The other day one of you lovely readers sent me an email asking me to take one of your homes, or a room from your home and give my best decorating advice.
Unfortunately, I forgot to bookmark who said that and then it got lost in a sea of reader emails.
I do try to answer everyone, but if I missed an email you sent, please don’t take it personally. It’s usually because I’m overwhelmed at the moment; it’s not intentional.
But, just the other day, I received an email from Kathy who lives smack dab in the middle of Texas.
Her original email asked for some bedroom decorating ideas.
I wrote her back. And, as anyone knows who’s ever sent in photos for post, I asked for better, larger, photos of all four walls. Oh, and one or two of the rest of the house.
This is because nothing is created in a vacuum. I can’t advise on someone’s bedroom without seeing what else is going on.
However, Kathy sent me back, not only the bedroom, but most of the kitchen and a lot of images of the living room and adjacent areas.
And, you know what?
I was going to do the entire home. In one day.
I ALWAYS do that to myself.
It is EXACTLY like giving birth. You have a baby and you swear you’ll never do that to yourself again. But, then you FORGET. Right? And, you go and get yourself pregnant with another one. But, after the second baby, I remembered.
So, I’m thinking, fine. I’ll make it easy on myself, I’ll just stick with the bedroom decorating ideas, for today.
Nothing is easy.
However, for today, I am going to attempt a virtual bedroom refresh. And, then for Sunday, I am planning on tackling the living room and kitchen. Or maybe just one or the other. I need to get real with myself!
Now, before I begin with the bedroom decorating ideas, please understand that I have created A design. There are millions of other possibilities. But, some of this is based on other things I’ve seen in the house. But, I created this one because of some points I’d like to make.
First, let’s read Kathy’s letter:
I have a dilemma I haven’t seen the answer for on your blog.
We have a 43” W window in the middle of our longest wall in the master bedroom.
This is the only wall we can place our queen bed on.
Do you have any ideas for how to dress this window and the other two on the adjacent wall? Right now I have white 2” vinyl blinds with white IKEA curtains and rods. The walls are white and the bed linens are white, also. I guess I like a lot of white!
I was wondering if bamboo blinds might add some texture and depth to our windows. If so, would I hang them near ceiling height or at the top of the window?
Also, we have a metal headboard I painted dark bronze and gold. I have wondered if an upholstered headboard might look better even though it would block some of the light from the window. If so, what style and what color upholstered headboard would you suggest?
There is a 14” metal frame on our bed for added storage underneath and I’m thinking of getting an 18” metal frame for more storage underneath if it doesn’t make the bed too tall.
Would a bed with a footboard visually appear too large or obtrusive in our small bedroom?
We miss having a footboard on our bed.
BTW, our bedroom is 11’ x 13.5’ in size. If this could be a blog post with some affordable bedroom decorating ideas, that would be so cool!
Okay, first of all. As I told Kathy there is nothing wrong with her bedroom.
However, after looking at Kathy’s living room, I see that her taste has evolved in an appealing way. And, I think that Kathy instinctively knows that the room isn’t quite as good as it could be. But, I should talk!
I’m going to address some of Kathy’s questions and present lots of bedroom decorating ideas.
Let’s begin with the bed in front of the window. I have no problem with the bed in front of the window. But, not this bed. I do feel that the headboard should be solid if in front of a window.
Another option might be to cover up the window. That would be to remove the moulding and sheetrock it up from the inside. This is not a permanent change. The window will still remain and from the outside will not be obvious that it’s been covered over.
Oh, stop looking at me like I just grew three heads!
Designers do this ALL of the time!
What about Kathy’s assertion that even with a solid headboard, the light will be blocked.
Well, even if the window remains, the amount of light blocked is negligible. That is because the sun is in the sky, above the horizon. And, that is above the height of the headboard.
But, IMO, blocking the light is a moot point.
Forgive me for stating the obvious. But, it’s the bedroom. A room that’s usually used for SLEEPING; at night, when it’s dark. I do not see the need for a third window. And, I think the bed will look a lot better in front of a wall.
As for a footboard. I would be careful. This is not a very deep room. We had an 11′ deep bedroom in our apartment in Manhattan. And, I was constantly banging my shins into the frame of the platform bed.
Would I raise the height of the bed frame?
No, I would not. It’s only an eight-foot ceiling and I feel that if the bed were four inches higher, it would be disproportionately tall and in a relatively small bedroom.
I realize that Kathy has some storage needs. Frankly, stuff under the bed tends to get awfully dusty. Fine, if you pull it out every month or so. But, most of us don’t do that.
Let’s talk about lighting for a sec.
There are six lamps and a fan with lights in this small bedroom.
The first change that I think will really help this space is to exchange this fan for a plain white fan. You can find a whole bunch of lovely ceiling fans in all different prices if you click that link.
I also feel that these particular lamps on the night tables are not right for this room. But, it’s fine if others like them. For some cheap, stylish table lamps that don’t look terribly cheap, please check this post out.
But, here’s the change that might come as a surprise to some of you.
As you notice, when you change one thing, it’s like a Pandora’s Box. That means, if you do this, then you’ll have to do something else and then something else and then… And, it just keeps going…
This is why I would never take a client job where they were in the middle of things. You’ll want to shoot yourself if you do.
But, I was thinking about the wardrobe.
And, what would really help is to change out the wall color for something far deeper. We’ll get to that in a sec.
Oh, I know that some of you do see a problem. In fact, it’s in my 333 Hard to Find Rules and Tips Guide [you need to know]
It’s about the wardrobe.
It’s very pretty.
However, it is about 10″ too wide for the space it is in. It’s a big no-no to have furniture overlapping the moulding.
But, there’s also another problem and it ties into the wardrobe, as well.
Even if the wardrobe were smaller, it is a big dark thing between two bright windows.
And, the wall color looks a little gray.
I realize that Kathy took these images on a gray day. But, that is the point. The wall color is not really working in this room.
So, let’s take a look at what I did for the wardrobe wall for this small bedroom refresh.
The walls are Benjamin Moore Boothbay Gray hc 165.
To balance things out even more, I chose a teal velvet curtain in a similar color to the wall. But, it could be a shade or two different.
I changed the area rug. But actually, I think Kathy’s current rug would work just fine with the new scheme.
This is from Pottery Barn. It is possible that this colorway no longer exists. But, this is only to give an idea.
Yes, the wardrobe still overlaps the windows. However, it’s not as noticeable now because the decor is more balanced.
It’s something that we’ll be talking about in the living room as well.
In fact, Kathy’s done something really wonderful in that room that she thinks is a mistake. But, you’ll have to wait to find out what that is.
My favorite piece in the room is this gorgeous pine dresser. I would have only one lamp on here, however. And, I would change the shade to a plain linen shade. Or a black shade would look terrific with the brass.
I think that the dresser will also look fabulous with the Boothbay gray. Or a similar color.
Please remember. I am not in the space. And, truly, it is the ONLY way. Anything else is only a wild guess. Above is Puritan Gray hc 165 which is a little bit deeper.
Just so you know. These colors are not in the Laurel Home Paint and Palette Collection. There are some similar colors, but it’s also good to bring out other colors that were on the original short list..
As you can see, I used Puritan Gray for this wall, but the walls should be the same color. I am only presenting it as an alternative.
Although I used the Harbour Cane Bed in White, I think I might actually prefer the Fulton bed in the Aegean fabric. Please always get samples first.
Both of these beds from Serena and Lily come in a headboard only version, as well.
Of course, I could also be happy with a headboard made to match the velvet curtains.
And, to be clear, if the window is covered, it could work to keep the brass bed. I think Kathy did a great job with the painting. But, I’d update the linens and do a more tailored bed skirt.
Why can’t we do white curtains, Laurel?
Well, you can. :] I love white linen curtains
But, one reason for the teal walls with teal curtains is that it’s a small room. Remember when we were talking about monochromatic and analagous color schemes recently? Well, monochromatic schemes do wonders for small rooms.
When I put a room together, it rarely comes together in one day.
It’s definitely a process. I’ve been known to change my mind; even with clients.
What’s going on with the nightstands?
Above is a chest from Chelsea Textiles in Provence Blue
This is only for inspiration
And, a detail shot.
I think that Kathy could paint her beside chests with some chalk paint and lightly antique them. And, they would be so pretty. It’s a color very close to the wall color. I think this tone-on-tone look will make the room feel more spacious, put together and elegant.
If possible, I would prefer if we could do without the vanity. it’s small and it’s just another wood tone and furniture style. Plus, it’s a little cramped. And, if there’s no vanity, there would definitely be room for a footboard on the bed.
In addition, I feel there are too many mirrors in this room.
Instead, I would put up a wall sconce with some artwork. Of course, if Kathy has to have the vanity, that’s fine.
Okay, I have some other bedroom decorating ideas.
Yes, I plan to address the lack of artifice in terms of mouldings. But, I’ll save that for Sunday.
And, I realize that I haven’t talked about the bed linens. Oh my!
However, if you go over to Serena and Lily, they have such wonderful inspiration for putting your bed linens together.
By the way, I just saw on S&L if you’ve never ordered from them before, they are offering 15% off on your first order.
In addition, there’s a lot of good bedroom inspiration in this post.
And, looking for sophisticated twin bed ideas for grownups? That post has a lot of ideas, as well.
Please note that some of the items in Kathy’s bed room refresh are in the bed and bath widget. So, please check that out, too. Everything on the bed and bath page is currently on sale. It was just updated today.
Okay, I think the main take-away with this post is something I don’t talk about a lot.
Sometimes, though when a room isn’t quite coming together, one of the primary issues might be the wall color. So, step back and change that one thing. (on paper first) And, then see if that makes a difference. Of course, that might not be your thing. That’s when I recommend hiring a designer for a two-hour consult.
I hope you enjoyed some of these bedroom decorating ideas.
For a comprehensive decorating guide, please check out my 333 Hard to Find Rules & Tips, You Need To Know.