Welcome back to my monthly style fix where I offer my advice to help you make the most of your home on a budget. My message is to not let these restrictions hinder your desire to create something luxe. Take the inspiration you see and run with it, just remember to add your own personality and go with what YOU love. Always stamp your unique identity in the finishing touches.
This month I focus on the bedroom, so often an afterthought in ones home, where the bed is easily left unmade and side tables cluttered, because this room is primarily unseen. However, this is our refuge; somewhere that we need to relax and this in turn reflects outside of the bedroom. Comfort is so, so important. So get it right. Without thinking about it begin to collate tornout magazine pages and pin anything that captures your attention. This collection you have will determine what you’re drawn to, what works for you will will help you choose a scheme.
1. THE BED
The bed reflects the feel of the room. So if you are on a budget splurge what you can on one piece make this the bed. This comes at a cost so use online resources to seek out bargains. Achica.com offer amazing discounts all year round where you can source all homewares inexpensively and furniture and of a much higher quality. However, don’t just buy because it’s cheap, wait until what you want is on offer or keep searching. Featherandblack.com have clearance outlets that offer truly brilliant deals. I picked up their Louis super king upholstered bed for £400 reduced from £1300. In addition to these larger retailers, local bed specialists offer a more personal service in comparison, plus potentially longer guarantees. This you can barter into the bargain. Alternatively, if a bedstead is too costly, consider getting a headboard made. Pretavivre.com have stunning fabric, and Ian Mankin offer some good seasonal discounts. Contact milladecor.com for upholstering and curtain making services.
Alternatively you could you use the window as a headboard. A little brave, as we tend to gravitate to the wall when it comes to positioning the bed, however if you are dealing with an awkward space this could be the solution for you and having the light stream in from behind in the morning is lovely.
2. COLOUR PALETTE
Choosing the right colour scheme is everything and taking the time to test several is crucial. The undertones in paint can dramatically change how it looks and feels depending on the direction your room faces. In a north facing room, for example, the light can be very cold and it’s difficult to create a light and airy feeling, so take Farrow and Ball’s advice of ‘not to fight nature, instead embrace the darkness and create a dramatic and cocooning interior‘. This may not be to everyone’s taste, so in this instance avoid green and grey based neutrals, opt for yellow based instead.
South facing rooms are at the other end of the spectrum. They are bathed in natural light so opting for pale tones will make the best use of this light. Use different techniques with paint to maximize the feel you are after, whether that’s warm and cosy or modern and crisp. Dark painted ceilings and bringing the colour down to the picture rail both can add enormous depth so is something to consider when you are a fighting that harsh light in a north facing room. Accept and welcome it.
There are so many ways to fill the room with furniture and textiles; whether it’s in a symmetrical layout or conversely in an irregular, nonconforming style. Both works, depending on your own personal style but don’t overdo the furniture. Instead, determine a few select functional yet attractive pieces. When on a budget, my go-to for clients is always eBay or vintage shops/fairs. Old furniture doesn’t have to be dilapidated and smelly. Instead, it’s often extraordinarily robust in comparison to mass produced furniture. Vintage pieces are pretty and to that effect work perfectly in a bedroom.
If you are in need of fitted wardrobes or cupboards, an invaluable tip is to give your carpenter your budget and let him tell you what he can do with that. I managed to get wardrobes built for a client at half the original quote. We had to compromise on details, obviously and the client had to paint them, but the project was achieved within budget.
Another way to give an ordinary piece of furniture some impact is to change the handles. Anthropologie.com cannot be beaten on choice and price during the sales!!!! A console placed in a window can double up as a desk and a dressing table. Dress it up with matching lamps, books, a little floral arrangement and the odd candle. I love to use a console as decoration, creating a little illustration that’s well thought out without being too pretentious, not to mention functional in this instance.
Texture adds visual weight to a room. By using rugs, throws and cushions you can create a cosy space in which to retreat. Put some thought into these final touches. Being inventive can be inexpensive yet more impressive. Buying a rug that reaches under all the furniture (that’s the general rule) is costly, so instead layer a large flatwoven rug with a much smaller more expensive sheepskin, for example.
In the bedroom be sure to fit dimmers. Harsh lighting will cheapen your final look so don’t overlook one of the most important factors in any room. Simple, cheap and wholly effective. Be inventive again when sourcing your lighting. Look out for unusual pieces when travelling.
I found a Flemish style chandelier (above) from a market in Belgium for a pence. Don’t rush, and enjoy sourcing unique finds for a bedroom that is ultimately your sanctuary.
The details are not the details. They make the design. – Charles Eames
Until next time.. Ruth x
Credits: Written and curated by an interior stylist Ruth Daniels from Milla Decor, please follow Ruth on Instagram @milla_decor. Cover image of Ruth’s master bedroom by Michael Stevens Estates.