On a trip through a rural part of Oregon, a friend and I stopped at a small motel. It looked clean and modern and since we were exhausted from hiking, we weren’t feeling picky. The only room available was on the second floor. As I climbed out of our rental car, my friend raced up the stairs, eager to shower and sleep. When I reached the bottom of the stairway, my friend walked out of the room onto the walkway. Her face was contorted with laughter. When I asked what was so funny, all I got in response was a wave of a hand, pointing back to the room.
All it took was one look to see what the laughter was about. The room was carpeted. And when I say carpeted, I’m not just talking about the floor. The walls were carpeted floor to ceiling. The front and sides of the bathroom sink was carpeted. The inside of the front door was carpeted. The ceiling, mercifully, was not.
As tired as we were, we got little sleep that night. We lay in our respective beds laughing. As bad as this sounds, it was actually worse. All the carpeting – and yes, the bathroom was carpeted too, was a hideous shade of brown. Except for the inside of the door; that was laid with a different carpeting, presumably so you could find your way out in the dark. And boy, could you find your way to that door. The carpeting on the inside of the door was red paisley.
It’s safe to say that none of us would dream of decorating our own bedrooms this way. But really how restful are our bedrooms. Even if we clear out the stacks of paper or the piles of books, would our bedrooms be a haven from the craziness of the rest of our day.
The best bedrooms are not just clear of clutter; they’re comforting and calming. Bold jewel tones may work well in the living room and dining room where everyone wants to be wide awake, but soothing colors work better in rooms where the goal is rest. You don’t have to stick with boring white either. Soft lavenders, light greens with either a warm yellow or gentle blue undertone work well. Gentle yellows and peaceful blues can offer you comfort at night.
For those who think decorating is overwhelming, here’s a way to make it simple. Pick one thing you’d really like to have in your bedroom. Maybe it’s a terrific comforter you found at a home store. Or a piece of art or photograph that makes you relax just gazing at it. Then pull a color from that one piece. A photograph of a sailboat can give you a theme. Select a blue paint for the walls, a comforter and sheets that coordinate; a soft yellow perhaps. While other rooms in your home may look great with bold contrasts, stripes and plaids and prints, the bedroom is the place where you pick one. If the comforter is a print, select solids for the pillows. If the room looks too busy, it’s not conducive to rest. And don’t skimp on pillows; there is nothing cozier than flopping down on a bed of cushy pillows.
Laying in bed, is there something restful to look at? I’m not talking about television although some of us feel it’s the height of luxury to lay in bed and watch TV before we drift off to sleep. That sailboat can give you a sense of calm, and so can a landscape or floral photo. If wall space is limited, a single photo or piece of art on a wall may be enough. Or you can pick out two or three small pieces and hang them in an arrangement. If the idea of arranging photos seems daunting, here’s an easy way to figure out what looks good without pounding a dozen holes in your wall. Put the art work on the floor and move the pieces around until you are pleased with the arrangement.
If time and money are tight, remember that you don’t have to put an entire bedroom, or any room, together in one day. Once you have your first piece, you can slowly decorate the room, leaving finishing touches like art, photography, and accent rugs for last. Of course, if your first piece is the art, so much the better. Take it with you to the paint store and choose a wall color. Remember, it’s just paint. If you hate it, you can always change it. You’ll be so amazed at how much better a color looks, you may never go back to white walls again. When the bedroom is painted, start adding pieces. Remember you want to avoid clutter so less is better. When you have just enough – stop