Traditional Master Bedroom With Masculine and Feminine Style

A mix of European and American furnishings, layered blues and accents of black and white result in an elegant traditional bedroom that appeals to everyone.
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November 25, 2014

The Finished Space

After a one-week redesign, this master bedroom received a major overhaul with minimal mess and disruption. To lighten and brighten the room, the dingy carpet and padding were both removed in four-foot strips before a whitewashed wood laminate floating floor was installed over the subfloor. The walls were painted a bold shade of teal along with a multi-tone tray ceiling. When originally asked what they wanted their updated bedroom to look like, the homeowners stated, "We want bright and cheery. Even though it's a bedroom, we still want it bright. And graphic."


In its original state, the mint-toned master bedroom was sparsely furnished with feminine elements including a toile-covered chair and a mirrored side table. To reinvent it as a fresh designer space with masculine and feminine appeal, the wall-to-wall carpet was replaced with white laminate flooring; a layering of languid blues introduced a bright gender-neutral palette; and a mix of masculine patterns added a graphic, tailored touch.

Haute Headboard

To create a designer space on a reasonable budget, a mix of high and low was used throughout the redesign. A seven-foot-tall headboard was custom made from 6 yards of a woven fabric picked up at a discount fabric store for $12 per yard. Overall, the bed ensemble is masculine, including a navy blue sateen duvet, pinstripe pillow shams and throw pillows featuring a tone-on-tone geometric print, as well as a traditional zigzag pattern. To balance the height of the headboard, a pair of black French demilune tables (picked up at the outlet of a high-end European furnishings retailer) was used rather than standard nightstands. For proper illumination with vintage flair, the tables were topped with ceramic midcentury modern lamps updated with a sprayed-on coat of semigloss latex paint.

Mixed Bed Patterns

A mix of patterns brings designer flair to the bed ensemble. While layering different prints may seem intimidating, interior designers say the key to getting it right is to achieve the proper mix of scale. To keep the layered look from becoming too busy, use a mix of small-, medium- and large-scale patterns and stick with a cohesive color scheme. By keeping the colors similar yet slightly off from one another, the result is sure to be successful.

Nailed It

The biggest splurge in the master bedroom was the custom upholstered headboard, which grounds the space and keeps the scale and proportion of the main pieces in check. Although the fabric used for its upholstery came to less than $100, the nail head detail was triple that price. The nail heads themselves are not expensive (usually priced by the 1000 unit box), but the labor and time involved to apply them as a custom pattern comes at a high cost. To create the pattern, a template is first made from paper, then laid in place along the upholstery. Referring to the template, a skilled upholstery professional applies each nail head by hand using a rubber mallet, ensuring even placement and perfectly level lines. Altogether, nail head application for a headboard this size may take as much as two full days to complete.

A Colorful Transition

In addition to various shades of teal, navy blue also makes its way around the master bedroom, starting with a wallpaper-covered vestibule that separates the 225-square-foot space from the home's great room. During the initial design consultation, the homeowners stated, "We don't want any abrupt transitions between the common areas and the private rooms. Everything really needs to flow." Since the common areas of the home are navy blue and white, this wallpapered transition ensures good flow. To counterbalance the overall masculine vibe of the entry, a steel Queen Anne chair was placed just inside the door.

Playful Art

For a play on masculine and feminine style at the room's entry, rustic logs were cut to size, sanded, then painted with circles featuring different shades of blue as well as pink, yellow, coral and purple. While the rustic texture of the bark is masculine, the poppy pinks and corals add feminine flair.

Rehabbed Vintage

To keep costs down, many of the master bedroom's furniture pieces were purchased through flea markets and thrift stores, then updated with paint and fabrics. For extra storage and extra seating, an inexpensive vintage dresser was updated with white paint and two slim wingback chairs were reupholstered with men's pinstripe suiting fabric.

High-Gloss Updates

This early 1900s American bow front dresser was bought for $125, then updated with two coats of a sprayed white lacquer finish. That not only modernized the dated piece but also helped the bronze hardware stand out. The key to getting a great finish on an old piece is using a sprayer instead of brushes or rollers. Most home improvement stores rent HVLP (high-volume low-pressure) sprayers at a daily rate between $75 and $100. What sets HVLP sprayers apart from others is a fine mist tip, the key to achieving a professional look.

French Fusion

The master bedroom was lacking in ambient light, so its existing ceiling fan was taken down and replaced with a wood and iron French chandelier. French chandeliers usually evoke a feeling of femininity, but due to its black painted finish, the chandelier used in this master bedroom takes on a more gender-neutral appearance. For modern flair, globe bulbs were used rather than standard flame bulbs.

Wall of Mirrors

From the start, the homeowners stressed how important brightness and an abundance of natural light was for the new look of their master bedroom. For feminine flair, a grouping of different framed mirrors was hung along the interior wall opposite the windows. In addition to reflecting light and helping the room feel more open and airy, the mix of frame finishes adds to the intended well-layered look.

Layered Blues

Layered blues are prominent in the master bedroom's seating area. From the navy blue of the draperies and the teal tone of the console table to the blue-violets and peacock blues of the chair upholstery and pillows, this layering effect adds depth and keeps the otherwise tone-on-tone color scheme from falling flat.

Chair Flair

Bergère chairs are iconic to classic French interiors. Known for their deep, wide seats, loose cushions and padded armrests, bergère chairs continue to remain popular both for stylistic and comfort reasons. For this makeover, to put a fresh spin on a pair of bergère chairs found at an estate sale, their wood frames were stripped, then refinished with black oil paint in a semigloss finish.

Tweed Touches

For a menswear touch, the bergère chairs were reupholstered in peacock-blue tweed. Often used for men's coats and pants, tweed is a classic fabric that can introduce tailored, well-structured style to a room.

Fashionable Fabric

To juxtapose the masculine upholstery of the bergère chairs with a touch of femininity, flame stitch Missoni womenswear fabric was used to create graphic throw pillows. Many interior designers suggest shopping at apparel fabric retailers to save money and add touches of high fashion to a room's decor.

Artful Frames

Another splurge in the design was custom framing for the fine art photography. Black lacquered framing was chosen to coordinate with the black accents of the room, while an inset turquoise fillet — the accent molding that fits inside a larger frame and usually sits on top of the mat — helps highlight the blue tones in the art. Since the room receives ample sunlight, non-glare acrylic was chosen rather than glass to protect the art from UV rays.

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