I have a father who thinks he is a comedian. For years he has said, “I’m so good at sleeping I can do it with my eyes closed.” Whoever is around usually laughs even if they have heard it a thousand times because that’s just the way Pops is .. comfortable in his own skin with malice towards no one, a twinkle in his blue eyes. The older he gets (he’s 81 now), the more he likes to have a good sleep. He and Mom have the most comfortable bed in town, I must say!
Anyway, every time I sell a bed at Curate Consignments (and I’m selling more beds than sofas these days!), I bring a newly consigned frame in from the warehouse and set it up. As I was sitting on the floor putting together our latest twin antique beds the other day, I got to thinking about good material for another blog post. What do people want to know about good design? What could I help someone with that would make them happy they were home at the end of a day? Bingo! How to create a homey, comfy, cozy bedroom where the furniture is placed correctly, there is enough storage, and where the bed is a place that feels like a welcoming retreat at the end of a long day, a little nest where sleeping comes easy when eyes close.
Let’s begin with the most important thing: how much furniture is enough and how much is too much? Well, you need a bed frame, either a headboard, a headboard and footboard (plus side rails), and the best mattress and box springs you can afford. Then a dresser that is in scale with your room. Those two are the basics and they would suit the smallest bedroom. The larger you go, you can add a nightstand or two (never matching) and if you don’t have room for nightstands, install wall sconces that are within easy reach for switching off when going to sleep. If there is room, add an easy chair to put on socks or to read a book. You never want to have too much furniture – it kills the comfort part of the equation and looks chaotic even if the pieces are pretty.
Remember that good design is always best revealed in the details: paints, wallpapers, fabrics, lighting, pillows, draperies/window coverings, flooring. Before we get into those things, let’s cover your basic bedding. A soft nest needs a down mattress covered by a good mattress pad. Sheets should be the highest thread count you can afford, but look for the sample to feel or ask to open the package before you buy. Good sheets will last ten years and are a good investment. Same with pillows – down fill are the best, but if you are comfortable with fiber fill, go for it.
Symmetry with lamps and mirrors on either side of the bed bring balance and a feeling of stability (this is if you have room for two mismatched nightstands or a nightstand and small table). A mirror placed behind a lamp magnifies the glow of the room at night. You can also have a collection of smaller framed artwork or botanicals behind that lamp, but place the lamp nearest the bed with the artwork to the right of the lamp so the collection isn’t hidden.
Be sure to layer textures through wallpaper, drapery fabrics and bedding. For a room belonging to a couple, mix woven fabrics or plaids (for him), and softer fabrics in companion colors for her. Wallpapered “accent” walls are making a statement these days and grasscloths are classy as well. Draperies can be ready-made or custom, but always be sure when purchasing draperies from a store that they are not flimsy or gauzy! Heavy, lined draperies look expensive (velvets, lined linens, lined duck, etc.). I have used JC Penney linen weave (lined) grommeted draperies in various homes and they hang and wear well. Use substantial-looking drapery hardware as well. Small hardware looks, well, small – and cheap.
Floor coverings .. wouldn’t everyone like to have hardwood flooring!? If you have carpeting, it’s nice to layer a large (8” x 10” or so) seagrass area rug or a pretty old Oriental over to create another layer of texture. But if you like your carpeting and it’s clean and free of stains, nothing wrong with not adding an area rug.
How about wall color? I have used Pratt & Lambert Lambswool in so many homes you can’t believe it. Second to that is Winslow Gray by P&L. Both of these colors are great backdrops for grays and creams and browns. Any white is my choice now and I love the look of gray or black woodwork and trim, but your fabrics need to then be pretty muted with colors coming in by way of accessories (pillows, throws, etc.).
There’s so much more, but I hope this helps a little. If you are local and need help at all, please stop by the store and chat. I love talking design! If you are not local, send me a message through the contact page!