Reading lights for all. Each person is entitled to their own reading light. Not only is this a nice ambiance touch, it gives you flexible options. A bedroom doesn’t always need to be thoroughly lit. Like at 5 am when my husband gets up for work. The overhead light would be a disaster. A bedroom needs to beckon at night. It needs to say, “Hey baby. You’ve a long day. Come climb into my ever loving arms. And bring Kingsolver.”  

Night table for all. You have to follow this design rule if you want to follow the first. A handy place to store your night affects is essential. I for one can’t sleep without my Bubba Keg of ice water, my cell phone charger, a place to put my book, and a place for my bedside light. This doesn’t have to be a fine piece of furniture. Just get something that will work. A chair qualifies.  

A recharging station. Make a spot for yourself. A place to be you. A place to re-energize, refocus, think, plan, and organize. A place to pray or meditate. A special little corner just for you.  It can be whatever you want, as elaborate or as sparse as you have need or space. It doesn’t even have to be in the bedroom. Just make it a priority. You deserve this. You need this. Carve out a spot for it.

A rug under the bed.  A rug in the bedroom is so luxurious. It gives your feet a plush greeting in the morning, warms a cold floor, and muffles sound. If you have carpeting in your bedroom, this is all technically less essential, but an under-the-bed rug does one more important thing, regardless of what is underneath it: a rug adds emphasis to the bed, making it feel significant.  VIP treatment it deserves.

Light blocking window treatments. The sun is an inconsistent bastard. Sometimes it’s up at 5:30, other times it doesn’t properly appear until 8. Come on, sun. Get your act together. Diva. Kidding. I love the sun. But I sleep a lot better without it. Install shades, heavy curtains– I currently have a heavy Guatemalan quilt hanging over my bedroom window. Find a way to thoroughly block out the sun when you need to.

Plants in the bedroom. Plants in the bedroom are sexy. There’s no way around it. They add a lush vitality that can’t be replicated any other way. They also pump oxygen into the air, preventing a room from ever feeling stuffy. Just make sure not to neglect them. The bedroom isn’t necessarily a place you think to go with a big jug of water.

Two sets of identical sheets. For each bed in the house. Maybe I’m the only dunce who only recently figured this one out. Washing sheets used to be a crisis. Now, I pop off the dirty and pop on the fresh at the same time! No biggy. I’m a grown up.

Headboard. Get one. If you need just one legit thing in your bedroom, let it be a headboard. They are cheaper to buy than a bed, and they are cheaper still to improvise. A gorgeous blanket or cool old door or anything you can think of can stand in. Again, you’re adding emphasis to the bed, which the bed can’t get enough of. It’s the star of the show.

Keep your closet significantly less than full. If you have a tiny closet, try a capsule wardrobe. Embrace the space limitation. I say this as equal parts interior designer and clutterphobe. You don’t want or need bursting, unusable closets. It only adds visual and actual stress to your life. Stress that isn’t welcome in the bedroom.

The bedroom is the only place to display wedding photos. Even then, use restraint. This is tough love, people. Tough love. I know you hired a photographer and all, but please, save your walls for other things. Here’s why: while deeply special to you, wedding pics have, at best, a generic effect in a livingroom. At worst, an awkward one. Especially if you’re smooching or looking sexily at each other. Perfectly appropriate in the bedroom.