11 tips for your mid-century bedroom design

In my experience, designing my mid-century bedroom was not at all stressful. Compared to a kitchen or bathroom there are far fewer decisions. Because you are working within a drywall or plaster “box” — you do not have to think about expensive things like tile and plumbing and electric, etc. Bedrooms are a much more “creative” than “technical” problem solving. To me — and as per feng shui — a bedroom should be a restful place. With that as pretty much the only “rule,” the design possibilities are in fact endless. Here are 11 tips taken from my own experience, to get you started.danish-rug

  1. Rug — Where you start with your bedroom design may depend on how strong you feel about any single element coming into it. But, I think that a rug is a good place to start. A rug provides you with colors to work with as you make further decisions. If you want to save a lot of money, you can watch for a vintage rug. In my bedroom, I have a large danish rug, kind of shaggy, in a mosaic pattern, which I got for free from an office building where I worked — and before I owned this house. I had to pay a bit to get it cleaned. But it’s a fantastic rug. It set the tone for the rest of my bedroom decor.
  2. Paint color — My next decision was paint color. I picked up a color in the rug. My wall color is Putnam Ivory from Benjamin Moore. It really reads “gold.” It is very soothing. My bedroom is not very big. The color kind of wraps me in a warm blanket…
  3. Accent wall? — I love the idea of wallpapering one wall. This is a good way to use a smaller lot of vintage wallpaper. I haven’t done this yet in my bedroom, but it’s on my list. Another alternative: Use paint to accent one wall or as we saw the other day in the 1954 mid-century modern bedroom, to accent the architecture.
  4. Bedding — We’ve talked about bedding this week. I think that, in general, your bedding can take its queue from your wall color. The thing about beds is that they are…large boxes. I think that the reason lots of throw pillows can be so pleasing is that they break up that box. The idea in a bedroom, is to keep your eye moving around the room. You don’t want it to get stuck on that one big box. Note: My bedspread is quilted, with welting separating it into three sections…this is another way to break up this king-sized space.
  5. Window treatments — Window treatments are another place where all the colors of your room can come together, and where you can bring in more texture and pattern. You know I love pinch pleats. Just wait, and vintage pinch pleats WILL come your way. In a bedroom, layer them over a pull shade or cellular shade. These can be black-outs or not, depending on how much you’re bothered by light in the morning. You could also layer them over sheers. I can’t emphasize enough how pleasing the layering is.
  6. Furniture — I’ve put this pretty far down because there are so many bedroom furniture options out there. I’ll write more this week about furniture styles for postwar bedrooms. Bottom line: It’s not just about mid-century modern. Or Heywood Wakefield. French Provincial is a “traditional” style that can be very pleasing. And some of the Early American furniture out there is solid maple, folks — really high quality stuff. One thing I will throw at you: Wood is good in the feng shui world. Metal, not so much. Metal is “cold”… Beds should be warm.
  7. Furniture arrangement — Feng shui tips that I think really are spot on: Don’t put your bed under a window. Don’t put your bed under a beam overhead that dissects the bed in any way. If possible, sleeper(s) should be able to see the door.
  8. Lamps — Oh my, you can have SO MUCH FUN with these. Look at “boudoir lamps” “lamps pair” or on ebay or etsy. But only for research (unless you get really stumped, or find something really fabulous. Because, vintage bedroom lamps are incredibly abundant at antique shops and estate sales. I like my bedrooms lamps to have a little glamour. Mine are mid-century crystal (not real crystal, I don’t think.). Not too big, not too small. You want these lamps to be easy to ready by. Functional. Watch the wattage.
  9. Mirrors — Feng shui says: Don’t hang mirrors opposite windows or doors, they just send the energy right back out. No mirrors pointing at the bed either, this will make for restless sleep. We have a lovely pair mid-century mirrors above the night stands to the right and left of our bed. They are kind of kidney shaped — which is really cool, as again, it creates something that is NOT a BOX to look at. Mirrors are wonderful wonderful things. Don’t “settle”, get something fabulous.
  10. Artwork — Feng shui says: No photos of dead people. Move the ancestors into a hall or family room. My second piece of advice, based on what I see people do in their homes: Don’t be dinky with your artwork. If you have small pieces, group them together. Same with collections. Last advice: Hang artwork at eye level.
  11. Accessories — Yum to: Grandma’s afghan… Mirrored trays with your prettiest vintage jewelry… Pretty alarm clocks (or an alarm clock collection). Ick to: Clutter. (A constant battle for me.)

  1. Adriel H. Rowley says:

    So what does one do if only two walls are available and both have windows where the bed go?

    Brick exterior, so not like the window position can be changed.


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