Dream decor: How to set up your bedroom for a good night’s sleep

A firm mattress, natural sheets, plants and relaxing colours are some of the steps to take to improve your slumber

Who doesn’t want more sleep? While being short of time, or having restless children is an issue for some, for others however, sleeping is just not an easy thing to do, with anxiety, insomnia or illness causing many to spend their nights tossing and turning.

While there may be no magic solution to this, you can improve your chances of a good night’s sleep by enhancing your environment.

Anne Marie Boyhan, a holistic sleep expert and founder of the Sleep Care Company, is no stranger to sleep issues, having experienced difficulties in a past life in corporate banking.

“I couldn’t wind down. I was always on my phone and felt really sleep-deprived. I was basically burned out,” she recalls.


It ultimately led her to her new role as a sleep expert, and now she helps those in need of a good night’s sleep.

“It’s really about setting our room up for sleep success; we do routines for children, but we’re very bad at doing them ourselves,” she says.

Overhead lights are out, and Boyhan suggests instead that you opt for bedside table lamps. Your bed linen should be “as natural as possible”.

“Synthetic sheet[s] make you sweat,” she says, and credits Irish brands Amurelle and Jo Browne for their linen and bamboo sheets.

A silk pillowcase can be added to protect your hair and skin.

Plants can also help purify the air in a bedroom — mother-in-law’s tongue can be good for allergy sufferers, or if there is a build-up of dampness in the room, as it purifies the air.

A room diffuser, to send sweet scents into the bedroom, from an Irish brand like Kotanical, is another good option. Boyhan suggests Geranium Essential Oil Bourbon (€30), which has been shown to lower stress and anxiety and help you fall asleep easier. Then, in the morning, you could swap to an energising oil like Wild Orange (€10), to get you moving.

Where you lie each night is also important.

“Invest in a good bed, you spend a third of your life sleeping,” says Boyhan.

DFS bed expert Rachel Nimz Taylor says a soft-medium firm mattress is great for those who sleep on their side, while a firm mattress is best for front sleepers, as it ensures minimal sinkage in the middle.

Taking care of it is also important. DFS suggests you vacuum it every time you clean your bedroom, and if it has a cover, to wash it regularly at a high temperature. You can also spritz it with an essential oil and water spray — mix 10 drops of lavender oil to water — for an anti-bacterial sleep spray.

Boyhan goes one step further and even has a mattress hoover (you can buy one from about €50 through Power City/Amazon etc). She says you should also rotate your mattress by turning it upside down and around, every six months, and change it every five years, ideally.


You’ll also want to choose relaxing colours for your boudoir.

Marianne Shillingford, creative director with Dulux, suggests that when you’re looking for a colour for your bedroom, you should ask yourself, “what colour do I want to look at when I climb into bed — and what colour do I like when coming out of it?”

This means that you shouldn’t necessarily just settle for one colour in your bedroom, but opt more for a palette of two or three colours, which can be used in different parts of your room.

If you’re a morning person, Shillingford suggests soft pinks, such as almond-white, which has a very soft blush with a soft pink tone to it, or potters-pink, a pale rose colour. These tones can be good in a north-facing bedroom.

You could also balance the pink with green bedding, or green behind the bed, and a very soft pink on the rest of the walls.

If you’re not a morning person?

“Dark colours are for people who tend to be night owls, and find it hard to sleep,” she says, adding that they can help you relax and destress.

Darker colours of the moment include emerald-glade, a dark green with a teal touch, or mallard green, which in the dark almost looks black.

If your bedroom is north facing, you may struggle with such dark colours, however, but this can be countered with lighter-coloured bedding and some good lighting.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times