Leave your shoes at the door. Now that your bedroom is clutter‐free and clean it's time to commit to keeping it that way. Start a no‐shoes policy – in your whole house if you can but at least in the bedroom. Place a table or basket outside your bedroom door to remind you to drop work materials cell phones and other gadgets before entering your new zone of calm. Create an organic bed. If you are in need of a new mattress (and can afford to spring for it) by all means go for one of the wonderful organic versions on the market today. But if not that doesn't mean you can't green up your bed. Try topping your mattress with a natural mattress pad and adding organic pillows and sheets. Organic goods are so mainstream now they can be found at all price points. Consider the walls and floors. While it does take more effort than any of the previous steps addressing your walls and floors is an important part of creating a more ecofriendly bedroom. If you are looking to change the wall color seek out paint containing low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If you have old peeling paint that may contain lead use caution and seek professional guidance for the best way to cover it. For the floor I recommend choosing hard flooring over wall‐to‐wall carpeting which is notoriously difficult to clean and tends to contain VOCs. If you already have wall‐to‐wall carpeting in place you can choose to have it removed or simply cover much of it with a natural fiber area rug. Choose the right color palette for your needs.
I never had a headboard until I made my own. A few years ago I followed Real Simple's step‐by‐step instructions (reproduced here) and in one day created my very own custom‐made special‐to‐me piece of furniture (or is it an accessory?) using a staple gun some cut‐to‐order plywood foam batting and a fabric scrap I picked up at my favorite upholstery shop. If I were more patient I could have added upholstery nails for added glam. A headboard can really make the room. It's like a piece of jewelry for your bed and depending on what you do with it it can also be a piece of art. All you need to make a grid of small covered panels is plywood a staple gun some batting and some good picture hangers. Her spectacular homemade headboard shows that choosing the right fabric makes all the difference. This was made in much the same way I made mine (plywood staple gun foam batting and that stunning fabric) but with a fancier cut on the plywood. If that seems daunting just keep in mind that this would look amazing as a big rectangle too. Here's her very helpful how‐to. A trifold room screen – minus one panel – set on its side and painted. Voilà. An ornate wooden room screen makes a perfect exotic headboard. A salvaged garden trellis give this pale room its shabby chic cherry on top. As with anything that has peeling paint spray a piece like this with a sealant to keep potentially toxic flakes at bay before using it in your bedroom. This is a freight elevator door turned on its side (notice the "Danger" stencil). Consider going muted and simple on the headboard and a little wild on the wall. Here what's behind the headboard is just as important as the headboard itself.
A classic serpentine chest of drawers holds a crystal lamp a small sculpture and fresh flowers. Also included here is a small piece of art in dreamy bedroom colors. Art does not have to be hung on a wall. Leaning small artworks against the wall provides a layered look. A step table is a great option beside a bed because it allows layers of surface area. A lamp books art water and fresh flowers all fit on this versatile piece. Notice how the color of the step table adds to the room's palette. A petite tray table with a small drawer has just enough space for a colorful lamp fresh flowers and a small jewelry box. Boxes of any style are great for holding earrings and necklaces taken off just before bed. This homemade bedside table consists of vintage suitcases on blocks. It's a creative and visual win for this room. Notice that the suitcases are on the low side allowing for an adjustable lamp and a full view of the window. All the bedside basics fit onto a tray that provides a flat surface. Consider a wall‐mounted table for the tiniest of spaces. There's just enough room for an adjustable lamp art and an alarm clock. A beautiful white chest of drawers holds a lamp in the center a plant to the left and an alarm clock. Notice the federal‐style mirror to the side of the lamp creating a layered bedside vignette.
The diva isn't interested in the ordinary. She wants a bedroom that makes a statement as loud and clear as she does herself. Her eye is honed for unusual finds like a fabulous antique headboard and a classic Louis chair stamped with a face and splashed in lime green. An eclectic space gets her creative juices flowing. Creating an impact is second nature to the diva. A room almost entirely in hot pink? The diva does not hesitate to approve a bold color scheme. In fact why would she stop at the walls? The diva never goes halfway – she ensures that the ceiling is in on the act too. A diva knows that a room in all black exudes edgy drama so you'd better believe she is all for it. The diva knows the talents and ways of the past can teach her multitudes so she is no stranger to antiques. She mixes them in accordingly proud of her one‐of‐a‐kind finds.The diva travels all over the world so she is not about to have a bedroom without an incredible view. If she's a superdiva she likely has several of these bedrooms with a view in all sorts of spectacular places.
An assortment of books. One of the most enjoyable pastimes when visiting someone else's home is rummaging through their book collection. Whether you have a full wall of shelving or a slender cabinet or case stock it with a variety of reading material that appeals to all tastes: mysteries bestsellers nonfiction short stories and more. Don't forget to add bedside lamps or reading lights as well as a cushy spot in which to curl up. A folding luggage stand. This hotel‐inspired touch saves guests from having to squat all the way to the floor to rifle through their suitcases. Stash it in the closet when you're not expecting company or leave it open as a design detail. Here it takes the place of a bench at the foot of the bed. Piles of pillows. Some like them flat some like them fluffy. Some prefer down while others sneeze at the mere thought. Keep an assortment of pillows on hand to satisfy guests' individual tastes. And while you're at it invest in a couple of good blankets (one light one heavy) and the best bed linens you can afford. Hooks and hangers. Unlike you your guests don't have a designated spot in your home to tuck away purses and hang car keys. Make it easy for them by mounting hooks and wall racks (might we suggest the Eames Hang‐It‐All?). And make sure that there are plenty of coat hangers in a closet or an armoire.
I love the inventive way a screen has been used here. It's a hugely flexible item too; if bought cheaply in poor condition it can be creatively re‐covered in wallpaper or fabric. The brass bed often appeared in Victorian bedrooms. If you like the design but the finish feels a little too traditional then get out your paintbrush. White makes for a soft and romantic aesthetic or go for a bold and contrasting color choice to get a more eclectic look. Bedside tables were seldom matching as this was not the era of uniform bedroom sets. Try using one plain table covered with a tablecloth or lace and an antique table or old military chest for the other side. Traditional Victorian bedrooms also had a washstand – a free‐standing piece of furniture with a marble top a bowl and a water pitcher. Put a washstand to good use in your en suite. They can even be converted to hold modern plumbing. Fixtures and fittings in a Victorian bedroom would have been much the same as in the rest of the house including architectural moldings and a fireplace of course. Many houses have had fireplaces taken out or blocked off but the recesses make for great storage and the mantel is ideal for a mirror. While open fires can be messy in a bedroom consider a gas alternative for a convenient and clean flame. Pure indulgence and in true Victorian style the perfect spot for an armchair. Finally don't be a slave to your Victorian bedroom. You can keep all the traditional features and throw in some glamour and contemporary pieces for a gorgeous eclectic look. I'm sure Jane Eyre would approve.
Since the Victorian era what we need in the bedroom has changed very little. We need essentially the same pieces – bed bedside tables clothes storage. And we like essentially the same aesthetic – comfortable peaceful even luxurious. Indeed we may still find the fabrics and wallpapers of that period attractive. Victorian staples such as freestanding wardrobes marble‐topped washstands and folding screens can be reinvented for modern bedrooms while still retaining the Victorian feel. Keep reading to learn how to turn a Victorian bedroom into a personal space you'll love spending time in. It's worth noting that Victorian ladies in their country houses often spent the entire morning in bed reading and writing letters. I'm not sure I'd get away with that but if I did I would want the finest linen and lace to surround me – just like them. Besides the bed the wardrobe would undoubtedly be the largest piece of furniture in a Victorian bedroom. The most popular versions had a mirror in the center cupboard and double‐width storage on either side. Traditionally wardrobes were made of dark varnished wood – a rather large and somber feature for today's tastes. But you can often pick one up cheaply and achieve great effects by stripping and painting it. Although not always a four‐poster (even though they were popular) Victorian beds often had draperies made from light fabric with matching curtains on the windows. Matching draperies and window dressing adorn this French‐inspired room without the four‐poster bed. Note the screen in the corner – these were hugely popular in Victorian bedrooms. Traditionally used to hide unsightly items (or maybe for the lady to dress behind) the screen today serves as a wonderful way to change the contours of the room.
However if you live in a predominantly hot climate you might want to scale back on the warm hues and use them as accents against cooler neutrals. If you live someplace that tends to be cloudy cool and rainy for long periods at a time (I'm looking at you Seattle!) then layering several warm hues in different shades tints and tones will give you a cozy sanctuary that you might never want to leave. Red being a warm color is often paired with other warm hues. Shake it up by mixing it with cool neutrals instead as demonstrated in this modern and elegant bedroom. It's a great way to inject red into your bedroom without making the space too energetic. Pink gray and black make an unexpected and striking combination here. This super‐stylish bedroom would be perfect in a warmer climate as the cool neutrals help chill out the pinks. This rendering of a stylish bedroom features a daring shade of orange. Using the hue sparingly inside the headboard niche draws the eye toward the beautiful bed wall. Because everything else is neutral the orange glows without overwhelming. You don't always have to go with wood‐tone or neutral furniture. The orange shelf at the foot of the bed brightens up this otherwise neutral room. With orange yellow and green (analogous colors on the color wheel) in the bedding the effect is colorful yet balanced. When I bought my first fixer‐upper many years ago I took great care to pick the perfect shade of red to paint all four walls in my dining room.