Make Your Bedroom Your Get-Away

For many people these days, the bedroom has become much more than a place to sleep. It has become a private retreat to unwind, get away from it all or catch up on work-related stuff.

To accommodate these activities, people are making this last bastion of personal space more inviting and comfortable. Whether it's a stately place to meditate or a hub of built-ins to keep house files and equipment, the possibilities are endless.

To make a bedroom into a personal place, it must first be determined what is to be achieved. Is it to be a place to work, to exercise, to lounge around or for a combination of activities? Almost anything can be integrated into a decor or concealed so they pop up only when needed.

While there is a trend to incorporate a work-space in bedrooms -with built-in desks, swivel chairs, computer power and phone jacks -many people still prefer to indulge in features that help them relax after a long day: gas fireplaces, wet bars, lounge areas and comfort items such as whirlpool baths and indoor water fountains.

To avoid distractions while practicing yoga, meditation or other relaxation techniques, some people will eliminate mirrors entirely from their bedroom decor. Others will use different textures, fabrics, wall, floor and window coverings, as well as painted finishes, to create a particular style or atmosphere.

Small or large room
To make a small room look bigger, pale colours and light-scaled furniture and accessories should be used. See-through pieces such as armchairs with open arms or cane seats and backs will give an illusion of greater space. To make a large bedroom more cozy and intimate, a variety of textures and dominant patterns for rugs, draperies and upholstery should be used. A sprawling furniture arrangement, large paintings and area rugs will also pull a room together.

Colour works wonders
No other design element has the quick impact or dramatic effect of colour. It can make the atmosphere in a bedroom lively or restful, can make the high ceiling look lower or a small window look bigger. Colours also look different in combination with other colours and in different types of lighting. A deep blue may look bright and intense in well-lit areas but cold and gloomy in a bedroom with soft light. Colours also affect emotions and perceptions. In a bedroom, reds -which are known to send up the heart-rate -should be avoided. Light oranges and peaches, which are associated with comfort and security, are a better choice.

Arranging the room
To make the best use of space and to effect the most pleasing arrangement, the largest furniture pieces, such as the bed, armoire or large cabinet, should be placed on the longest wall. A jumbled look will be avoided by keeping all the taller furniture at about the same height. The tops of chests, cabinets and bookcases should maintain about the same line around the room.

In a large bedroom, furniture should be distributed in groupings such as a sitting area, work area and sleep area. The scale of furniture, however, should be related in each grouping. For instance, a tall wing chair should not be placed next to a low loveseat, nor should bedside tables be higher than the mattress.

Traffic lanes should be kept open. Remember, it is better to have too little in a room than to have too much; too much creates a cluttered appearance. Concealing desks, bookshelves and computers behind armoire doors can make a bedroom that doubles as work space into a more inviting and relaxing room.




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