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How to make that dreamy bedroom on Instagram a reality, according to an expert


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Photo: Apartment Therapy
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The best home-decor Instagram feeds right now are overflowing with Moroccan shag rugs, cozy knit blankets tossed just so, and gallery-wall perfection that are all double tap-worthy.

These inspirational images get you to finally Marie Kondo your space, do a deep-cleaning of every nook and cranny, and maybe even swap out your well-loved (read: old) duvet or rug for a fresh new find. But—despite your feed of mood board-ready inspo—your bedroom never quite looks like the dreamy social media posts you see.

“A lot of times, people look at a picture with a great lamp or rug and try to emulate that idea in their own room—but it’s not that simple,” explains Kat Van Cleave, interior decorator and designer at Fluent City, a workshop and event learning series in New York City (where she leads a class on how to establish your own decor ethos).

“Often, a bedroom looks so great on social media because of a few expert styling tips, like layering, placement, or lighting,” she adds. (Which explains why even when you buy that complete bedding set from Anthropologie, it never looks as cozy as the catalog—you need to muss it up!)

Don’t let Insta-envy get the best of you: Your dream bedroom is only a few simple tweaks away. And best of all, you probably already have everything you need—Van Cleave promises you won’t have to max out your credit card to get these looks. “Less expensive details like art, plants, and books can do wonders to your space, as long as you know where and how to add them in.” (Meaning more cash to drop on leggings and oversized sweatshirts, naturally.)

Scroll down to see Van Cleave’s tips on making that Instagram bedroom a reality, whether you’re daydreaming of a minimalist-chic or boho-happy bedroom.

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Photo: Photo: Apartment Therapy

Cozy, Minimalist Bedroom

1. Lighting: Choose metal accents in warm copper or rose gold hues instead of silver or yellow gold and never use “daylight” bulbs.

2. Plants: Fresh flowers (try a soft bloom, like peonies or ranunculus) to add a little life to your pared-down space.

3. Accents: Choose minimal accents with simple forms—even though the side table pictured is metal, it still feels light and airy because of the warm hue, the simple silhouette, and the negative space between the metal grates.

4. Accessories: Casually place accessories in your space instead of creating a rigid system of organization.

5. Paint: If you can paint your walls, choose a soft neutral for the walls instead of stark white. If you go gray, choose a warm gray versus a cool one. I love Farrow & Ball’s Cornforth White.

6. Patterns: Use patterns sparingly—if you do use them, choose simple ones. Instead, focus on textures in similar colors.

7. Styling: Loosely style your bed in order to create a softer, more approachable vibe to your room. You can still make it, but lay off the the military-grade corner tucks.

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Photo: holly_avenuelifestyle

Light and Airy Bedroom

1. Bedding: Choose white or light 100 percent cotton bedding that feels and looks fresh—something with ruching or stitching will conceal subtle wrinkles and give you that “floating on a cloud” vibe.

2. Throw: Your cotton sheets are crisp and fresh, so cozy up to a comfortable, fuzzy blanket in a solid, light color.

3. Pillows: Choose throw pillows in a simple pattern in the same tones as the rest of the room.

4. Lighting: Create soft pools of light with fixtures hung around the bed at reading level.

5. Curtains: Avoid thick fabrics—they’ll block the natural light and look visually heavy. Instead, go for a subtle sheer that matches the wall color to softly diffuse sunlight.

6. Art: Your art should “talk” with the rest of the space, so choose similar colors and shapes that add interest without detracting from the already-gorgeous design.

7. Benches: A slender, simple wooden bench is a great way to bring in a natural element while maintaining a modern, clean aesthetic.

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Photo: Instagram/@urbanoutfitters
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Boho Retreat Bedroom

1. Rugs: For a boho vibe, fluffy rugs are a must—Moroccan and Turkish styles fit best with this look. If you’re feeling adventurous, try layering multiple rugs on top of one another.

2. Patterns: Mix eclectic designs to breathe life into your space. Pay attention to the scale of the print—to start, try mixing one small-scale and two large-scale patterns.

3. Bedding: Choose casual, mismatched bedding in natural colors and materials. Extra pillows enhance the boho feel—and can double as floor seating!

4. Curtains: Choose curtains in a natural, earthy fabric like canvas or linen.

5. Plants: Hang plants at various levels—suspended from the ceiling, on shelving, and on window sills. Look for fast-growing vines like pothos or ivy.

6. Shelving: Use any flat surface as “shelving”—bookcases are often too bulky, so get creative with your shelving by using sills or built-in or floating versions.

7. Wood accents: It’s not necessary to have a full-on canopy bed to get the boho effect, but you can add DIY latticework up the wall for multiple levels of storage for plants, books, and accessories.

Looking for more decor inspiration? Check out our Pinterest page for gallery walls, healthy plant life, and more. Or peek inside Gwyneth Paltrow’s Zen-chic loft, because it’s serious design #goals.