A Beautiful Day…

A beautiful day in NY to draw back the curtains, open the windows, and enjoy a nice breeze and the warm sun. From my book ‘The Soul of a House’, photograph by Nancy E. HillSoul of a House - Bedroom Window

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Creating the Ideal Bedroom

Our bedroom, as featured in 'The Soul of a House'., photographed by Nancy E. Hill

Our bedroom, as featured in ‘The Soul of a House’., photographed by Nancy E. Hill

I was recently talking with my great friend, designer & writer Rose Gilbert. We were discussing my thoughts on how to really create the ideal bedroom where the main focus is on relaxing and, of course, sleeping. Sometimes this can be a challenge!

For so many of us, our bedrooms have become places of multiple tasks – not just sleeping, but late evening or early morning work emails and phone calls, daily exercise routines, even catching up on our favorite TV shows. But the main focus when designing or decorating a bedroom is to be able to “turn off” from our daily routine and just relax.

I’ve found that a good way to do this is to divide a bedroom into “zones”, no matter the size of the room. Have a space to do your office work, a space to exercise, a space to watch TV, and then space to put it all away so all these things that can prevent us from relaxation are not constantly in sight. Small exercise equipment, such as weights or yoga mats, can be stored in an armoire, or even in a pretty basket, near where you do your morning exercises. Some cardio equipment can even be condensed and stored in a closet or under a bed, brought out when you need.

For the office work that never seems to end, keep your phone and your ipad in your night table drawer when it’s time to just rejuvenate so you’re not constantly bombarded by those pesky ‘dings’ and vibrations as e-mails come in. If you need to have a desk in your master bedroom, consider a make-shift one that fits in a closet as I once did. We had no space in the bedroom itself, Luckily I had a double-door closet, so I took 2 filing cabinets to use as a ‘base’ on either side so I would have room for my knees and chair and placed a sturdy piece of wood above them. I then covered that piece of wood with black and white pictures of my family, and then in turn covered that with a piece of glass. Voila – instant desk that was out of the way when I didn’t need to work at it.

Most of us like to watch the news or our favorite shows at night – but I don’t like to have the TV in our bedroom constantly visible. In the past, I’ve outfitted an armoire to serve as a home for our flat-screen – easily accessible when Kevin and I want to watch “Homeland” but easy to conceal when it’s time to sleep.

Once you have those distractions put away, focus on what will relax you. Maybe it’s a stack of your favorite books on your night table, or your favorite music softly playing on an ipod or clock-radio. When I’m trying to create a relaxing atmosphere, I think of the 5 senses – sight, sound, taste, touch & smell.

  • Sight – Paint your room in a color that speaks to you. For many bedrooms, a good place to start is off-white or a spa green or robin’s egg blue. I know a lot of people like bright and bold colors generally (myself included!) but those jewel tones aren’t ideal for a bedroom. Consider painting your closet or the hallway into the bedroom in a different vibrant color if you want!
  • Sound – Whether you’re using the latest tech or just a CD player (as I often do) there’s nothing more relaxing than hearing your favorite music playing in your bedroom sanctuary. If music doesn’t relax you, a white-noise machine might be the perfect way to soothe your ears.
  • Taste – An armoire could be a perfect place to also hide a mini-fridge – filled with bottles of water or maybe a snack or two. Maybe even find space for a bowl of mints to have on hand as a quick pick-me-up!
  • Touch – Soft bed linens are so important. Crawling into bed should be like being on a cloud, I feel. The higher the thread count of your linens the softer they should be, so 300+ is ideal. No need to have a ton of sets – two sets is a good amount to have, so there’s always one cleaned and ready to be switched!
  • Smell – burning a favorite candle or a well-placed bowl of potpourri can be a mood lifter and relaxer. Fresh flowers also provide a great aroma and you can incorporate them even on a budget – orchids are ubiquitous and long-lasting if cared for properly, so there’s no need to always buy something new (faux flowers can also look incredibly real at times and can provide a great visual!)

These are my ideas, but when you’re creating your bedroom you have to keep yourself in mind. Think of your favorite way to relax and incorporate it into your room – you’ll find that it makes a world of difference.

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