“All of man’s problems could be solved if he could just learn to sit alone in a room with himself for an hour.” – Pascal (1623-1662)
Why bother with finally decluttering the place you sleep in? Most bedrooms I’ve seen, including mine, are contaminated with clothes, the worn ones making sure the clean ones will be in for a proper washing as well if you only wait long enough, an ab ball running flat, resistance bands and a dusty treadmill, the first flatscreen you ever owned but also the one that gave up functioning in the Middle Ages, storage boxes with god-knows-what and piles of classic novels that are on your to-read-but-probably-will-just-sit-there list. You’ll want to redo you bedroom for different reasons, the first one being the quote above.
Whether you agree or disagree with this philosophy, I for myself know that I’m in need of a place designed to relax, free of clutter and other distractions. My mind keeps on racing in all kinds of directions, spewing ideas and coaxing me into taking on projects (such as this blog) which often end up unfinished (hopefully not this blog) because there’s of course another new massively interesting project with all kinds of benefits in the pipeline that’s screaming to be carried out. Half an hour in the bedroom can -sometimes- empty my mind and make me realise I’d better just focus on the first project. Or on relaxing just for this once because I can’t even remember the first unfinished thing I started. Was it putting up the ribba ledge to hang my clothes? Creating a series of paintings to match the living room’s green theme? Installing light fixtures in the bathroom after two years of near darkness in the shower? Clearing out that one room that is starting to look like a hoarder’s cluttered nest? Painting the walls around the new windows instead of covering them up with curtains? Turning the alclove in the living room into a cosy reading corner with beautiful wallpaper and matching cushions? Painting dinosaurs yellow to decorate the WC?
Quieting my mind is not the same as solving ‘all of man’s problems’, but it would be a great step in the right direction. Also, I’m the type that finds it hard to take breaks from the daily rush. Most often I take them when it’s too late to replenish my mental and physical energy. Luckily, ever since I’ve had that quiet fountain of energy in the house (doesn’t sound that quiet, I know) I’ve been more prone to take those necessary breaks. As Bryant McGill’s quote goes: “Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax.”
At first we didn’t even have a bedroom as I’d decided to use that room as my often-used office instead. For two years our bed had been a steady feature in the living room and I of course started longing for a peaceful room. Listening to action heroes save the world is not a recipe for a good night’s sleep, especially when you can’t always tell apart dream from reality. Also, having to walk on tiptoe every morning when you’re exactly at the peak of your enthusiasm is not an easy task at all.
During the three months leading up to the move to our own, proper bedroom, I flipped through design magazines, watched endless TV shows on the subject and collected ideas on Pinterest. I drooled over pristine white walls, wooden furniture and colourful accents in duvet covers and accessories and realised I had found the concept I’d go for.
I would not be sidetracked by interesting creative concepts such as upcycled book headboards and dust collecting string lights. Neither would I be lured into picking a warm colour for the walls and curtains. Only the duvet cover and the accessories are to determine which colour palette is added to the wood flooring and the really white RAL 9010 walls. This allows the room to change constantly, diminishing the chances I will grow tired of it, and it gives me a lot of freedom when I’m shopping for lovely things like pillows and rugs.
The room itself looked old fashioned before the makeover, but I had fallen in love with the wooden floorboards that run through the whole house as well as the abundance of light. The floor itself has a bit of an orange glow to it due to the varnish that slowly changes colour, which suits the wooden bedframe we have.
The previous curtains only covered the window, whereas the new ones are almost where they are supposed to be. Curtains that cover ceiling to floor lift the ceiling and make your space look bigger, an effect Emily Henderson for instance blogs about. The rail in this room should be about 20 cm higher, but I don’t think the difference is worth the hassle.
So I painted the awful yellow walls white, emptied the room (yes, in that silly order), put the bed in there, put up long white curtains, had the roof fixed so the ceiling would be dry instead of dripping, a minor detail, and had the windows replaced. However nice they looked, the iron window frames from the seventies kept getting wet and producing black fungi. It would’ve been healthier to sleep downstairs thinking I had to help save the world night after night.
When I showed the room to my stepmom, she suggested painting and donating her two cute nightstands from the -I guess- first half of the twentieth century. She started sanding them the same evening, but as she passed away later that night my father finished them. At least twice a day they warmly remind me of my coco mom as I used to call her (don’t google that, you’ll be taken to ridiculously unrelated pictures).
For the nightstands I bought copper coloured knobs with peacocks at Zara Home, and other details are the pink IKEA deer, at times the green Lyme disease bacteria (carefully stored in a jar) and a copper star candle holder that always takes me back to our 2015 trip to Sweden, where I got it at Rusty Rose.
I initially bought this IKEA Ribba picture ledge to hang my clothes during the night, but even that detail seemed to crowd the room once the sparse furniture was in. I ended up installing it in the bathroom where it should’ve been all along.
At times I’m tempted to add more furniture, such as IKEA kitchen cabinets with a wooden ledger on top, which would fit nicely on the wall across the bed. I might do so one day, but for now I’m more than ok with dreaming about it.
Looking for colourful accessories to put the room together is very satisfying, which is another reason you might want to get stuck in. Browsing sites like LaRedoute, IKEA and the great H&M Home, searching my closets for useful sheets, blankets and pillows and looking forward to that moment I manage to put everything together must release tons of oxytocin in my body. It’s so addictive my hubby can’t leave me alone for half an hour in the evening without having me order those stacks of pillows and blankets I had discovered over the past few weeks and of course had already started to love, even though they were still in some warehouse far away from their cosy destination.
The beauty of it all is that whenever I finally realise I want to sit back and relax, I automatically think ‘bedroom’ and head upstairs.