What makes your bedroom look cheap? 5 things top designers warn against and what to do instead

From sparse bedding to over-indulgent velvet – these decor quirks are disapproved of by those in the know. Here's why

Mirror in bedroom
(Image credit: Davide Lovati)

Few spaces in a home will rival the unique character of your bedroom – the room to which you're likely to resort when looking for uninterrupted moments of calm and respite, and perhaps the one where you might indulge in more adventurous decor than elsewhere in your home. 

It is only inevitable that you want your bedroom to look as good as possible. However, there are some decorating tropes that can make a house look cheap, and this can easily extend to the bedroom. Here, we investigate what makes a bedroom look cheap, and what to avoid.

What makes your bedroom look cheap?

Some bedroom ideas are better avoided – here's what designers warn against and why some styles may be worth rethinking. 

1. Sparse bedding 

Cozy bedroom ideas with monochrome tropical print wallpaper and pale ochre headboard.

(Image credit: Future / Simon Bevan)

Sparse, or not, the best bedsheets are beneficial if you're looking to keep a bedroom cool, but in terms of aesthetics, it's better to add layers – according to Patricia Tram, an interior designer at Strut Interiors. And, as she explains, you don't need to sacrifice comfort to stay cool.

'Adding layers and decorative elements to your bedding is a huge adult check-box as you're moving towards linen sheets that keep your body temperature regulated, Patricia says. 'Incorporating big Euro pillows add height and can have a louder texture or pattern. They're also great backrests for reading and lounging.'

Similarly, Patricia urges you to ensure your standard pillows are the correct size for your bed, or you may be left with some unwanted negative space. 'Add some decorative pillows and a throw blanket at the foot of the bed to complete the look,' the designer says.

2. Metal blinds 

bedroom with monochrome stripe wallpaper, white armchair, black floor lamp and yellow blind

(Image credit: Simon Bevan / Claudia Bryant)

'Metal blinds may look okay in some office settings, but they look sad in a bedroom where window treatments should be soft and inviting,' warns Antoinette Allande Anderson, the founder of Antoinette Allande Interiors

However, her advice doesn't mean you need to neglect your window blind ideas completely. 'Wood blinds are okay because they are natural and have a warm coloration, but fabric Roman shades or drapes are ideal,' she says.

3. Over-use of velvet

Luxurious bedroom in Georgian townhouse in London

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

According to Sharon Falcher & Sherica Maynard of Interior Design by S&S, an overuse of velvet decor ideas will give your bedroom a 'cheaper' look. The design duo warns against the overuse of velvet – whether through a velvet headboard, velvet bedding, velvet window treatments, or velvet accent seating. As the designers say, a pop of velvet here and there is fine, but it's important not to overdo it.

The overuse of gold or silver is the same. Instead, 'mixing metals in a room is a great way for a room to have a designer's touch,' they say. 

4. Ill-fitting drapery

A bedroom curtain idea with taupe curtains and orange velvet lining

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti)

'An immediate eye-catching eyesore are drapes and curtains that are in the wrong length,' Patricia warns.

'Drapery that falls above a baseboard and hangs halfway on a wall feels out of place, cheap, and awkward.' 

Custom-made drapery is the ideal bedroom window treatment idea, but careful measurements can help you create something that looks tailored to your bedroom window. 

'Retail drapery comes in beautiful solids, patterns, and embroidery with fixed measurements; in this scenario, it's important to make sure you measure from where the top of your drapery rod is to the bottom of where your drapery will fall (grazing the finished floor, above the baseboard, or a subtle puddling effect).'

5. Poor lighting 

An example of bedroom wall light ideas showing a bold patterned headboard, a blue bed and a white wall light with a visible cable

(Image credit: Future / Damian Russell)

'Ambiance is everything when it comes to the bedroom, and good bedroom lighting will instantly make a bedroom feel more cozy and upscale,'  Patricia says.

'My go-to bulb for bedside table lamps is 2700 kelvin warm white and 3000 kelvin warm white for overhead lighting. Save the white LED reading lights for your small portable gadgets that can be stowed away in a drawer.'

Similarly, Antoinette adds that a bedroom without a decorative light fixture should be avoided. 'A flat ceiling without the jewelry that a decorative ceiling light provides is a missed opportunity to dazzle,' she says – before adding that ceilings can be uneventful without any ornamentation. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.