Rules for decorating your master bedroom



Australians spend a lot of time in one room – the master bedroom – but in many cases we tend to pay scant attention to it.

Interior designer Lisa Marklew, of Colours Interior Design, says with a little bit of effort you can transform your sleeping area into a smart and attractive living space whether the home is an older or more contemporary model.

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Ms Marklew says a modern, light-filled home provides a blank canvas to add character and warmth. She points out with an older home offering less floor space, a higher ceiling and a couple of smaller windows in one wall and a wall of built-in wardrobes along another, the challenge will be to let in as much light as possible and to make the room feel as spacious as you can.

Yarranabbe Rd 115.11 bed-1b

A modern master bedroom can accommodate a larger, higher bed.

“In both scenarios find the widest wall in the room and place your bedhead against this wall,” she advises. “This will allow maximum space each side of the bed for bed tables, lamps etcetera.”

Ms Marklew says the modern main or master bedroom can probably take a larger, higher bed with perhaps a fabric covered bedhead or even a four-poster bed.

“If the floor coverings are neutral in tone then the linen on this bed can be anything from white, cream or grey neutrals through to bold geometrics or stripes,” she says.

“There is enough light and space around the bed to enable a bold statement with the linen. Bedside tables should sit approximately 100mm lower than the mattress and as a rule, in a contemporary bedroom, I suggest the lamps are generous and balanced with the width of the bedside tables.”

When it comes to the older bedroom there is a need to be more careful with bed size. “A low-line bed base with a mattress on sprung slats would suit,” Ms Marklew says. “Or a box-type frame under the mattress allowing under bed storage.

“We are looking for light in this room so bed linen should be neutral tones and preferably not patterned. Use scatter cushions to add personality and colour. If you must have a bedhead, use an open frame iron type or a very low timber type. Bedside tables could be just a floating shelf with an elegant reading lamp on a stainless arm.”

19 Hopewell St Paddington house

When it comes to the older bedroom there is a need to be more careful with bed size.

In both cases a paint job can make a difference as well. “A single feature wall can warm up a room but painting at least two, or maybe all of the walls, in a colour that is different to the balance of your home certainly makes a statement.”

In the case of the contemporary bedroom, with ample light the walls could be painted charcoal or chocolate to create a dramatic effect. “Or in latte tones with bold splashes of colour on the bed linen.”

In the older bedroom the householder can to enhance the feeling of space by using off-whites on their walls. “Look at Dulux Design Collection Pearl finish paint for something different, put mirrors on your wardrobe doors and hang a central soft and pretty light shade to accentuate the high ceilings,” Ms Marklew says. “Cushions can be plentiful, colourful and of many shapes and sizes.”

And for the windows why not use sheer drapes? “Both bedroom styles can have these, with a simple roller blind behind to block light. Use an ‘S’ track for fullness in your drape and to eliminate the need for a pelmet.”

Designer tips

• The smaller the bedroom the lower the bed should be.

• Employ a more neutral colour palette. This gives the illusion of a much bigger room.

• Take drapes past the windows at the sides, right up to the ceiling and right down to the floor, to make the window area appear larger and therefore the room proportions feel larger too.

• Hang low pendant lights over your bedside tables instead of lamps, to create a moody atmosphere.

• De-clutter and install a couple of floating shelves (like the small Ikea Lack shelves) on a wall to display photo frames and a candle or two. By using this approach no floor space is taken up with cabinetry.

Visit Lisa Marklew online.

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