When it comes to designing a bedroom for optimal sleep, oftentimes, it’s best to seek the advice of an interior designer, especially one who lives a busy life and always prioritizes sleep. Home designer Jenny Marrs, star of the HGTV show Fixer to Fabulous alongside her husband, Dave, is an expert in how to squeeze in precious sleep in the midst of a busy schedule—she’s mom to five kids and has found a sleeping lifesaver in Natrol melatonin.
She also knows a thing or two about setting up a sleep-inducing bedroom, relying on tips and tricks picked up throughout her career. It all started when her husband, Dave, wanted to get back to his roots in building and construction. As his business grew, Jenny naturally became involved in the projects he was investing in. Through reviving historic homes and preserving small-town communities, Jenny developed her thoughtful interior design approach.
Ahead, we talk to Jenny about how she sneaks in sleep amid family life, traveling, and filming her show, and get her best tips on how you can create your very own sleep sanctuary.
Q: How do you fit a good night’s rest into your busy life?
Ha! It isn’t always easy, but I do try to make it a priority. People ask me all the time what it’s like to work with my husband and how we separate our work lives from our home lives. For starters, I love that we get to work together and celebrate one another’s wins each day.
But another benefit of working together is that we also know when the other person has had a particularly draining day and needs more TLC. We try to prioritize putting away the laptops and putting away the phones and other devices to truly be present for one another.
Q: How can readers design their bedrooms to achieve a better night’s sleep?
My biggest recommendation would be to make sure your bedroom is a space you actually want to be in! Whether that be choosing cozy bedding, lamps you love, a calming room color, or keeping your favorite candles and scents nearby. I love getting to my bedroom and starting my wind-down routine at night because I know I’ll get the rest I need to wake ready and present for the next day. Invest in making your bedroom a space you can’t wait to retreat to every night.
Beyond this, I think lighting is a key aspect of any bedroom design and can impact sleep most. A bedroom should utilize a mixture of overhead lights, lamps on nightstands, and natural light. Use all of these tools to help you bring natural light in, dim the lights to set the mood for sleep, or block light out completely. I like to use layers of window treatments that you can adjust throughout the day such as blinds, shades, sheers, and drapes to meet your shifting needs and moods.
Q: What are some things that readers should avoid in their bedrooms if their goal is to improve their sleep?
I really recommend avoiding loud paint colors and patterns in the bedroom because I want to promote a calming sensation the minute you walk into the room. I always recommend more neutral wall colors for the bedroom to help the space feel spacious and serene and leave all the fun bright and bold patterns for other parts of the home.
For example, you shouldn’t paint your bedroom red because the color is associated with energy—not the tone you want when you’re trying to wind down at the end of the day. Additionally, I always avoid painting bedrooms with extremely dark colors because they make a space look and feel much smaller. Dark tones also hold heat better than light colors and we want to keep our bedrooms a bit cooler for comfortable sleep.
Q: What are some must-have items that are always on your nightstand?
I’m a sucker for a great bedside table. I’ll keep a journal there for those inevitable last-minute notes and musings, my favorite Natrol Melatonin gummies when I need help falling asleep, and a place to hide electronics or other things that come into day.
It’s important to have things like smart nightstands, baskets, and boxes in your room to tuck away the clutter so you can keep your sleep space as harmonious and serene as possible to support a quality night’s rest.
Q: What are some things you do to help your kids achieve better sleep?
Routine, routine, routine! We have five kids in a variety of ages and stages, so we value coordinating everyone’s sleep schedules in a way that works for their lives and their needs. Setting regular bedtimes and wake-up times and a pattern to our evening is key.
For example, our older children are starting to get into more activities and having to manage nightly homework that can make their evenings run longer while our youngest needs to hit the hay earlier and needs more wind-down time to quietly play or read before bed.
No matter what, we always check in with the kids before bed to say goodnight. Sometimes the most important conversations of the day happen at the end of the day, and I never want to miss the chance to connect with them about what’s important in their lives.
Q: Since you travel often, how do you head off jet lag?
We love traveling together as a family. But I’m also a big believer that you have to manage expectations and let go of the “must-see” list. I want our travels to be a grand adventure we get to share together and just exhale. I certainly don’t want our family to come home more exhausted from the trip than when we left in the first place!
We try to plan our flight schedules in a way that enables everyone to get some rest. I know that isn’t always realistic though, so the first day in any destination is typically used as a time to get everyone settled, fed, showered, and down at a reasonable local bedtime so you can start your days at a normal wake time.
I’ve also learned that you have to get back to basics sometimes, especially when you’re shuffling time zones and getting out on adventures that may zap everyone’s energy throughout the day. There’s always time to turn back to the basics for a reset: food, water, and a good nap.
I want to remain very present in everything I do and be able to give my all to the things I’m passionate about. I think it’s important to remember that prioritizing rest and recovery time is sometimes the best way you can protect yourself from coasting through life and missing all the valuable moments, big and small, happening around you every day. Take a breath, exhale, and enjoy.
Ready to give your bedroom a makeover? Check out these bedroom style ideas for inspiration.
Photos courtesy of Natrol