A bedroom is good for exactly two activities: sleep and sex. Eating food, watching television, or dicking around on your devices should all happen in other spaces if you want a good night’s sleep, experts say. And probably your mom.
So step one: Get rid of that flat screen television. Not only does watching it in bed teach your brain that your room isn’t a place for rest, but also the blue light it emits can keep you up at night, studies shows. Try picking up a book instead. Research from the University of Sussex in the UK shows just six minutes of reading can reduce your stress by more than 60 percent, and also help you get to sleep. A survey of singles also found an interest in reading is something that turns women on. Bonus.
Now that you hopefully plan to replace that TV with a book or two, here are a few more upgrades you can make to both improve the quality of your ZZZs while showing the women in your life that you’re a full-fledged adult.
INVEST IN A REAL BED
Like, something with a head board and a base. “If you’re still sleeping with your mattress and box spring on a metal frame”—or worse, on the ground—“then it’s definitely time for an upgrade,” says interior design expert and consultant Mikel Welch. Don’t overcomplicate this purchase. Look for a simple, mid-century modern-style wood bed. If you can’t afford that, at least pick up a headboard, Welch says.
ADD SOME QUALITY SHEETS
If you have some old pillowcases from your parents’ home mis-matched with a cheap set of linens you bought in college, your girl is going to notice that, Welch says. Even worse: A set of dark gray or black sheets—a bed-linen look that shouts “college dude.” It’s time to upgrade. Welch recommends a matching set in a clean, neutral shade of white, cream, or light gray. Also, spend time reading online reviews to find a quality set. Manufacturers can cheat when it comes to thread counts, so those aren’t an indicator of softness or quality. Ariel Kaye, founder and CEO of Parachute (AKA the sheet expert) has some intel on thread count. “Thread count is mostly a marketing ploy,” says Ariel Kaye, founder and CEO of Parachute, a company specializing in bed linens. “In fact, anything over 400 thread count is a result of manipulation of the fabric.”
PERFECT YOUR LIGHTING
A bright overhead light is fine if you’re cleaning your room or trying to find an outfit in the morning. But at night, that bright light can both scare off sleep and ruin the mood if you bring someone back to your place, Welch says. Consider one or two minimalistic gold or wood lamps outfitted with soft-white, low-lumen bulbs.
PICK UP A QUALITY NIGHTSTAND (OR TWO)
A bed looks naked without a nightstand, which Welch calls “one of the most functional pieces of furniture you can purchase.” Along with giving your bedside lamp and books a place to rest, it can also conceal your clutter and “adult supplies,” he says. Add a second nightstand for your guest, and you’ll mature your space by at least 10 years.
OUTFIT YOUR WINDOWS
Naked windows are another sure sign of immaturity, Welch says. And no, blinds alone don’t count. “Add a pair of curtain panels,” he says. “Curtains say, ‘I care about the way my room looks and pay attention to detail.’ ” Again, go for white, cream, or light gray. Also, “make sure the curtains start above the window seal and come all the way down to the floor,” Welch says. For the perfect night’s sleep, opt for black-out curtains to prevent any light from coming into your room.”
You wouldn’t go out on a date stinking like sweaty gym clothing. You’d shower and slap on aftershave or cologne. So, Welch asks, why do you end your dates in a space grown fetid with the stink of unwashed laundry? Invest in a laundry hamper with a lid to keep smells locked in. (And, if possible, keep that hamper in your bathroom). Now, pick up a scented candle. “There are many manly blends such as sandal wood, cedar and tobacco,” Welch says. Fire it up from time to time — especially if you think you’ll have company — and your room will smell as good as you do.
SWAP OUT POSTERS FOR PHOTOGRAPHS
Sports or concert posters are “the last thing your girlfriend wants to look at,” Welch says. Ditch them, and pick up some framed black-and-white photographs. “This color pallet is timeless and will match any decor in your bedroom,” he says. If you have the cash, consider also adding one or two quality framed art prints or original works. Abstract art tends to work well because it’s not telling a story or clashing with the themes of your photographs, Welch says.