At first glance, bedrooms look easy enough to outfit. A bed is a requirement, of course, as is somewhere to store clothes and the many things you say you’ll get to but never do. When it comes to the details, those appear to be straightforward, too. Nightstands and lamps are a must, as are curtains, and a trusty alarm clock. Maybe a plant or two would be nice, as well as a side chair if you’re feeling fancy. After all that, a bedroom is pretty much complete, right? Well, not necessarily.
It takes some time, or perhaps a few sleepless nights and uncomfortable mornings, to know what a bedroom requires in order for it to feel truly welcoming. When professionals get a look at bedrooms, they almost always spot potential improvements that will help their customers relax. But other than those personal requests, there’s something else to consider, too. “The more upgrades you do, the higher the value of your home,” says Angela Duncan, the owner of Duncan Enterprises in Elliston, Virginia. Howard Molen, the president of HFM Builders, Inc., agrees.
“Do upgrades that will be appealing to the next homeowner,” Molen says. “Let common sense prevail.” Here, these two professionals share their most-requested bedroom upgrades, so that you can be ahead of the curve when it comes to comfort now and potential profit later. Read on to learn about the five tweaks that matter most.
It should come as no surprise that everyone hires a professional to see if they can gain a few more square feet, or even inches, of closet space. “If there are two side-by-side closets that are separated by a dividing wall, it’s a good idea to combine them,” Molen says.
If demolition isn’t possible, Duncan sees clients making the most of every square inch that currently exists. “Some add shelving, racks, and drawers for more organization,” she notes. And as for the doors themselves, it comes down to preference. There are those who like to install sliding doors on a track to have a small footprint, and others who like bi-fold or tri-fold doors. Do what’s best for your lifestyle, and if you’re unsure, choose what matches the architecture of your home.
Duncan recommends studying the lighting in your home. If it’s out of date, particularly in your bedroom, then it’s time for an overhaul. “You don’t want to have to search for light switches or feel for a lamp in your bedroom,” she says. “You could update your lighting to have access to smart devices, so that making your bedroom lighter or darker is controlled by your voice or phone.”
At the very least, there should be a range of light sources in a bedroom, from lamps and sconces to Molen’s recommendation of recessed lighting. “Homes typically only have a centered ceiling light fixture in bedrooms, which isn’t enough,” he says. “Recessed lighting better distributes light around the room. Homeowners can choose where to install recessed lighting, too, so that it’s either over the bed for easy reading or in the corners.”
While there are still plenty of people who prefer to have carpet in bedrooms, Duncan has a good reason for sticking with wood floors instead. “Carpet houses allergens, which become airborne when walked on,” she says. “But I do have clients who want to change from wood floors to carpet because it feels softer and warmer on their feet.” To decide which path to take — wood or carpet — Duncan and Molen both agree to take stock of your current situation. If there’s damage, you’ll want to replace them either way. New carpet is best if you plan on living in your home for a while, but wood can be softened with area rugs beneath your bed.
As is the case with nearly any renovation project, paint can do wonders to transform a room. “A fresh coat can make walls look clean and free of scuff marks,” Duncan says. “Some may want the room to look bigger than it is, and by going with white, beige, or a light color, you can do that.” And while you’re at it, Molen suggests skim-coating the walls and adding new baseboards.
“Walls can deteriorate over time, so skim-coating gives it a fresh, smooth coat of plaster, which you can then paint over to make your walls seem like new,” he says. “And new baseboards complete the look.”
Windows don’t usually get their fair share of attention in designing a bedroom, but they should. Old or faulty windows can trap moisture and deplete heat and cool air in your home, which is why Duncan and Molen both advocate for switching them with energy efficient panes, if possible.
“If there’s damage or the window is old, you’ll also want to replace the window sill, skirt, and trim,” Molen says. Besides saving you money in the long run, it’ll also help to modernize your bedroom overall. But the most important part? You’ll feel much more comfortable in it, day and night.