.

sophia four poster bed from house of orange in deanne jolly master bedroom

3. Mood Lighting

The bedroom is the number one place where mood lighting is essential. And it’s probably one of the places the most lacking in the homes I go into. We get so fixated on getting the living room well lit that often the bedroom gets forgotten.

The lighting on your bedside is a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure scenario. You can opt for some table lamps, wall sconces or get pendants installed. There’s really no best option. Though I will say, in a master bedroom, I always prefer to do a sconce or pendant as it makes the space feel grander. But that might not work for you due to window placement or where the bed is positioned.

If you choose to do table lamps on your bedsides, consider installing a feature light in the middle of the ceiling. Something nice to draw the eye.

The image above is from Dea Jolly’s home (which you can tour here, by the way) and I love those white sconces contrasting against that dark teal paint colour. This is probably the option that’ll incur the most cost on your part, but it’s well worth it and the look will last for years.

Want a table lamp for your bedside? Here’s our top 60 list of affordable lamps in all styles.

sophisticated master bedroom feature wall panels and tinted mirror behind bedhead

4. Soothing Window Treatments

So many of us move into our homes and leave things like carpet, paint and window treatments ’til last in a space. It’s a major no-no if you ask me, because these elements take up so much visual real estate. And anything that takes up that much space in a room is going to significantly impact the overall feel.

Sheer curtains are a fave of mine for a bedroom because they are so wonderfully chic and add a layer of softness. You’ll obviously have to pair them with a roller blind so people can’t see in of an evening (unless you an exhibitionist. In which case, I admire your bravery).

But seriously, consider sheers or another option for your windows. It might be plantation shutters or a nice roman blind. But let’s elevate it beyond just a roller blind if you can afford it. You won’t regret it and it will dramatically effect the master bedroom design for the better.

The image above is via Metricon. Once again their display homes nail design on all fronts.

hamptons bedroom with light blue walls cream upholstered headboard and white hamptons bedside tables

5. Different Furniture Finishes

I know the lure of bedroom packages. It seems so easy and at least you know that everything will match. The downside to that is that, well, everything matches! The room ends up feeling a bit soulless because there’s no depth or character to the space. Be it white melamine or dark timber, having the same material/colour across your bed, bedsides and chest of drawers is a no-no.

The easiest way to remedy this is to opt for an upholstered headboard or bed frame. It’ll give you the softness you need in the space, and then your bedsides and low/tallboy can be in a matching timber. That way the space won’t feel too dominated by one material and you get a nice blend of hard and soft finishes.

If you can’t do an upholstered headboard, for whatever reason, then change the material in your bedside tables. If the bed is timber, try a bedside table made of metal, or marble, or both! Trust me your master bedroom design will be improved by at least one thousand percent.

Want to see the best in upholstered headboard and frames? Here’s my roundup of faves.

personalised bedside table styling with lamp photo frame and candle

6. Your Personality on Display

This one happens all too often, and I’ve been there myself. You go to store ‘A’ to buy your bedroom suite, go to store ‘B’ to get all of your bedding, and head to store ‘C’ for your lamps and art. Voila; a brand new room that just looks like the suite did on the floor of the showroom. This is a nice approach, don’t get me wrong, but it is missing a last essential layer: your personality!

A really good master bedroom design features personalisation. Think Family photos, art picked up on travel to other destinations, a stack of your favourite books and a box of your mementoes. If you look at your space and feel like you have no idea who exists in it, maybe it’s time you personalised.

I understand the lure of wanting to keep things chic and minimal. And I’m not against that approach. But you can still find ways to inject some of your flavour into the space. Even in the smallest of ways. The image above via Apartment Therapy gets this idea right.

Need some quirky decor to add personality to your room? Here’s some of my fave suppliers you can shop from.

kmart furniture hack kmart square side table as bedside table in bedroom

7. Plants, or Flowers, or Both

Even the smallest of master bedroom designs can still feature a little greenery. Any room featuring flowers or plants brings instant life to a space and makes it feel more welcoming. If you have a windowsil, you need to fill it with some plants. Or at the very least pop some flowers on your bedside table. Holly from The Tradie Lady Creative does it very well in the image above.

You don’t even need to be good with plants. I’m a major black thumb and even I rock plants at home. The secret, in case you were wondering, is to embrace real-looking fake plants. They won’t give you the sense of life a real plant will, of course, but it will give you the nest best thing. And trust me; there are some amazing suppliers of fakies nowadays. You’d almost not believe they weren’t real.

Need some fake greenery for your bedroom? Here’s where I source artificial plants and flowers from for clients.

lorraine lea nook white bedding in all white room with coastal bedside table lamp
Blonde tones are your friend in an all-white space.

8. Scent (A Nice One)

You know how obsessed I am with candles. So it will come as no surprise that I recommend you pop a scented candle on your bedside (or a diffuser at the very least) and discover how amazing it can be to have scent in this pocket of your home.

For the bedroom, you want a soothing fragrance that’s not too overpowering. Your master bedroom design is all about tapping into different senses (not just sight), so don’t forget about your nostrils. Trust me, a gentle candle scent wafting across the room as you walk into it is going to do incredible things for the way you feel in the space. So please give this one a go. It’s so easy and affordable.

Need an amazing candle? Here’s my list of the top Aussie suppliers of divine candles for your home.

hamptons master bedroom with grey and white wallpaper and white bedside tables

9. A Well-Styled Bedside

Your bedside table is a prime opportunity to let all of your styling dreams come true. Bedside tables are your time to shine, so go beyond just a lamp and make this piece of furniture the star of your master bedroom design. It’s also a nice idea to ensure the bedside itself is the right size and scale for the room.

The image above from my Melbourne CBD project showcases a rather large bedside table, but the space needed it. If it were any lower or thinner the whole room would be thrown out of proportion. The client has loads of space inside the cabinet to get styling with her personal mementoes too.

Small bedrooms will benefit from round side tables, while larger spaces can handle more dominant pieces. Once you have your dream bedside half the fun will be decorating it. And it’s definitely a process I enjoy tinkering with.

blush pink armchair with matching ottoman in bedroom corner white floors

10. A Reading Nook (If it will Fit)

There’s nothing more amazing in a master bedroom design than a glorious armchair with a side table and floor lamp bedside it. Of course, it doesn’t even have to be a place to read in. And of course, it will only work if your bedroom is large enough for all three items to fit. But please do have a look at your room and see if you could get an armchair in there.

Here’s a list of our top 50 armchair designs, split up into different styles.

The other thing I must point out about chairs in bedroom corners; I know they often end up being a dumping ground for clothes. But that’s OK. I live in the real world and I know this can happen, but I still say your bedroom will look better for it.

Need help creating a reading nook? Here are my top tips and must-have items.

how to style a master bedroom on a budget decorating ideas for a master bedroom copy

Over to you!

What’s letting your master bedroom design down right now? I’d love to hear your plans for it in the comments section below.

Perhaps there’s a tip I haven’t shared that worked wonders for you in decorating and designing your own room? Why not drop a comment below and let me know how you got on.


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Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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11 Responses

  1. I want my bedroom to look dreamy. My wall are off white and my quilt is bone what color sheets and pillows should I bring. I don’t want it to look boring. This is my only comment for now

  2. Love your blogs! We have a huge bedroom that has been drab drab drab for years. (Our guest room is stunning but we never get to sleep there!) I think I’ll start with the pendants and then the art work – need to get rid of our 15 year old bedroom suite – now to just convince the hubby! Thanks for all your ideas you are amazing!

  3. Hi do you think a tall standing lamp is suitable for a bedroom or table lamps
    I want to make it homely and it is a large room

    1. Hey Gaynor. If the room is large, I say it can probably handle both bedside table lamps and a floor lamp. Just ensure the floor lamp is across the other side of the room from the bedsides. Like in a corner beside an armchair. If your room isn’t quite that big, and it’s really a choice between the two, go for bedside lamps. They will have more impact on making the room feel grander and more of a master. I hope that helps 🙂

  4. Good timing, have just painted our room white and now on the hunt for some wall art for above the bed. I am struggling though with how big/how many pieces to get as we have a really high ceiling. I want to keep the art fairly neutral as I prefer to inject colour with the bedding instead. Advice please?

    1. Hey Fiona. In this case, it’s less about how many pieces, and more about the configuration. I’d ensure the art stretches the full length of the bedhead (like in this pic: http://www.tidbitsandtwine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/TIDBITS-TWINE-Art-as-headboard.jpg).

      If you feel the ceiling is too high and it’s bothering you, consider a painted trim all the way round the room at the top, like this: https://au.pinterest.com/pin/172403491963274537/ – it’ll make the roof seem lower and the room feel cosier.

      Hope that helps 🙂

  5. Hi Chris,

    Love your thinking and creative writing I’m also building my house and will definitely use these tips when the time comes to design my bedroom.
    Keep up the good work!!!.

  6. Hi Chris,
    I love reading your blogs and this one hit home, so to speak! 🙂 We have quite a large bedroom and it is boring boring boring! Thanks for the inspiration…might be a good weekend project! x

    1. Happy planning Natalie, I hope you get your room looking just the way you want it. I am eager to start a gallery wall above my bed now. Love the bedroom in this post with all the art. 🙂

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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