Glamorous Grown-Up Bedroom

Designer Valerie Ruddy gave this ho-hum space a French ambiance perfect for a young adult who is seeking a space fit for relaxing and hanging out with friends.

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The now college-aged daughter of clients of designer Valerie Ruddy wanted a more sophisticated bedroom for sleeping, studying, and getting together with friends. But coming up with the right palette and mood needed everyone to look around the house for inspiration—as well as across the pond to her beloved France.


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What were the main items on the family’s wish list?

The homeowner wanted to redesign their college-aged daughter's bedroom in a way that reflected her older age and personality. In addition to a more adult look to the sleeping area, she needed an organized study space, too. The homeowner's daughter loves everything having to do with France and wanted us to incorporate that theme. She also asked for a lighter feel to the design with color and also minimal pattern.

What was the single largest challenge you wanted to address for this client?

The color scheme from the previous design was dictated by an area rug in the room. We managed to borrow an area rug with cooler colors from another part of the home to breathe new life into the space. The client's daughter wanted a French ambience so that was introduced with the choice of subtle colors and pattern. The study area didn't work, either. We redesigned the furniture plan in that area to create a visually uncluttered area for her to do her homework. The homeowners initially didn't want to make changes to the furniture layout, but when we moved the pieces for our photo shoot and showed them how well it worked, they questioned why they hadn't done so in the first place!

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

The biggest challenges were to create balance with the strong architectural moldings in the room, make the study area in the bedroom look and function as a cohesive part of the space, and incorporate some of the existing furniture pieces into the new design.

How does the end result match up with your original vision for the space?

Initially, the homeowner wanted to use the same color scheme stemming from the area rug already in the room. Everything we looked at wasn't exciting since they had lived with that color scheme for so long. One day when we were talking in their kitchen I noticed a beautiful area rug in an adjacent seating area. We chose to use that in the bedroom, and the design process took off from there!

What surprised you the most about the project?

I think working on this project, I was reminded to have a stronger voice in my designs. Some clients are able to see an end result, and some will feel initially more comfortable with staying with what they have and just updating in small ways. These clients were a joy to work with, but we would have progressed more quickly with the re-design had I communicated the benefits of changing the color scheme and furniture layout in a different way from the start.

What are the hidden gems in your plan?

We used the homeowners’ glass-front cabinet as a bookcase by removing the glass door and having our faux painter match the gorgeous vanity their daughter had grown up with. You would never know that the cabinet wasn't always designed or picked for the space with the beautiful antiqued white finish and gold details it now has today.

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