How To Create the Most Relaxing Bedroom on a Budget

3 simple steps to creating a stress-free bedroom you can do right now for free: 1. Remove reminders of unfinished tasks 2.Remove electronic stress-triggers 3.Add happy things

POP QUIZ : What do the following people want at the end a long and tiring day: a caveman, Henry the VIth, Elon Musk, Oprah and you?

Any guesses?

To go back to their cave/ bedroom and have a good night’s sleep.

The primary function of the bedroom has not changed in a million years- to be a safe and deeply comforting space. A place to have – peace of mind.

Once you have taken care of the basics of a bedroom layout and all big furniture items are in their proper place and the ‘primal’ mind is at ease, let us focus on catering to the evolved part of the brain. The one that deals with finer design details.

Design psychology takes into account all those decorating details that trigger pain/pleasure signals in the brain. Things around you influence our judgment, attitude, and behaviors in ways that we are not aware of. This idea is based on what cognitive psychologist Daniel Kahneman calls ‘Priming’ in his book ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’.

Every item in your room has an impact on your mental state. These objects lead to the subconscious and continuous priming- that is they constantly keep you in a certain state of mind- by triggering specific thoughts associated with them. Now, you can’t control those thoughts but you can make sure your bedroom triggers good thoughts and keeps you in a relaxed state of mind.

So how do you go about creating that?


How To Create the Most Relaxing Bedroom on a Budget

STEP 1- Remove anything that signifies an unfinished task.

Think of the last time you couldn’t help but finish someone’s incomplete sentence. Why is that? Our mind dislikes incomplete tasks. Things around the house are just that – incomplete tasks.  A bookcase with piles of unopened magazines and half-read books triggers remorse the moment you open your eyes first thing in the morning. An ignored treadmill triggers a sense of shame of not using it. A chair piled up of unwashed or unfolded laundry speaks for itself. Bills, credit card statements, legal documents remind you of your responsibilities. These items belong to the study, family room but not in the bedroom. Remove them all. The first step is to get rid of these stress triggers. Your bedroom will instantly start feeling lighter. Just have one book you are currently reading and your journal in your nightstand drawer. Also, if you read books and write in a journal, we should be friends!

How To Create the Most Relaxing Bedroom on a Budget

STEP 2- Remove electronics and work related materials.

The EMF from electronics like the phone, laptop, TV interferes with sleep patterns. The blue LED light that indicates if a device is charging has the most negative effect on the circadian rhythm. Screens of all kinds disturb your sleep pattern. That’s old news, you say? I know! But it is STILL true. Have you tried doing something about it?

If you have no choice and must keep them in the bedroom,(you are in a studio/dorm/bachelor pad) place the devices and charging cables at least 3 feet away from you (so NOT on your nightstand). Get an extension cord to eliminate constraints due to the location of the bedside electric outlet.

We are living in a time when technology is taking over everything and we haven’t set boundaries yet. Once more 10yr studies come out and prove how addictive and harmful it is, we will bracket it with cigarettes or sugar or carbs (take your pick) and be more open about labeling it as an addiction. Maybe, just maybe, your laziness will win over the urge to walk to the other room to pick up the phone and help you reduce the late-night mindless scrolling.

How To Create the Most Relaxing Bedroom on a Budget

STEP 3 – Add happy things.


The good news is that eliminating a lot of stuff (stress triggers) creates space for new things. If you removed the TV from the bedroom, I would like to meet you in person to congratulate you and give you a high-five. Get a cork board or fabric covered board. Hang it on the wall facing the bed. Fill it with happy images that make you feel grateful and inspired. Choose these images carefully. Recalling happy times in the past is a mood booster. But avoid having family photos in the bedroom. This should be the one place just for you (and your partner) without having the feeling of being watched or being reminded of family obligations.

It is easy to find melancholy images like a solitary woman, drooping flowers, somber still-life or art that depicts restless energy like running horses, waterfalls, etc. Neither of these is ideal for the bedroom. The art in the room should depict happy (whatever makes YOU happy) or abstract images. Flowers, serene landscapes, reclining Buddha are great options. If you like certain colors, just frame colored sheets of paper, like I did for this bedroom here. Don’t go for crazy busy patterns. The theme here is restful and calm. Think ZEN.

The ideal location of art depends on the height of the headboard. If it is too high (as is the case in the featured bedroom), hang frames just above the nightstands on either side. For a medium high headboard, hang art in landscape orientation above it.

  1. Removing stress triggers – anything that reminds you of pending work, neglected hobbies, incomplete projects, future responsibilities,
  2. Remove electronics. It may be hard to do initially. You can thank me later.
  3. Add happy images, objects, and artwork.

If you like the idea but have no time/energy to take on the project and would like my help, reach out to me directly on

This 3 step method is the quickest way of creating the most relaxing bedroom without spending any real money. Win win.

Could your Bedroom be Ruining your Sleep?

How to create a sense of grounded energy, balance and relaxation with the basics – furniture placement, accessories, and art.

Bedroom = a sanctuary. PC:Vaidyanama

How could the bedroom be the cause of disturbed sleep? Counter-intuitive. I know. Feng Shui has some answers. And it has nothing to do with wind chimes, frogs, etc. Hear me out. Please.

The mind feels most relaxed in a room with grounded and balanced energy flow.

What does that even mean and how do we go about creating that?

Energy can be visualized as a flow of people and air into the room. Creating a sense of grounded energy all depends on the furniture layout.

This starts by deciding the location of the bed. Place the bed such that the headboard of the bed is along the longest wall, facing the door to the room. This should allow for a sight-line towards the bedroom door while being seated in your bed. Being able to view the entrance to a space vs subconsciously having to “watch your back” puts your primal mind at ease. Don’t place the bed at an angle. It is unsettling and creates a corner behind itthat’s hard to vacuum creating “stagnant energy” (read dust and stale air). The bed should not be facing a bathroom door. It is acceptable if the bathroom door is towards the side. But keep it closed. It’s just good hygiene.

Unless you live in a mansion or your bedroom is huge or you are very tall, a queen bed is the largest size you should go for if you don’t want to dwarf out your space.

The next element is the headboard. The shape, size, and material is a way to visually anchor the bed and establish it as the most important piece of furniture in the room. Of course, it does provide back support when you are sitting up in bed and keeps you from rubbing your head against the wall. 47″ high headboards don’t show much behind pillows, 54″ high show a lot. 52″ is a happy medium. Upholstered headboards are considered to be ideal since they provide the most sense of ‘comfort’. Wooden headboards are next in comfort. Slightly rounded shaped echo the soft curves of the mattress and duvet covers and are considered to be most relaxing.

Some design blogs and magazines show wall mounted shelves over the bed (instead of the headboard) full of photo frames, monogrammed art, and books. That looks great in photos but it makes me anxious. Living in an earthquake-prone area like California just makes me worry. Sure, you may argue that the whole roof can fall on your head. However, just in case there’s a smaller earthquake, I don’t want to increase the chances of books, photo frames, etc falling right onto my head. Or worse, on my nose. Things can wobble and fall without an earthquake. I feel the same way about the drum shaped pendant lights hanging over the bed. They looks great but they’re not for me.


BEFORE- uncentered bed, asymmetric art placement create an imbalanced space.


AFTER – bed is centered, symmetric art on either side, accent pillows bring the look together and create a sense of Balance. PC:@vaidyanama


The next goal is to create balance which can be achieved by using the design principle of symmetry. In a squarish room, the bed is placed in the center (or faux center) of the room with at least 2 feet (24″) of walkway on either side of it. In a more elongated room, there might be space for a chair or chaise longue or dresser towards the window.

Identical side tables and lamps look good in pairs and are encouraged in a bedroom. Feng Shui states that identical nightstands and lamps also indicate democracy in a relationship. IMHO, what indicates the most democracy is having an equal walkway on either side of the bed. So, do not shove the side of a bed against a wall. Doing so restricts access and putting on new bed sheets. Cleaning under it can become a weekly annoyance. If you are cramped for space, leave at least 1″-2″ space from the wall.

Avoid a mirror directly reflecting the bed. Your own glimpse from the corner of your eye can catch you unaware and creep you out in a semi-asleep state.

The space under the bed should be left empty for air to circulate. The height of the bed should allow you to get in and out comfortably whether you go for a lofty platform or a low base. If you live in a tiny apartment, please do not place a space-saving-pull-out drawer for shoes under the bed, no matter how starved for space you are. Leather, suede, rexine, rubber, pleather and glues used to bind the shoes emit gases that you should not be inhaling, especially when you are asleep. It is also a big Feng shui no-no since it blocks and contaminates the energy flowing around and under the bed and the mattress.(Read as air-circulation). Be creative and find other places for your shoes, books, boxes and other ‘stuff’. I will share ideas for tight spaces like studios and student accommodation in a future post. The central message is to visually and spatially delineate different functions in a studio as much as possible.

Indoor comfort is highly dependent on temperature and sunlight.  Don’t place the bed right under a window. Keeping it farther away protects you from noise, glare, temperature extremes and cold drafts which can cause body ache. Keeping the window wall clear also provides scope for proper window treatments instead of having curtains being overlapped by the headboard. Ease of access to the curtains or blinds is a basic requirement of daily use. This layout also allows the possibility to look out of the window when you are sitting in bed. This also contributes to creating a sense of safety to your instinctive mind. Even if your logical mind disagrees with me.

The bed is going to last you a long time so stick to a neutral color that can work with multiple color palettes. Feel free to play around with color in the bedding and throw cushions. This will allow you to switch out the look whenever you wish by changing the bedding colors whenever you want, even seasonally. Patterns and colors evoke a visceral response in us and impact our heart rate. Choose them carefully. If in doubt, pick plain white sheets. They are a foolproof choice.

Hotel beds with crisp sheets symbolize a sense of relaxation and cleanliness to a lot of people. White cotton sheets with a thread count of 180 or more are the most durable and last years of washing even at high temperatures. They are the most comfortable because they absorb moisture away at night and keep your body cool and dry.

Clutter control and removing stress triggers is the next step.

The whole idea is to create an environment that allows for a great sleep so that you wake up recharged for the next day. While design can’t curb external stresses like job pressures, family demands, good design can ensure that your room won’t add on to your stresses. May you have peace of mind. Bonne Nuit!

About The Author

Richa brings you only the most practical, to-the-point, no-nonsense information that helps turn your house into your dream home. She has a passion for simplifying design concepts that you can actually put to use. She has a degree in Architecture, over thirty published articles, a life blog and has co-authored the bestseller 'My First Home' with Shashank Shekhar.


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