I recently started to notice that my bedroom is a complete drain on my energy. I had a gorgeous bedspread when my partner and I first got married, but it was destroyed in our previous apartment because of a mold infestation.
The living room in our new apartment immediately became my sacred space for meditation, yoga, and magical fun because it was spacious and had a large picture window that brought the sun in. Since it was also our socialization space, I concentrated on that room and didn’t bother replacing the “pretty” stuff in the bedroom. I just didn’t seem like it would be important.
But the space where we sleep has become this abhorrent blank space to me, neither welcoming for sleep nor for sanctuary.
I finally reached my limit and started looking up ideas to make the bedroom feel more welcoming. I fell in love with tapestries while I was at the herbal conference, and I serendipitously found a gorgeous Indian tapestry at a local store.
It was a great start. I had my “centerpiece” around which to decorate and my color scheme . . . but what comes next?
I’ve been frustrated searching the Internet for tips and suggestions. Everything seems so boxy, expensive, and impractical for a temporary home. I don’t have room to put a sitting area or a bed bench like Houzz recommended. I don’t have the luxury of painting the walls, and I still don’t know what to hang on them. It seemed like all the suggestions were about acquiring things just for the sake of having them.
It leaves the sample rooms looking unlivable and stark.
So I decided to sit down and figure out what makes my living room space feel so good to me. It’s not “well-decorated.” It won’t win any magazine awards or anything, but it is my favorite space in the apartment. Something has to be working for it.
I’m posting the list here partially because I can’t think of anything better to write and partially because maybe there’s someone else out there who is looking for these types of suggestions. I’m on a budget, so I’m forced to keep it practical. 😉
Color: Obvioulsy, right? It’s more than the appearance though. Colors can feel different to me, even in the dark. So what I put in a room has a huge impact on the way that it makes me feel. In my living room, I’ve chosen red as the dominant color because its vibrations are lively and passionate, but in the bedroom, I’ve chosen to go with more calming colors like blues and greens. They still feel verdant. Water and nature can both be quite passionate when they want to be, but they don’t have that constant burning energy. They feel deep, cocooning, and protective too.
Fabrics: Curtains come to mind the quickest. They definitely add character to a room when done well. However, curtains are not the only form of fabric important to a room. Blankets, pillows, lampshades—they all have a role in coziness and comfort. And they’re all significantly invisible in my bedroom (either non-existent or bland). They’re next on my list of investments.
I’ve also been considering a canopy. Bed is the place I go when I want to hide from the world, and what better way to feel secluded than by having a giant blanket tent hanging over your mattress? A giant plus is that canopies are things I can make myself, which lends its own kind of magic to a space.
Altars: This I give in place of decorations. I’ve learned that meaningless trinkets get cluttered, dusty, forgotten, and shoved out of the way for more clutter. However, I keep my altars clean, refreshing them often enough that they never lose their character.
In her book Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery, Kris Bradley recommends an altar in every room of the house. I agree. I don’t think an altar has to be a space of worship. It can just be a place to hold focus. Pretty much every table surface in my living room is an altar of some kind, not just my actual altar. Each space holds a different concentration and energy. Each one feels special.
My bedroom lacks that entirely. The nightstands and dressers are there to hold things I don’t feel like putting away. When they’re clean, they’re blank—which is like an invitation to put more junk there. I am thinking about what kind of altars I would want in my bedroom. Perhaps space dedicated to dreams or love even love. Most people put family pictures in the public spaces of the house, but wouldn’t it make more sense to have a shrine dedicated to your love in your bedroom?
Versatility: I’m not the type of person who wants to move the furniture every two weeks. Generally, I find a layout I like and keep it that way until I lose or gain another piece of furniture.
But I fiddle.
If I go longer than a month without changing up my altar, I stop seeing the items on it. If I don’t rearrange the books on my shelves, I forget that they are there.
I love changing my living room with the changing of the seasons. Even though nothing big happens, the little shifts in table runners or altar centerpieces makes the room feel new while still being familiar. I think I need to bring a little of that fiddle magic into the bedroom to prevent the room from getting stale.
Cleanliness: The reason that my living room gets dusted, vacuumed, and fluffed more often than any other room isn’t because I need to “keep up appearances” for visitors. It’s because that space gives me a sense of happiness and calm. When it’s dirty, my inner peace is disturbed.
The key to a sanctuary isn’t keeping it picked up; it’s creating a space that reflects my inner self so that I naturally take care of it. Cleanliness comes from having a space that I want to see clean. It’s as simple as that.
Smell: An absence of smell can be as pronounced as the presence of one. My living room is infused with the spices I burn for relaxation and spiritual working, and it is the smell I most strongly associate with home. Incense in the bedroom certainly isn’t enough by itself to recreate the room, but it will influence it significantly.
Plants: They’re just necessary. They purify the air and sing their little plant songs. They add life and love to a room.
So there you have it. In case you’re looking for a more practical approach to room decorating, these are the basic guidelines I feel coming from my favorite space. I’ll see how it goes in trying to apply it to my bedroom. If any of you have any ideas that you think would add to this list, I would love to hear them.
“When it’s dirty, my inner peace is disturbed.”
Ohhh yes. Yes, this is me. I just didn’t have the words to describe it before.
I’ve been trying to be more intentional with cleaning/decorating our duplex. It just gets so overwhelming sometimes – my depression & anxiety often prevent me from being able to clean and organize and decorate, but then the dirtiness and disorganization make my anxiety & depression worse. It’s a vicious catch-22. This weekend, though, I felt better than I have in a long, long time – went grocery shopping, put all the food away, and concentrated on one room of the house to clean & organize. It’s AMAZING how much clearer & more focused I feel. Maybe if I tackle things a little bit at a time for 5 minutes at a time…
Yeah whole house cleaning is too much. It freaks me out.