Your bedroom should be a sanctuary of relaxation, whether you’re staging your home to sell, or planning on staying put. But it’s also one of the trickiest rooms to spruce up.
Since you probably store most of your clothing and personal items in your bedroom, it can become a cluttered mess in the blink of an eye. Because it’s not seen by many people (hosted any dinner parties in there lately?), many of us rate bedrooms a low priority for decorating.
However, beautifying your bedroom doesn’t need to be an arduous task. In fact, you can make a world of difference in less than an hour. Need some direction?
We reached out to several real estate and interior design experts to walk us through an array of bedroom improvement projects, with a range of budgets and time constraints in mind.
If you have 5 minutes
Five minutes isn’t a lot of time, but it’s definitely enough to give your bedroom a quick sweep. Throw dirty clothes in the laundry hamper, and hang or fold and put away any clean clothes.
Kasia McDaniel, a home stager with Blue Diamond Staging and Design in Carthage, NC, recommends dusting and decluttering your nightstand.
If you’re staging your home to sell, “remove as many family photos and personal items as possible,” says Jennifer Ward, a professional home flipper and founder of House Buying Mamas in Indianapolis. All the agents we spoke to stressed the need to create a neutral atmosphere, something like that of a hotel, so buyers can envision themselves and their possessions in the space.
If you have 30 minutes
Half an hour is just enough time to upgrade any tired, outdated, or dinged-up hardware in your room.
“Focus on door handles and closet door handles,” says Brooke Grasley, founder of Restore Décor and More in Joliet, IL. “You could also replace and update light switch and electrical outlet covers.”
Cost: Door handles run upward of $18, while light switch and electrical outlet covers typically cost upward of $5.
Ali Wenzke, the Chicago-based author of “The Art of Happy Moving,” recommends removing your TV and any other large electronics from the bedroom.
“You don’t want a buyer’s eyes to go straight to the TV,” Wenzke says. “You want to evoke a feeling of relaxation and intimacy, and TVs tend to do the opposite.”
If you have 1 hour
A full hour provides you with enough time for a major overhaul and ambiance reset.
A bedroom without draperies can make the room look exposed and naked, but outdated or cheap-looking drapes can be even worse. Professional stagers and seasoned real estate agents recommend replacing your blinds and old curtains with new ones.
“If you have an hour to spare, new curtain rods and curtains can dramatically improve a bedroom’s aesthetic,” says Grasley. Sticking to the same color scheme, preferably a neutral one, and avoiding busy patterns is wise.
Cost: Rods and curtains start around $75 a window and go up from there.
Another great project that can be tackled in an hour or less? Lighting.
Andra DelMonico, lead interior designer for Trendey in Wesley Chapel, FL, advises taking out a builder-grade, flush-mount ceiling light or fan and replacing it with a chandelier for an elegant look. If you have crown molding surrounding your bedroom, add LED lighting to create a gentle ambiance.
Cost: $100-plus, with an additional $50 to $100 per hour for a licensed electrician.
If you have 3 hours
In three hours, you can focus on making the big-ticket item—the bed—look its best, and also still have time to curate the space around it as well.
Tomas Satas, founder and CEO at Windy City HomeBuyer in Chicago, recommends refreshing your linens. Spend a few hours shopping in person or online, and treat yourself to a new set of sheets, in simple, matching colors. Layering the bed with throw pillows, a plush duvet, and down blankets adds a luxurious look.
Cost: Linen sets start at $100, duvets and blankets start at $50, and throw pillows start at $10.
How much furniture do you have? If your bedroom is stuffed with multiple dressers and an armoire you inherited from your great-aunt, now may be the time to downsize. Take an afternoon to clean out and donate anything you no longer need or want.
“One of the biggest mistakes I see home sellers make is having way too much furniture in their bedroom,” says Jason Gelios, a real estate agent with Community Choice Realty in Southeast Michigan. “Too much furniture in a bedroom is a turnoff to home buyers.”
Of course, many of us are using our bedroom as a home office because of the pandemic. If you’re staging your home for a showing, however, try moving that extra desk and chair to the basement.
If you have a weekend
With an entire weekend ahead of you, you’ll be able to tackle several of the projects mentioned above, and at least one of the two biggies below.
Elevate your bedroom by installing decorative crown molding along the top of your walls.
“Crown molding is the best way to instantly make a bedroom feel elegant,” says Ben Wagner, owner of New York’s Leave the Key Homebuyers. Crown molding comes in a variety of styles, but a few of the most popular are Federal (great for low ceilings), Colonial Revival (upscale), and Early American (refined).
This can be done in a day with the help of YouTube tutorials, or you can hire a handyman.
Cost: $1 to $8 per linear foot, $50 to $100 an hour for labor
Another high-impact bedroom update is to add storage space. DelMonico recommends either adding floating shelves or a built-in bookshelf, or reworking the closet to add additional cubbies and shelving units.
While you’re in the closet, our experts recommend removing and donating any extraneous clothing to make the closet appear more spacious and neater.
Cost: If you do it yourself, the cost will be much less, starting at $250 for modest shelving. A more extensive closet redesign can cost thousands, depending on the design. For labor, count on $50 to $100 an hour.
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