Interior designer Letitia Holloway of Myers Designs and Debbie Wiener, owner of Designing Solutions, are well versed in this transformation and the complications that come with it. If you're thinking of turning your basement into an extra bedroom, their tips and tricks can help. Insulate. The last thing you want is a noisy – and chilly – bedroom. "Spend a little extra and add good insulation to the walls,” says Wiener. "One good night's sleep and you'll know you spent your money wisely.” Create emergency escape routes. Before beginning construction, check your local building codes to learn what your basement's escape requirements are. The necessary routes can also enhance the room. "Installing large upper windows not only enhances the view but provides a great escape route,” says Holloway. Look for the charm. Save money by leaving beams exposed or the ceiling unfinished – it will give your new cozy bedroom a feeling of distinction. Add visual height. Unfinished ceilings can also help add height to a space, especially when painted a dark color. "Paint the ceiling dark and finish the rest of the room off as you would normally,” says Holloway. "This type of ceiling works with a variety of aesthetics, and the unfinished effect makes it feel higher than a drop or drywall style would.” Benjamin Moore's Baby Seal Black is one of Holloway's go‐to paint colors. Configure your layout wisely. Place the bed against an interior wall in the room. "Exterior walls change temperature, meaning your bed will be cold in the winter and possibly through summer if your basement is below grade,” says Wiener.
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.
Don't overcrowd the space. Attic bedrooms are generally tighter spaces, and if there are sloped ceilings, the room can feel claustrophobic with too many furnishings. Add only what you need – less is definitely more in this case. Consider a two‐tone paint job. "Painting is always tricky when working with an attic space, as the walls are often shortened and the ceiling space is greater than in most rooms,” says Heron. "For a cozy feeling, consider painting the walls a different color than the ceiling.” Or trick the eye by using all one color. "If you want the space to feel more spacious, paint the ceiling and wall the same color, but keep it to a light neutral or white,” advises Heron. Nix the overhead lights. "Forget pot lights in the attic,” says Heron. "Opt instead for table lamps or wall sconces; uplighting is a great way to play up a dramatic roofline".
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