Designing Bedrooms

- Friday, June 27, 2008

“Mmmmmm. What were they thinking?” I muttered to myself as Tammy, my realtor, lead me to the master bedroom of a condo I was considering for purchase last year.

We had already toured the foyer, guest bedroom and bath, kitchen and marvelous great room of the furnished villa. I liked it. Bright, open spaces were complemented by a splendid marsh view. I knew I would eventually paint and replace some furniture, but overall it was certainly “do-able” as a weekend retreat for my family, my friends and, of course, me to enjoy.

My excitement did diminish as soon as my eyes focused on the contents of the master bedroom. A makeshift king size headboard created from two very spindly twin headboards poorly fastened together, mismatched pseudo-colonial furnishings combined with a somewhat tired and dated golf-motif décor gave me pause. Prominently featured was a wallpaper boarder of knicker-clad men putting. “I’m not sure I can sleep in here!” I blurted. “Tammy, don’t get me wrong, I like golf. However, this is not really the personal retreat I had envisioned."

Tammy laughed. “Well, it was on the rental market, besides I’m sure you have some connections and will transform it into whatever you want it to be.”

Time flies, and as I recalled that conversation it made me think about a subject for this column. Why do we always seem to concentrate on designing and decorating the rooms where we entertain guests more than we think about our own bedroom? What a shame. After all, the reward of a carefully designed bedroom that reflects our aesthetic and contributes to our serenity is too important to neglect.  If this is selfish, so be it!

First, consider what you want. Restful? Warm? Romantic? Do you want a bright space when you awaken or a darker space to fall asleep? Then, think about the opportunities you see to make it happen in the space you have. Cozy is great.  Over crowded isn’t. Combining appropriately scaled furnishings with the other decorative elements of the room including fabrics, wall color, lighting, window treatment, and art will ensure a pleasing environment for this most special place.

Tammy called me this week to say hello and see how I was enjoying the condo on the anniversary of the closing. “I bet you have made a few changes,” she said. “Do you still have that border in the bedroom? I know you were particularly fond of that!”

“It was one of the first things to go,” I replied.

The room now sports a cool shade of tropical teal paint on three walls with a natural-toned, linen texture wall covering on the wall behind the bed. The wimpy, makeshift headboard is gone. In its place an ivory, padded leather one of proper scale (perfect for resting against while reading) and the mismatched bed-side tables have been replaced with a gorgeous antique trunk on one side and rattan nesting tables on the other. The faded, plaid comforter has been laid to rest and now an off-white, diamond-quilted, coverlet dresses the bed with piles of blue and green pillows in silks and linen fabrics. The room makes me immediately feel calm and relaxed.

The condo is coming along and I am happy with all the spaces. The great room is comfortable and inviting, the dining room has a touch of drama and the kitchen is nicely updated. However, I must confess that my bedroom trumps all the other spaces. While I am still living with the dresser that came with the place, it works well. My bedroom has become my peaceful getaway when my friends and family visit as well as when I’m there all by myself.

Bedrooms are our private sanctuaries. Spaces where we begin our days and retreat to for rest and relaxation. Bedrooms should provide comfort and calm from our fast-paced lives -- a special, tranquil place to unwind and dream. Does yours? If not, make it so. Sometimes it’s okay to be a little selfish. 

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