Bringing Back the Red Bedroom
At least once a week, I see an article about how the paint color of your bedroom will impact how “restful” the space will be and red continually lands at the bottom of the list. Although I have led a loud resistance against the red bedroom myself, we have defied the odds and made an extremely “restful” space all within four red walls. Our master bedroom is red, no holds barred, red. And if our specific red were to be analyzed for its potential “restfulness,” it would probably get even worse reviews because the color itself is bolder than a typical red. I would never have selected red for our bedroom but it was one of very few compromises that I had to make with George in selecting the paint colors for our home. So notwithstanding my predisposition against red, we've styled our bright red bedroom to be a restful and serene getaway from it all. Truly, when we are in our bedroom we feel like we are in a different land. I love when a room transports you. We hang out in that space just as much or more than any other room in the house – it is one of our favorite places to be. Rather than what I feared - a tired old red bedroom, our room is edgy but cozy all at the same time.
When we first moved in, our master bedroom was a very airy, playful blue. While I actually kind of liked the color, it didn't seem right for our master bedroom and it also needed quite a few touch-ups and the prior owner had not left us any extra paint for that room. Rewind a couple of years, when I moved in to George's house, he had already painted his bedroom red and that was the one room that we did not repaint there when we did our updates. So, when we were in the process of discussing paint colors for this house (we were lucky enough to be able to paint the entire house before we moved in), George was lobbying for a red bedroom.
I don't really know why I didn't want red in the bedroom. Red just seemed like the color that everyone painted their master bedroom back in the 90's. I think people thought that it would make their bedroom hot and steamy. My husband said he wanted red (I'm not sure why because I don't think red is even one of his favorite colors) and he let me pretty much have carte blanche with the rest of our paint selection. So, it was going to be red and I didn't really have a great back-up contender to pitch. (This is where I admit that since I am a lawyer, it is sometimes second nature for me to present arguments in a lawyerly fashion even when discussing non-lawyerly things. This is probably very annoying to people – mainly George, he really deserves a good dinner tonight or something. Anyways...) We chose from a variety of Behr's reds and ultimately selected “January Garnet” in eggshell. This is not that tired old red you see in all of the bedrooms that makes me want to yawn. It is deep and dark but bright, bold and playful at the same time.
This was by far the most difficult room to paint in the entire house. All in all, it ended up taking three coats to get the true “January Garnet” up on the walls. We even had to go out to get a second gallon of paint so that we didn't have to skimp. As it turns out, red is a very unforgiving color. Who knew. And as dark as the color is, it was difficult to cover the light blue underneath. Add the fact that George and I both have this disease called “perfectionism” when it comes to this sort of thing and we had the perfect storm. After two days of painting, our master bedroom was red. January Garnet, to be precise.
I would describe our entire home's furniture collection as “curated” and “eclectic.” Pretty much everything we have in our home has been handpicked by one of us and honestly, when we in the past have had to choose which pieces we would keep or get rid of, many times we end up choosing pieces for sentimental value and figuring out a way to make it functional. Making things our style - that is always important and we have integrated all of our pieces even though none of them match. In fact, I believe the whole “buy a whole room in a box” fad is no longer really a thing, and for that I am glad.
The bed (Overstock) was the first piece of furniture that I bought for myself when I set out on my own. My big girl bed, if you will. I am very cautious about adding surfaces in the bedroom because they almost always become burial grounds for random items to be set whenever you come into the bedroom and I think this is one of the reasons people can't stand being in their own room. We avoid this by simply not having anywhere to allow this to happen. George has his bed stand, we use his chest of drawers for our television, I use a small stool for a lamp by my side of the bed and then we have our sitting area. The sitting area is probably one of my favorite parts of the entire house.
Our sitting area consists of three special pieces of furniture and doubles as a little workspace for me. The piece de la resistance is the bench that my husband built. It is a gorgeous piece of furniture and is obviously extra special to us since he made it with his own hands. I highly recommend when placing furniture in your home that you consider your bedroom. Especially for extra special pieces. You might say that you don’t spend much time in there other than sleeping, but maybe you would if you liked it better. What we did to make this space pretty neat is add a piece of furniture that I had redone, it is like a little furniture family.
I painted and reupholstered this silver chair before we moved from our last house. Since we were giving up a basement, we did not have room for the secondary furniture (a hodgepodge) that previously lived down there in my husband’s house – this chair included. Before we moved from that house, I shopped through all of these “extra” pieces of furniture to see if there was anything that I could envision myself one day buying at a flea marketing to refurbish. I unfortunately do not have a before photo of this chair but it had vintage green velvet fabric and was a dark mahogany colored wood. It needed a facelift because it had seen better days, but I liked the shape. I used silver spray paint on this piece and then distressed with sandpaper. I selected a silver velvet for the seat. And voila.
The third special piece in our little sitting area is the table. It doesn’t matter what it looks like underneath the fabric, what matters is that it belonged to my dad for I don’t know how long and he brought it with him when he and my mom first moved in together and it was in the house I grew up in my whole life. After my dad passed away and I moved in to my very first place, I took this table with me. It has moved with me probably about 8 times and that isn’t counting God knows how many times with my father before I was born. I’ll never give it up. In our bedroom’s sitting area it serves as not only an end table, but a little workspace too.
As for art in our room, like everything else, it is an eclectic mix. We have a mirror from an old dresser leaning on the wall opposite our bed. A print from one of our favorite artists hangs above that. On either side of the bed we have these awesome “Mr.” and “Mrs.” signs that have hooks and were given to us last Christmas from my mom. And two of my favorite pieces are actually new. The first is on my husband’s “side.” It is a canvas print sign that says “Your Mountain is waiting.” We saw this about a month ago and I immediately needed it – we plan to buy a place in the mountains and move there sooner than later. This sign was made for us and serves as a constant reminder of our goal. The other piece is on my “side,” and presides over the sitting area. It was just perfect for this room. Although we have a lot of red, white and blue going on, it always feels “rock & roll” in here as opposed to patriotic (not that there would be anything wrong with that if it is what you wanted). It is funny because that was a fear I had about mixing the colors that we use in our bedroom space with a red backdrop – that it would feel like I was going for an “Americana” theme – but it does not feel that way at all. Instead, it just feels like us.
The first thing up on the walls was my “Keep Calm and Fake a British Accent” sign. Real authentic, right? The thing is that sometimes when the mood strikes, I like to speak with a British accent. George has outlawed this in our house but I like to push the envelope anyways. The thing is that while its words directly correlate to a motto of mine, the British flag and its colors also helped set the vibe for the room.
Over the bed hang empty frames. This is a recent thing and because I use very small finishing nails to hang light items like these, I can move things around on the walls without damaging our paint too badly. On one of my mom's recent visits, she brought a lot of my old artwork I had made in grade school. While I appreciated the gesture and did save the artwork, I thought it might be cool to hang the frames somewhere and I was bored with what we had over our bed at the time. Empty frames over the bed seem a little symbolic right now – soon maybe they will be filled with items from our dreams.
We really love our bedroom and we actually use it as an additional space in our home to hang out. I don’t think everyone needs a red bedroom and I don’t know if we will always have one but as you can see, all it takes to make a bedroom that you love are the things that mean something to you and a vision for the vibe you want to create. Our room is about as “us” as a bedroom can be.
Although I was originally kind of annoyed that we would have a red bedroom, I have to say, I’m glad he picked red.