Bugged about Bedrooms?
PUBLISHED: 14:08 26 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:49 20 February 2013
In this March issue we address a few simple rules that will make the best use of your bedroom space
Bugged about Bedrooms?
A few simple rules for making the best use of available bedroom space
There may or may not be a credible basis to Feng Shui, but even if the placement of furniture has no observable disruption to the flow of 'chi' in a room, there are certain practical considerations that do. However, there is always a need to balance practicality with aesthetics. Don't be slavish about good design rules but adapt them to personal circumstances - after all, we don't all live in show houses or have perfect lives.
Despite the fact that we spend most of our time in a bedroom unconscious, a stylish dcor will have a soothing effect on the psyche so it makes absolute sense to spend as much time and effort on this room as on the rest of the house. Bedrooms are very private spaces, so the field is pretty much wide open to personalise the dcor to suit the individual who will be using it.
The master bedroom
This is where a personal sense of style can predominate. Other rooms may try to be all things to all people, but the dcor of the master bedroom is an opportunity to really express the personal preferences of the homemaker. But keep it simple. Less is always more in dcor terms but it needs to be both comfortable and welcoming at the same time. Throws and plenty of cushions on the bed should see to that. Choose appropriate storage so that clothing and clutter can be kept out of sight; floor-to-ceiling storage will hide a multitude of sins, and a mirrored front will help create the impression of space.
Whereas in the past entering the nursery was like entering a completely baby-centred universe, with bunny and teddy motifs and plenty of pastel colours, today's parents are just as likely to design the space like a smaller version of the main bedroom, with the cot and a mobile or two among the few concessions to its tiny occupant. Bear in mind that the baby stage is very short-lived, and unless you want to be continually buying new items as the child grows, it's best to choose pieces that can adapt.
Ensure cupboard storage has sufficient hanging height to allow for increasingly long clothes. A table-height chest of drawers will serve initially as a changing table and for nappy storage, and a plushly comfortable rocker will be a sanity saver for when your child finally falls asleep in your arms; the chair can be moved to elsewhere in the house later on.
The growing child
For the most part, children love bright colours, and a child's bedroom is the place to give free reign to the decorative imagination. Let them have a hand in the design; it's their space, and they'll be spending lots of time in there with their friends.
A child's room will also serve as a playroom and as a place for friends to crash out during sleepovers, so space for computers, working surfaces for doing homework at, and plenty of floor space for sleeping bags or inflatable mattresses for the occasional guest are essential. Cabin beds are really useful both for storage and sleeping, but by the time your child reaches his teens, he'll probably consider it hopelessly naff and be happier with a mattress on the floor.
Storage is essential in a child's room whatever their age, but design it to make it easy to use: a hammock for cuddly toys; pull-out boxes with handles for under the bed; pocketed canvas hanging storage to go behind the door for odds and ends. A blanket-sized toy chest is useful to get them all out of sight at the end of the day, and if you encourage children from an early stage to keep their floor clear, it's a habit that may, just possibly, last into teenager-hood. By this time, however, their room will probably have become some sort of inner sanctum, completely off limits to adults.
The guest bedroom
If you're lucky enough to have space for a guest bedroom, a sense of welcome and comfort is key. Choose a decorative theme and carry it through in much the same way as you would for your own bedroom.
A lot will depend on who your frequent guests are. If your visitors come as couples, a good-sized double bed is worth the investment, and don't skimp on the bedding - good quality sheets, pillow cases, duvet and towels will make your guests feel important. If it's the grandchildren who are going to be the most frequent visitors, then stacking single beds are ideal.
Don't forget to provide space to hang or fold clothes, a bedside chest with reading lamp, a vanity mirror and an alarm clock.
If there is no room for a guest room, consider a comfortable sofa bed and create plenty of storage space to hide away the clutter. ?
Single or double? If double, make it the biggest you can find room for, or consider twin beds if one partner is a restless sleeper.
Tidy up: It's tempting, particularly for children, to let clothes stay where they drop. Don't let them! It takes little effort to put them away and a tidy room always looks more inviting.
Sort out the wardrobe: You may be dissuaded from hanging things up because the wardrobe is too cluttered, but we all keep far more clothes than we actually wear. Sort it! There'll be more room in the wardrobe, clothes will hang better, and you may not need to iron so much.
Make it inviting: Even a bedroom needs to have a pleasing symmetry. Avoid clutter at all costs because above all a bedroom needs to be calm and serene.
Make it subtle: Subdued lighting is always conducive to peace of mind and that is never more important than in a bedroom. Have a variety of lighting, including some form of reading light for both partners so that one can read without disturbing the other.
TV or no TV? TV or computers in the bedroom go against all the conventions of peace and tranquillity but it's all a matter of taste. Sleep therapists might have a thing or two to say about that, though, but if you must have a small screen in the bedroom, hide it away until required.
Power points: Ensure there are enough power points in appropriate locations to operate bedside lights, hair-dryers and other electrical items.
En-suite: If at all possible make the main bedroom en-suite, especially in a large household. At the least provide a vanity basin.
Free access: As far as possible make sure that furniture does not obstruct opening doors or drawers.
Carpets or not? Whereas there is a big trend for laminate flooring, consider carpets or well-placed rugs in the bedroom - a dropped alarm clock on a laminate floor will wake up the entire household - if not next door!