“We spend about one-third of our life either sleeping or attempting to do so. Sleep is not only comforting but is also essential…”
This quote from Aminoff, Boller and Swaab in the foreword of the Handbook of Clinical Neurology says it all. These neuro scientists note, in their research, both the significance of sleeping and, in particular, where you’re sleeping. So in today’s post, I’m focusing on the importance of your bedroom and how you create a coastal, calm bedroom for yourself.
Does your mind sometimes wander to visit a coastal retreat? Where a fresh breeze and sun floods the master bedroom with light and airy drapery dance around your wide open double doors? Where you feel like you could take a deep breath and exhale all your worries and relax?
That feeling is what we try to achieve when designing a bedroom for our clients. Here’s my recommendations on how you can create the feeling of a beach bedroom in your own home.

Layout Your Space

If you have a small space, this is really important. Every full service interior design project we do starts with a floor plan. If you’re already living in your home and your bedroom furniture is in place, you may feel like this is irrelevant. However, even under those circumstances, I recommend looking at the layout of the room and assessing the scale of the furniture.
  • Measure the perimeter of your room and lay it out on graph paper to scale or use one of the many free floor planning software or apps available. (We use a paid software that takes some training; so I can’t recommend a particular free software, but if you try one and like it let me know!). Include the placement of windows and doors.
  • Measure your furniture and add it to the floor plan to scale. If you’re laying this out on graph paper, it’s typical to use ¼” scale, meaning 1 square equals ¼ of a foot. The scale is so important because if you want your room to have a good flow, you want to make sure you can move easily in your space.

Ideal Placement and Sizes

  • Keep at least 30” (optimally 36”) of space between the sides of the bed and the wall or any piece of furniture parallel to the sides of the bed.
  • Same for the end of the bed. Or, if you have room for a bench at the end of the bed, keep at least 30” from the end of the bed to the wall or piece of furniture opposite it.
  • Your nightstand should be within an inch or two of the height of the top of your mattress from the floor.
If you are using an area rug instead of wall-to-wall carpet (which I highly recommend) an 8’ x 11’ is a good size for a queen bed and a 9’ x 12’ is good for a king bed. Your room may not be a simple rectangle though. So, this is just a rule of thumb. The goal is to have plenty of rug underneath your feet when you get out of bed.

Pick the Right Color & Textures

  • Color: In my blog post 6 Decorating Tips to Relieve Stress and Anxiety, I discuss how color can have a psychological impact. If you really want a bedroom that helps you feel like you're on holiday, you need to take this into account. The colors of the coast, “the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool colors and include blue, purple, and green. These colors are often described as calm, but can also call to mind feelings of sadness or indifference.” according to this article on VeryWellMind.com. I love a pale blue palette that has a green undertone for the bedroom.
  • Texture: If you like the soothing color palette blue/ green/ grey tones can create, I recommend when you use them on your walls, you add texture in warm tones with natural materials like sisal, seagrass, or even washed oak to your bedroom. By doing that, you get the cool, calm vibe without the sad feeling. You can add coastal elements like seascapes as a focal point or a wall accent like an arrangement of woven Fele baskets to give your space dimensionality that it may otherwise be missing.

The Bed

I want you to go to bed feeling relaxed and wake feeling rejuvenated. I’m guessing you’d like that for yourself, too! Your bed is the most important part of that.
  • The Mattress: I am not an expert in finding the right mattress, but I do recommend you look for one made of natural, organic materials like latex, wool, or lavender. You might want to check out this article on The best organic mattress in 2022: Natural Mattresses for Healthy Sleep. Same goes for your pillow.
  • The Bedding: For me, this is really the key. We all have different sleep preferences. You will have to keep in mind what feels good to you. Do you like silky, smooth linens? Do you prefer super soft jersey knit sheets? Or, are you like me, loving 100% linen? Whatever the material you prefer, I always recommend choosing organic to enhance your well-being by limiting your exposure to harmful chemicals.
  • The Layers: This is where the coastal aesthetic comes into play. To create the feeling of a coastal retreat on your bed, start with the sheets. I recommend you go with crisp white or unbleached sheets so that you have more versatility with top of the bed and accent pillows. However, I would never say you couldn’t have sheets in a pale blue hue, too…We always add a coverlet and a duvet with a pair of shams to match either the duvet or coverlet. I also recommend a throw pillow or two for added interest. Your throw pillow is the place to add some contrasting colors or textures, too. Your coverlet could be a deep navy for a more nautical, coastal look. Or, you could use our favorite Boyce coverlet and shams in Sky Linen. I have to admit, it’s not organic, but it is 100% natural, made of linen and cotton.
    The bed frame could be fully upholstered in a nubby linen or crisp white cotton. Or, you may prefer to bring the seagrass or driftwood texture into the bedroom here.
  • The Side of the Bed: Choose side tables that function the way you need them to in order to keep your space clutter free and relaxing. I recommend having at least one drawer or a shelf so you can keep the top of the nightstand looking nice with maybe just a candle in a scent you love or just an oyster shell jewelry dish.

The Right Light

  • Natural lighting is something that improves our well-being. It provides us with vitamin-D and syncs our built-in body clock. So, I recommend enhancing your windows by using window treatments that allow the light in fully during the day and darken the room enough for you to get a full 8 hours of sleep at night. The best way to do this in your bedroom is by layering two window treatments. Try using a translucent shade with drapery that has blackout lining if you need the room really dark to sleep.
  • Table lamps are also important for allowing you to relax and read in bed and for ambient light in general. This is a great place for you to add texture and color with a unique, coastal twist like a ceramic gourd lamp in coastal colors or a table lamp reminiscent of sea glass.
  • Don’t forget your ceiling fixtures. If you don’t have recessed lighting, add a ceiling fixture to bring more light into the space. If your room requires a ceiling fan, and you don’t have recessed lights, choose a fan that has an integrated light. I love the Haiku L fan for its clean lines and integrated light. They have another option with driftwood foils which is fantastic, too. (Not a sponsored post. I just really like these fans ;)
Well, there you have it. Top to bottom or bottom to top. These are my tips for laying out and layering your bedroom in a way that creates a coastal design that helps you rest and renew each day.
Please let me know if you try any of these tips. Or, let me know if you have any coastal design tips to share.
Happy Sunday!
March 05, 2024 — Shannon Willey