Key Things that every master bedroom needs

Design by Houston Interior Decorator Pamela Hope Designs; Photo Credit: Julie Soefer

Pamela Hope Designs believes the master bedroom should be a retreat, whether you live on your own, are surrounded by pets and multiple generations of family members, or are somewhere in between. While there are some common conventions that we follow for planning kitchens and living areas, your bedroom should be tailored specifically to your needs and interests. So, what does every bedroom really need?

1). Typically the focal point of the room, the bed and bedding are high on the list of purchases that homeowners consider first when decorating the master bedroom. According to, “given that an average person sleeps for 8 hours in a day, that means that an average person will sleep for 229,961 hours in their lifetime or basically one third of their life.”* That is equivalent to 2,920 hours per year, which should lead  you to really consider the quality of your bed.

The styles of headboards or the intentional absence of one are also considerations. While some love a traditional and majestic wood headboard, others like an understated, softer look. Whichever your preference, the bed and bedding itself are good starting points for bedroom design. Also think about the other furniture that you already own or have your eye on that will need to coordinate with the bed. We prefer not to use a bedroom set sold at many traditional furniture stores and, instead, like to weave together furniture pieces that have a similar style, color and texture for a more sophisticated look.

As if those options aren’t enough, we’ll layer in the personal preferences of bed sheets, blankets and comforters or duvets. The options are endless but investing in quality bedding typically means longevity and greater comfort. So where do you start? The “Bedding Buying Guide”** by Tuck offers plenty of tips on finding the material, weight and thread count that makes sense for you, including a section of PROs and CONs for each bedding type. Most important is selecting the bedding that is right for you.

As shown in the top photo above, we often add a luxuriously soft throw to the foot of the bed or nearby chair (more on that later) to add another interesting texture to the room. In the above example, the fun aqua color was icing on the cake. Of course, on chilly nights, the throw is within reach for added warmth.

The question we repeatedly hear is “How Many Pillows Are Just Too Much?” The answer is: it depends. Read our blog post on this topic to learn the different pillow types, men’s versus women’s preferences on pillows and the key to an easy-to-make bed.

bold color and design in lamp shade

Design by Houston Interior Decorator Pamela Hope Designs; Photo Credit: Julie Soefer

2). A bedside light source such as a table or floor lamp is a must. Lamps with dimmer switches or three-way bulbs allow residents to adjust the light for bedtime reading and use softer tones to lighten the room and avoid tripping at night. Often, lamps come in simple, white or beige colors. For clients interested in introducing more color to the bedroom, a plethora of lamp shades are available and can easily tie in today’s trending colors. Lamps Plus offers numerous, economical shade options for both conservative and trendy buyers and we have local and national sources for specialty needs. We were thrilled with the butterfly and nature lamp shade shown at right that our client already owned. As a lover of bold and bright color, this lamp blended in beautifully with the colorful bedding and draperies we designed for her Houston Hyde Park townhome. We are thrilled to have found the butterfly and nature lamp shade shown at right for a recent client who requested more color in her Houston Hyde Park townhome. It’s not only a light source, but also a useful piece of art. The colorful, light-hearted feel of the lamp shade is another aspect that evokes a smile when you enter this room.

clever storage for books in master bedroom

Design by Houston Interior Decorator Pamela Hope Designs

3). What hobby do you love? To create a true place of joy, the master bedroom should embrace your personal interests. This often can be done through art and accessories, especially if the homeowner has a treasured collection of accessories that represent a special interest. Travel enthusiasts enjoy using photos of their adventures and acquired mementos as accent pieces. Art lovers typically invest in paintings, sculpture and the like, and can include a piece that’s more sentimental or personal in their bedroom.

For a client who is an avid reader, we customized the furniture and décor to store an extensive book collection in easy-to-reach places. Across from the bed sits a tall bookcase displaying several arrangements of books. Shown at left, the nightstand from Vanguard Furniture is a surprising storage place for paperback books. We love to peek inside! Which interesting hobbies do you have? How might we creatively incorporate those interests into your master bedroom décor?

a place to sit is key in a master bedroom

Design by Houston Interior Decorator Pamela Hope Designs; Photo Credit: Cody Bess

4). Plan a place to sit in the master bedroom. From a settee at the foot of the bed to a comfortable chair nearby, it’s smart to include a spot to sit, kick off your shoes at the end of the day and relax, away from the common areas of the home. Yes, we do encourage homeowners to resist the urge to dump the day’s belongings on this chair and instead tuck away belongings in a chest of drawers or closet. In the mornings, you’ll likely appreciate the seat as you put on your shoes and gather your thoughts for the day. As a side note, a chair in the master bedroom can also serve as an interior decorator’s way to introduce a pop of color or add the finishing touch to the bedroom.

5). The right rug in a master bedroom incorporates the colors, while also grounding the room. In short, your rug brings it altogether visually. Plus, the rug’s soft touch in the morning is a welcome greeting that eases you into your day, rather than the spine-tingling shock of a cold, barren floor. People often ask what size rug they need for their bedroom. They also ponder whether it’s a necessary expense since much of the rug will be underneath the bed. Our answer is almost always, YES! A pretty rug grounds the room, adds warmth and comfort underfoot and as you can see here, does not have to be huge. Select a rug that will allow your feet to hit the rug, not the bare floor when you get out of bed. Make sure it extends past the foot of the bed and any seating you’ve placed there. A bedroom rug does not need to cover the whole floor.

Which other features do you consider must-haves for your master bedroom? Have you seen a novel idea at a friend’s home? Did you experience a nice touch during a hotel stay that you would like to incorporate into your next master bedroom redo? These are all great ways to gather your ideas and develop a master bedroom must-have list all your own.

If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also like reading our tips on “Decorating Guest Bedrooms”.

* Bjarki,“7 time consuming things an average Joe spends on in a lifetime,”, September 5, 2013,,one%20third%20of%20their%20life.

** Cushner, Keith, October 9, 2019, “The Bedding Buying Guide,” Tuck,

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