When it comes to your bedroom design, consider becoming a fair-weather decorator.
Summer's longer days, shifting sun and higher temperatures could mean that your best sleep comes from changing your bedroom décor to suit the seasons. Not only does sunshine appear differently in your room in the summer, as opposed to winter, but those extra hours of light at 9 p.m. could be messing with your circadian clock, too.
While the look and feel of your bedroom are your personal preference, repositioning your bed in the summer could mean the difference between waking up naturally or miserably in the morning.
“You may decide to move your bed so you can wake up to look out the window the first thing in the morning,” says Laquita Tate, interior stylist and designer. Waking up earlier in the day, thanks to the sun, can help your body find its natural rhythm, so that you actually feel sleepy by the time bedtime rolls around. Plus, sunlight is a great natural alarm clock.
Or you may want to move your bed completely out of the sun’s way so you’re not squinting with the first rays. Admittedly, it’s a lot of furniture shuffling that could seem like a hassle or just isn’t possible for every space — but you don’t need to do a full-blown makeover to maximize your space for better summer sleep. A few small tweaks to key areas may be just enough to counteract some of the seasonal disruptions from now through the dog days of summer and make your space a slumber sanctuary until winter.
We spoke to several professional designers for their top tips on optimizing your space into a summery, rejuvenating sleep oasis.
Optimize Your Window View
Summer is also a time for excitement and planning — the kind of energy that’s even more relevant this year as the world opens back up. These feelings could easily keep you up at night, so Tate recommends setting up a quiet, meditative area in your bedroom to work through these emotions and calm the mind before bedtime.
“I love having a chair or two by the window,” adds Maiya Kathryn Dacey, a residential designer who serves the Washington, DC, metro area. “It’s the perfect place to center yourself for the day, enjoy a cup of coffee, or put your shoes on if you are constantly in a rush.”
That space by the window could become a place of relaxation. Remove anything that feels stuffy or cluttered nearby and bring in items that soothe, like a beautiful print on a nearby wall or a few scented candles on the windowsill.
Don’t overdo it with knickknacks near the window, though. You still want to preserve the primary purpose of the window: the view. Gazing out at your summer garden in full bloom or people-watching from a city apartment window could prove inspiring on days when the heat has you feeling stagnant.
Create a Summer Sunshine Nook
If you can’t angle your bed towards an eastern-facing window for morning light, try creating a breakfast nook in another sunny space around your home, so you can get natural light early in the day. Getting out of bed to soak up the sun is your best bet for feeling energized and awake in the morning.
If that designated space isn’t an option, look to see where the sun is the brightest in the day and place a reading chair or cushion in that space. Use the spot to soak up the sun as you do morning puttering or preparation for the day.
Switch Out Bedding for Cooler Threads
Flannel sheets that felt cozy in the winter may feel suffocating in the summer, leading to night sweats and sleep troubles. Switch out your winter bedding for something light and cool-to-the-touch when the weather gets warm. Tate prefers linen. Dacey likes silk and cotton. Other vacation home designers have mentioned bamboo sheets as well.
“Our go-to choice is to incorporate natural breathable fibers on our clients’ beds,” explains Dacey. “Seasonal switches of bedding not only make the bedroom feel fresh and new again, it helps you sleep better.”
As for color, opt for something bright and fresh, which reflects the vibe of the season. Kopec recommends playing with yellows, light greens, and blues in the summertime. For design elements on your bedding, Dacey recommends scalloped edges, colorful line patterns, or embroidery.
Hack Your Nightstand with #Cottagecore Vibes
If you haven’t embraced the ethos of #cottagecore yet, this summer might be the time to do so. Channeling the vibes of the English countryside, a cottagecore-themed nightstand would focus on connecting with nature in a simple and harmonious way, while promoting relaxation and easy sleep.
Universal essential for a nightstand: water. Keeping a water bottle close by can make it easy to quench late-night thirst in the summer heat, no trip to the kitchen required, says Tate. Hydration, especially during hot nights, could improve sleep, as recent research suggests there may be a connection between short sleep duration and dehydration.
“It’s also beneficial to have an area to place a book or magazine because the summer is typically a time where we try to get back to taking time out for ourselves,” Tate explains. “Taking a moment each day or night will help clear your mind of the day's tasks, which in the summer is essential for recharging.”
Your nightstand can also be a spot for other natural and nostalgic items to promote better sleep, like lavender oil or a white noise machine. “Nothing says summer getaway more than fresh flowers from the garden on the bedside. It's a simple little luxury,” says Dacey.
If your bedroom doesn’t have space to squeeze in another piece of furniture, a wall-mounted shelf is a low-cost alternative that offers just enough space for a glass of water and other essentials.
Don’t Care for the Extra Light? Here’s How to Gear Up
Research shows that rising temperatures can interfere with your ability to get sufficient sleep—a particular risk in the summer months.
“The sun is hotter and visible for more hours in the summer, which means that there is more heat gain and light intrusion,” says Dak Kopec, Ph.D., architectural psychologist and associate professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Updating your window treatment in the summer can help block out excess sunlight in the early mornings or help keep your bedroom cooler when it’s time to hit the hay. If you need to sleep early, black-out curtains can also help shut out those hours of extended daylight and trigger the sleep part of your sleep-wake cycle.
For a true summer upgrade, consider curtains made of a thick, insulated fabric.
“Insulated curtains can help minimize noise as well as light. They also look beautiful and can make a room come alive, so they are worth the investment,” Dacey says.
The noise reduction is particularly helpful should your neighbors love early-morning yardwork or late-night cookouts.
Not ready to splurge on new curtains this summer? Light-blocking window film can keep out the sunlight at a fraction of the cost of custom window treatments. You can also cut out some excess noise and keep cool with a fan.
With the right choices to suit your space, your summer bedroom should be as relaxing and sleep-enhancing as a vacation getaway.
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