Bedrooms: Furnished vs Decorated: Part 1

Bedrooms: Furnished vs Decorated: Part 1

What design elements take a room from simply furnished to beyond decorated? I thought it might be fun and hopefully inspirational, to look at some bedrooms that have a singular element, maybe even a surprising one, that lifts the design to a unique level. Designers and homeowners are often quite creative in their thinking. How can you take a room from ordinary to special? Let’s look at some ways as to how one might achieve this. Let’s face it, we all spend a lot of time in our bedrooms, and not always asleep. Even the simple act of passing through the bedroom should leave you thinking……this is a wonderful space and I am happy to have simply passed through. I love my own bedroom, and especially in the late afternoon when the winter light sets it aglow, it draws me in. I will often grab a book or simply slip onto the bed and spend a few minutes watching the wind blow through the trees, or the birds feeding. My one bedroom wall is all glass and is it allows for beautiful and maximum views. Today those views are of the winter snow that fell yesterday, and will remain longer than usual because the temperatures, like much of the east coast, will remain well below freezing during the day, and plunging to single digits at night. So onto some rooms that also have an element that adds to not just good design, but also asks you to come in and enjoy.

I have broken this into a two part post, one today, one tomorrow. I thought we could go through today’s photo’s where I point out  what I believe makes these rooms work, while naming the single feature I think is the exclamation mark at the end of the sentence. Then tomorrow, we can go through different photo’s, and you can evaluate them for what you think is the feature that makes a difference in the overall effect, and then I will share again my ideas. The purpose is to help you develop an eye for details. It should be fun, so even if we disagree, you will be training your eye and further developing your own sense of style. Here we go……remember, even if the style of the room isn’t your cup of tea, there are certain elements…..layering, color combinations, texture etc., that work for any design style, and the point is to discover what it is. Some might be a little tricky or surprising even, but let’s have some fun!

This bedroom utilizes a beautiful pair of lamps, a toile wallpaper behind the bed, but what makes really gives an extra design dimension is that the designer (or possibly owner) made the decision to turn the books sideways so that only the pages show. with just whites and neutrals showing, it serves as a backdrop for all the black and gray going on, including the black framed piece of artwork. So now look at it and try an envision it with all different kinds and colors of book bindings, and the effect would be more cluttered visually. The way it is now, the eye can easily move around the room and enjoy a cohesive picture.

This room is a bit easier……….if you were thinking the quilts, you were spot on. The room is neutral from top to bottom, with walls, doors and trim all the same color. What unifies the room are the identical beds, but it is the varied quilt patterns and colors that bring it alive. Notice that the quilts are folded down and there is an underlying white quilt on all three beds, another unifying factor.

Here it is the recess for the bed and the entire wall with beautiful trim work that brings this room from ah to ah-ha. Also all the paint and textile colors are in the same family……a good example of monochromatic decor.

This room has several really good design elements, but it is the headboard that makes the room. Unique in that it acts not just as a headboard for each bed, but bridges the beds, serving as a backdrop for the nightstand. If you take away the faux fur blanket (cover it with your hand or a piece of paper) the room still has impact. Same with the other parts…..the mirrored dresser, or the pillows. But take away the headboard, you have a nice room, but nothing more.

The artwork! It does a number of things……defines an interest of the rooms occupier. It picks up all the colors used through out the room. Even if this room did not have the bed nor linens, it would still be an interesting room to walk into. Symmetry is comforting. Now cover up the wall art. Nice room, but lacking that finishing touch.

You might be surprised here. It is the punch of orange in the blanket that hangs over the chair. You see a bit more in a book binding under the nightstand and of course in the fresh flowers. This is a pretty room no matter, but that added bright color keeps it from being predictable. You could change it out, using red in winter, greens, etc.  Go ahead…..cover the flowers and blanket……see the difference?

This one is easy….the mirror. Not any mirror either, but a hefty one, with size lots of bright color and reflection, but especially texture. It acts as a combination headboard/art and a focal point in the room.

This room has what we call layers…….color, texture, art. The equine art ties into the upholstered bench at the end of the bed, but for me what is the “pow” in this room is the carpet. It unifies and enhances all the other parts. No matter what colors you used for the pillows on the bed, the pattern of the carpet pulls together and mimics the soft tufts of the bench top, and the soft peaks in the pillow patterns, the color and soft arch of the horses neck. The clear lucite legs of the bench allow the eye to keep moving from the floor to the art over the bed.

Love the bed, the colors,also picked up in the art, but for me the finishing touch is the choice of the stool. Imagine it not there, or imagine a wood one…….not the same bit of surprise and glamour… ordinary bench or chair would not suffice.

Take away the chandelier and you would have no relief from all the white. The size and scale is nice. I think that it must provide lovely shadows at night when it is turned on. The only thing that seems a bit off for me is that the chandelier looks, at least in this photo, to be centered in the room instead of the middle of the bed and alcoves on each side of the bed.

What a way to use art to serve as a room partition. It appears to have been painted directly on the wall.

In this room, it is not just the choice or art and matting, but how the art has been mounted on the wall. An unexpected pattern in mounting the art surrounding the mirror is lovely.

This one was a bit tougher for me. The art is certainly high impact, but so is the choice in the bench at the end of the bed. You can cover up the light, and it doesn’t displease the eye. take away the art and the room can still work because it is monochromatic, and the curtains are so full and flowing. But when I take away the bench with the tray, something feels missing.

These are quite unique beds, but imagine them without the books which provide texture opposite the smoothness of the large head and footboards. The wood from the bookcases offer a visual weight also. Although the designer did not turn the books so that only the pages showed, the book bindings are fairly “quiet”. I would love to come and be a guest in this bedroom.

In this bedroom, I like the stained boards on the one wall, but it is the size, and the contrasting smooth white color of the deer head that gives it oomph, and uses the white from the curtains and the bedding to unify it. The plaid blanket is a great element for layering, but if it wasn’t there, you wouldn’t miss it as much as the pop of white on the wall over the bed.

In this bedroom, the chandelier adds glamour, but I think that the textured wall covering is key. If the surface were smooth, the effect would be much less interesting.

You could take away the mirror, or change out the dresser, but here the carpet ties the room together with the greek key edging pulling together the shape of the night stand doors, the duvet pattern as well as the colors throughout the room.

For me, the leopard pillow completely elevates this room to a different level. Yes, the coral trim color is pretty, the rug pattern and the headboard are pretty. All the elements are, but there is something about a leopard print that has never gone out of style, and adds something soooo extra. Cover it up……..see what I mean.

Pretty and feminine. The architectural details of the beams, steep roof line and the lime stained horizontal boards, coupled with simple but elegant headboards and mostly white pallete are given added punch with the choice of a bright green used in a limited way. But it is the choice of a sisal or jute carpet that grounds it. It ties into the wood trim of the headboard, the rustic white floors and the walls. It’s a close call between the color and the carpet.

It is a tie here for me……the benches at the end of the bed and the gold framed image above the dresser.

The large empty frame. So simple yet it does finish the room. The stone wall is gorgeous, strong and permanent. The frame softens the hardness just enough, yet in reality is actually framing the art of the stonemason. I use empty frames a lot in my work, mostly antique ones. The colored pieces inside the one corner of the frame are all the tones found throughout the room.

This was also a toss up for me. Both are terrific for their impact. The covering on the wall is so cool. But I lean towards the ghost chair. It allows your eye to see almost the entire room as a whole. A heavy chair would stop the eye…….Very interesting room.

For the Bohemian taste! This is originality indeed, whether for budget reasons or not. A bed, a colorful coverlet and chalkboard walls and headboard. The choice of a round fringed carpet with fringe that almost looks like it was also drawn on the floor was a terrific choice for the floor.

The designer took the shape of the round window and repeated it throughout the room to balance all the linear aspects like the bed, the beams etc. What finishes this room for me is the choice of a kelly green and gray blanket. I can’t imagine another color that would work with all the tones and undertones in this room.

A rustic bedroom is softened by using a neutral polka-dot, but choosing to also cover the box spring (or maybe it is the side rails) in the same fabric as the pillow adds a softness to the rustic wood. Notice there are also circles on the front of the night stand….large polka dots if you will.


I hope this was a fun post for you to read. It really is in the tiniest of details that we move a painted and furnished room to a decorated room that reflects who we are, what we like, and also offers, particularly in a bedroom, a respite from hectic lives. Tomorrow we will look at bedroom details again, but be ready to say to yourself……”I know the answer to this one!”

Thanks for coming by. Laters, charisse



  1. The first picture is ridiculous! Books are meant to be read and you can’t find the one you want if the spine is turned to the wall. This is pure affectation, not sophistication. Anything that is forced (and that goes for too many of these rooms) is the opposite of good design.

    • Your comment brings to light a lot of different questions. Ridiculous? From your perspective, yes. To the person who lives in the room, probably not. When I first entered the world of design, I also felt a sense of betrayal when people bought stacks of books to fill a bookcase with no intention of ever reading them. But using books as presented in the first room that you commented on, has for me become an evolved acceptance. I now look at it as a piece of large wall art, with more texture than a piece of framed art. Design is personal, incredibly varied, and emotional. If it follows good established design principles, while it may not be your cup of tea, it may still be considered well designed.One’s person’s forced is another person’s whimsy. Thank you for inspiring a future blog post and for taking the time to read and comment. charisse

      • Ana Celia Casorso

        I agreed with you, I love books even just for decoration and many times when you don’t even read them, they may have a sentimental value to you. Good job! Love your decore ideas.
        Ana Casorso

        • Sorry for the delay in responding to your comment. I have many books that are sentimental and can’t imagine parting with them, and can’t imagine my home with books. Thanks for taking the time to comment and reading the post. I hope you will come back. laters. charisse

  2. One of the most fun posts I’ve ever read—from alll the blogs I read! Thanks so much!

  3. This was so much fun and very informative, Charisse!
    So many items I would have missed without your
    comments. Many beautifully appointed rooms.
    Looking forward to Part II

  4. Fabulous post. I both enjoyed and honed my eye. Thanks so much!!

    • Hi Allyson…..I am so glad to hear you enjoyed the post! Tomorrow’s post will be along the same vein and hopefully fun as well. Thank you for visiting WH&G. Hope it is warmer your way than here – 5 degrees at the moment. Laters, charisse

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