This may seem a little strange, but many decorators find that choosing the night stands first is the best way to design a bedroom. Clients are often vague about the sort of bed they’d like, and may even seem somehow shy about admitting what sort of bedroom furniture they’re looking for. There are so many possible styles to choose from, the easiest way to narrow it down is to look at different styles of nightstand. This can then be used to determine the look of the room.
The origin of the nightstand is sadly unromantic. In the days before indoor toilet facilities, many households had cabinets beside the bed to enclose a chamber pot for use during the night, hence original night stands all feature a cupboard. Modern night stands, in contrast, may consist of drawers, shelves, or simply a surface designed to hold a clock, bedside lamp and glass of water.
In European homes the nightstand is known, more literally as a ‘bedside table’ and is usually quite small, night stands in the USA are typically 28 or even 30 inches wide. The height of the surface is important for many reasons. Too low, and it is easy to upset the contents when getting into or out of the bed.
Another good reason to have a table at your bedside is to hold books. A set of decorative bookends makes an ideal accent for a nightstand and keeps bedtime reading close at hand. If this leaves little room on the surface for a bedside lamp, use wall mounted lighting with a shade which angles the light down and towards the reader.
With the design of the nightstands decided, all that remains is to choose the other furnishings. If a television and DVD or blue-ray player are required, this can be handled by a media armoire opposite the bed or, more conveniently, by running cables from a bedside unit, under the floor covering to a wall mounted flat screen TV. Another solution would be install a television in a unit at the end of the bed and have it lift into place at the touch of a remote control. This is ideal in larger bedrooms, leaving the wall opposite the bed free for a romantic fireplace.
Bedrooms cry out for full extravagant window treatments; decorative drapes and matching valance can be added to functional, blackout curtains, and should be full length if possible. If privacy is a problem a bottom layer of sheers is essential, but if not substitute a sheer balloon blind for a romantic look, a roman blind made of lace if you’re looking for something ultra feminine, a plain roman blind for something more masculine or a full, swagged Austrian blind for total extravagance.
If you’re looking for the opulent feeling of a four poster, but don’t have the budget, use a triple curtain rod and mount it on the wall behind the bed. On the top rod use a valance to match that used on the windows, on the next hang a pair of matching curtains and at the bottom level hang a contrasting fabric. Then, simply pull the curtain pair apart using tie backs at either side of the bed. The effect is luxurious, and as long as you are careful when you choose your drapes, it won’t break the bank.