It’s the place where we close our eyes each night and the first room we see each morning. Our bedrooms should be our ultimate private retreat, and our most stylish. Here’s how to achieve the perfect hideaway.
Whatever design style or colour palette you prefer, a bedroom should above all provide a harmonious place to rest your head. From the latest trends in window coverings to the finest linens to fall asleep on, I’ve uncovered the best way to achieve that perfect mood in your bedroom.
AND SO TO SLEEP
The focus of any bedroom is, of course, the bed. Whatever style you choose – metal bedstead to an elaborate carved French surround – comfort is key, after all, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the average person will spend 26 years asleep in their lifetime.
Known for its broad collection of sofas, furniture and home accessories, Italy’s largest furniture house Natuzzi Italia (01322 771442, www.natuzzi.co.uk) has just launched its first ever bedroom collection. It includes soft padded leather surrounds, curvy silhouettes and soft fabric headboards.
Marketing director Irene Zia gives her expertise: “Bedrooms provide the perfect place to inject some personal flair but be cautious of going overboard – a de-cluttered and organised space is essential, as is a furniture arrangement that feels natural. When it comes to the style of bed frame there’s been a developing desire for upholstered frames in contrast to the more traditional metal. In our first ever bedroom collection each of our unique bed styles can all be upholstered in either leather or fabric, there’s a style to suit every interior.”
The French Bedroom Company (01444 415 430, www.frenchbedroomcompany.co.uk), meanwhile, is a wonderful one-stop shop for those after a glamourous, boudoir feel. Upholstered silk beds, velvet ottomans and vintage-style dressing tables all combine to give a feminine, original look.
“A French bed will become the focal point of your bedroom and will look elegant for years to come,” comments Georgia Metcalfe, founder and managing director of The French Bedroom Company. “It goes without saying that finding the perfect bed is the most important consideration when planning a bedroom scheme. Our collections offer endless variations on the French shabby chic theme – from furniture in an antique white Provencal finish to our uber stylish black and silver French beds.”
Offering a modern, clean range of bedsteads and furniture is the new collection called ‘The Bedrooms’ by The Sofa & Chair Company London (0208 993 4415, www.thesofaandchair.co.uk). The collection offers three distinctive interior looks – classic, contemporary and opulent – with each piece hand-crafted in the brand’s west London studio.
Robert James, head of visual merchandising at The Sofa & Chair Company, advises: “Take inspiration from the Pantone colour of the year, Marsala. Its seductive, earthy tone will bring colour and warmth to your bedroom, while its exotic influences tie-in perfectly with brass accents and antique-style furnishings. Branching from fashion to interiors, this versatile shade will be compatible with any interior scheme.”
“Reflect natural light into your bedroom through the use of mirrors or introduce lights with decorative lampshades for an ambient option,” he continues. “The key to creating a serene setting is layering textures. Mixing linens and wools will create a sumptuous feel, while sheer fabrics in neutral shades won’t overpower the room.”
Talking of which, bed linen is an easy yet important way to update a bedroom. Choose soft, seductive sheets and duvet covers in a neutral palette for a classic, elegant look that will last for years or opt for bolder patterns for making a modern-day statement. The new brand Fable (0845 603 0861, www.yourfable.com) from Bedeck, offers luxury bed linen, made from indulgently high thread counts in pared-back tones.
Julie Hall, head of design at Fable comments on the design story of the collection: “Fable designs are hand-painted within our design studio. Taking inspiration from antique textiles and documents, the pattern is exquisitely translated onto the bed and tactile accessories.”
Meanwhile, renowned for its covetable fabrics and unique prints, Harlequin’s (0845 123 6815, www.harlequin.uk.com) Bedding Collection is perfect for those who are after bright florals and zingy tones. Claire Vallis, design director of the Harlequin Group says: “You can recreate the chic boutique hotel experience at home with luxe fabrics and minimalist, sleek designs. Or for a young, cool look, opt for retro repeat designs in modernist colours such as grey and ochre.”
Another major concern when planning a bedroom is making sure you have ample and suitable storage. From wardrobes to bedside chests and dressing tables – there is a lot to consider which is unique to where we rest our heads. From clothes to cosmetics, a bedroom is exceptional in that many of us have a lot of things to hide away – essential for keeping a serene environment.
If budget allows, make the most of your space by commissioning made-to-fit wardrobes, such as those available at Neville Johnson (0161 873 8333, www.nevillejohnson.co.uk), which can be adapted to fit many storage needs. Another practical idea is to choose dual-purpose pieces of furniture – stools and ottomans, for instance, that can open up to pack away linens, clothes or accessories.
The Storage Bed Company (08452 000 128, www.thestoragebed.co.uk) offers a range of beds that lift up to provide easy-to-access storage. David Norman, director, says: “A bedroom should ultimately be a place for relaxation so it’s important to plan in enough storage space when redesigning the room. If all you can see when you walk in is clutter, clothes, and things that need tidying away, it can be hard to relax and switch off. Over the years we have worked hard refining our storage bed designs to provide as much storage space as possible and our Max Storage Bed gives a huge 35cm of storage depth. You’ll be surprised just how much you can store and the space can even be further utilised by using vacuum storage bags.”
For custom, hand-crafted bedroom furniture, Cambridgeshire-based Millside Cabinet Makers (01763 261870, www.millsidecabinetmakers.co.uk) has a wide range of options available. Managing director, Martin Stead, comments: “Your sanctuary from the world, the bedroom is the place where you rest and renew yourself. It is one of the most important rooms in the house and our hand-crafted bedroom furniture can suit all your needs. From creating comfortable and stylish beds to practical storage solutions, our designers work hand in hand with our customers to create bespoke bedrooms. A good point to bear in mind is that the interior layout to wardrobes is just as important as the exterior design. By clever use of internal shelves, hanging rails and shoe racks we can create a world of storage possibilities behind your furniture doors.”
Giving practical solutions the wow-factor is the Team 7 range of furniture at Wharfside (01372 379810, www.wharfside.co.uk). Keith Lewis, at Wharfside, gives some insight into the range: “Our Team 7 furniture is always made from solid wood. That means not just the doors and drawer fronts but more importantly the interiors, too. Our Wharfside planners can help design the perfect bedroom for your personal requirements.”
Also crucial in making a bedroom cosy and comfortable are those ‘secondary’ elements, such as window treatments, flooring and lighting.
To perfectly fit your windows and to match a colour scheme, hand-made curtains and blinds, such as those available at Cambridgeshire’s Star Curtains (01638 578700, www.starcurtains.co.uk) are the best option. Owner Lisa Carter discusses the latest trends: “Finishing touches, such as curtains and blinds, give a bedroom that polished look. Relaxed, vintage styles are still very popular with a lot of elegant French-inspired linen in muted colours being used in bedrooms. But we are also seeing more people making bold, cheerful colour choices, like the new collection from Clarke & Clarke.”
Also based in Cambridge, is Alexander’s Blinds (01480 300348, alexandersblinds.co.uk). Robert Alexander, managing director, reveals that wood venetian blinds are among the most popular choices at the moment. “From rollers to romans, blinds are a practical and stylish choice for dressing a window and can be a stunning bedroom feature in themselves,” he says. “They work well in smaller rooms as they don’t take up space and are not fussy. For larger rooms, we like to add in statement curtains to give a touch of grandeur.”
For a modern take on window coverings, frosted window film, like that available at The Window Film Company (01494 794 477, www.windowfilm.co.uk) can give a unique twist to how to achieve privacy in a room, without blocking out the light. “Decorative frosted designs will not only become an attractive focal point to the room but can also complement the choice of design theme,” says Micky Calcott, director at The Window Film Company. “As well as the full height option, consider creating an artificial mid rail by installing film halfway up your windows. This allows you to retain the all important element of privacy but keep the option of admiring the view from your windows.”
Shutters are also a popular choice, with an increasing amount of styles and colours now available. “As shutters have grown in popularity, we’ve definitely seen more people chose bolder shades,” says Mark Carter, director at Shutterly Fabulous (0800 9700 800, www.shutterlyfabulous.com). “When shutters first appeared, there was a perception that they had to be white but there’s no reason why you need to limit your colour palette to such neutral shades. We’re also working on a new vertical slat design with Kelly Hoppen. The designs look striking and give a new twist to the traditional look.”
When it comes to flooring, carpet is the most popular choice – soft and warm underfoot. Textures and patterns are back in vogue, such as the polka dot designs at heritage-brand Brintons (0800 505 055, www.brintons.co.uk) and classic stripes at Kersaint Cobb (01675 430 430, www.kersaintcobb.co.uk). For sisal, coir and seagrass carpets, visit The Carpet Mill in Cambridge (01223 316866, www.thecarpetmill.co.uk), which stocks a wide range of styles. Sumptuous rugs, such as the Flamingo Clouds and Indigo Mountain designs by Wendy Morrison at John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com) are beautifully whimsical and ideal for creating a touch of luxury, essential if you have wooden floors.
Vital for providing a peaceful and ambient mood is making sure the lighting is just right. Overhead chandeliers can give the wow-factor but it’s also a good idea to have bedside lamps with easy-to-reach switches. Karen Wallis-Smith at lighting specialist Fritz Fryer (01989 567 416, www.fritzfryer.co.uk) gives her expertise: “It’s important to have multiple layers of light in a bedroom with the principle source being dimmable in order to set the right mood. I also love task lighting located either side of the bed with controls for all of the lights located by the entrance to the room and from either side of the bed, as you would find in a well-designed hotel room.”
ALL THE LITTLE THINGS
“Designers who concentrate on the mood and orientation of the room will achieve a more harmonious result,” says Sally Chamley, founder of Black Orchid Interiors (0844 854 2794, www.blackorchidinteriors.co.uk). “A bedroom should take into consideration the positioning of windows and what light the room attracts at different stages of the day, for example shutters will work great in a bedroom that has large windows and is full of light, but not in a room that is on the darker side of the house, where lighter curtains are preferable. The colour scheme should be calm and well balanced with the bed linen and upholstery co-ordinating. It’s important to pick out similar tones in the paint colour or wallpaper. Have your paint colour-matched to your choice of upholstery. Bedrooms should be comfortable and calming.”
While a serene mood is desirable, that’s not to say a bedroom should be boring. Make sure it reflects your personality by adding in a few bold design decisions. Consider unusual wall treatments – such as quirky wall tiling. Bert & May (020 3673 4264, www.bertandmay.com) stocks beautiful small-scale, handmade and reclaimed tiles that can adapt to a bedroom. Dramatic wallpaper – think geometric and jungle prints at The Graduate Collection (0845 872 4919, www.thegraduatecollection.co.uk) – can also give instant impact. Normally overlooked, even bog-standard radiators can be swapped for designer models, such as the vibrant coloured glass and flat versions at The Radiator Centre (01727 840344, www.theradiatorcentre.com).
Any scheme can also be accentuated by adding in colourful cushions, soft bedcovers and tactile throws. Home Sense at the Beehive Centre in Cambridge (01223 462457, www.homesense.com) is a treasure trove of discounted homewares and one-off pieces.
Finally, choose your overall colour scheme wisely and you’ll set just the right mood for the perfect retreat. Josephine Rance, marketing director at Farrow and Ball (01223 367771, www.farrow-ball.com) agrees:
“Using blues in bedrooms is always very popular, especially soft and soothing shades like Green Blue, Pavilion Blue and Lulworth Blue. These are perfect if you’re looking to create a calming environment where you can retreat to relax. If your bedroom is very dark, don’t try to fight nature by painting it in a light shade in an effort to try and make it appear bigger as it probably won’t work. However, by taking a counterintuitive approach, by using a strong colour like Railings, Hague Blue or Pelt, you will be able to create real drama or intimacy. After all, we spend a lot of time in our bedrooms and therefore it’s important that you love being there.”