The Intentional Apartment: The Simple Bedroom

Great men throughout history have sequestered themselves in rugged and gentlemanly studies. We may not have a study (hell, barely a bedroom at this point) but we can still create a place that feels cultured and thought-out.

Let’s face it, decorating our apartments can be a daunting task. It might not be an appealing task, either. But if you ever have guests over, you owe it to them to at least make an effort. There’s no need to panic at the word “decorate,” though, because today we’re going to lay out a simple plan for creating a stylish and affordable new bedroom.

The room that we will be using as our inspiration is open and spare, but has a warm, inviting feel. An alluring bedroom is always important. First, let’s talk about color. Many of the accent colors in this room are neutral, letting the bright red hues stand out prominently. And using one bright color as the focal point, red in this case, will draw your eye to the details in the room. Red is an easy color to match, too – most reds pair well with each other. And second, this room is about placement. Arranging each item in a deliberate way will give the space a sense of style. And there are no tricky do-it-yourself projects required – just purchase the items and position them like the photo and you’re done!

Inspiration by Design Sponge

As the old adage goes, imitation is the highest form of flattery – so today we are going to use the image above as inspiration to recreate a similar feel in our own apartments. Once it is broken down into manageable, bite-sized pieces, I think you’ll find that it’s really quite simple to create a comfortable, attractive bedroom. And here’s the best part – everything listed below is affordable… most items cost well under $100.

Many rentals come with white walls and wood floors, so if that is the case, then you’re already half way there. Most of the componants are available online, with the exception of the plant.

Make It Your Own

1. A rug adds warmth and comfort to a room, making a soft landing spot for your feet when you get out of bed in the morning. The red tones in this southwestern-inspired rug will complement the red in the flag, and the neutral tones will look nice next to the weathered furniture. Lebowski was right – a rug can really tie the room together. Example: Overstock, $45

2. Vintage memorabilia can be a great conversation starter, and it doesn’t always have to be expensive. Ebay is a great resource for such items. The red stripes will be a great focal point for the room… and really, what’s cooler than having a piece of history hanging on your wall? Example: Ebay, $21

3. Soften up that hard wooden headboard with a striped wool blanket. Sure, grandma’s knitted afghan will do the trick; but a vintage camp blanket would be even better, adding to the nostalgic feel of the bedroom. And sitting up in bed will be much more comfortable with thick wool padding behind your back. Added bonus: it will make a great picnic blanket next summer when you’re trying to woo your hot date. Example: Etsy, $15

4. A plant is one of the easiest ways to add a little life to a space. Not only will it purify the air, it will provide a sense of nature indoors. Pictured above is a Jade plant, but any variety will do. Home Depot has a large selection of indoor plants year-round. But don’t forget to check the tag – it will tell you whether the plant needs full sun to survive, or if it will be okay in a shady room. And for that extra special touch, grab an empty coffee can from your recycling bin to house the plant. Example: Home Depot

5. Lamps can be both functional and pleasing to the eye. This particular style is called a swing arm lamp, and it can be adjusted to shine light on whatever job you might be trying to accomplish. Again, the slight vintage feel will add to the classic tone of the room. The silver finish gives the timeless shape a modern edge. Although light fixtures can sometimes be very pricey, this one won’t break the bank at under $30. Example: Walmart, $30

6. This last item is the pièce de résistance of the room. It may be the least colorful, but it packs the biggest punch. The weathered look of the pine gives it a well-loved appearance, as if it has been saved from decades past. But its unusual silhouette is what makes this table special. The  shape of the legs toes the line between ornamental and minimalist. Example: Target, $63

Now, there a few finishing touches that will give the room that polished look. Grab a jacket from your closet and display it proudly on the wall. Who would have thought that your beat up old work coat could be decorative? Display an old black and white picture in a white matte and frame so that it blends seamlessly with the rest of the room. Prop it up against the wall instead of hanging it on a nail for an unexpected twist. And lastly, pile a couple of your favorite books on the nightstand to add a personal touch.

And that’s all there is to it. You’ve created an inviting bedroom worthy of guests. If you can view decorating as a series of small tasks like buying a lamp or framing a photo, rather than one big overwhelming job, then you’ll see that a small effort can yield big results.

Faith Towers is a designer and writer with a passion for all things creative. She received her art degree from Skidmore College, and her work has been featured in many well-known publications such as Forbes, Yahoo and Curbly. Visit her blog Design Fixation for more creative inspiration.


  • Reply December 11, 2012


    Perfect timing – about to decorate the post divorce apartment. One question – the bed, any info about that? I like that rough hewn style.


    • Reply December 11, 2012


       Ikea, I have one just like it.

      • Reply December 11, 2012


        Thanks Dan – guess I would have seen it this weekend – i’ll keep my eyes open.

  • Reply December 11, 2012


    Hi folks. The exact lamp pictured in the “inspiration” bedroom is available at Ikea. I’ve had it for 2 years.

  • Reply December 12, 2012


    Make this a regular series!

  • Reply December 12, 2012


    +1 for making this a new series… I’m also about to have an entire house to redecorate after an upcoming divorce. Just as we enjoy your fashion inspiration, I think an interior design segment would be fantastic.

  • Reply December 12, 2012

    Sal Picataggio

    What a great looking room.  I’ll be definitely using the blanket over the headboard idea.  My fiance and I happen to have two monogrammed throw blankets now (one was a gift, one was something she got for us after popping the questions and realizing her initials wouldn’t even change), and over the headboard would be a perfect place for one of them.  

  • Reply December 12, 2012


    +2 on making this a regular series. Would love to see home offices, bathrooms, and man caves.

    Love it.

  • Reply December 13, 2012


    I only really like half of the layout. The flag and hoodie don’t look right to me, and the the OCD in me feels like the picture should really be hanging on the wall. The rest of it, with the bed, table, lamp, plant, magazine rack – all those things rock.

    • Reply December 13, 2012


      * jacket and hat, not hoodie

  • Reply December 16, 2012


    This would be a great series. Can I request something on bedding? I’ve been looking for months and am having trouble finding sheets and a comforter that are manly enough and don’t look like I live in a dorm.

  • Reply March 29, 2013


    Does anybody know where I can find this night stand? The link is no longer active.

  • Reply May 27, 2013


    Where could I find that bed frame or something similar?

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