Campaign furniture has become such a well‐loved interior element that it's easy to forget its workhorse roots. Developed for field use during military campaigns these pieces – chests tables desks and more – are easy to break down or fold flat so they were convenient to transport as soldiers migrated along with battle lines. Although there's a strong market for antique campaign pieces modern reproductions are just as popular and perhaps none more so than the Italian campaign canopy bed. This shapely style burst into the spotlight some years ago when retail giant Anthropologie debuted its interpretation and launched an instant classic. Unlike traditional British and French campaign furnishings which tend toward heavy woods and decorative flourishes this wrought iron bed has a spare profile that belies its imposing presence in a room. Whether you pile it with fabric and pillows or take the minimalist approach to bedding it mingles well with any decor. It's hard to get this bed style wrong – there's just something about it that defies design blunders. Although draping fabric over the canopy of an Italian campaign bed softens the look its svelte gently sloping lines look especially striking when left bare. Modern and minimalist spaces call for an unadorned canopy but you could take either approach in a more traditional room. This bed showcases the draped look to artful effect and prevents the otherwise spare room from feeling hollow. Imagine this bedroom without the campaign bed. The bed acts as an elegant anchor that adds structure to the space. A white finish lightens up the bed frame making it ideal for a young girl's room.
However as I often remind myself that's no reason to settle for sloppy sleeping quarters. Here's a step‐by‐step guide to a well‐dressed pretty and polished bed. If you've got another great tip share it in the Comments below! Break out the iron. If you're anything like me you'd rather walk through Death Valley at high noon in a parka than put your iron to its intended use. (Full disclosure: The last time I unearthed mine it had cobwebs on it.) But pressed linens are crisp linens so face your nemesis. A standard ironing board is too small to handle sheets with ease – cover an inexpensive folding table or even a large sheet of plywood with heatproof foam or batting to give you more surface area to work with. Don't forget the bed skirt and shams while you're at it. Center and straighten the bedskirt. If your bed style doesn't require a skirt you can skip this step though you may want to invest in a box‐spring cover if your box spring is exposed. Pull the mattress pad smooth. Nothing ruins bedtime comfort faster than a lumpy bottom layer and pads are notorious for bunching in the center of the bed. Tuck the fitted sheet tightly. For optimal fit use an extra‐deep sheet if you have a pillow‐top or an especially tall mattress; otherwise a standard size should work fine. Pull it taut and tuck the edges beneath the mattress. Drape the flat sheet. Now the tricky part begins. Center the flat sheet on the bed with equal overhang on either side. Align the top edge with the top edge of the mattress.
You can find old painted shutters at any salvage shop. Just remember to seal them before using them as a headboard. Unpainted shutters add to the earthy exotic feel of this room. A large framed piece of corkboard does double duty as a bulletin board and as a ... well as a headboard. Hurray for pallets! They are often free (check first before taking) and they make excellent places to hang stuff on as well. Old fireplace mantels are salvage shop treasures that frame a simple upholstered headboard beautifully. In many places earthquakes prevent hanging anything remotely heavy over the bed (lest it fall on someone's head during the next tembler). This fabric art looks like an extension of the plain nearly invisible headboard here and adds a danger‐free way to decorate the wall.
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.
Carving out a soothing space like the one shown here with its white linens simple lighting and book collection will not only provide guests with comfort but the bed placement will give them a bit of privacy – even if bunking with others is required. Even the most narrow spaces can house guests. By placing a bed under the window in this hallway with a lamp table and parson's chair on the opposite wall guests will have everything they need close at hand. If you have a deep closet available in your home office why not tuck a mattress inside? Removing the closet doors and adding pretty bedding that coordinates with the room's decor will make the space feel intentional. Ever since the first Harry Potter book was published the idea of a room under the stairs has been intriguing to both children and adults. Just imagine how happy your littlest houseguests will be when they discover where they'll be sleeping. Creating a sleeping nook with curtains is a great idea if the nook is in an often‐used part of your home. If guests need more privacy they can simply close the drapes. If your home already has a daybed this spot can work for guests too. Dens are great for overnight guests. This windowed pocket door may not provide all of the necessary privacy but the drapery rod and panels are a great quick fix.
With a new school year upon us now is the perfect time to give that teen lair an overhaul – and hopefully eke out a bit of quality bonding time in the process. To make this a successful decorating experience it helps to keep an open mind about your teen's creative direction. Recognize that he or she has good ideas and at the same time set clear limits that work for you (a project budget paint but not wallpaper etc.) for results that will make both of you happy in the end. Start an ideabook and create a floor plan. Gather inspiration images and collect the best in an ideabook on Houzz. Just looking at all the images together should help clarify what your son or daughter wants. Once you have the general style nailed down sketch out ideas for the new floor plan. A taller‐than‐average bedside table can do double duty as a desk – a great space saver in a small room. Also think about adding a focal point over the headboard. A quirky sculpture artwork or a pretty textile are all good choices. Just be sure anything that could fall on the bed is very well secured and not too heavy. Think about color and lighting. Once you know the look you are after it's time to think about paint. Use extra‐large paint swatches or get sample‐size amounts to try out colors directly on the wall before buying enough for the whole room to avoid a misstep. Lighting can instantly make the biggest change in a room so now is also the time to create a lighting plan. Add ambience with café lights strung across the ceiling install a dimmer switch for an overhead fixture and don't forget proper task lighting for the homework area.
This navy and pink room belongs to the youngest daughter – who was 3 at the time. Keim wanted to design a space that would reflect the girl's sweet and energetic personality and fit the style of the rest of the home. Keim and the girl's mother both fell in love with the wallpaper which dictated the rest of the room's style and color palette. The client trusted Keim so she was given a lot of room to experiment. While she played around with color and pattern she carefully choose the furniture so that it would last each girl into her teens and beyond. "I would use those pieces!" she says. The family's 10‐year‐old daughter loves turquoise so Keim chose a complementary shade of peachy‐orange to help it stand out. "As with most jobs I take their favorite color and make it the accent color " says Keim. "It usually pops more that way." A custom headboard grass cloth wall covering patterned pillows and classic lamps add visual texture and depth to the vibrant space. The tree bookcase was especially exciting for the daughter and she also loves the special pencil set on her desk. The vintage chair was reupholstered in scraps from Keim's showroom for an eclectic one‐of‐a‐kind piece. The girls share a large study a playroom and closets outside of the bedrooms so Keim didn't have to integrate a lot of storage or play space into these rooms.
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.