Design & Decor

Which Design Trends Can Wreck Your Sleep Quality?

Story Highlights
  • Bright bedroom lights
  • Thin curtains
  • Bold patterns and colors
  • Electronics
  • Beds that prioritize style over comfort
  • Hard surfaces

Your sleep environment influences how well and how much you sleep. So, it’s important to pay attention to how design trends can improve — or wreck — your sleep quality.

Steer clear of the following design trends that are bad news for sleep (and consider some alternatives):

Bright bedroom lights

Your circadian rhythm relies on light as a powerful cue to indicate when it’s daytime (bright light) and nighttime (darkness). When you’re exposed to light, your brain thinks it’s daytime and time to be alert.

So, a bright, overhead light can send the wrong message at night. Instead, consider avoiding overhead lights (at least at night), opting for dimmable lights, or better yet, soft lamps below eye level that point down.

Thin curtains

Letting light shine in during the day can look great for your bedroom, but at night, you need darkness, and airy curtains aren’t going to cut it.

Street lamps, headlights, even moonlight or lightning can negatively influence sleep.

Use darker, heavier curtains that can block out light at night. You can pull them back in the daytime to let the sunshine in.

Bold patterns and colors

Bold is beautiful and exciting, but it’s best to avoid overstimulation when you’re trying to get to sleep.

Bright, busy patterns can be too much for rest and relaxation.

Consider alternatives such as light, muted neutral and earth tones. Soft blues can offer tranquility that’s especially helpful for sleep.


Bedroom electronic use is more of a cultural trend than a design one, but it can have a serious influence on sleep, so it’s worth considering when you’re designing (or redesigning) your bedroom.

In case you weren’t convinced yet, a TV, computer, even mobile devices can be a problem when you’re trying to sleep.

Again, exposure to light can be confusing for your circadian rhythm and leave you feeling too alert. You may feel more stressed, and you might stay up too late using your mobile device if you bring it to bed.

It’s best to avoid screen time at least one hour before bed, and especially important to avoid it while you’re actually in bed.

So, that means the TV needs to go. Oops!?

Beds that prioritize style over comfort

While good design is visually appealing, it also needs to be functional.

A mattress that fits your room or a particular style you’re going for, but doesn’t actually offer comfort for sleep is a poor choice.

Consider your sleep needs first when you’re choosing a new mattress. Look for a mattress that can alleviate or prevent back pain, offers support, and is appropriate for your sleep needs.

Size matters, too. You’ll need to make sure your mattress is large enough to accommodate you and anyone else who might sleep in your bed, including a partner, pets, or kids.

Hard surfaces

The clean lines of hard surfaces, such as tile or hardwood floors, may look good, but make sure your bedroom offers comfort.

Hard surfaces may bounce noise too efficiently, waking you up at night. You may need to minimize noise in rooms with hard surfaces by using area rug, noise rated padding, or white noise that can drown it out.

Designing a beautiful bedroom can make you feel happy in your sleep environment, but don’t lose sight of function. Avoid design trends that can be harmful for sleep and consider using them in other parts of your home instead.

About the author: Jackie Kepler is a sleep professional. She enjoys sleeping with cats, but sleeps on a king size bed because she needs her space, too.

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