Dream of Sweet DreamsThe home as refuge takes on even greater meaning when it comes to the bedroom, the ultimate escape for the world-weary. Once behind closed doors, the world goes poof! and troubles are laid to rest. That's if you've created a bedroom design that truly soothes your soul. Here, five steps for creating a setting for restful slumber.
Think about what makes you happiest, what colors or styles produce the greatest peace of mind. Dream big. What have you always, always, always wanted? This is your great chance to do something wild, something smashing, something totally off the wall. Identify that, and you can figure out what furnishings, arrangement and environment will deliver your perfect space. And the good thing about the bedroom is that it’s private — because you can close the door between it and your public spaces, it really is OK to go with the style you want, even if it doesn’t match the rest of the house. Of course, you can marry your bedroom style with the rest of the home, if that is your cup of tea. This relaxing bedroom, designed by Sue Adams, is part of a beautiful traditional home. Photograph by Sam Gray.
F is for FunctionTo combine objects to create a pleasing whole, you have to first inventory the basics. That's easy enough: You need a bed for comfortable, healthy sleep. You need nightstands that are reachable from the bedside (the correct distance is about four to eight inches) and are the right height. If you must have a TV in your bedroom, you need a beautiful place to house (and hide) it. And you need a logical safe traffic flow so you don't go bump in the night. Designer Joyce Bradshaw combined function and style in this elegant bedroom. Photograph by Bob Narod.
The Right LightBut don't forget the ambiance! Remember, there is a tad of romance to this whole thing (we hope). Strategically placed canister lights that shine up from the floor and other ambient light sources can add a lot of attitude. And having several light choices allows you to create a wide variety of lighting effects at different times, making the room versatile for your many needs. A yellow glass lamp gives this sophisticated guest bedroom, designed by Shelly Riehl David, a bit of panache and great mood lighting. Photograph by Roy Quesada.
Color It BeautifulIf you want splash and dash in your master bedroom tour de force, choose a complementary motif with colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. In either case, here's an important tip: The easiest way to colorize a room is to select the largest pattern in the space first and then pull colors from that pattern. This bedroom, designed by Lori Dennis, follows the 60-30-10 rule of successful color. The main color palette (the 60) is the pleasing neutral on the walls and window treatments. The splash of burnt orange on the organic bedcovers adds a pleasing bright spot (30), and the accents in a darker hue add the contrasting 10 percent.
Go for the GestaltFor example, when looking at a quarter moon, our minds finish the circle. Same thing applies when decorating. If you choose a curvilinear form for the bedroom furniture — say sexy, sinuous French — complete the "circle" with roundish motifs for the linen fabric and window treatments. Look! It's a pleasing whole! Designer Simon Temprell did just that in his vaguely French bedroom in shades of apricot and coffee. The soft curves of the headboard are repeated in the bench and chaise as well as in the flowing window treatments. Continue your marrying of like forms with like forms in the bedroom, and you'll create a wonderful, pleasing space.
Mark McCauley, ASID, is the author of Color Therapy at Home (Rockport Publishers) and Interior Design for Idiots (Great Quotations Publishing Company). He is senior designer at Darleen's Interiors in Naperville, Ill.