If you’ve seen that image on Instagram, you've been deceived. This shot looks so peaceful and calm. You'd probably guess this is a completed room. But it's not. In fact, we've not really done anything in this room. We plopped down existing furniture, replaced our old headboard, and called it a day. We don't even have a duvet cover on the bed! IT. IS TIME. This is Priority Number One for our next “finish this house” project.
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How To Decorate a Boring Suburban Bedroom
Step One - Choose Your Colors
You can see that we really need to add some personality to this room. It's actually quite a lovely space, underneath the boring suburban bedroom vibes. It's got the best light in the whole house and the ceilings are to die for. Right now, it's just.. meh. I want to add some life, a little color, and some sophistication. Like this bedroom, from Randi Garrett Design (whose blog is just amazing, by the way).
I love how the color subtly enhances the neutrals, without feeling abrasive. I thought, at some point, that I hated pastels. But I think I'm starting to fall back in love with those airier shades of color. I'm also really leaning towards a cornflower or French blue with a warmer, peachier accent color. Like this inspiration from Rita Chan Interiors.
I genuinely love an upholstered headboard, especially in a light linen color. Christine loves blue. This could actually be exactly what this room needs. With this inspiration in mind, I originally set off to design a bedroom that feels feminine but not too fussy. Relaxing but not boring.
Honestly, that's probably too much pink/peach for Christine's taste. Which is fine because I'm not looking to totally steal someone else's design. I just want to get a similar vibe. So I already have most of the furniture we need. It just requires some alterations and a little accessorizing to spice it up.
That's our dresser. It's big and sturdy and has survived (mostly survived) a million moves. Unfortunately, it's also boring. So I need to figure out how to make it feel more updated. Maybe new drawer pulls? I'm not throwing it away because it's from Pottery Barn and Mama don't spend money like that on pieces she's going to toss in a decade. Christine would never agree to painting it. So I guess new hardware it is!
These may be simple but their 16” size will make a massive impact when added to a dresser or cabinet door. Since we have such a limited laundry space, I love the idea of using them to hang our dedicate clothing to air dry too!
We also have these amazing matching bedside tables which are vintage and have a delightful inlay wood pattern. I plan to paint them and build a new base for them because they're a little too low for our giant ADJUSTABLE bed and World's Most Comfortable mattress. It took all last Summer to find a good bed. We finally landed on this adjustable base with massage and basically everything you could ever ask for in a base found here. Then we ordered and subsequently returned, I swear I'm not joking, FOUR MATTRESSES. We just couldn't find the right one for us. Those "buy online" mattresses just didn't work for us. And we have a whole horror story about Loom & Leaf that I won't even get into. We'd given up and were sleeping out our 165 day trial on the worst mattress ever when we stayed at The Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando. The first morning we woke there, my back didn't hurt. Christine's back didn't hurt. And we'd both slept comfortably through the night without waking in actual sweats. So immediately, I ripped the sheets off the bed and googled the mattress. We ended up ordering the exact same one they have at the resorts and it's the best decision I've ever made. You can find it here. So after all that, we're definitely not giving up the bed to accommodate a nightstand.
Also on our "keep" list is this gorgeous headboard I received for Christmas from Christine last year. That's right. I got a headboard for Christmas because of course I did. It's my dream. I'd wanted one for the longest time. After the bed debacle, Christine felt it was finally time to let me have the bed of my design dreams and I love it. You can find it here. So really, we just need a new rug, curtains, bedding, and decor. Our sheets stay too because they're the best sheets I've ever owned but they've been discontinued so we have to wear them out.
This is how my bedroom looks on an average day. It's not terrible. But you can see how it might not induce the feelings of a sanctuary for me. Plus, where the designer in this room? It's like the hairdresser with the terrible hair. Have I already used that comparison before? Well, it's true. I would be ashamed for my clients to see how I live. (Hey, guys!)
While that rug reads French Blue in this photo, it's definitely a teal in person. I'm not married to it. I'm actually kind of apathetic to it in general. If I get to the point of apathy, it's probably time to let it go. I am very passionate and excitable. Apathy is a bad thing for me.
With this idea and palette in mind, I set out to find everything on our “must have” list;
New paint color
Bedside tables paint color
Quilt / throw
Artwork - over bed
Artwork - between windows?
Bench - foot of bed
Hardware - dresser
Hardware - bedside tables
Then I casually mentioned it to Christine and she noted that our next home (which hopefully we’ll be buying sometime in May) will likely have a totally different feel. We want it that way. I never decorate the same home twice. She mentioned that it would be a complete waste of money to buy a ton of furnishings for our bedroom that we won’t reuse and can’t sell with the house.
Okay, she has a point.
So now I’m basically back to Square One but I do have a good idea of a color way I want to use that can translate to the next space AND would appeal to Christine’s neutral-loving ways.
The inspiration, as usual, came from a piece of art. This art, from Atlanta artist Christina Kwan:
I love that it’s full of expression and passion and moodiness but still feels tender and there are moments of calm all wrapped up in it. This is exactly how I want my bedroom to feel.
Here are the pieces I’m eyeing to compliment this gorgeous palette (and Christina’s powerful work):
CLICK IMAGES TO SHOP
Every bedroom requires wall sconces, in my opinion, and these are my personal favorite. I love how they engage both our feminine and masculine sensibilities. Plus it's not often you find pieces that nod at nature but maintain real high-end appeal!
Paint is so 2007. I absolutely love wallpaper for accenting a space. If it’s a high-end designer look you’re after, choosing a good wallpaper and applying it minimally, is the biggest bang you’ll achieve for your buck.
I’m still undecided about whether I want to go with an inexpensive printed paper, a mid-level grasscloth (like my foyer), or this printed grasscloth which is blowing my freaking mind. Either way you slice it, I’m definitely installing wallpaper behind my headboard.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I have a type. This chair is nearly identical to the one I currently have only its completely different. This chair is substantial enough for a good cozy afternoon but its modern lines don’t overwhelm the space. I also love how the nailhead shines off the fabric. It’s the perfect juxtaposition to achieve exactly the layered look all well-designed rooms require.
The more textiles you add to a space, the more layered it appears. I like to extend the look of a bed by adding a bench at the footboard. This one knocks my socks off with its fully upholstered base. The lack of tufting on the top keeps it fresh and unfussy. It’s the perfect transitional accent.
I like a bed that’s layered with different textures and colors. Adding all this extra stuff can make it feel busy. So I tread lightly with a very basic duvet cover as the foundation. The one thing I won’t hold back on? Natural materials like linen and cotton are an absolute must for my bed!
Quilts are wonderful accent pieces that will also keep your bed cozy. Adding prints is unnecessary when you can find diamond and basket weave patterns like these. The impact is layered and textural but it won't confuse the eye with contrast.
Velvet is the ultimate in luxurious fabrics. While many people consider this textile for a dining room, I'm all about pulling this softness into a bedroom. The added benefit is that the thickness is extra sound-deafening which is perfect for achieving a peaceful slumber.
People often mistakenly assume throw pillows are purely decorative objects but I disagree. Any object that touches your body should bring you comfort. I like to keep even my "decorative" textiles natural and soft. Especially in my bedroom.
I tell my clients the same thing about rugs: Buy the best material you can afford in the size you require for your room. Don't skimp on size. Always aim for silk. THIS SILK RUG IS UNDER $1,000 FOR A 9X12! I need it like yesterday.
So I feel like I have a good idea of the direction I’m headed. I’m going to take the week to put together a concept and I’ll get back to you guys. What do you think? Are you Team ALL THE BLUE or do you think we can move forward with a neutral palette?
YOU’VE GOT QUESTIONS + I’VE GOT ANSWERS.
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