DESIGN TALK: This is My Day, This is My Bedroom

Bedrooms are a very special kind of space in any home. They are perhaps the most private of spaces, the least likely to be visited by those from outside your family. We have guest rooms or hotel rooms of course but these tend
to have a more neutral aspect, often quite impersonal, even if they have a distinctive style. Your bedroom is your own space, shared only with those most close to you. They are places of rest, dreams and passion. They
are places where we feel safe and protected.

Thinking about the design of your bedroom depends on a lot of things, not least its size. A bedroom may be simply
a space with a bed, and to most people, it is where their clothes are kept. Some people may expand the room to a
sequence of spaces with ensuite bathrooms and dressing rooms. For those with restricted space it may make sense
to think of the bedroom as having other uses, perhaps the bed folds away or other types of furniture fold out. There
are some very clever examples of small apartments being innovative with creating multi-functional spaces. You only
need to think about how little some of your rooms are used in a 24 hour period to understand the inefficiency of the
typical home. However, we all know that the home is about far more than efficiency.

Though we may think that aesthetics is critical, we have also continually reminded you that the elements you surround yourself with need to function properly too. So, in your bedroom, the bed is the most important thing, by
which we really mean the mattress. It is often easy to tell what suits you as an individual when you go away and stay
in a new bed, but our own familiar mattress may be apparently comfortable more through familiarity than actually
being the best you can get. Getting the key elements right will always make everything else work better too. A good
sleep is surely the hallmark of a good bedroom.

Your bedroom may also aim, despite any multi-functionality, for a calming and restful aesthetic and colour palette.
It can be designed to support both going to sleep and waking up, those slightly in-between states of mind where
you don’t really want any shocks. You want lighting that is sufficient to read in bed but without glare. You want to be
able to control the level of light from the bed or the door so often there will be multiple switches. The lighting should have various sets of intensity or dimmer switches to alter the mood and ambience. I remain surprised at how many people manage to get dressed without a large full length mirror. Or a mirror that casts you in shadow because of its relationship to the lighting. You cannot do your makeup with light behind you so make sure it is directed on your face, not your back. It may sound obvious but it is a surprisingly common error.

You may want your room to be an oasis of calm in which case you will need storage to hide everything away or other
places in the home to put things. At the other end of the spectrum, you may wish to fill your room with all sorts of
things, whether books, art or cuddly toys. As with all design, it is easy to be seduced by images, particularly online.
These are very useful but you need to review them in light of your own habits and uses. It is harder to change your
behaviour than it is to change the design of your space. You may struggle to get your space to look as inviting as the
image because they are always staged, without the lived in everyday bits and pieces. When you look at adverts you
would imagine that people only have a handful of clothes in their expensive wardrobes. Open most people’s wardrobes and they are overflowing, multiple clothes on single hangers, stuffed wall to wall, shoes, shoes, shoes. Or maybe that’s just me. As we all know storage will never be enough, as your possessions seem to increase to fill any additional storage space. So designing your bedroom is often about getting as much wardrobe and storage space as possible without compromising your space. Every possibility needs to be investigated. Space under the bed, Floor to ceiling wardrobes, hanging spaces, shelves and shoe space.

Whichever way you want to approach the design of your bedroom, it should always be remembered in its connection to the other parts of the home and the daily cycle of life that occupies and uses its spaces and furnishings. The threshold between this space should be given particular attention, if possible, as the moment related to the beginning and ending of your day. It is a threshold between activity and rest and vice versa. The entrance to your bedroom should not be like any other door in the house, there is a status and privacy associated with it that does not exist anywhere else.

Think about the sequence of movement and activity in the morning and evening and embrace these ritualistic steps as a guide to creating your space. The bedroom is the ultimate blending of dreams and reality in both a literal and conceptual sense. It is a space where you can indulge these ideas for your own pleasure. So on this day enter your bedroom with a new vision and dream it into reality.

By Titi Ogufere

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