Travel is typically more about the sights and experiences of a destination than the room where you sleep while you’re there. But there is something special about falling asleep in a space that was specifically designed for escapism and optimal relaxation.
If it’s been a while since you got away, why not spend some time making your bedroom feel like you’re on holiday
How Vacation Vibes Help You Sleep
Dani Boltz is the owner of lifestyle company Honeysuckle and Mud in Northwest Montana. She curates spaces designed to feel ultra-cozy for guests, including two vacation properties, set in a vintage Airstream and a stucco house, rife with design choices like custom woodwork, floral details, and warm colors.
“Coziness to me means feeling at home in a space, feeling secure, feeling protected — when my senses are all engaged,” Boltz says. And she may be onto something. Sure, nature is an anecdotal mood booster, but research suggests that those natural environments truly help with positive moods and well-being. In fact, even pictures of green spaces might inspire restorative effects on your parasympathetic nervous system.
Emma Apgar, an interior designer and the co-founder of Loving Quarters, works with clients who want to design spaces that are welcoming to guests. For Apgar, design choices can have a significant impact on how a bedroom makes you feel.
For example, if you decorate your room around your television or work desk, you might not associate your bedroom with coziness and rest, so it’s important to take note of what makes you feel cozy and how it fits into your space. After all, the bedroom is often considered the most important room in the house.
If you’re wondering what elements to start with, we asked Apgar and Boltz for their tips and tricks. Here’s how to make going to bed feel like heading off on vacation.
Splurge On High-Quality Bedding
According to Boltz, bedding is where you should allow yourself to splurge. And it does not matter if you favor crisp white linens or vibrantly patterned quilts — the key is to focus only on high-quality threads.
She used to think the lower price point sheets were just fine, but when she upgraded to luxury bamboo sheets for her rentals, she tried them on her own bed as well, and they became a fast favorite. “Investing in high-quality linens has been a game changer,” she says. If you haven't tried bamboo sheets, this Malouf sheet set is sure to meet your expectations. Bamboo fabric is known to be moisture-wicking and hypoallergenic.
If you like texture and pops of color, Boltz recommends mixing your bedding materials. Bamboo and linen pillow covers can add be the base, while a bold-weave blanket at the foot of the bed will catch the eye. If the cabin-in-the-mountains vibe is your thing, here’s a quick tip from Boltz’s own playbook: Layer a faux fur throw on top of a patterned wool blanket. We also love Blanquil's weighted blankets, which feature stitched squares for a quilted look.
If you’re after hotel vibes, Apgar advises sticking with crisp white linens. Hotels often use white to give guests the confidence that their sheets are extra clean and fresh. And if you can, Apgar says it’s worth it to spend a little extra on your mattress and pillows, too. Not keen on linens? Opt for cotton sets, like these bundles by SureFit or PureCare.
Focus on Adjustable and Floor Lighting
Boltz notes that overhead lighting is often too harsh for the bedroom. Instead of relying on one light switch, opt for floor and table lamps. These can give you a nice warm glow, especially in the early morning or late evening. A bedside lamp is also important if you like to lie in bed and read or journal before your sleep.
Apgar recommends fixtures with dimmers for more control over how much light you need at different times of day. “It's so much more relaxing to unwind from your day in a dim room than one with bright lights,” she says. A warm, dim light in the evenings can help signal to your brain that it’s wind-down time.
And if your room gets too much sun, especially in the mornings, Apgar suggests window coverings. “At the very least, a light-filtering shade or curtain will help with privacy, but we also suggest layering a light filtering window shade with room-darkening drapes.”
Surround Yourself with Memories
Many vacation rentals are decorated to reflect the destination that surrounds them. Since we’re spending more time in our own bedrooms, it can be fun to surround ourselves with reminders of places we love. Photos and artwork from past travels or beloved family getaways, or mementos picked up while away, can really liven up a space with those cherished memories.
“I love to shop for pillows and blankets when visiting a new place,” says Apgar. “You can find so many unique and wonderful pieces that use local materials or designs.”
If you haven’t made a habit of collecting items from past trips, consider finding local artists in those locations, and purchasing their work online.
“Whether you are printing an old photograph or finding work from a new artist, these pieces will certainly cheer you up and remind you of the wonderful travels of the past and (hopefully) the near future,” says Apgar.
Treat Yourself to a Little Extras
Everyone loves a little chocolate on the pillow of a perfectly-made hotel bed — or the bottle of local wine left by the vacation hosts. Those thoughtful extras add a layer of pampering when you’re on vacation, and can be tweaked to enhance your home bedroom, too.
“I like to have a candle and matches nearby,” says Boltz. “And books that are really thoughtful — nothing that makes me think too hard at the end of the night, just something sweet and relaxing, like poetry.”
She also recommends keeping soothing scents at-hand — like the lavender roll-on she applies to her wrists before settling in at night. Feeling like your space reflects your happy places and loves is key to loving the place where you sleep.
Not sure if you’re ready to rehaul your bedroom décor? You might need to declutter and organize your bedroom first. After that, you might want to see if you need to replace your pillow or change out your mattress.
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