How to Take (Decorative) Risks in the Bedroom

The personal sanctuary may be the best place in your home to make ambitious design decisions.

By Darren Davis August 23, 2017 Published in the September 2017 issue of Seattle Met

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Kitchen. Den. Bathroom. These are the rooms in which homeowners think to invest first when it’s time to upgrade. Bedrooms tend to be an afterthought. Why prioritize a place so few people will see, right? Yet the privacy of a bedroom makes it the best location to try out decorative decisions you’d be too chicken to attempt in a more visible space. Here, two design mavens show you how. 

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Left: Michelle Dirkse, Interior designer, michelledirkse.com; Right: Lesley Petty, window treatment specialist, lesleypetty.com

Window Shop

Deciding on window coverings can be as simple as finding a fabric you love. “Wool is magnificent,” says Petty. “It hangs so beautifully,” it can be sheer or heavy and comes in all sorts of patterns. Pick a wilder-than-normal swath and use it to help establish the room’s larger color scheme.

Better Bedtime

Don’t hide your bed frame. Turn it into the room’s centerpiece, perhaps a metal canopy for something minimal but dynamic. Woven, leather, and upholstered options flaunt a bit of personality where there would typically stand wood. Or find a unique pattern and paper the wall behind the headboard with it to create visual interest, says Dirkse.

Mix and Match Surfaces

Say no to bedroom sets. This is the place to experiment with different surfaces. But there should always be two nightstands for symmetry, says Dirkse. Even if you sleep alone most of the time. And yes, this means you should never put your bed in a corner, which “implies that the room is too small.”

Pillow Talk

While Dirkse thinks bedding should remain neutral, try layering pillows and blankets to create contrasts and textures. Plus “throw pillows can pack a punch but you don’t have to be married to them,” adds Petty. Swap out seasonally or when your mood changes. These accent items are also a great opportunity to play off curtains and other window treatments. 

Make Your Money Move

You don’t need a major bedroom remodel to spruce things up. “It might just be new paint,” says Dirkse. And most other decorative investments can move from home to home. So throw down some money on a statement art piece (one is enough, best to keep the walls uncluttered) without worrying how it will fit into your home’s larger motif.

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