Have you ever thought about the fact that we spend nearly a third of our lives in our bedrooms? We invest in a quality mattress so why is this often the last room we choose to design?
I’ve noticed when clients do request a redesign of their bedroom, it’s usually prompted by travel. They stay at some of the nicest hotels in the world, but when they come home it’s apparent their everyday bedroom experience is less than ideal.
When it comes to your primary bedroom, think about what tone you want the room to have. Typically our clients set the design plan in motion with their requests, whether for a spa-like room, a romantic retreat or, in rare cases, a room with a lot of energy. Knowing what feel you want the room to have will help give you a baseline to anchor your decisions.
We all look for those great moments when we stay at a hotel, and the truth is you can create all those at home. With just a little bit of effort, every day can be a vacation—I’d call that a worthwhile investment!
Now, let’s get started…
The Focal Point
The first question is, “where does the bed go?” A good rule of thumb is that the bed should be placed on the largest wall and ideally the wall opposite the entry to the room. Often those aren’t the same, so you may have to choose which option is best for your space.
The best way to make a room feel special is by painting or accenting the wall behind the bed. Recently we fully upholstered a wall behind a client’s bed. She really wanted a wood headboard, but also liked the softness and texture that an upholstered headboard brings to the room. Bedrooms frequently will have an upholstered headboard against a panel wall, but in this case we did the reverse. Whether it’s wallpaper, paint or something more elaborate, creating a feature wall will help set the tone for your bed and your bedroom. This also may be a good place to introduce a subtle accent color such as navy or blush.
Walls of Art
An easy way to make the room feel pulled together is by adding art to the room. This could be as simple as posters you have printed or a collage of pieces that you may have collected. Generally, I do not put photographs of people in bedrooms—they can bring good memories to mind, but they can also bring up sad memories and in a space where we want to feel relaxed sometimes it is best to keep the feeling as neutral as possible. Besides that, who wants to be watched while they are sleeping?
Let There Be Light
To tackle lighting, you first need to determine if a ceiling fan is a must-have item. Most men want a ceiling fan, but if you can get away with a floor fan or one of those sleek Dyson fans, do so as it will allow you better lighting options. Most ceiling fan lights are simply down-lights, which won’t bring as much ambiance as a beautiful chandelier.
If you absolutely must have a ceiling fan, be sure to provide a lamp for each side of your bed (keep in mind they don’t have to match) and if you have a spot across the room for another lamp (floor or table top), do it. Three lamps is not too much. Having that soft light will be crucial to the room’s feel.
Finally, don’t underestimate mirrors. In the bedroom where we did the fully upholstered wall behind the bed, that room only had natural light on one end of the room, so we used mirrors to bring in more light. Sure, mirrors help make a room seem larger, but I also was taught that mirrors act as windows. You should always look at mirrors as where you could add a window in a room.
Bedside tables can be anything from a bachelor’s chest to a round table you put a cover on (a trend from the ‘80s that is making a comeback!) and, once again, they do not have to match. Dressers can be varied as well. You don’t have to use a typical chest of drawers—it can be a sideboard or a large piece of furniture, ideally positioned across from the bed. Consider storing off-season clothing here—this can free up valuable closet space so you can keep your clothing in one location and simply rotate seasonal items. If you have the space, it’s nice to add some sort of seating to set things down when you walk in or just enjoy a quiet spot in the house to relax.
Explore Your senses
For me, nothing is more exciting than to be in a home, and walk into a room that looks good and smells good, where the lighting is great and the textures are wonderful.
One of the ultimate luxuries when it comes to bedrooms is always a quality set of sheets. Peacock Alley is a staff and personal favorite and can be found locally at The Dolphin in Utica Square. While this may not necessarily help your room look pulled together, you will certainly feel the difference. Think about different layers and materials, such as velvets and sateens, for each season. This will not only help keep you comfortable, but the different textures will add visual interest to the room. If you want to use patterns, remember less is more!
One of the senses that does pull a room together, however, is smell. Bedrooms can have a stale scent, but there are a lot of simple solutions for this problem. Sheet sprays (spritz these on your sheets when you make your bed in the morning, otherwise the scent can be overpowering as you’re trying to sleep) and room diffusers take care of this problem and more as you can customize them with sleep-aiding essential oils.
If you have hardwood floors adding a rug is the best way to warm up the space and help with noise control. If you have a king size bed, you’ll need a 9×12 rug to go across that width. Then again, some people really prefer to have two smaller rugs on either side just where you step in and out of bed—a trend now revitalized by the modern farmhouse look—and that works, too
Last but not least, window treatments will add texture and help with sound, but most importantly they will help with light control. The absolute best way to block out or filter light to your desired level is with draperies. I recommend layers. Start with shades and then add drapes for the highest level of control.