Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bachelor Pad - Part 1: Bedroom

Hello Viewers!

My darling sons, both in their thirties, are going through some transitional stages, such that at the moment it makes sense for them to share an apartment. Or rather part of an apartment; they have a bedroom each, a bathroom and a kitchen with a somewhat separate eating area, but the rest of the actual apartment – living room and two other rooms – are used by the owner for storage. They have been living there for eight or nine months, and I helped them making the place livable when they moved in, but beyond that, very little has been done in terms of coziness or style.

It was Major* who brought up the topic with me a couple of weeks ago. “I know I want to decorate” he said, “but I have no clue what to do. Can you help?”
Say no more! I mentally rolled up my sleeves then and there. At last! A real interior decorating project!
We discussed his requirements: “I would actually like something quite masculine and sleek” he told me, “but also with a bit of whimsy. I want curtains, and plants. Could you do something with mini-light strings? Above all, it should look like somebody has put some thought into it.”

Since they are renting the place furnished, and painting walls or ripping up carpeting are not possible options, there are some significant built-in limitations to what can be done. We were mainly concerned with his bedroom and the shared eating area. Minor* had already lined his bedroom with black “Billy” bookcases the moment he moved in, and a small IKEA desk together with the existing bed filled up most of the remaining floor space. (Still, he needed a few improvements as well, as we shall see in a future chapter.)

When Minor pushed the existing desk, shelf unit and chest of drawers out of his room to make space for Literature, the chest of drawers found a spot right outside his door, so he could still easily have the use of it, but the other two pieces migrated into Major’s room (since he needed a desk anyway), and had to make friends with an existing blond-wood bedroom set and two twin beds that were pushed together into a king-size contraption. Consequently, the room became somewhat over-crowded. 

Ideally, of course, the desk and the drawer/shelf unit – both made of dark wood in some kind of ornate seventies’ style, top-heavy and not very space-effective – ought to be replaced with something sleeker and more functional, but aside from the budget issue, there is also the question of how to get rid of these pieces, since they are part of the rental agreement and there really is no space where to store them. It is a problem that cannot be addressed right now. At least they are in good condition.

Another, and bigger, problem is the bed. One of the beds could probably be smuggled out under the protection of darkness, but that would leave him with just one 39-inch bed, which he feels is too narrow. The ideal would be a full-size, 54 inch-wide bed, but again, we are running up against Budget and How To Get Rid Of. Not doable at the moment. 

The room has blue carpeting and white walls with a  fussy, light blue, floral design stenciled all over. “Not actually offensive” we agreed, but certainly neither masculine, nor sleek. Defunct blinds and a general air of neglect complete the picture. 

A few improvements were made when he moved in: I presented new bedding in blue and turquoise, being that Major likes these colors and they suited the existing color scheme; and the little laptop table was added as a movable bedside table (originally he had no other bedside table, since the bed was positioned differently, with no space for a conventional table next to it).

The first order of the day was to do something about the blond-wood bedroom set, which was the most disruptive element in the room, and also in a miserable condition - very scratched and worn. After quite a bit of “gentle persuasion” of Landlord, permission was finally granted to paint the bedroom set – in black and silver. I thought that all-black furniture would be a little too dark and stodgy, even a bit boring; the silver drawer fronts reflect light, and look both more fun and more elegant. An upgrade, no?

And otherwise, if this whole chapter is not an apotheosis to IKEA, I don’t know what is! Two extensive shopping trips thither were undertaken, and you may safely assume that every new product comes from IKEA, unless otherwise indicated.

Curtains were the next important step: Sanela in dark turquoise velvet, and a Bollkaktus panel curtain for daytime privacy. Since the curtains are sold in pairs, and we only needed three panels, due to the bed jutting out in front of a window, the remaining fourth panel became a bedspread that looks both comfy and luxurious, yet quite masculine.

Silvery-grey curtain rods were given silvery finials with black polka dots that perfectly match the rest of the room.

The reformed bedside table, with Stranne mood lighting looks both playful and elegant. And sleek.

The requested plant had to be an artificial one - we agreed that would be safest for the plant!
A string of the coveted mini-lights turned it into another spot of mood lighting.

The little laptop table got a bright metallic turquoise, clip-on LED spotlight for reading and such. (Lime green and turquoise is really a fantastic combination!)

We still need to hang some art on the walls, but all in all, Major now has a room with a lot of personality, that is both inviting and stylish.

Next time we shall take a tour of the improved living/dining room!

Regards from Rosebud!

PS: Aren't we all surprised that I was able to do something without pink in it?

*Perhaps this primarily British usage needs some elucidation: these Latin words, meaning literally “bigger” and “smaller”, but also used in the sense of denoting the “older” and the “younger”, would be applied when, e.g., two brothers were enrolled in the same boarding school, so as to identify the older brother as Cholmondley-Brown Major, and the younger as Cholmondley-Brown Minor.