Tips on designing the perfect bedroom

There’s lots to consider when designing a bedroom, as Kya deLongchamps discovers, with everything from storage to privacy being tops in importance.

WITHDRAWING to the bedroom should provide a sense of escape, protection, and the quiet joy of being completely cut off from the humdrum, everyday domesticity pervading the rest of the house.

Buying, building or re-vamping your inner sanctum, keep these proven design winners in mind.

Circulation

Crucial in a bedroom — hotel designer’s use the same floor plan decade in and out to overcome the stop-start annoyance of poor trafficking. Ensure you and any partner can manoeuvre around the room on a real morning on a work day.

Built-in wardrobes taken to the ceiling with sliding panels are the ultimate solution for space, his ‘n’ her division, and for handling sheer volume.

Allow bedside tables to morph to attractive, useful chests of drawers if needed. Go long and low obviously. The swing of a wardrobe or entry way door can be invasive for two people sharing a room.

Privacy

When planning, ensure the room does not feel that it directly abridges a public space even if it does. Regular traffic at the top of the stairs can compromise that essential sense of intimacy.

A small entry way formed by a built-in closet on one side can provide a virtual bridge and will gift acoustic insulation.

The direction the door swings in can make a huge difference shielding areas of the room — the bed in particular. If noise from downstairs is invading your sense of peace and comfort, it can be addressed with added joist insulation boarding or bats.

Storage

A bedroom demands a high degree of furnishing and together with socket positions there’s generally only one or two places that bulky bed can actually go.

Do all your clothes have to be in the bedroom?

Explore the potential of the en suite or adjacent areas. Don’t include a dressing table unless highly desired and easily accommodated, as an ensuite counter really does perform this role.

Try houseplanhelper.com for a range of layouts with or without an en-suite to include your chosen bed size and principal storage pieces.

Lighting

Tips on designing the perfect bedroom

Include a switch for the main light by the bed. Dimmers can create atmosphere when you’re feeling playful.

CLF or LED lighting added to wardrobes and drawers make dressing in low light while your partner sleeps so much easier and will encourage you to use drawer dividers and internal tailoring you’ve paid extra to include.

Ensure your reach to the bedside lights is effortless and that lights are weighty enough to be stable when thrashing for a switch in the dark. Low-hanging, off-centre ceiling lighting (staggered by height or single and over-sized) is very on-trend and can be used in place of table lamps by the bed.

En suite essentials

Tips on designing the perfect bedroom

Many master bedrooms come with an en-suite as standard and with 2m square and tucking the tap end into the eaves, you might even fit in a bath.

The feel of this room should be as private and personal as the bedroom and aesthetically flow from one to the other. Hide pipework, and take the toilet and basin to the wall to increase square millimetres with luxury wall mounted units or an airy half-pedestal.

All in one basin, storage units plus a mirror cabinet wall hung, are an excellent answer where space is tight. Go for good materials as budget models are often cheaply-made in light plastics that won’t last. Wet rooms and low-level shower trays must be seamlessly tanked for success.

Versatile change

Life is all about choices. If you move into a bedroom plan you hate, invest in a shake up. Even great built-ins in the wrong position, can tower over a room and bully the positioning of a bed.

Yes, tearing out, re-designing, adding power points and throwing in more lighting will mean expense — but the results could be utterly transforming.

Would it make more sense for you as parents to take a modest room and give two children the supposed master for now, allowing them company and that extra square metre?

Judge the selection of rooms on your highly personal needs — make the layout work for you.

Real intimacy

Your senses should be stroked in the bedroom, and I mean by those surrounding materials chosen in its decoration. If hard flooring is preferred, add deep toe-swallowing rugs to alight onto from bed. Dark colour can provide an enfolding glamour and balanced against lighter tonal shifts, is worth including even in a smaller room. Layering the bed in throws and pillows is an invitation to relax by day or night.

The most recent research by sleep specialists suggests that we ban laptops and resist including a television in our bedrooms to reduce the potential hazard of ‘electronic-smog’ and to help our biological (circadian) clock wind down to deep sleep.

HEADBOARD HEADS UP

Tips on designing the perfect bedroom

* Your headboard can reach up and around you in a handsome hug. Ensure the depth of the board, including padding, does not interfere with your reach to a bedside table and any lighting.

* To push a low ceiling back, choose a taller headboard. A longer, lower board is more suited to a small room. Rich timbers in 1970s teak with integral shelves are increasingly sought after.

* A great colour can add a valuable punch of colour, crowning the bed. If you love the shape of your existing board, paint or cover it and staple firmly to the rear.

* Creative and on a budget — architectural salvage can provide a unique headboard. To upscale a freestanding box-spring, consider wall mounting a group of old doors, window shutters, palettes, a screen, old table top, a garden gate, even a period window with the glass secured or completely removed.

* A fabric board will pick up stains from hair products, tea splashes, and more. A removable cover is ideal, but most materials can be carefully spot cleaned. Vacuum dust from velvet or other deeper pile with the hose of your vacuum regularly.

AN ECO-SOUND NIGHT’S SLEEP

Tips on designing the perfect bedroom

James Hayes and his team at Natural Sleep make 100% Irish beds in Ballylanders, Co Limerick. Intrigued by his bespoke, handmade products, I asked him about the benefits of a mattress in natural materials.

What’s different about your mattresses

In a word, comfort — it’s the most important component in all our mattress ranges from the less expensive models to our top of the range therapeutic beds.

We manufacture all types of mattress from Bonnell spring, pocket spring to memory foam. We also use a lot of natural materials like lamb’s wool, natural latex and cotton.

Do they have springs like a standard bed?

Yes — most do. There can be a combination of materials used, for instance, in our Nature’s Touch, we use pocket springs, Natural Latex, lamb’s wool and organic cotton. It’s the Rolls Royce of mattresses.

In the coming weeks we will be introducing a full natural latex mattress which is the closest you can get to sleeping on organic material, naturally hypo-allergenic, dust mite resistant and will not support bacteria so it’s a much healthier sleep.

What about hot sleepers or someone who is say, overweight or very tall?

Memory foam is not suitable for hot sleepers. Our mattresses all carry deep layers for maximum comfort, particularly our therapeutic range, which uses layers of lamb’s wool, latex and organic cotton to deliver a deep, restful sleep.

These materials are specifically chosen for their ability to maintain comfortable temperatures, helping to regulate body heat throughout your sleep.

A mattress must support the body correctly. Heavier people do need more support.

We can create a custom mattress especially for you, with very little difference to the cost.

What about allergens — is going natural an advantage?

Some of our mattresses are designed to be anti-dust mite and reduce allergens. We use the natural powers of lavender, lemon and eucalyptus in our own treatment, Greenfirst, to create a protective barrier and seal mattresses from harmful agents (without impacting on the softness).

We also use bio-fabrics such as latex, which is derived from tree sap and has anti-dust mite and anti-allergy properties.

However you will notice I have used the words anti-dust mite repellent as there is no 100% way of keeping dust mites out of a mattress. I am an asthmatic myself so it’s an area I am particularly interested in and am working on a project and hoping to launch a 100% anti-dust mite mattress later this year.

What price would I expect to pay for a natural, Irish bed of this kind?

A double Natural sleep mattress can retail from approx €300 to €1,200 See our website www.naturalsleep.ie  for local stockists.


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