The late, great Interior Decorator Stuart Rattle was reported to have said that every design scheme he did started and ended with the Bedroom as it was "The first place you see and the last". I am also of the mindset that it is the most important room in a house, as it's also the most private room. Generally visitors don't see a bedroom, so it can be a true expression of all that you like and hold dear. It can be a fantasy get away, a sanctuary and a haven. But many people leave this as the last room that they decorate, perhaps because you are not held accountable in the same way that you are with an undecorated living area. With other financial priorities, such as purchasing furniture and decorating a room for children pushed to the forefront, I have seen some fairly depressing bedrooms in my time.
my bedroom - bay window
I have been interested in Interior Design for a very long time, and have always noticed details. I can clearly remember being invited to a school friend's house when I was 12. She had a beautifully decorated pink bedroom with wallpaper, matching curtains, coordinated furniture - all very girly and frilly (it was the 80's). The main living rooms in the house were also highly decorated with coordinating sofas, lamps, pictures on the walls etc. I can clearly remember the shock of then walking into her parent's bedroom with her for some reason or another, and finding that the room was undecorated. It was such a contrast to the rest of the house. The ensemble mattress was pushed up against the wall without a bedhead. The bedside tables were unattractive, small and perfunctory without lamps, there were white walls and no pictures. Bedding was mismatched. Two years later her parent's divorced. If ever there was evidence that there was little effort going into maintaining their relationship, it was in the decor of the bedroom which was clearly considered the most unimportant space in their house - everything else came first.
So with that said, there are things that I believe should never be in a bedroom. They include:
- Paperwork, computers and other office related things
- Exercise equipment, especially large treadmills and weights
- The furniture you don't want to have in the publicly viewable parts of your home
- Clutter and junk
You will never see these things in Interior Design magazines, so the best way to make your bedroom resemble one found in a magazine, or like you'd find in a boutique hotel, is to banish these things from your own space.
I'd also suggest that colour schemes should be restful - you can certainly use red or yellow in a room, but balance it out with neutral or cooler colours. A room that is predominantly red or yellow is not a restful space. Televisions should ideally be banished, but if you do have one, try to hide it somewhere, as black screens are voids.
Bedside tables should be a generous size - as Stuart Rattle said in an interview with The Sunday Age it should be "big enough to hold "a lamp, a radio or clock, a glass and water jug, a cup of tea, a glass of whisky and a stack of books. There it is, my whole life sitting next to me."" I like mine to have a drawer so that you can hide a notepad and pen, lip balm and any other bits and pieces you want next to you, but I don't think that they have to match, either. For a very long time I had a skirted bedside table on my side of the bed, and Mr AV had a small Georgian side table (now our hall table) on his side. The thing they had in common was that they had matching lamps, and were both a generous size. Small chests of drawers can make excellent bedside tables.
Making the bed as the focal point of the room is obvious - an ensemble mattress, no matter how artfully placed or bohemian dishevelled it may be when styled in a magazine does not scream comfort or luxury - you want something that is visually inviting for rest. I'm very fond of upholstered bedheads, having one in my own bedroom, but a decadent four poster bed, or canopy are also wonderful. As it is a bedroom you can go a little crazy with fabric - don't play it safe, choose something that you really love, and it will always feel special to you. As you only use a few metres for a bedhead, if you'd prefer not to spend the money on curtains this is a way of using a beautiful fabric in a more cost effective yet impactful way.
I love the sweep of curtains in a bedroom to both block out the outside world at night, and to give a luxurious element to the room - fabrics will always do that. Again, I don't think that doing cream curtains or blinds is the best way to go. The cost is the same for cream curtains as it is for patterned curtains, but the patterned curtains will have a much bigger impact on a decorative scheme.
And it goes without saying that a quality mattress and bedlinen are imperative. I always like to make my bed look comfortable - that means large European pillows, and two other standard pillows behind them. Don't get caught up on thread count with your linen either. This has become something that is being used as a marketing tool. It is definitely quality over quantity - Target 1000 thread count bed linen is not in fact equal to Frette or Sheridan 400 thread count bedlinen in the comfort stakes. Buy the best you can afford, but don't be afraid to go down in thread count between brands as it is not an indication of the quality of the cotton.
If you have space an armchair, or pair, or a sofa are also good - somewhere to hide away from the world with a book, or to chat with your significant other at the end of the day. Lighting your room with lamps is also a way to make it feel cosy. I rarely put the overhead lighting on - the room is lit by bedside table lamps and a lamp on the Secretaire in the corner.
I do plan to post pictures of our bedroom at some stage - it is still mentally 'unfinished' for me (proper lamps!). It was a room that I planned a long time ago when we still lived in Melbourne, and was decorated exactly as it is in the photos above for us to move into. While other rooms in the house were more transitional or unfinished prior to building the extension, I wanted a sanctuary from family life and renovations, so it was important to have this done when we moved in. I have to say that the fabric choice is reasonably bold, but nearly 4 years later is not something that either of us are tired of, and that is the key - choose something that you love and that suits you, and you'll always feel good when you're in your space.
More beautiful bedroom pictures on my Pinterest Bedroom board
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