Decorating Your Home, Design, Interior Design

11 Design Tricks to Create a Calming Bedroom Straight Out of Architectural Digest

Article originally posted by Architectural Digest

Minimalist bedroom ideas are dotted all over Pinterest and Instagram, promoted by furniture giants like IKEA, curated by the most innovative designers, and lauded by celebs like Busy Phillips. But what exactly makes a minimalist bedroom so appealing?

The philosophy of simple interior decorating and architecture can be found around the world and through history. Way before hygge—the Danish concept of cozy interior design—there was feng shui, a Chinese philosophy fashioned anew to create zen homes with simple elements and good energy. And although hygge may be a worldwide phenomenon, lagom (from Sweden) and hodo-hodo (from Japan) share a similar conceit: Simplicity is the way to a content home. Lagom translates to “just the right amount,” a reminder to focus on quality over quantity. And it makes sense: Once the weather cools and the holidays come and go, it’s only natural to desire simplicity and comfort.

Hodo-hodo is nearly the same principle, and it translates to “just enough.” Taku Satoh’s recent book, Just Enough Design: Reflections of the Japanese Philosophy of Hodo-hodo, describes how to apply this approach in designing a room: “Hodo-hodo is deliberately holding back, fully aware of the ideal of completion. Holding back before completion gives us precisely the room that we need to respond to any object according to our unique sensibilities. You could say that this space allows us to customize our relationship with the objects.”

But how can you achieve the coveted yet elusive minimalist bedroom in your own abode? Anything goes in experimenting with minimalism: blend hygge, lagom, and hodo-hodo for the optimal calm factor. At the end of the day, as Calgary designer Krista Hermanson says, the most important part of minimalist bedroom design is creating “snuggle spots,” places that are “perfect for a cup of tea.” Here, 11 down-to-earth ideas ranging from implementing limewash paint and creating an art-inspired room refresh to adding zen-inducing furniture.

1. Try limewash paint

Designer Elisa Baran adds gentle texture to walls with limewash paint.
Photo: Emmanuelle Yang

Creating texture without adding too many elements can be a tricky game, but Elisa Baran—designer of this bedroom for influencer Alisha Marie—found the perfect solution in limewash paint. One of the original house paints, limewash is a Belgian design staple, made of crushed lime, water, and pigments. The result is an aged-looking and textured paint perfect for bringing depth into a minimalist bedroom. “The limewash allows [Alisha Marie] to avoid using artwork as the textural paint is art in itself,” Baran says. “It feels calming and cool, a space filled with necessities only.” Ready to paint your walls with limewash? Baran recommends a block brush, painters tape, and JH Wall Paints.

2. Match nightstands to floor finish

Seattle-based interior designer Jessica Nelson was tasked with creating a sanctuary in this client’s bedroom and delivered with an almost unnoticeable choice: matching the nightstands to the floor. “We focused on a neutral palette with texture over pops of color here, creating a really cohesive, calming feel that is quite restful for your brain,” Nelson says. Sticking with the same material and color is key because they create clean lines and unity in the room.

3. Implement a subtle accent wall

If you’re looking for comforting vibes but still have a maximalist streak, express it with an accent wall. With the right design, the room will still maintain a minimalist energy while the centerpiece gets to shine. Laurence Beysecker, of Maison Amarande in Lisbon, designed this wood-paneled accent wall that she describes as “defining a cozy alcove for the bed area.” Keep everything else in the room simple and symmetrical, like the matching lamps and closets, so the accent wall can do all the talking.

4. Go for statement lighting

Interior designer Victoria Ninette opts for frosted globe lighting to make a subtle statement.
Photo: Victoria Ninette

Designer Victoria Ninette was looking for “something special that wasn’t too loud” for the lighting in this minimalist bedroom. “It had to make a subtle statement during the day and be something soft and calming in the evening,” Ninette says. This frosted glass chandelier with a dimmer met these needs and fitted seamlessly into the room, which features curves in the bed frame, mirror, and lights. To get the same look when using a blend of lighting sources, Ninette recommends keeping all the finishes the same, like the blackened brass seen here.

5. Don’t be afraid of bold colors

Use the gallery wall palette to inspire soothing decor displayed in this Dawson Design Group bedroom.
Photo: James Brady

Minimalism is more than just monochrome beige rooms. Coziness, simplicity, and just enough design can also flourish with complimentary colors and a little bit of symmetry, like this room designed by Anita Dawson of Dawson Design Group in San Diego. Focusing on the use of diverse hues, Dawson built out this room from the colors found in her clients’ Japanese box prints. “Both midcentury and Japanese designs work with pops of strong color as well as black accents; and keeping the bed wall symmetrical and clutter behind drawers keeps the space minimal and chaos-free,” Dawson says. This is a great DIY on a budget. To achieve the same look, follow Dawson’s approach and curate your palette based on the art you already have.

6. Mix shapes and textures

A play on shapes by designers of Ecru Studio Photo: Suiyu Studio

“Minimalism doesn’t mean boring,” says Jin Chen, director at Ecru Studio, located in Taipei, Taiwan. His team curated this bedroom design with an eye for diverse lines and feels. The curving lamp, the round wool cushions, and the silk rectangular pillows create interest for the eye without complicating things. These blended elements “enrich the space and make it more artistic and vivid,” the perfect compliment to a minimalist palette.

7. Embellish with simple florals

Pampas grass and greenery subdue this minimalist bedroom designed by Casa Marcelo. Photo: Dilan Leon

Looking for an easy way to add a calming minimalist vibe to your room? Rely on simple florals and plants, or “accessorize with natural materials,” as the Falls Village, Connecticut, designer Abigail M. Horace describes of this design choice. Not only will bouquets and plants bring the natural world inside during any season, they will also enhance any palette. For example, the Casa Marcelo designer says, “The pampas chosen here were intentional, to add softness to the space, while not taking away from the oak elements and natural colors.”

8. Lean on natural materials

Author Reena Simon proves that a minimalist bedroom doesn’t have to skimp on texture.
Photo: Reena Simon

“Bringing nature indoors,” as DIY’er and author Reena Simon says, is a great way to build a minimalist vibe for a bedroom. In her space Simon wanted to echo the nature that surrounds her house. “Our bedroom has floor-to-ceiling windows and is surrounded by trees, so it feels like we are cocooned in amongst them.” The wood light fixture with dimmable bulb, the pillows and bedding made from natural materials, and the rough sawn wood flooring bring Simon’s room together as the perfect hygge hideaway.

9. Add depth with a big bed frame

Use a four-poster bed to add volume without the bulk, a trick from designer Luis Laplace. Photo: Barbara Bernardi

Have a lot of space to fill but still want to keep your room simple? Head designer Luis Laplace of Paris-based studio Laplace, recommends a big minimalist bed frame, like this stained oak bed that fits perfectly in a client’s baroque-style home and embraces a sleek aesthetic. “It is a good opportunity to use such a bed where the ceilings were quite high. It added highness to the space, almost like a shelf,” Laplace says. Although the bed is big, it isn’t imposing, adding depth to the minimalist room instead of an unneeded layer.

10. Embrace warm tones

To keep the minimalist space from looking bare, designer Ezz Wilson adds a rust-colored duvet to the bed. Photo: Ezz Wilson

Minimalist design is one way to adore quality furniture and accessories for longer, according to Ezz Wilson, designer and influencer in Portland. The clear desk lets the eyes focus on other more artsy elements of her room, and the simple sconce draws attention and works with any bedding Wilson picks. In this way color can become the focus of the room. By mixing soft and sharp whites with this rusty orange, Wilson creates a warm and minimalist space, which she dubs “restful on the eyes.”

11. Hang floor-to-ceiling drapery

Fusing hygge with minimalism can seem complicated at first, but focusing on simple elements like window treatments can quickly pull a room together with a very cozy feel. To create an environment of comfort in this room, the designers at Krista Hermanson Design & Construction in Calgary, Canada, hung long and creamy curtains. “Running the drapery from floor to ceiling increases the sense of volume and white space in the room. Selecting a gorgeous subtle neutral in a warm texture creates a cozy night-time space,” Krista Hermanson says.

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