Of all the spaces in your home, the bedroom is the space that should cause you the least amount of stress. After all, at its core, the purpose of a bedroom is for you to rest. That's it.
Unfortunately, our bedrooms, like the rest of our homes, often end up being magnets for clutter and mess that make spending any time in that space the complete opposite of restful. Whether you're a neat freak or not, decluttering your bedroom is one of the easiest ways to keep things calm so your bedroom can actually be the place of rest its designed to be, instead of a space that makes you want to rip your hair out.
Remember the Purpose
Perhaps the biggest reason the bedroom becomes a place of stress instead of rest is because we allow items into the space that don't fit the purpose of the room.
In case there's any confusion, the purpose of your bedroom is simple: for you to rest.
Not only is it the place where you actually sleep, but it should also be a place that makes you feel calm and relaxed when you are winding down for the day or hanging out in the middle of the afternoon. This means that, as much as possible, anything that distracts or detracts from that primary purpose should be removed.
Beyond the bed itself, there really isn't anything else that needs to go in your bedroom.
Most of us, obviously, have more than a bed in our bedroom, but the question you need to ask yourself as you go through the space is do I have this in my bedroom because it helps me rest, or just because? If you look at everything in the room through that lens, it makes getting rid of the excess a whole lot easier.
Aside from perhaps a dresser and closet, any additional piece of furniture or large item in the bedroom should enhance the restful and relaxing sensation a bedroom is intended to provide. That's going to look different for every person, but it's important to be honest about the things in your room that are actually restful and the things in your room that are there because of convenience or habit.
Pare It Down
Like any other room in the house, the key to decluttering your bedroom is to go through the items one by one and determine what should stay and what should go. If your bedroom has been functioning as more than a bedroom for a long time, you might not get rid of the item completely, but rather put it back in the space it should've been in all along.
Of all the rooms in your home, I believe the bedroom is the one with the most space to breathe. This means getting rid of those extra pieces of furniture that serve no purpose and opening up the space as much as possible. This could look like removing a storage bench from the foot of the bed you only put there because it "fit the space," or the reading chair that serves as an alternate laundry basket more than it does a place for reading and relaxation. Hopefully you've already decluttered your closet, but if not, this would be a great time to do so.
Beyond clothing, bedding, and lighting, any other item stored in the room should be intensely scrutinized to consider whether it truly aids in your own rest and relaxation.
My bedroom has five pieces of furniture in it — my bed, two nightstands, a dresser, and a narrow bookshelf. And even those five items are intentionally chosen to keep things simple and limit the amount of clutter.
I specifically chose a nightstand with an extremely small drawer and a little shelf instead of one with multiple large drawers. This means I'm a lot more particular about the items I store in that small drawer, and I have a place right next to my bed for my journal, Bible, and books I'm currently reading, which are all part of my evening routine. The dresser is the smallest I've ever owned and I did that purposely so I could keep my clothing items limited to that physical space. The bookshelf is narrow instead of wide because it requires me to be more particular about the books and other items that go on that shelf.
In addition to keeping the furniture itself relatively limited in a bedroom, I also recommend keeping the other items like decor limited as well. Don't feel pressure to put decor somewhere just because it's there. Just like there are margins in the pages of books and white space in any well-designed piece, so too should there be margin and white space in a well-designed home. Be just as intentional about adding decor as you would be about buying the furniture that decor sits on.
My room has a bit more decor than some standard minimalist rooms, but every item is intentionally chosen for one of two reasons — I find it to be useful or beautiful. But even then, I keep the amount of items pared down because an overstuffed dresser or nightstand can easily cause just as much stress as an extra piece of furniture.
Section the Space
Now, I understand that, as much as you'd like it to be that way, sometimes you can't avoid putting non-restful items in your bedroom.
There was a time in my life where, because of who I lived with and the space we lived in, my bedroom space functioned as a bedroom, living/music room, and home office. It wasn't exactly the ideal situation and I hope to never be in that position again, but sometimes it's unavoidable.
If this is the stage of life you're in, don't worry. If your bedroom doubles are your home office, that doesn't mean you're doomed to a stressful, unrestful sleeping space. The best way I've found to keep things from feeling super stressful in that situation is to section your space.
Think of your bedroom like a studio apartment — the best way to keep that kind of space from feeling crowded and stressful is to group like items together and have designated spaces for each activity.
When I had a multi-function bedroom, I kept my dresser, bed, and nightstand in the section closest to my closet, while my bookshelf, reading chair, and keyboard were grouped together in another area. And finally, my desk and other office supplies were grouped together on a single wall as well.
So instead of putting your desk right by your bed, consider putting it on the opposite side of the room. You could even use a shelving unit or some other piece of furniture to make a visual divider or barrier for the space, whatever works for the room and helps limit the stress of having multiple functions for one space.
Ideally, your bedroom should be one of the easiest spaces for you to declutter because it has one of the most defined purposes of any room in the house. If you're looking for more ideas to pare down your space but also want some inspiration for keeping the space beautiful and cozy, these are a few of the resources I continually return to for ideas:
- The Nester — Myquillyn Smith, aka the Nester, is one of the first home decor bloggers I ever followed and her book, The Nesting Place, inspired me to redecorate my whole room shortly before I began my minimalist journey. You'll notice her pop up as a recommended resource for basically any room in the house, but today I'm linking specifically to her posts about bedrooms.
- Apartment Therapy — The AT blog is one of my favorite spots to go when I just want to look at pretty things or I'm looking for a bit of inspiration to spruce or change up a space in my home. Like The Nester, the AT blog will continue to pop up in the weeks to come, but if you're dealing with a bedroom that's more than a bedroom and can't quite make the switch yet, their house tours of studio apartments and ideas for small spaces are wonderful.
I hope today's recommendations have given you a good starting place for removing the excess and turning your bedroom back into a place of rest and relaxation. Next week, we'll start tackling a slightly more intimidating space — the living room. See you then!