How to Plan a Romantic Getaway in One of Kentucky’s Most Charming Towns

Depending on who you ask, locals will either tell you that Bardstown, is The Bourbon Capital of the World®, or the most beautiful small town in America. But really, it’s both!

With a quaint Main Street area that’s surrounded by the picturesque Bluegrass countryside (and plenty of hospitality hot spots to sip your favorite whiskey in between), Bardstown, Kentucky is earning another reputation – one for being the perfect place to plan a blissful, romantic weekend getaway.

Visit Bardstown with your special someone this spring and stroll the historic streets hand in hand. Take a Bourbon mixology class to learn how to craft inventive new cocktails and impress your friends back home. Take a step back from the hustle and bustle of your everyday living, and watch the sun go down from the front porch swing of your favorite B&B.

Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary or just practicing your love language, a romantic weekend getaway in Bardstown, Kentucky is just what the doctor of love ordered.

Where to Stay

Every romantic weekend starts with finding a great place to snuggle up at night. Luckily, Bardstown is filled with tons of remarkable properties that have been renovated into cozy, yet luxurious places to lay your head and refuel your heart. Get the most out of an authentic Bluegrass experience by booking a room at the Bourbon Manor Bed and Breakfast Inn. It’s the first Bourbon-themed B&B in the country, and boasts having the perfect blend of romance and relaxation. Each luxurious room is named after a classic Kentucky cocktail (like the Mint Julep room!) and has been furnished with gorgeous antiques, plush bedding, and a large Jacuzzi to soak away your everyday stress. Wake up each morning feeling refreshed from a great night’s sleep and indulge in complementary country breakfasts by a crackling fire. Or book your stay in the heart of downtown Bardstown at the Maxwell Inn Bed & Breakfast. This adorable little B&B is just blocks away from tons of shopping and cool places to eat and drink. Plus, the Maxwell Inn offers two bedrooms per booking in a single-family house, meaning you can have the whole place to yourself, or consider inviting another couple to share in the fun of your romantic weekend. Lounge in peace on the private patio or reenergize in the cozy sitting room – either way, you’ll be picture perfect in lovely little surroundings. The Red Rose Inn, also located just a few blocks from Bardstown’s historic downtown, is another hot spot for folks planning flirtatious weekend getaways. Surround yourself with Victorian architecture and the divine comforts of garden-themed rooms. Take relaxing strolls through the flower garden at sunset, but don’t wait until it’s too dark or you’ll miss the incredible koi pond! If you’re looking for a dose of Southern hospitality a bit further away from town, book your romantic getaway at the Historic Eagle Hill Manor. Enjoy heartfelt appreciation for your stay when innkeepers greet you with fresh cookies and homemade lemonade at check-in. Experience all the charm of small-town America in this beautifully restored Victorian-style manor, and don’t forget to spend some time relaxing on the front porch swing. ## Where to Indulge in a Romantic Meal

Bardstown also has a lot of romantic dining venues, so you’ll be in good hands no matter where you make reservations. One fantastic option that should top your list is Kreso’s Restaurant. This delightfully delicious eatery is run by an adorable Bosnian couple who are well known for whipping up perfectly prepared seasonal cuisine. Kreso’s Restaurant is also well known by architectural enthusiasts for serving its patrons in a renovated, historic theatre marquee (hello, Instagram moment!), whose new decorations feature the couple’s personal art collection.

Another great option for rekindling romance over food and drink is Rickhouse Restaurant and Lounge where you and your partner can cozy up over candlelight with incredible handcrafted Bourbon cocktails. Try the steak linguini or a thick-cut pork chop for an unbeatable, savory meal. And if you have any room leftover, be sure to try the chocolate Bourbon bread pudding for dessert – it’s to die for!

If your honey is looking for dinner with a side of Kentucky experiences, make reservations to ride My Old Kentucky Dinner Train. Enjoy an utterly romantic (and scrumptious) meal that features breathtaking views of the gorgeous Kentucky countryside, the best in world-class Bourbon, and mouthwatering desserts.

Bond Over Bourbon… and Gifts!

In between all the resting and rejuvenating (…and stellar eating and drinking), you may find yourself hungry for some daytime activity during your visit to Bardstown too.

Get in sync with your partner and the heartbeat of Bourbon Country by taking the Bourbon University mixology class at Kentucky Bourbon House. You’ll explore Bourbon history along with the distilling process, and get the exclusive opportunity to taste 14 premium Bourbons, ryes, craft and small batch options, single barrel recipes, and even a few white dogs during your classroom session. It also features a Kentucky-style lunch to help soak up some of that beautiful brown nectar, so that at the end the experience, you’ll be shaking, muddling, and mixing like a pro!

Weekend lovebirds can also choose to celebrate the storied origins of Kentucky’s signature spirit by touring one or more of Bardstown’s six distilleries. After all, no vacation in the state of Kentucky is complete until you’ve had a drink in the birthplace of Bourbon.

If your sweetheart isn’t much of a drinker, you can always create an unforgettable experience with gifts! From antiques and collectibles at Nettie Jarvis Antiques—where they specialize in 18th and 19th century Southern furniture, clocks, porcelain, quilts, folk art, primitives, and coin silver—to high end fashion clothing and statement jewelry at Peacock on 3rd, or the best in fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, and more at the famous Bardstown Farmers Market, there is a shopping destination for every kind of couple to enjoy!

So, whether you’re planning your honeymoon or just looking for some love inspiration, consider visiting Bardstown next time you need ideas for a loving weekend getaway. The town may be small, but there’s no shortage of romantic experiences to check out!

Click HERE for even more ideas of things to do on your next trip to The Bourbon Capital of the World.

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Photo Essay: Château St Pierre de Serjac

Tucked away among vineyards in the heart of the Languedoc — the French region that spans the Mediterranean from the Cote d’Azur to the Spanish border — Château St Pierre de Serjac is a romantic estate with a fairytale feel; a retreat where good wine meets good times.

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A collaboration between French winemaker Laurent Bonfils and Irish hoteliers Karl and Anita O’Hanlon, the Château sits within a 200-acre estate that boasts unparalleled views of the Languedoc’s famed rolling hills, vineyards and olive groves. The state-of-the-art winery, complete with vat room, barrel store and tasting room is the perfect place to try out the estate’s own wines alongside those from the Bonfils’ other properties; a 19th Century slice of heritage resplendent after its recent renovation.

Beautifully imposing, the Château comes into view after a long drive thorough the countryside. Large iron gates bearing the estate’s name confirm that this impressive manor will be home for the next few nights; at which point an overwhelming sense of calm sets in. Making our way up Serjac’s tree-lined driveway to the parking area, we deposit the wheels and take a deep lingering breath of the French countryside’s fresh, fresh air.

Despite the size of the estate, there’s a welcome sense of intimacy (that never errs on intruding) at St Pierre de Serjac, something that continues through the Château’s eight hotel rooms, 36 self-catering residences, restaurant, bar and spa. In fact, assembled around a series of connected courtyards and gravelled walkways adorned with lanterns, fairy-lights and the freshest smelling lavender, guests can choose to interact with one another or, equally, wander the grounds lost in their very own thoughts.

The 30-metre heated infinity pool, slap bang in the middle of manicured gardens — the incredible waft of lavender still prevalent — is a calling card of complete relaxation. Stylish sun loungers line the terrace, and views of the estate and surrounds extend for miles and miles. Arriving from the city and now lazing in the pool, I’m able to truly appreciate the abundance of colour and tranquility that I’m enveloped within.

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There’s an air of understated glamour here, too. Once the poor relative to its Riviera neighbours, the Languedoc has emerged as a destination for travellers in the know — a combination of remarkable climate; rich history; cultural gems; old fishing villages; Mediterranean coastline; and, of course, top vineyards; attracting those who want to take things down a notch or two. There’s a very tangible sense of being in ‘the real France’.

Fusing an urban, townhouse aesthetic with the essence of Languedoc-Roussillon, and a definite laid-back overtone, guests at Château St Pierre de Serjac can be as comfortable in their bathrobes as their Chanel. If you master the art of peeling yourself away from the serenity of the hotel, might we recommend a drive to the town of Séte to devour fresh Oysters washed down with a glass of white wine before heading onto La Maison Noilly Prat in the port town of Marseillan for a vermouth tour and tasting, before making your way back via Béziers — with its old town filled with narrow streets — makes for an unwinding excursion that unites culture, cuisine and carousing.

The hotel rooms are quintessentially French, with huge oversized beds, luxurious linens, large bathrooms (six rooms feature polished steel, free-standing bathtubs) and decadent furniture. A mix of old and new, vintage chandeliers and mid-century touches clash with wireless Yamaha speakers, Nespresso machines and lush Cinq Mondes bathroom amenities.

Enjoying a reported 300 days of sunshine a year, there’s a lot of focus on the outdoor life here. As well as the infinity pool, many of the residences feature private pools or hot-tubs, and each has a garden with outdoor dining tables and BBQ. The outdoor bar serves drinks and tapas throughout the day and, in the summer months, hosts regular BBQ nights and wine-tasting events. Guests are invited to walk or cycle the vineyards, play a game of tennis or boules, or enjoy treatment in the spa; an Alpine-style indoor-outdoor space with huge sliding doors that lead onto a secret garden complete with cocoon-like loungers and fleece blankets.

Contemporary design and an urban edge; the countryside walk of life; fresh air and a vast expanse of lush landscape; a reconnection to nature without misplacing any of your creature comforts … Château St Pierre de Serjac is many things, but most of all it is a place where moments are made and time stands still.

@stpierredeserjac

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A delicatessen in Séte

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La Maison Noilly Prat, Marseillan

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La Maison Noilly Prat, Marseillan

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Photography © We Heart

Photo Essay: Le Pigalle, Paris

The streets of the 9ème aren’t lined with gold but sex shops, drinking holes and the Moulin Rouge. This seedier side of Paris may be at odds with the usual tourist image of pristine boulevards and the shimmer of the Eiffel Tower, yet it’s in the Pigalle neighbourhood where you often see a more realistic picture of Parisian life.

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Different nationalities mingle outside shops lit in red which cater to every sexual whim or desire. It’s precisely this mix that has fascinated many writers and artists over the years; they who have depicted this more bohemian side of the city of lights. It’s a legacy that has been carried over into the 21st century, with a celebration of this eclectic, rough-around-the-edges charm at Le Pigalle hotel.

A ‘hotel du quartier’ Le Pigalle is hyperlocal, its essence flowing from the streets that surround it. The entire place is a love affair to its arrondissment, a homage to an unlikely muse, and its roots are even more firmly attached to the neighbourhood through collaborations with natives of Pigalle; people born and bred beneath the neon lights.

Harking back to an age of bohemian writers and artists, Le Pigalle gives space to local artists, turning bedrooms into mini exhibition spaces — bookshelves filled with personal selections from a bookseller found on the next street, a soundtrack curated by the DJ who spins his discs at the bar next door.

The décor is straight-up 1970s disco-louche, with low-slung leather arm chairs and vintage lamps that create a decadent, sensual atmosphere. A red velvet booth complete with stripper pole is the perfect place to contemplate the pleasures of the flesh, whilst sipping one of Le Pigalle’s signature cocktails. The bedrooms are each unique, featuring furniture; objects; artwork; and souvenirs, all sourced from the most decadent of Parisian districts. Contemporary and vintage pieces meet in a design theme reflective of Pigalle itself.

As Janko Nilovic’s Soul Impressions drifts out from the turntable built into a mid-century sideboard (which also happens to house the minibar), the sun sets; but Le Pigalle and its beloved neighbourhood are still well and truly lit up.

@lepigalleparis

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Photo Essay: PURO Kraków Kazimierz—Poland

PURO Hotels continue their hot-streak with a beautiful new design hotel for Kraków’s culturally active Kazimierz neighbourhood…

We Heart are big fans of PURO Hotels’ forward-thinking philosophy and the design-led experiences that come hand-in-hand with their brand. Having opened up their ‘largest lifestyle hospitality’ project to date, the team were imbibed with some excitement. And the images coming out of their new Kraków design hotel do not disappoint.

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A neighbourhood once known for its neglected state, Kraków Kazimierz is making the most of its gentrification phase, cramming the historic streets with pavement cafés, art galleries, and independent shops. With its 228 rooms and suites, PURO Kraków Kazimierz is just the spot for design-savvy travellers to rest their heads after a day exploring all the creativity that surrounds the former Jewish quarter.

International designers and makers have worked with the brand to create contemporary and curated spaces, guests bedding down in rooms filled with natural light, stylish furniture, and works of art by Polish illustrators that are inspired by their emotional reflections on Kazimierz. With street art an essential part of the experience, Kraków native Nawer was commissioned to create a futurist graffiti mural on the hotel reception wall—whilst Spanish contemporary artist Javier Martin’s neon installation overlooks guests in the hotel’s imposing lobby.

Gastronomy offerings at the property include MAK Bread & Coffee and Halicka Eatery & Bar, and for those who overindulge on freshly baked bagels, sweet treats, and Polish cuisine, the hotel offers a schedule of activities designed to kick-start body, mind, and desires—whilst the PRISMA Spa is the place to relax before resetting later on with a craft cocktail or crisp wine. Another fine project from PURO Hotels, another creative getaway in a culturally active corner of Poland. They’re on a roll. @purohotels

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PURO Krakow Kazimierz Photography, Anna Stathaki

Photo Essay: Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden, Palma – Spain

Concealed behind a discrete façade in the barrio of La Lonja, Palma, Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden has opened its doors, offering understated luxury from a decadent world of resplendent elegance.

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At more than 750 metres squared, Can Bordoy boasts the largest private garden in the Mallorcan capital’s Old Quarter, and the property features 24 impeccably designed suites; a restaurant inspired by the garden and helmed by chef Andrés Benítez, formerly of Michelin-starred restaurant Bou; a heated outdoor pool; sheltered rooftop; and a forthcoming spa.

Originally built in the 16th century, the property underwent a four year renovation, restoring what was once a kindergarten of the Catholic religious order of Sagrado Corazón de Jesús into one of Palma de Mallorca’s most important buildings. Situated a short walk from the city’s harbour and Paseo del Borne, OHLAB studio (who we last saw designing Madrid’s Sala de Despiece) created a serene space offering distinguished guests luxuriously understated facilities and touches that nod to the building’s storied past.

Gothic relics, marble tiling, baroque mirrors, and velvet curtains contrast against custom-made lighting, bespoke furniture, works of art, and stunning greenery that winds its way up the walls and across the ceiling—bringing an air of the ethereal into a space where classical decadence and contemporary spirit align.

With over 70 plant species, the garden at Can Bordoy is beautifully landscaped and without doubt the regal house’s pride and joy, an urban oasis to unwind after a day spent exploring Palma, and just the place to build up an appetite for bistro-influenced Botànic. Hosting 86 seats indoors and out, the restaurant here is quickly becoming a destination its own right—Benítez’s high-quality, locally-sourced gastronomy whipping locals and travellers alike into a frenzy. An impressive undertaking with some weighty design prowess, this Mallorcan bolthole is one to watch.

@canbordoygrandhouse

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Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden Palma Photography, Arturo Sánchez

Photo Essay: Stamba Hotel, Tbilisi

From the 52 square metre Aviator rooms, complete with views of the rambling courtyard, through the more industrial Aviator Signature room with oversized windows that allow natural light to flood in over the free-standing brass bathtubs and showers, and on to the lavish 79 square metre Aviator suites—with separate living area, a mustard-hued guest room, and glass walls that overlook the atrium—Stamba Hotel is a damn fine looking property to hole up in. And that’s before you get to its staggering communal spaces.

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Located in what was once Georgia’s most important printing house, this Tbilisi design hotel—set within historic atriums, passages, and courtyards—is a true celebration of the capital’s ever-evolving identity as a hotbed of creative talent and originality. At the crossroads between Asia and Europe, the city has established itself as a cultural melting pot, aspects of both Western European and Caucasian life—as well as a burgeoning fashion and music scene—making this the place for those seeking something different to travel to.

Complementing the high ceilings and exposed brickwork that shape the guest rooms, Stamba Hotel boasts a series of outside spaces including an outdoor amphitheatre, courtyard, and a second structure with coworking facilities. Hop into an Aviator helicopter and see the country from a Bell 505 Jet Ranger, or for those preferring to keep their feet firmly on terra firma—whilst still thrill-seeking—the two-floor Casino Aviator combines first-class tables with sumptuous interiors, accented by vintage chandeliers and bold tones of red.

Led by Adjara Group CEO Valeri Chekheria and owned by Temur Ugulava, Stamba Hotel blends nostalgic references from the 1920s and ‘30s, while new touches lend the hotel a distinctly contemporary edge. Feeling almost museum-like in places, guests can immerse themselves in a real ode to history from vintage furniture and Soviet-era pendant lamps to much loved reads found in the hotel’s floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

With Café Stamba serving classic local dishes; the relaxed, Instagram-ready Pink Bar mixing up fresh cocktails; its own Chocolaterie & Roastery; and the opening of the striking glass-bottom rooftop pool in 2019, Stamba Tbilisi is as culturally diverse as the locals that have defined its city’s current renaissance.

@stamba.hotel

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Photography, courtesy Stamba Hotel Tbilisi / Design Hotels

Your Guide to Interior Design and Better Sleep

Sleep is often overlooked in favour of those things we do during our conscious hours. We feel that we can’t control it, we desire less of it in the quest for productivity, but that mindset—says sleep scientist Matthew Walker—is killing us. “The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life,” he says in his four-years-in-the-making book Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

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Until recently, scientists hadn’t spent an awful lot of time researching the benefits of sleep, such is our human precondition to ignore the most restorative process our bodies and minds demand. Now, though, scientists like Walker have begun to solve the mystery that caused him to abandon research in dementia more than two decades ago: why do we sleep? Thousands of studies later, we are not asking what sleep is good for—rather whether there are any biological functions not benefited by a good night’s sleep.

“Emerging from this research renaissance is an unequivocal message,” says the professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, “sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day—Mother Nature’s best effort yet at contra-death. Unfortunately, the real evidence that makes clear all of the dangers that befall individuals and societies when sleep becomes short have not been clearly telegraphed to the public. It is the most glaring omission in the contemporary health conversation.”

As a result of the public’s blasé attitude toward sleep, we live in a culture blind to the value of ‘Mother Nature’s best effort yet at contra-death’. Walker believes we are in the midst of a “catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic.” Thanks to this, we’re regularly doing things that are anti-sleep. From reading our phones and tablets in bed—blue light from devices has been proven to interfere with our body’s ability to sync with the circadian clock—to keeping our bedrooms too warm (the body needs to cool in order to sleep), our ignorance to the importance of sleep means we are actively hampering our chances of getting enough.

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Of all the tools we have at our disposal to improve our sleep—meditation; a better routine; darkness to aid the release of melatonin; avoiding alcohol and caffeine; to not stay in bed awake—perhaps one of the most surprising is to look to the pages of interior design magazines for inspiration. Your bedroom decor could play a big role in helping you achieve the sleep goals Matthew Walker thinks you should be hitting to live a longer and healthier life.

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Naturally, for those looking to interior design to aid them in their quest for better sleep, your bed is the first place to start. An expensive investment, most people are sleeping on woefully outdated mattresses. Should we put a price on living longer? First thing’s first: get the right size, being cramped into a small bed can increase your body temperature—look to queen mattress dimensions as a minimum. Don’t skimp, look for a manufacturer of high-quality, hand-crafted mattresses, DreamCloud for example use eight meticulously chosen layers of premium materials in achieving their 15 inches of scientifically optimised sleep-enhancing luxury—from a Cashmere polyester blend cover through to the high density memory foam foundation, each layer is another step closer to the perfect sleep.

Level are another premium mattress brand, their Level Sleep Chiropractic Partner programmemeaning their patented designs are clinically proven to reduce pain and stiffness; 10 years of development, independent clinical trials, and multiple patents deliver what they call ‘the best sleep in your life.’ And it’s not just the mattress, make sure you research the right duvet and pillow for you, whilst frames like Nectar’s queen platform bed with headboard—with super soft button-tufted upholstery—help provide a solid base for your luxury mattress; and importantly add to a sense of security.

With cave-dwelling still in our DNA, a solid headboard flush to the wall and facing the door will rid us from the sense that somebody could enter the room from behind or beside you. The bed frame’s legs allow the floor to flow below the bed, another factor in creating a harmonious feng shui energy.

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Next you’ll want to think about colours and textures. There is a tendency to lean toward simple, often all-white interiors, but the starkness of such design can have a negative impact upon our mood. And in turn our sleep. Think about hues like greens, blues, yellows and warm pinks; all known to foster a relaxing effect, ergo perfect for the interior design of our bedrooms. Textures too are vital—cotton, satin, or linen? What does your skin respond better to? Understanding this and considering which fabrics feel best to your skin can make for a comfier, and therefore better, night’s sleep. You might want to even think about using textured wall-coverings to add a certain cosiness; your bedroom should serve as a cocoon from the stresses of modern life.

As meditation helps declutter the mind, so too must we couple that with the physical. “Physical clutter causes mental clutter, which activates the brain and negatively impacts sleep,” says Dr. Emerson Wickwire, assistant professor of psychiatry and medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “After all, think about it—would you pile dirty clothes or paperwork in your place of worship?” Equally, busy fabrics, wallpaper, or carpet and rugs can contribute to this sense of clutter. Keep it simple.

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Layout and decor improved, another vital component in good sleep health is lighting—whether its the need for black-out curtains to ensure streetlights don’t keep you awake or the sun doesn’t wake you too early, or using lower lighting to create a sleepy space, in an age of darkness deprivation, you need to get lighting right. Think about adding dimmable switches or looking to table and floor lamps or wall lights over spotlights, it’s about creating the right atmosphere—one conducive to good sleep—and ambient lighting is key to keeping your circadian rhythm in tune.

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Oft-overlooked in the world of interiors is the sense of smell. From lavender linen sprays that aid relaxation to scented candles that enhance the atmosphere of your bedroom, adding aroma into the mix is another way to achieve the sense of calm your space needs to help you make the most of ‘Mother Nature’s best effort yet at contra-death’. To that extent, soothing sounds can complete the set of senses—ditch the television, leave the smartphones and tablets out of the room, and reach for the New Age sounds. If you want to keep electrics out of the room altogether, what about opting for the real thing and buying a feng shui fountain?

Bedrooms are your most personal space, a place to take refuge from the real world, overlooking its interior design for the on-show public spaces of your home is another indicator of our predisposition to belittle the benefits of sleep—as the space where we will spend our mind and body’s most important hours, bedroom design should be the most important. After all, it can help us live a longer and more enriched life. Invest in high-quality beds and mattresses, consider the importance of fabrics and textures, opt for the colours that make us feel peaceful, and don’t forget to communicate to your other senses.

Make your sleep space the best it can be, and better sleep will reward you with the countless benefits Matthew Walker extols. Interior design might be a life or death situation.