When you live with roommates your bedroom is an all-purpose everything space. It’s the room where you sleep, of course, but it’s also your (private) living space, your office, your studio, your library, your everything. It’s the one room where you can escape and be alone. Not that it’s something you need frequently, but if you’re anything like me, it’s just nice– upon occasion– to escape from everyone else. But also, sometimes you have to finish that email to your boss and your roommate is watching some sporting event on TV and throwing popcorn at you. And you need to get out of there. Sometimes that happens too! Hypothetically, of course! 😉
Regardless, one of the most difficult design challenges is a multi-purpose bedroom. And although I’ve talked about how my big bathroom and it’s lovely clawfoot tub sold me on this house, my bedroom was on the opposite end of the spectrum.
My bedroom is definitely on the smaller side. It’s much smaller than my childhood bedroom and pretty much every other bedroom I’ve ever had. The room comes in at about 9′ by 11′ which is, by no means, tiny. It only becomes slightly hard to work with when you have as many books as I do (ALL of the books!). Before I first moved in, I walked through the house with the boys and took a bunch of photos with my phone. I was looking at this empty slate:
This iPhone shot was of the first thing you saw when you walked into what is now my room. My iPhone decided to make the walls a terrible yellow color in this picture when they are really painted a soft, celery green (my phone is a terrible artist, truly, it has no idea what it’s doing). The mattress on the floor was my roommate’s and he planned on getting rid of it. I was actually glad it was there, because it allowed me to get some perspective on how my own bed would fit into the room. You’ll see there is only about two feet on either side of the mattress. The mattress takes up about three-fifths to two-thirds of the length of the room. So just over the majority of it.
When you turn around and faced the direction you just came from you saw the door to the closet on the left and the door to the rest of the house on the right. The door into the room opens to a mini-hallway, directly opposite to the bathroom door, the hall then opens up four feet later into the kitchen. It’s a perfect configuration, because you cannot see into my room or into the bathroom unless you are coming down the mini-hallway. And since the only things opening off the hallway are my bedroom, my bathroom, and the hall closet (which I’ve completely commandeered as my own), I can leave all the doors open and still have privacy. Being that Malary insists on having full access to wherever I am at all times, I pretty much always leave those doors wide open.
If you then turned once again, you got the same door to the rest of the house and the view out the second window in this room… which is of a ladder. Time for curtains!
Now, this room has only one shortcoming: it’s size. There are so many great things about it, I didn’t even care about that tiny issue (hahahhahaha so pun-ny!). The closet is huge and stretches back along the length of the room, holding all of my clothes so I don’t even need a dresser. And thank goodness for that, since there is no way I could fit a dresser into this room without losing the bookshelf. And #priorities, because that bookshelf is all I love in life. The house has wonderful wood floors and craftsman-style trim. The woodwork in the house is just gorgeous. I believe it’s fir, though I’m not positive. So many great things!
After I looked over my pictures and told the guys I’d move in, I immediately started thinking about how I’d fit my things into the space. For instance, unless I want my queen sized bed pushed up against a wall (something I abhor!), the bed would need to be on the wall beneath the high window, directly across from the entry door to the bedroom. Not ideal, but not a tragedy. My nightstands would have to be tiny to fit into the remaining space. What about the rest of my things? I had to place a desk and a bookshelf into the room as well. Lucky for me, it ended up being a perfect fit!
I moved in with the bed I’ve had since I was twelve years old. It’s from IKEA and I thought it was so amazing when I was in middle school… now I kind of hate it, which is why I built a wooden headboard for it. Now, you don’t even know the IKEA bed frame exists and I kind of love it. But then again, I might be getting a little bored of it… I have ideas, people, and they won’t go away! Anyways, this bed, plus old nightstands on short-term loan from my parents (gah! They already want them back!), plus my new trunk created this view when I walked into my room. Helloooo bedroom, may I sleep here tonight?
It’s pretty decent, okay looking. Far from terrible you might even say, if you were feeling generous. The nightstands are a bit too tall for the bed (unless I add a boxspring). But since I need to return the them to my parents, I’m on the hunt for new ones anyways. The bedding is boring at best. But look at that lovely patina-ed trunk! I love him so much! Currently, he is still empty, but that will change just as soon as I get a chance to actually organize some of my things and stop getting sick every two weeks. Give me a break winter!!! There are some nasty colds going around my office. I get paranoid about it now, ever since I got obsessed with Fear the Walking Dead earlier this year. Help!
My lamps I got for free while at my old job, they don’t actually work… yes I am the person with “decorative” lamps. That’s why they were free! I have big plans on re-wiring them. I also have big plans to replace them with something else and then use these elsewhere. Regardless of what I do, I have BIG plans! I do like the shape of these lamps though, it’s fun and different. Plus, I was looking for lamps online for a project at work the other day and I found these exact guys! They are Robert Abbey and I found them on on the Lamps Plus website retailing for about $250. I’d link to it, but I couldn’t find them again. Maybe they’ve since been discontinued? Pretty sweet deal considering I got them for free! In fact, I’m thinking about contacting the manufacturer and seeing if they have a warranty. The only piece that seems to be an issue is the dimmer. I can get lightbulbs to work for just a second, then they go out. So close! Dealing with these is definitely on my to-do list. Ignore the picture frame on the wall. It’s for experimental purposes on an existing nail left over from the previous resident. I need to hang my actual art still… along with about ten billion other things.
So that’s the view, the pretty view, when you walk into the room. The not so pretty view? My desk of chaos and doom. It’s become a catch all for everything I drop when I come into the room. And it holds all my office supplies. And random clothes I don’t feel like putting away. It’s another furniture piece I got from my parents and is barely holding itself together. When I moved here, I found out the desk is actually not connected to itself any more. It’s literally just a bunch of pieces all balancing on each other waiting for me to place something breakable and valuable on it so it can fall to the ground and shatter everything. It’s out to get me! Vengeance for moving it. Or something equally poetic.
I hung up six square bulletin boards above the desk with grand plans to make something wonderful and thoughtful and inspiring and chock full of memories. Instead I have a big ole pile of bleh. I need to work on that! The art piece was a birthday gift from my Aunt Pat and the lamp came from the dump pile after my Oma passed away. I still haven’t decided if I love it. It’s interesting, but it’s too big for that location. Maybe it should go live in the attic? But having task light when I’m working there is mighty helpful… Maybe something wall mounted? The desk could use some repair, organizing, a plant or two, and a ceramic animal. Oh, and a magic fairy to prevent me from every dropping random everythings on it each time I walk into the room. The desk fits this corner perfectly because you can sit at it and still have the closet door opened. Score! Somethings do work out in the end.
On the other side of the door to the room, some real magic happened. My bookshelf fit perfectly. Down to the quarter inch. Like the moving fairy came and blessed this space as the spot for storing books. It could not have been any tighter. I know design blogs have tried to convince the world that bookshelves are only supposed to have, like, three books per shelf and all, but you know what? That’s not my life. I LOVE books. I LOVE to read. I NEED ALL THE SHELVES. For books! Like they were intended to be used! In fact, some of those books are doubled up. The whole bookshelf does need some arranging. And I need to get the random pile of things to frame off the top of it, but at least I’m putting it to work! One definite item on the to-do list is getting that secured to the wall. Earthquake preparedness, y’all!
In front of it and the window sits one of my two parlor palms. The plant is pretty happy there. It looks nice and lush in real life. It makes me wiggle with happiness that I actually am able to keep something like this alive! Both the plant and the basket are from IKEA.
Here’s a wider shot so you can see how both of the spaces work together on either side of the door into the room.
Mini-in-bedroom-office on one side, library on the other. Entry door in the middle. I need more room. Or just more closets. That would be great. Another three closets please! Can you order closets on Amazon? If only… Eek! That reminds me I need to do more Christmas shopping! Has anyone actually finished that?
So that’s the beginning and the now of my bedroom. It’s got places to go with this room. Far places. It needs to evolve further and look better. Luckily, I’ve got a plan. I always have a plan. What’s exactly is on the checklist for this room? Take a look:
- New curtains
- New nightstands… Gotta return the loaners from my parents and get something a bit wider.
New bedding I ordered this from West Elm in all it’s colorful glory!
- Rug? Maybe… I kind of love the sheep skin, maybe layer a sisal beneath it?
- Straighten up and organize the desk area
- New desk lighting? Something wall-mounted would save much needed desk space…
- Create a fun, colorful, and inspiring bulletin board
- Organize my bookshelf
- Somehow fit even more book storage (Hi, my name is Laurel and I am book addict.)
- Secure the bookshelf to the wall so I am not crushed by books in the eminent San Francisco area earthquake.
- Integrate more plants! (Hi, my name is Laurel and I am also a house plant addict.)
- Frame and hang art on the walls. Picture frame rail? Gallery wall? Simple, single frame?
Re-wire or replace lamps I have new ones ready to go!
- Add bench by bed? Again a big maybe…
- Organize closet and laundry system
- Find place to store as of yet un-framed art
- Organize and store arts/crafts supplies better
- Fill up the trunk in an organized and useful manner!
So! Lots to do! Lots of plans! Lots of excitement! Heck, I love a list just as much as Young House Love and mine is not even one-quarter of the length of theirs! Maybe that’s why I love it? Regardless, lots of ideas! Now, who wants to help me paint and glue things? That desk is killing me!
Do you have a to-do list for the design of your spaces? Have a bedroom that needs a little help? Have furniture on loan from family member who are now asking for it back? Ahhhh, new nightstands where in the world are you???