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!

A bedroom with a flag

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

Collage of bedroom items to recreate room

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 minimalistExample: 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 Provencher

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.