This is an intimate environment and somewhere to please yourselves. If that’s going over the top and down the road with wild style or bold romantic choices — then no apologies are necessary in this highly private territory.
The idea of a man’s space versus a woman’s is downright annoying when we all know men who can recline like a drowsy cat in a bed of roses — and women who run screaming from anything but the neutrality of blue/grey/green/grey and a lot of cooling white.
If there’s a compromise to be made between you as a couple, ensure the dominate decorator is not over-stimulating the passive partner (in the wrong way) — overwhelming the room in aggressive, cold, or flouncy choices. Communicate.
Louise Smith, Senior Colour Designer for Dulux advises: “From a female perspective, traditional feminine hues of damson, powder pink, and cream combine extremely well with masculine khaki, slate grey, and teal.
"The look here is classic, understated and very sure of itself, with rich dark wood and confident furniture or accessories.”
Keep in mind that if you’re going to throw something highly dramatic into the mix, make it a moveable feast — bed linens and curtains can be layered and changed season by season.
Balance light and enveloping darks and don’t place style over comfort. Here’s a few current favourites to update the most important room in the house.
Sounds terrifying, I know, but in classic paisleys, ethnic, and abstracts prints, what once ruled the walls in vinyl can sit better behaved on bedding.
Set against crisp, flat white or putty wall, and layer prints if you’re brave. Be careful that the over-enthusiastic rhythm of any wallpaper or pattern doesn’t rattle your dreams.
We love Ted Baker’s oil-on-water style Marble, new at Arnotts, (kings from €150), and Orla Kiely’s gently faded Scribble Stem, €93 a double cover, Next.
Ikea never really left the 70s and my choice would be their deconstructed but dramatic Bolltistel (from €35 a set). It’s crisp, pure linen Linblomma range is an unbeatable €85 for king quilt and four pillowcases. A high end, Irish linen pillowcase on it’s own, retails at around €80.
Warm woods and white
Yes, it’s safe. And yes, it’s also fresh and uplifting, so why fight the easiest path to relaxation and contemporary calm?
Scandinavian light is a classic style using white walls, white cotton/linen sheets, and accents in beech, chestnut, and even ebony.
Wood in the bedroom should have a polished feel, but use the texture of woven rugs, throws, and artwork to take off any frosty edges.
Keep the pattern count low and the framing of the bed simple — timber shelving and a plain, oversized plywood board set long and low for books and lighting are ideal.
Following the hippy, ethnic road, warm things up with unusual wicker pieces such as Carolyn Donnelly’s superb faux wicker side table, now on sale at €50 at Dunnes Stores.
Soft, romantic and in larger than life mixed blossoms — utterly feminine. One fabulous bouquet if you’re doing walls or bedding should be enough.
Try Matthew Williamson Green ‘Azure’ bedding or John Rocha RJR Hope, if you prefer blues (both €30 a bed set, Debenhams) or Argos’ Photographic Paris, sheer glamour in pink and grey.
Use these readymade shrubby palettes to pick out accents for the rest of the room and arrange your garden against calming neutral walls. Staying with accessories? Try Roberto Cavalli glorious flower cushions from €192 from Amara.com.
Into the dark
It shows every hair and fleck of skin (sorry), but black bedding is back. Even flowers have taken a darker turn into gothic splendour.
I think the craze for gloomy rose prints in black and purple is very 50 Shades and looks better in print than in reality, and it’s not going to last (not least as even black bedding eventually fades, even at 30C).
For a more interesting tension, try chalky tones of ash pink and charcoal or damson and white with metallic highlights (copper is still everywhere in lighting and accessories).
Velvet curtains in sophisticated darks are comforting and also obliterate the light beautifully. For black bedding, Littlewoods have a deep, dark trunkful.
The Blue Avenger
If the bed, lovemaking, or ill-health is not keeping you up at night, it’s time to look further. There is a sheaf of research now available showing the link between light ‘seepage’ and sleep disturbance.
However, many of us have introduced the added stress to our natural circadian cycle of what is termed blue light, our final fully conscious moments flickering with electronic devices that snuggle down with us night after night.
The blue spectrum of white light is what boosts a lively mood, sharpens our attention and adds split seconds to our reaction times.
Yes, the main offenders for electronic abuse are teenagers, but I’ll admit my marital bed is like PC World most nights, me stabbing away at final copy on a laptop, while my husband drools over the latest BMW Mark 7 on his smart phone.
Dr Mari Hysing of the Regional Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare in Bergen, Norway, recommended that the same ban for television in youngsters’ bedrooms should be extended to computers and mobile phones.
Are these kids driving cars, holding down full-time jobs, nurturing young children? It begs the question that what’s better for them is also good for adults?
Research in 2012 by Harvard Health Centre discovered that ‘blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours)’.
Advice? Read under a dim red glow (15w GLS) rather than bright LEDs, and put away those screens at least two hours before bedtime.