The modern bedroom

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Does your bedroom look a little dated, or is it brimming with contemporary style? We outline some quick and easy ways in which to give it a brand-new look

A quiet retreat, a calm haven, and a cosy place in which you can relax, read, watch TV, listen to music, make phone calls or even sleep – your bedroom is your own personal space, and the ideal room in which to express your unique personality. If, however, it feels boring rather than beautiful, dull rather than delightful, why not consider a top-to-toe makeover? With some forward planning (and without spending a fortune) you can transform a tired space into a gorgeous room that you’ll love spending time in.

A pop of colour
Bold colours are on trend this spring, often quite dark and moody – an intriguing antidote to the careful beiges, greiges, stones and neutrals that have predominated over the last few decades. Where better than a bedroom to go for this dark décor? Be brave and use fuchsia, turquoise, emerald, orange, mustard or deep blue in arresting combinations or, if you don’t feel quite courageous enough, perhaps just cover one wall with a strong shade. Even the simple addition of a bright headboard, rug, throw or group of cushions can make all the difference.

On the walls
A new paint colour will transform the room. Experiment by using a tester pot to cover a large sheet of card and sticking it to different walls at various times of the day, so you can see how the colour changes according to the light. Another way to make a difference is to use patterned wallpaper, all over (for huge impact) or just on a feature wall. Or opt for a wall-sized mural – they are easy to order, sized to your dimensions, via specialist websites, and look absolutely amazing, whether the image is of, for example, a wooded glade, tropical palms, a cityscape, oversized flowers or a starry night sky.

Beautiful bed linen
To transform a bedroom from boring to boudoir, introduce sumptuous bed linens that are gorgeous to look at and soft to the touch. You may wish to use plain white as the basics, just adding a stunning throw, blanket, eiderdown or quilt – or several – for a jolt of eye-catching colour and pattern. Or go for broke and put colour with colour, plains with patterns, and revel in the excitement and drama of layered vibrancy.

Take the floor
In a bedroom where wear and tear is not a factor, luxurious, deep-pile carpet laid wall-to-wall is an option to consider. It’s not cheap, however, so if that’s beyond your budget, consider sanding back your floorboards and either varnishing or painting them, then adding a rug or two in a bold, modern style (blocks of vivid colour, chevrons or Berber, perhaps) for heaps of character.

Lights fantastic
Assess your lighting and ensure it’s both subtle and flattering. You can make it more adaptable by adding table or floor lamps in the corners and fitting a dimmer switch to the central pendant. Even changing the bulbs makes a difference – LED for energy saving, choosing warm white and not overly bright. For bedside reading, a pair of swing-arm, wall-mounted lights will free up space on a bedside table or go with the on-trend look and hang a bare filament bulb from a coloured cotton flex that’s suspended either from the ceiling or a wall-mounted bracket.

How to update your furniture
Wardrobes, chests of drawers, blanket boxes and bookcases are an investment, and not necessarily items that you’ll want to replace too often. But there are ways in which to improve or disguise such furnishings that are old-fashioned, overly bulky or otherwise just not quite right. A lick of paint works wonders, for example, though it’s inadvisable on anything antique. Sand thoroughly, undercoat and cover with a top coat – choosing either a colour which will stand out or, if your aim is to minimise the look of the piece, the same colour as the wall behind. It’s also possible to paste wallpaper (or wrapping paper, maps, sheet music, posters – the list is endless) onto the flat panels of wooden furniture, painting the rest of the piece in a co-ordinating colour to give it a quirky new look. Another surprisingly effective upgrade is simply to change the knobs or handles for something more sleek and modern. It may even be possible to do the same for feet or legs, where appropriate.

Image: The French Bedroom Co

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