More than any other room in a house, the main bedroom is the one that provides the biggest insight into the dwelling’s most senior occupants.
Unlike other areas – say, for example, the kitchen, dining or living rooms – bedrooms aren’t primarily designed for show. They are places intended for privacy and relaxation.
It’s interesting, then, that bedrooms tend to be decorated in one of two styles. The first tends towards meditative, even monastic, restraint – think neutral palettes, simple furniture and a general atmosphere of calm. The second favours romance and fantasy, often employing a riotous profusion of colours and patterns and rich textures such as velvet and satin.
Regardless of which camp you fall into, decorating your bedroom can be a hard balancing act. If you opt for the former approach, how do you avoid the sort of severity that would have even a Zen Buddhist reaching for a throw cushion or two?
And if you plump for the latter, do you risk feeling like you’re waking up each morning in a peacock’s fever dream? Thankfully, help is at hand.
Domain asked some top interior designers to share their expert tips on how to create a beautiful space.
Melbourne stylist and designer Simone Haag advises finding a “hero” that can serve as a starting point for creating a look.
It could be a piece of furniture, a particular colour, or something else that is non-negotiable for you.
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“It’s a little like preparing for the races – you can’t buy your earrings, or your bag, or your hat until you find your dress, so find the element that anchors your look,” she says.
For a Claremont House residential project, Haag and fellow interior designer Angela Harry, with whom she collaborated, started with a blue shade on the walls.
They then added layers of texture through the carpet and curtains and touches of colour with artwork and brass pots. Details such as wall hooks and bedside ceramics allow the homeowner to change the look by adding fresh flowers or by hanging an item of clothing on display.
“For me, it’s about natural materials, such as wools, linens and leathers – and the best quality bed linen that you can afford,” Haag says.
For those who prefer a lusher approach, Sydney interior designer Jo Taylor recommends layering textures through patterned wall fabrics behind the bed and covering the bedhead and base in a richly coloured or textured velvet.
“The big trend at the moment is for more of a rough finish,” she says.
“A textured finish can be achieved with, say, a grass-weave fabric behind the bed which contrasts with the lushness of the velvet on the bed.
“I’m doing a lot of blues and greens and a huge amount of fabrics with leaves, and a tropical feel. It’s about mixing those elements together for a little bit of freshness.”