A few years back I was hired by a newly recruited hedge fund manager to help design his fabulous NYC loft after receiving his first commission.
As I do with all new clients, I did my initial walkthrough to find he had completely furnished his space top to bottom, less his bedroom. When I questioned him as to why the bedroom was comprised of a mattress on the floor, and a stack of books as a makeshift nightstand. While the rest of the loft, admittedly needed work but was furnished, his answer shocked me…
“No-one sees my bedroom expect me.”
Gents, your bedroom is your personal oasis. It’s the one room in your home that should create a sense of solace and comfort. It’s design should rejuvenate you each day anew, and should be a space to decompress, relax and enjoy with your special someone.
It’s truly an extension of you, your personal aesthetic, your Swagger. But fear not guys, help has arrived!
1. A Mattress on the Floor, Does Not a Bed Make
Your bed is arguably the most important piece of furniture in your bedroom. It can affect your life and wellbeing in more ways than you might realize. Poor sleep habits can not only affect your performance at work, but, can affect your health, relationships and overall wellbeing. Researching the type of bed and mattress system, that best suits you is a process that you should take seriously.
Most mattress retailers will try and up-sell you on a mattress/box spring combo. The challenge with a boxspring, is however, that you are limited to the style of bed frame you can purchase, often leaving savvy design out of the equation. My suggestion? A slat system bed frame. Now, it is integral to know that many mattress companies will tell you that a slat system will nullify the warranty you have on your chosen mattress. Why? The grooves between the slats are often wide enough that the mattress begins to sag between. Designer Trick? Plywood cut to size, across or in lieu of the slats creates an even surface, unimpeded by grooves, thus adhering to to the manufacturers requirements while allowing you to have the bed frame that works best in your space.
2. Speaking of the Frame…..
This is your opportunity to make your bed, your bedroom’s focal point, shine. As the frame itself is merely a place the ever important mattress lays on, have some fun with this. Simple style might direct you to a wood frame and slatted headboard, while a more enveloping hotel elegance might require a fabric headboard and rails.
My one callout to consider would be the size of your bedroom. A fully upholstered bed frame will feel much heavier, visually, than a streamlined wood frame. Scale and proportion play a key role here. A bed frame that is proportionally too big for a bedroom can ruin even the most well planned bedroom designs.
3. Does your bedroom have no Integrity?
Design Integrity that is. Have you ever wondered why many municipalities have laws regarding changing the facades of historical buildings? To insure that any changes that are done keep the architectural integrity of the building, meaning, the way in which the building was intended to look at the time of its erection. If you live in a colonial masterpiece whose kept its original period flare in the French Quarter of New Orleans, your bedroom design should keep the integrity of the building itself. Your inspiration should be drawn from all the best the French design period has to offer, while if it’s a hard loft in New York’s meatpacking district, your bedroom should embody the industrial feel of the a retro-fit.
Veering off from the architectural integrity of your home, when designing its interiors can create a disconnected and disjointed space.
4. Color Me Bad?
Color in any space is of course a personal choice. But, choosing a color palette for your bedroom has a physiological component that you should not ignore. Certain colors are calming to the human eye, while others invigorate and energize. In short, certain colors for a bedroom are bad. Keeping themes, overall design concepts etc in mind (which colors work better with traditional design vs contemporary or modern design), you’ve ever been to a spa, yoga clinic or wellness centre, you might notice the choices they’ve used in their treatment rooms. Screaming reds, blinding yellows or saturated oranges are great for other areas of the home, not the bedroom.
Blues, Greys, Browns, Greens and various pastels are my top choice for bedrooms. If you’re more of the bold adventurous type consider a rich navy or stunning sage. Little less adventurous? A silvery blue grey is a fabulous backdrop to your newly designed oasis. Bedroom color is key to being well rested, so, I’d recommend taking the time to research color theory as it refers to sleeping patterns and bedroom colors.
5. Furniture and Layout
While your bed is likely the most prominent piece in your bedroom, today’s design savvy gent uses his bedroom for often more than just sleeping. It can double as an office, reading area, workout space etc. If your bedroom is in fact a multi-functional space, I suggest drawing out a dimensioned floor plan. Planning is key guys, to avoid purchases of items that won’t fit or work in our space. Don’t let oversized furniture cramp your Swagger.
Design for bedrooms has also seen a complete revamp of style. It used to be very much on trend to buy full bedroom suites which included matching bed, bureau, dresser, nights stands etc. That idea has thankfully been tossed into the trash bin of design, hopefully, never to reappear.
Instead, we are far more eclectic when it comes to bedroom decor, which in my opinion is truly exciting as eclectic design affords us the opportunity to be much more creative, which if not done correctly can begin to look messy. So, guys, the one tip I suggest when attempting eclectic design on a bedroom, especially if its multi purpose? All pieces should have a common denominator, weather colorway, finish, scale, or material, by which creating the cohesive element of a well designed space.
Design 101 will teach you that every well designed space should be layered, otherwise it falls flat. Layers come in many forms in a bedroom, from floor coverings to art, to furniture and of course to accessories.
Now listen up guys, as I cannot address this enough! There is a fine line between a well accessorized room and a hoarders paradise. When choosing your accessories, always choose the most obvious ones first. Bedding, art, lighting and rugs. Those will dictate the rest.
Art is a personal choice, but, with that, keep in mind what I said about color above. Like color, art can and does ensue emotion. Consider a calming landscape, photography of your favourite destination or an abstract based on your bedroom’s color story and most surprisingly to many? Keep family photos out! Nothing stirs up more emotion than family and whether the memories are positive or your reminded of a fight with a sibling or reminiscent of a family member who has passed, while decompressing as you’re about to drift off into sleep is not the time to fill your mind with sleep depriving thoughts.
7. Window treatments: if you can see out your window, others can see in!
Window treatments are the key to privacy as well as much needed light transfer, but sadly, bedroom window treatments are often an afterthought.
There are a few things to consider when shopping for your window coverings;
A. Curtains vs. blinds
B. Amount of light transfer
The debate between curtain vs blinds is as old as history itself — ok maybe not that old.
Curtains have been covering windows for centuries which is why many consider them a traditional look. But, it’s not the curtain itself that is traditional, its the way the gathering or fold at the top is sewn that can take it from uber traditional to fabulously contemporary. A French pleat gives the curtain a traditional look while a ripple fold creates a more contemporary one. With endless fabric options, the line between traditional and contemporary have been blurred.
Blinds on the other hand, were seen as a “poor man’s” window covering for many years as they were often made from synthetic materials, required less labour to manufacture, and less material was used.
It was the in the last decade when industrial retrofit homes were becoming more and more popular that the design community began to see the benefits of blinds as an alternative for more modern spaces. Blinds tend to be more minimalist, depending on the material easier to clean and care for and can be more cost effective.
Light transfer refers to the the amount of that enters the room when the curtain/blind is closed. With fabric, light transfer is dependant on the the tightness of the weave in the fabric. If black out is required, curtains can be lined with a blackout material. Synthetic material blinds generally come with percentage options for light transfer, (3%, 5%, !0% etc) which makes the choice a lot easier and certainly more accurate.
A bedroom is your personal refuge. Your personal oasis. Your place of solace. It should be a place that comforts you. Never again should it be an afterthought to your home’s design. With the tips I’ve provided you above, its guaranteed to shine like the star it should be. Have a question, or any suggested design topics for future posts? Tweet me at @ShaiDeLuca.