Suite Dreams

As I stood in the middle of the quirky room, with all its windows and doorways and nooks and angles, I couldn’t wait to turn this problematic space into a master bedroom suite worth dreaming about. The Nell Hill’s team and I had been asked to decorate a carriage house as part of a designer show house tour to benefit charity. I couldn’t wait to get started on the bedroom, transforming it into a beautiful but functional private sanctuary. Why not do the same to your bedroom? Here’s how:

Make the Space Work

First figure out how you want to use the space in your bedroom suite. Do you want a quiet oasis where you can get lost in a book? Is this the spot where you and your family will congregate to watch late-night TV? Will you need a spot to set up your laptop to answer your emails or do some on-line shopping? Once you determine how you want to live in this spacious suite, configure your furnishings to meet your objective.

Because the master suite in our designer show house was filled with wonderful natural light, we decided to make it into a private morning room, where you could lounge in your pajamas while enjoying your morning coffee, reading the newspaper and checking emails.

We selected a charming round table that worked as both a dining table and work space. Then we surrounded it with three matching dining chairs and an upholstered settee. I really like to pair settees or upholstered armchairs with dining tables because they are unexpected and luxurious. My favorite way to sit at a table is with my feet tucked up under me, something that’s tough to do in a dining chair. But in a settee, you are comfortable lounging for hours.

Create a Beautiful Bed

The bed should be the star of the show in your master suite. In the designer show house, we were given the challenge of using the homeowner’s massive king sized four-poster bed. Instead of shirking away from the sizable scale of the piece, we embraced it. To give the bed old-world charm, we hung gorgeous drapery panels from the canopy so that the bed became a little room inside the larger room, cozy and snug.

If your bed is large or tall, treat it to bedding that’s every bit as regal. Then flank the bed with similarly scaled side tables because tiny bedside tables will be dwarfed by the bed. One of my favorite tricks is to use a ladies writing desk as a bedside table because desks can hold their own against a large bed and give you ample space for a lamp, alarm clock and accents.

Create Harmony

If your suite is divided into two distinct spaces, give each area its own use and personality, then tie them together through your color palette. Pick two or three hues then repeat them throughout the space through your paint, textiles, artwork and accessories. For instance, if the sitting room portion of the suite features sage green walls and a cream ceiling, in the bedroom portion of the space paint the walls cream and the ceiling sage green. Then weave both colors into your upholstered furnishings, curtains and bedding. I like to use a variety of fabrics and patterns, mixing stripes, plaids, solids and florals, so the room doesn’t feel “matchy”.

Personalize with Accessories

Because your bedroom suite it out of the public eye, you have more freedom to make it personal. Fill the space with accents and artwork that reflect your personality and make you smile. How about covering one wall with a photo gallery of your family? Or create an interesting montage with antique dishes or vintage trays? Spice up tabletops with treasures from your travels, pieces from your favorite collections or masterpieces created by your kids.