Designers’ tips for the ultimate master bedroom
Designer Brian Patrick Flynn remodeled a large bedroom with natural light as the focus. Flynn replaced small windows with 6-foot tall French doors, which open to a deck, turning what was a lackluster space into a relaxing retreat.
Brian Patrick Flynn
Designer Brian Patrick Flynn often installs pendant lights beside beds, directly above chests or nightstands rather than using table lamps. Flynn says this helps anchor tall headboards, free up usable surface space and introduce interesting shapes into a room.
Brian Patrick Flynn
Four-poster beds, while beloved by many homeowners, are tricky to get right, designer Brian Patrick Flynn says. Before falling in love with the idea, ensure there’s at least 56 inches of space left in front of the bed for proper traffic flow and there’s enough room along the back wall for at least one chest of drawers rather than small-scale night stands, which look disproportionate next to a four-poster bed.
In this room, designer Brian Patrick Flynn used hefty chests and dressers next to beds rather than small nightstands. Flynn suggests chests as an alternative because of their scale, especially in bedrooms with tall headboards.
That’s a lot to ask of a single room.
On the bright side, interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn says, you have plenty of decorating freedom. “Since bedrooms are all about self-expression and comforts,” he says, “you can break the rules as much as you want.”
We’ve asked Flynn, founder of Flynnside Out Productions, and two other design experts — Betsy Burnham of Burnham Design and Molly Luetkemeyer of M. Design Interiors — for tips on breaking those rules with style to create the ultimate master bedroom.
Flynn suggests using 30-inch-tall dressers or chests instead of traditional nightstands. “I’ll hit up flea markets and find two different chests with very similar proportions,” he says, using these less expensive pieces to flank a more expensive custom headboard or platform bed.
Luetkemeyer agrees that closed storage at bedside is a wise move for most people. It keeps necessities handy, but hides clutter to make your sleeping area look organized even when it isn’t.
Pendants and sconces
Chandeliers are often used in dining rooms and entryways to add glamour and drama. Flynn’s tip? They “work just as well in bedrooms.”
“I often install pendant lights over nightstands instead of using table lamps,” he says, “especially if the headboard is tall and dramatic. Whenever possible, I try to use sculptural pendants which introduce interesting shapes to the room, and I always, 100 percent of the time, install them on dimmers.”
Big beds, small rooms
Think your medium-size or small bedroom can’t handle a gorgeous four-poster bed?
Burnham says a bed like that can serve as a statement piece that brings lots of style. It actually frees up space, because you won’t need any extra decorative pieces of furniture for pizazz.
Flynn agrees, as long as the bedroom isn’t extremely small and the nightstands are in proportion. One of his pet peeves is a large bed flanked by tiny tables, which can make the tables look like they belong in a dollhouse.
The calmest colors
Forget trendy shades or your favorite bright colors. Burnham advises sticking to a soothing palette of ivory and white, evoking a luxury hotel room.
If your idea of peace and quiet involves deeper colors, Flynn suggests navy blues or black-brown tones.
And if you really want bolder color or patterns, Luetkemeyer recommends using a single pattern throughout your bedroom. This “en suite” look involves using the same fabric for curtains and bedspread, and even covering the walls in the same pattern.
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