Main bedroom ideas – how to design a master bedroom retreat in 12 beautiful ways

The best five-star main bedroom ideas with luxury credentials for the ultimate master suite

Main bedroom ideas with grey walls and four-poster
(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

If you are looking for main bedroom ideas for your master suite, then you've come to the right place. More than any other space in the home, your master bedroom is the one place where you want to feel completely at ease, comfortable and well-rested. 

With fewer practical constraints than other areas of the house, once you’ve covered the basics – sophisticated lighting, clever storage and a comfortable bed to sleep on – deciding on the décor is the easy and fun part. 

Find out how to create a hotel-standard master with our main bedroom ideas below.

Main bedroom ideas

Take your sleeping quarters to next-level luxury with these luxurious bedroom ideas. From walk-in wardrobes, to sumptuous showers and cozy places to curl up in. 

Whether you're looking for bohemian bedroom ideas, small master bedroom ideas or more traditional ways to spruce up your space, you'll find inspiration here.

1. Opt for luxurious wall panelling in the main bedroom

Main bedroom ideas with wall panelling

(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

Wall panelling ideas bring luxury and interest to any room. From traditional cladding and decorative mouldings to innovative designs using fabric, it is hard to go wrong with panelling. 

Add an extra dimension of softness and five-star luxury to a master bedroom by having a three-quarter height wall of fabric-backed panels behind the headboard, as shown in this scheme by Helen Green Design. An additional bonus is the sound insulation it offers from the world outside. 

2. Create a main bedroom that is at one with your surroundings

Main bedroom ideas with summer decor and four poster bed

(Image credit: Future / Simon Brown)

A mixture of rustic touches and traditional elegance, smart yet accessible design is so relevant to the way we live now, whether among rolling fields or in an urban landscape. 

Serene, inviting and comfortable, this bedroom, with its simple and elegant Shaker-style bed idea, needs little additional adornment, but is freshened by some ultra-pretty floral wallpaper. 

3. Build in a slimline dressing area in a master bedroom

Main bedroom ideas with storage and dressing area

(Image credit: Future / Anna Stathaki)

Even small bedrooms need an area for getting ready. If space allows, invest in a narrow wall-mounted dressing table design as a sleek, discreet alternative to traditional dressing room ideas

When you’ve finished getting ready, the whole thing simply sits away, while cupboards above and either side provide storage for clothes, shoes and jewellery – perfect for bedroom ideas for couples.

4. Work with your existing space 

Main bedroom ideas with walk through dressing room

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

Few of us have the perfect set-up. If you can, Philippa Thorp, director of Thorp, suggests locating a wardrobe between the bedroom and bathroom, so you can dress after showering: ‘We like to design all three rooms as a self-contained suite so there’s no rushing around in your towel.’ 

In tighter spaces, such as corridors or eaves, build to fit as much as possible – shallow niches are ideal for show shelves. Pocket doors are good for awkward spaces, says Sandrine Zhang Ferron, founder of Vinterior: ‘They won’t impact the space either side, so you can gain more room.’ 

5. Choose lighting to unwind by for your main bedroom

Main bedroom ideas with grey walls and bedroom lighting

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

The way lighting is controlled is key in a bedroom, says Sally Storey, creative director of John Cullen Lighting: ‘Dimmers are essential to change the mood from day to night. Make sure each light is controlled individually and with accessible switches, so you can eliminate glare easily when you’re in bed.’ 

She also stresses the importance of lampshades – translucent ones give softer, more diffused light, while solid ones create harsh beams. Sally also recommends creating washes of light with bedroom lighting ideas such as LED strips concealed behind headboards and above curtains.

6. Don’t skimp on good flooring

Main bedroom ideas with rug and blue wall

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

When you're thinking about how to design a bedroom, don't forget the floor.

Soft rugs by the bed for bare feet to step onto are essential. ‘They’re not just tactile, but also soften acoustics – making them an excellent option for apartment living’ says Jo Littlefair, director of Goddard Littlefair.

If you are being adventurous with your main bedroom ideas and exploring master bedroom ideas with bath, a durable, hard-wearing flooring design is a must.

7. Choose colors that calm in the master suite

Main bedroom ideas with grey walls and calm colors

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

The right bedroom color ideas, textures and planning are key to a blissfully peaceful master suite. Everyone’s heard the line about blues and greens being the most calming colors, but it’s not the whole story. 

Karen Haller, an expert in color psychology and author of the Little Book of Color, explains: ‘It’s specifically the paler, softer shades that are restful. This is to do with the way we perceive color in wavelengths that travel to the hypothalamus, the centre of the brain  that governs our emotions and sleeping patterns.’ 

Warmer colors, such as pink and apricot, are just as soothing if they’re pale, she adds. 

8. Factor in smart storage to ensure a extra space

Main bedroom ideas with canopy bed

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

The key ingredient in a master bedroom is good flow of space and smart bedroom storage ideas will ensure that nothing gets in the way.

‘Ensure you have room to make the bed easily and that movement around it is unhindered,’ says Tiffany Duggan, founder of Studio Duggan and TROVE. 

’Symmetry promotes a clear mind, too – match lamps and bedside rugs and hang art in pairs.’ 

9. Enhance your mood

Main bedroom ideas with white walls

(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

Phillipa Thorp, director of Thorp, believes vistas are important for your mood. 

To create a relaxing bedroom, position the bed close to a window for a sense of calm and tranquility. ‘We always make beds high enough so that you can see out of the windows to a view beyond,’ she says. 

10. Use tactile texture for comfort

Main bedroom ideas with luxury bedding

(Image credit: Future / Mark Bolton)

Experts agree that when it comes to textiles, natural is best. ‘Because they are breathable, natural fibres wick away moisture and prevent the body overheating – the primary cause of sleep disturbance,’ says Mark Tremlett, founder of Naturalmat

Linen and silk have the same breathability. ‘Linen won’t leave you feeling clammy like synthetic fibres, which can irritate skin,’ says Jessica Mason of Piglet in Bed

When it comes to how to style a bed in a master bedroom, Jo James, co-founder of bedding brand Bedfolk, makes her space more cosseting with an extra later of pillows and ‘going one size up on the duvet.' 

11. Factor in a walk-in wardrobe with modern steel-framed glass doors

Main bedroom ideas with walk-in wardrobe

(Image credit: Future / Alexander James)

The owners of this home had the luxury of space for a walk-in closet, but didn’t want to block the light from a large window at the end of the room. The solution? A contemporary, black steel-framed glass screen, which adds a sharp definition to the pale decor without inhibiting the flow of light.

The designers have used a dark parquet floor throughout to create a sense of unity and flow in this luxury bedroom.

12. Use panelling in a modern main bedroom

Main bedroom ideas with wall panelling

(Image credit: Future / Adrian Briscoe)

Panelling does not need to look period or rustic, as this modern bedroom scheme shows. Painting the stacks of square Jacobean-inspired panelling in a dark hue creates the perfect backdrop to offset strong pieces of furniture and accents of color.  

‘Paneling is a useful way of introducing warmth and character to a bedroom,’ says Bruce Hodgson, founder and creative director, Artichoke. ‘There is something cozy about being surrounded by wood. Panel mouldings are used to create shadow and catch the light, adding a definition that is particularly important when you opt for painted panels.’ 

What is a main bedroom? 

The main bedroom, also known as the primary bedroom or master bedroom, is usually the largest bedroom in the home. Its main function is to provide a sleep sanctuary for the owner of the property, whereas the smaller bedroom often incorporates a guest bedroom, spare room or children's bedroom.

How would you describe a master bedroom?

The master bedroom is the main bedroom in the home. Its primary purpose is to provide a place for sleep. However, with more and more people working from home, the bedroom is often used study, or even a dressing area.

How do you design a main bedroom?

One of the first things to consider when designing the main bedroom is lighting. ‘Well-planned lighting can make a bedroom or dressing room look larger,’ says lighting designer  and Design Director at John Cullen, Sally Storey.   

Always make sure you have directional light for reading, as well as an ambient option. 

‘I often double up by combining a task light, such as a small wall-mounted Anglepoise, with a lamp on a bedside table,’ says interior designer Suzy Hoodless

‘I also like to use  decorative wall lights as well as a central pendant in bedrooms. They offer an opportunity to create a sculptural look on the walls as well as providing soft, warm light.'

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.