If you Google ‘Interior Design Styles’, you’ll get hundreds of articles, which may toss around the same names of styles with varying definitions. It’s always fun to look but, in my opinion, the name of the style doesn’t really matter.
We get so hung up on style names that we forget what the important aspect of design really is: you as a person and bringing your personality and lifestyle to the table. Design is a personal thing. It should combine aspects of your personality with the intended functionality of the space.
So how do you figure out your style?
If you are trying to determine your design style, I recommend jotting down key words. These should be feelings, personality traits, sayings, materials, really anything that resonates with you.
When my husband and I moved into our condo and I wanted to take a fresh look at my style, I put together a word cloud. First, I just started writing, not necessarily a cohesive statement, but just anything that seemed to resonate with me. It helps to write in full sentences and use descriptive language. This is what I wrote:
“My personality is confident, agreeable, precise, dynamic, motivated, relaxed, humorous, friendly and happy. I want my space to feel comfortable, sophisticated, personal, bold, relaxing, clean, humorous, warm, inviting, functional, happy, dynamic, and glamorous. Form follows function is a perfect way to summarize my design direction. I like materials like wood, metal and fabric. I like pattern and bold colors like blues and greens in jewel tones accented with soft warm colors. I like creating a space that shows who I am as a person and creates history inside the walls with family heirlooms and personal finds.”
You can use any word cloud creator, I used Word It Out
Once I could see words that really resonated with me, I could start working on a “name” for my style. My big words are happy, dynamic, warm, bold, humorous, colors and space. I honed those words down and dubbed my style: “Warm Eclectic.” Even though I had a name, I couldn’t just search for that and expect to come up with something. What works better is to use your key words to search. It’s not about your style name, it’s about the many pieces that make up your style.
The real point is that the name does not matter. It is the meaning behind the name that is the important part. I am going to be continually looking for pieces that fit my key words, not always literally. As long as the feeling comes across to me, that will be enough.
Now some of you might have a more traditional style that falls within the confines of mainstream naming: farmhouse, mid-century modern, contemporary, but I’ve found that most people have some mix of styles which makes putting a name on it difficult. By removing the need to define it, you can give power to what makes up your style and really make it your own.
Creating the Bedroom of Your Dreams
The average person will spend approximately 1/3 of their life asleep. With how much time is spent in the bedroom, it is so important to get the design just right. Whether you want your space to feel cozy and romantic or minimal and chic, there are some key features that are must-haves to create the most functional and relaxing bedroom.
Most people aren’t getting the right amount of sleep. The sleeping environment can play a big role in the quality and quantity of our snoozing time.
There are some important things to keep in mind from a design perspective that will establish your bedroom as a restful, calming zone that will help you prepare for a good night’s rest as soon as you enter.
If your room is on the smaller side, consider freeing up space by foregoing a dresser. Closet organizers can help make up for the lack of dresser. Simple hanging ones like these or these will help keep your clothes organized and minimize the need for bulky dressers.
You also want to consider where your bed is situated in relation to any windows. As a general rule, you want to avoid putting your bed under a traditional window unless you have no other choice. Access to windows is key for fresh air and visual appeal.
Be sure that you have plenty of space to walk around your bed. In an ideal world you’d have a minimum of 30” of clear walking space free of any furniture or impediments.
The average US bedroom size is 11’x12’. For demonstration purposes, we have used those dimensions to demonstrate a good bedroom layout:
Lighting is always one of the most important elements of room design. You want to have at least two levels of lighting in your space. You’ll need a main light source for your tasks, such as choosing clothing from your closet or dresser, and bedside lamps with adjustable settings for reading in bed or while relaxing. Both light sources should be on dimmers, if possible, so you can control the amount of light you are getting at any given time. You can make your plug-in lights dimmable with a special outlet adapter like this one.
Creating a Space for Sleep
The bedroom is, of course where you go to sleep, so you want to make sure that the design focuses on that as the primary goal. I recently read a debut book by Stella Loichot called Sleep It Off, A Revolutionary Guide to Losing Weight, Beating Diabetes, and Feeling your Best Through Optimal Rest
There are some basics rules of thumb you want to abide by when thinking about healthy sleep in your bedroom. One of my big takeaways after I read Loichot’s book was this passage:
“Keep all your devices off and out of your bedroom. Make sure your room is cool, dark, and quiet. Use blackout curtains, crack open the window if possible, use the appropriate bedding; make sure nothing in your bedroom is screaming for you to be active. Keep your bedroom for sleeping only.” (page 71)
This really resonated with me as it brought to light (pun intended) the issues a lot of people have with sleeping: too much light. Blackout curtains, like these or these don’t have to be boring but can add a beautiful layered look to your space while also functioning to improve your sleep. They can also be a quick solution as they can be delivered quickly! Keeping the window open for fresh air can help keep it cool, which aids in better sleep. Additionally, using a lightweight blanket rather than an overly heavy comforter can help.
Loichot also addresses the issue of sound. If you are woken up easily by the smallest sounds, a sound machine is a great option to help your body not react to sudden night noises, while still being soft enough to hear anything important.
Technology & Your Bedroom
O.K. here is the big one… No television or phones in your bedroom.
Blue light, which comes from electronic screens, tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime thus making it difficult to fall asleep. TV is a big one for me. Personally, I think TV watching and gaming should happen in a different space. I know it’s hard to separate from your smart phone, so I (and Loichot) recommend, at the very least, that you utilize the do not disturb function on your smart phone. This allows you to select who can reach you during a specified time, but also allows you to sleep uninterrupted from your phone barring any family emergencies.
Now that we know more about how to sleep better, and how to lay out our space, let’s turn our focus to style.
Room darkening options: You can get quick fix, low cost options like I mentioned previously but if you really want to enhance your space, you can do something a bit higher end and more custom. Kendra Hammer, owner of Budget Blinds of West Seattle, shared a few of her favorites with me:
Shutters & Drapery: this is probably one of my favorites from Kendra, as it’s a combination of shutters and drapery. This is a beautiful solution that not only makes you have a perfectly dark space but provides a soft and truly finished look.
These are beautiful curtains that really enhance this space. Even better, they’re a perfect fit. That’s the beauty of getting custom curtains done, they can be truly floor to ceiling, without having to search and hunt for hours to find the perfect pair online. They have the added bonus of giving you freedom in your fabric choices!
This is probably my favorite when it comes to clean and sleek. I love these honeycomb shades as they almost disappear in the room, letting the furniture and décor shine while still providing the perfect black out solution.
Paint colors: As a general rule, pale calming colors are best. Blues tend to rule the roost but dark shades can be equally calming. It’s best to avoid anything too vibrant.
Of course, everyone’s space is different but if you stick by these general rules of thumb, you will undoubtedly be on the path to better rest in the bedroom of your dreams.
Special thanks to Stella Loichot & Kendra Hammer for helping contribute to this blog post….
Stella Loichot is a Health Coach, Speaker, and the Best-Selling Author of SLEEP IT OFF, a Revolutionary Guide to Losing Weight, Beating Diabetes, and Feeling Your Best Through Optimal Rest. Certified by the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching (NBC-HWC), she also taps into her personal experience and French background to offer a unique, enjoyable, and sustainable approach to healthy living. She coaches in-person in Seattle and remotely with clients around the globe. Check out her website here!
Kendra Hammer is one of the co-owners of the West Seattle Budget Blinds. Since 2005 Kendra has become known in the community for her passion and creative design ability. Her experience in the industry goes back almost 20 years and is clearly reflected in the depth of her product knowledge. Her enthusiasm for people, and her keen desire to provide beautiful and functional window covering solutions for her customers makes for a very exciting and enjoyable In-Home Consultation experience. When it comes to interior window coverings and soft treatments, Kendra is truly an expert in her field. Check out their website here!