EDIT: my bedroom has been selected in Apartment Therapy’s Bedroom Retreat contest! Vote for me here by selecting me as a favorite.
Imagine a place you can relax in, unwinding from the day’s stresses and challenges. This place envelopes you in crisp, clean white yet possesses an earthy, natural energy that calms your senses and mind. In this place, you can only do a few things—dress, sleep and some light reading—but this is perfect. You don’t want this space to encompass a lot of activities, because it’s where you detach from the world. This is your sanctuary, your haven to rest and renew yourself for the new day ahead.
This space is what I created with my bedroom makeover. Come check out how I transformed a blah bedroom into a beachy Zen haven:
Another aspect I love about this makeover is that it stretched my brain and not my wallet. I challenged myself by creating budget-friendly DIY projects (the cacti, headboard, the TV tray nightstand) and with revamping items. I did purchase a few new accessories though, like the knick-knacks on the shelves and small storage items, but most of the makeover was done cheaply. Examples of these revamped items are the whitewashed blinds, the shelves, the pillow covers, and the blanket trimmed with a delicate fringe.
When decorating, I believe considering the mood and energy you wish to feel in that space is the most important factor. It’s the first question I ask myself and others before planning color, style, or accessories. To help achieve everything my serene sanctuary, I chose a neutral palette. The whites, creams, and grays help establish a decompressing vibe in the room—nothing too stimulating to the eyes. The browns and blacks add contrast to the light tones and add a grounding sense of energy.
I also wanted a neutral color scheme so I could easily change up the decor in the future by adding splashes of color through accessories. The color I’m currently digging is green, specifically, spring greens. Green is a great choice for a bedroom, because it conveys renewal and rejuvenation. I added this color through the plants and with the pillow covers I sewed.
Ensuring the room felt laid back and natural was also key. My favorite way to feel present & one with the world is through nature. I love all forms of it but am especially driven to the ocean. To help translate that feeling into the room, I focused on using beachy, coastal decor. One of the ways I achieved this was by hanging bamboo blinds on the wall. (Find out how I whitewashed these in my tutorial here.)
The use of other natural materials like wood, shells, sand, and rocks further add to the beach-like feel of the room. Here, I filled a glass vase with shell necklaces. They have sentimental value as my grandparents got them in Hawaii shortly before I was born.
These cacti are actually artificial and were very easy to create:
Because I prefer decorating with a mixture of styles and don’t like a room to be overly coordinated, I also used some Asian decor. I’ve always been drawn to this style and find it complements the natural, beachy vibe quite nicely. These are items commonly used in Asian decor, but when combined with everything else, they don’t feel too matchy.
To echo the black and white pattern of Shoji screens, I sewed black satin ribbon to the edges of these white curtains:
The bed was also a major element of the makeover. Previously, I didn’t use a headboard, which gave this floating, disconnected feeling to the bed. Because this is usually the focal point in a bedroom, it needed some oomph, some pizazz. So, I made this headboard with detachable foam squares covered in fabric. Check out my tutorial for creating this headboard here.
I sewed this removable bedskirt from Osnaburg, which is a fabric similar to linen but much cheaper.
This blanket underwent a cheap, yet effective makeover by adding trim to the edges.
When you use a neutral color scheme, you have to be sure to decorate in a way that the room doesn’t feel boring. A great way to achieve this is through the use of texture. This was conveyed not just with the fabrics and bamboo, but also through the use of woven baskets and bowls…
…and my favorite, these shelves made over with Mod Podge and paintable wallpaper. This wallpaper accepts paint very well, but I wanted to leave it white so the shelves would visually recede into the walls. (I also used this wallpaper on my headboard.)
Finally, the Zen aspect of the bedroom comes from the bedroom’s purpose. I just couldn’t decorate the room in a Zen fashion because it would be too minimalist for my tastes… so I continued my philosophy of using the room for a select few reasons. There is no TV here, no computer here, no vanity table, not even a radio. Limiting the activity that occurs here helps to ensure the room serves its purpose of being a haven, a place to refresh and restore.
Keeping clutter to a minimum is also characteristic of Zen. Commonly used items like pajamas and a few toiletries are stored in baskets while the rest are kept hidden in the closet and dressers.
Jewelry is sorted in white ceramic bowls that I purchased from kitchen departments of various stores. You could also use ramakins, jars, and plates to store and separate your jewelry.
After neglecting it for some time, my bedroom is finally a serene, cozy space. Sometimes I come in here just to lay down and unwind, enjoying the ambiance and feeling present… it’s so much more inviting now.