Since the Victorian era, what we need in the bedroom has changed very little. We need essentially the same pieces – bed, bedside tables, clothes storage. And we like essentially the same aesthetic – comfortable, peaceful, even luxurious. Indeed, we may still find the fabrics and wallpapers of that period attractive. Victorian staples such as freestanding wardrobes, marble‐topped washstands and folding screens can be reinvented for modern bedrooms while still retaining the Victorian feel. Keep reading to learn how to turn a Victorian bedroom into a personal space you'll love spending time in. It's worth noting that Victorian ladies in their country houses often spent the entire morning in bed reading and writing letters. I'm not sure I'd get away with that, but if I did, I would want the finest linen and lace to surround me – just like them. Besides the bed, the wardrobe would undoubtedly be the largest piece of furniture in a Victorian bedroom. The most popular versions had a mirror in the center cupboard and double‐width storage on either side. Traditionally, wardrobes were made of dark varnished wood – a rather large and somber feature for today's tastes. But, you can often pick one up cheaply and achieve great effects by stripping and painting it. Although not always a four‐poster (even though they were popular), Victorian beds often had draperies made from light fabric, with matching curtains on the windows. Matching draperies and window dressing adorn this French‐inspired room, without the four‐poster bed. Note the screen in the corner – these were hugely popular in Victorian bedrooms. Traditionally used to hide unsightly items (or maybe for the lady to dress behind), the screen today serves as a wonderful way to change the contours of the room.
Leave your shoes at the door. Now that your bedroom is clutter‐free and clean, it's time to commit to keeping it that way. Start a no‐shoes policy – in your whole house if you can, but at least in the bedroom. Place a table or basket outside your bedroom door to remind you to drop work materials, cell phones and other gadgets before entering your new zone of calm. Create an organic bed. If you are in need of a new mattress (and can afford to spring for it) by all means go for one of the wonderful organic versions on the market today. But if not, that doesn't mean you can't green up your bed. Try topping your mattress with a natural mattress pad and adding organic pillows and sheets. Organic goods are so mainstream now, they can be found at all price points. Consider the walls and floors. While it does take more effort than any of the previous steps, addressing your walls and floors is an important part of creating a more ecofriendly bedroom. If you are looking to change the wall color, seek out paint containing low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If you have old, peeling paint that may contain lead, use caution and seek professional guidance for the best way to cover it. For the floor, I recommend choosing hard flooring over wall‐to‐wall carpeting, which is notoriously difficult to clean and tends to contain VOCs. If you already have wall‐to‐wall carpeting in place, you can choose to have it removed or simply cover much of it with a natural fiber area rug. Choose the right color palette for your needs.
Campaign furniture has become such a well‐loved interior element that it's easy to forget its workhorse roots. Developed for field use during military campaigns, these pieces – chests, tables, desks and more – are easy to break down or fold flat, so they were convenient to transport as soldiers migrated along with battle lines. Although there's a strong market for antique campaign pieces, modern reproductions are just as popular, and perhaps none more so than the Italian campaign canopy bed. This shapely style burst into the spotlight some years ago when retail giant Anthropologie debuted its interpretation and launched an instant classic. Unlike traditional British and French campaign furnishings, which tend toward heavy woods and decorative flourishes, this wrought iron bed has a spare profile that belies its imposing presence in a room. Whether you pile it with fabric and pillows or take the minimalist approach to bedding, it mingles well with any decor. It's hard to get this bed style wrong – there's just something about it that defies design blunders. Although draping fabric over the canopy of an Italian campaign bed softens the look, its svelte, gently sloping lines look especially striking when left bare. Modern and minimalist spaces call for an unadorned canopy, but you could take either approach in a more traditional room. This bed showcases the draped look to artful effect and prevents the otherwise spare room from feeling hollow. Imagine this bedroom without the campaign bed. The bed acts as an elegant anchor that adds structure to the space. A white finish lightens up the bed frame, making it ideal for a young girl's room.