I’ve talked before about the importance of taking your time when decorating, and with the makeover of our main bedroom I really have (partly unintentionally) practised what I preach. I first shared the plans back in November and always wanted to get things right rather than rushing, but there were some unexpected delivery delays and a few hidden issues along the way too. Anyway, it’s finally finished – and it’s definitely been worth the wait!
The project was sparked by us rejigging the first floor to turn our former ensuite into a proper upstairs shower room that’s accessible from the landing. That meant blocking up the old doorway between it and the bedroom, which in turn allowed us to put some other changes into action. This room is actually very large – by far the biggest in the house – but the previous layout was totally inefficient. Two doors, a fireplace, a large window and a long radiator left us with very little wall to put furniture against, resulting in almost no storage and lots of wasted floor space in the middle. Losing one of the doors and moving the radiator to sit beneath the window has enabled us to shift the bed and free up an entire wall for some much-needed wardrobes. And the new arrangement really has made a huge difference – not only is it a lot more practical, it’s also helped the room as a whole look more balanced and symmetrical. Our house is part of a curved terrace and is therefore wedge-shaped – something that was really obvious when the bed was placed opposite the chimney breast, which fans out at an angle, but is much less so now. What’s more, the sense of emptiness has been replaced with a much more welcoming, intimate vibe.
The decor and furnishings have also changed. We never put much effort into this room in the past as we knew we’d be making big alternations as soon as funds allowed, so it always felt a bit bland and unloved. I was keen to keep the pared-back, minimalist feel but wanted to inject more cosiness, creating a soothing sanctuary that encourages rest and relaxation. The soft white wall colour has stayed the same – it works brilliantly with the strong, ever-changing light we get – but gone are the cold silvers and greys. In their place are earthy beiges and pale oak, with layers of texture – a chunky woollen rug, relaxed linen, a tactile cotton bedspread – that add warmth and interest to the neutral scheme. There are also a few black accents dotted here and there, giving depth and structure to the otherwise-pale palette and providing a common thread that links the space to the other rooms. As for the flooring, we’ve replaced the tatty carpet that we inherited when we bought the house six years ago with engineered hardwood from Quick-Step, who have a vast range of high-quality options to choose from. Their ‘Palazzo’ boards in ‘Polar Oak’ proved ideal thanks to the matt finish and subtle white stain, which give a contemporary Scandinavian-inspired look without obscuring the natural warmth and grain of the timber. We decided to fit them ourselves to save money, and I’ll have a separate blog post about that in the next few weeks.
The focal point of the scheme, and the piece that ties everything together, is our gorgeous new bed from Naturalmat. Based in Devon, southwest England, they handcraft organic mattresses and beds, eschewing synthetic fibres and chemicals in favour of natural materials such as mohair, cashmere, bamboo and FSC-certified timber. The simple, timeless lines of their ‘Lanyard’ bed instantly caught my eye, and it ended up being the very first thing I ordered. There are hundreds of different upholstery options to choose from, and Naturalmat will happily send out free samples to help you decide; they also have showrooms in London, Cornwall, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Portugal. I selected ‘Linara’ – a soft yet durable linen-cotton blend woven by sustainable fabric specialist Romo – in a subtle beige called ‘Chamois’, and the bed was then made to order. It arrived within weeks (handily split into sections so there was no worrying about how to get it up our narrow staircase!), and we couldn’t be happier with it. It’s extremely comfortable, and the square headboard (padded with locally sourced organic lambswool) is perfect for reading in bed. What’s more, the whole thing feels sturdy and well-built. It’s certainly a far cry from the broken and very creaky old divan that we were sleeping on before, and I can see why Naturalmat’s products are often used in luxury hotels.
The wardrobes beyond the bed are from IKEA’s ‘PAX’ system, which comes in various depths and heights and which can be customised with all sorts of different doors and internal add-ons. We wanted to make them fit into the room as seamlessly as possible, so we boxed them in with MDF panels painted to match the walls. It’s another thing we briefly considered doing ourselves, but our wonky walls would have made things tricky so in the end we hired a local carpenter. It cost about £350 but was definitely worth the spend, as the wardrobes now blend into the background rather than dominating the space.
On the other side of the bed is a classic piece that’s been at the very top of my wishlist for years – a Carl Hansen & Søn ‘CH25’ lounge chair, created by the legendary Hans J. Wegner in 1950 and a true icon of Scandinavian design. The white-oiled oak and hand-woven paper-cord seat add more elements of texture to the scheme and the shape is very supportive. I’ve paired it with a minimalist powder-coated steel ‘MO320’ floor lamp – part of Carl Hansen & Søn’s first collaboration with Danish designer Mads Odgård and one of the newest additions to its portfolio – to create a cosy spot for reading or just gazing out of the window over coffee.
Speaking of the window, it’s dressed in semi-sheer beige linen curtains that echo the upholstery on the bed. We had contemplated shutters, but Loki the cat loves to sit on the sill and watch the world go by, and we didn’t have the heart to block his view! Behind them are unobtrusive black-out blinds that we pull down at night, but for weekend lie-ins and breakfast in bed we tend to roll them back up and use the curtains only, letting sunlight stream in while retaining privacy.
Other finishing touches include Ferm Living’s sculptural ‘Arum’ wall lamps, a few of my favourite photography prints and artworks, and ceramics with organic, nature-inspired shapes. I’m sure I’ll add more pieces over time, as I always think it’s best to gradually build up a collection of things you truly love rather than trying to buy everything at once, but I’m really pleased with how the room has come together. It’s timeless, calming and cosy, and I think it’s proof that minimalist interiors needn’t be cold or boring. Best of all, I can feel myself starting to relax and breath a littler easier as soon as I step through the door – and to be honest, that’s the most important factor in any bedroom!
Source list (items marked with an asterisk were PR products):
‘Lanyard’ double bed in Romo ‘Linara Chamois’ fabric, Naturalmat*
‘Palazzo Polar Oak’ matt hardwood flooring, Quick-Step*
‘PAX’ wardrobe system with ‘GRIMO’ hinged doors, IKEA
‘CH25’ lounge chair in white-oiled oak and natural paper cord, Carl Hansen & Søn*
‘MO320’ floor lamp in black, Carl Hansen & Søn*
‘Rattan’ oak bedside tables, John Lewis
‘Levende’ oak bench, Chickidee
Ferm Living ‘Arum’ wall lamps in black, Nest.co.uk
Ay Illuminate ‘Z5’ bamboo pendant lamp with cotton cover, Nunido.co.uk
Metal-framed circular mirror in black, John Lewis
‘Kalu’ wool rug in ‘Ivory’, Urbanara
‘Anadia’ cotton bedspread in ‘Natural’, Urbanara
Linen bedding in white, Secret Linen Store
‘Chindi’ patchwork kantha cushion, Stitch by Stich*
‘DYTÅG’ linen curtains in beige, IKEA
‘RÄCKA’ curtain rod in black, IKEA
‘NYDALA’ knobs in black (used on the wardrobes and as a hook on the back of the door), IKEA
‘Drift’ vases in ‘Vanilla’, Cooee Design*
‘Ball’ vase (10cm) in ‘Mud’, Cooee Design*
Ferm Living ‘Ripple’ carafe and glasses, Rose & Grey*
‘Deep Tranquility’ scented candle, Nui Naturals*
‘LOMVIKEN’ picture frames in various sizes, IKEA
‘Blaneau’ ink and graphite sketch, Anna F Macdonald*
Framed textile artwork, Charlotte Wakefield of Woven Form
Bird print, my own work giclée-printed via Creative Hub
Other prints and accessories collected over the years and no longer available
Walls painted in ‘White Chiffon’ matt emulsion by Dulux (now discontinued but Farrow & Ball’s ‘School House White’ is a close match)
All photography by Abi Dare
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