Need another reason to hate the Pandemic? How about that it’s impacting your sleep. That’s right. Researchers at University College, London, found that fewer than 1 in 10 people say they get "very good sleep" at night. That’s way down from the 4 in 10 pre-pandemic numbers. There is much speculation about why this happened, but some are pointing to the change that happened right in our own homes.
When bedrooms double up as home offices, the line between a workspace and a rest-space get blurred. The result, bemoaned by many, was that people found it harder to relax, and thus failed to sleep for at least 7 hours at night- the amount of time recommended by the Mayo Clinic for healthy adults.
The good news is that the Pandemic is finally coming to a close. And with that there’s a clear desire for returning bedrooms to the peaceful retreats they were supposed to be. Designing for health and wellness is nothing new. Scientists, artists, and builders have known for a long time that a clean and well-designed interior is going to have better health outcomes for the people who live in it. It’s almost common sense, and yet doesn’t it seem that so many contemporary interiors are made in such a way as to make us sick? Likely because it wasn’t designed at all but thrown together mindless utilitarian hurry. Limited natural lighting, drab color, poor air circulation, fabrics that catch dirt and germs- don’t necessarily make it unusable, but it could have long term impacts to mind, body, and spirit.
Here at Rosenthal, we’re all about redesign, especially when it’s for a healthy cause.
Designing any space, let alone a bedroom, can be a long expensive chore. But fear not- because we have 136 years of relevant experience and a finger on the pulse of the newest and hottest trends in contemporary interior design world, from Milan to High Point, NC. We offer many insights and deals so you don’t break the bank either. The following is just some of the advice we give every day to clients who are concerned with their bedroom’s look and feel.
START WITH DISTRACTIONS
The most affordable and straight forward way to create a sleep sanctuary is to clear your bedroom of anything that’s going to interfere with your precious sleep. Things like messes, which happen to the best of us. It’s only really a problem when it’s chronic, and a space is pact with stuff. It’s called Clutter- shoes piled up at the entrance, wardrobes stuffed with unworn clothes, a clump of miscellaneous chords, etc. We can’t emphasize enough how these things have an impact on our mood, our relationships and even on our sleep.
A sleep sanctuary needs to remove the extra, requiring you to take every item in hand and ask- will this help me get my beauty rest? Like Marie Kondo, except rather than joy, you want slumber. Of course, there are some exceptions like your clothes, and valuables and pillows you want to keep. But we recommend nixing distractions like the TV, your papers, your desk, mirrors and the dress you never wear. Organize the things you keep in a way which makes them easy to find, and un-intruding. Minimize accessories and personal artifacts to around three of your most valuable items. Art should be mellow and bring you peace. So, if you have a hand-me-down painting of a clown hanging on one wall, please get rid of it. It’s just creepy.
Most importantly: LEAVE THE PHONE AT THE DOOR. If you don’t know already- your phone is zapping your ZZZ’s due to blue light and addicting content.
FLOOR PLAN AND FURNITURE
The layout of the space is an early necessary step- aim for function and balance. Start with the dimensions of your bedroom for your floor plan. After all, no layout makes it possible to put a king-size bed in a tiny 7’x10’(6 m2) room and still open the door. In classic Feng Shui, your bed is to hold command over everything else, since it is the furniture in the room which best represents (or is most used by) you. All other furniture follows. One idea of where to put the bed is in a position where you have a good view of the entry without being directly in line with the door. The idea behind this position is that you have a good view of anyone or anything that could be coming in through the door, which helps you feel more at ease on a subconscious level. A square room comes with instant symmetry, so your bed will usually go along the wall opposite the door with nightstands on each side of the bed. In a long, narrow bedroom, you can center the bed along one of the shorter walls and position a seating area opposite it. Lastly, think about your view- it might look better to face it away from the window, but would you rather wake up to a wall and door, or wake up to a view of the outdoors? Many things to consider.
Being a contemporary furnishing company, we’re not going to recommend a wrought iron or Victorian sleigh bedframe. That said, we also want you to do you. It’s crucial that your design fits your personality and needs. There are many bedframes which maximize function and symmetry. Adjustable beds aren’t a new phenomenon, but in the last 10 years the engineering has been perfected. Controlled either manually or via remote, an adjustable bed frame allows you to raise your head and/or feet for a more comfortable sleeping position. Some adjustable bed frames also feature zero gravity, which essentially means you feel weightless as you lay down, offering maximum pressure relief. Some even feature a massage option or an anti-snore option. One design that will really add to a sleep sanctuary is the canopy bed. They’ve have made a resurgence in recent years, providing warmth, privacy and protection from unwanted light.
Color is a force capable of either overstimulating or under stimulating an environment. Lighter shades are considered to by airy and can make rooms feel larger and even brighter. Darker shades are considered to be more refined and make rooms feel more intimate and warmer. Some hues or more accepted in contemporary décor than others, but it’s important to first consider your own tastes and needs.
Neutrals are black, gray, white and brown. These colors can establish a balance when using passive and active colors. Active colors like pink are bright and can excite the mind along with boost creativity. Passive colors like blue and green are cool and can calm the mind and help with mental focus. In deciding colors, we recommend looking into the psychological effects of each color. For example, a bright yellow room might make someone feel energized or super anxious.
Why light matters you ask? Light is increasingly becoming one of the most important elements in home design: spaces designed around natural light sources, smart lighting systems to better match our natural rhythm, artificial light that mimics daylight, and so on. When speaking about light, natural light takes the center of the discussion. Something as simple as natural day light can provide a tremendous health and wellness boost. Many studies give us the proof that it improves productivity, alertness, mood – it can affect our physiological or psychological state. Think about how depressing our Minnesota winters are. You might even have invested in a SAD light already.
If you just think about it: how do you feel in a room full of daylight in comparison to a room with just a little window? Natural light not only affects our day-night rhythm, but also our vitamin D balance. It is crucial because it helps us to absorb the calcium from the food. In turn, we need the calcium for bone formation and stability. Additionally, daylight inhibits the production of melatonin, which ensures that we get tired when it gets dark. Cortisol does the opposite and makes us alert and focused. For people who do not get enough daylight while working, both substances are present in the body at the wrong time.
Blocking outdoor light is no joke. Even streetlights might impact circadian rhythms, let alone the powerful UV rays of the sun. That’s why we recommend some black out curtains, that shut everything out including some noise pollution when you close them. As for fabric types, everyone else is going fluffy and puffy- which is fine, as it adds soothing elements of comfort. Earthy and soft is a good texture plan for a sleep sanctuary. Plants are a fast and easy way to add mother nature’s texture to your bedroom (plus some lovely and life-affirming green color and extra oxygen. For maximum texture, consider fluffier, fern-y plants that have a lot of leaves and a lot going on.
As good as light is, too much of it is not good for a sleep sanctuary. So long story short: make your bedroom bright in the day, and dark at night. Simple as that.
It goes without saying that comfort is key when it comes to wellness focused interior design. Ergonomic design is basically a fancy term for user-friendly. It entails that most of the interior design that is ‘ergonomic’ must be comfortable for the user in terms of psychology, physiology and anatomy. Briefly, the best interior design should be comfortable, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing at the same time. It cannot value one of these elements than the other, if not, the space would be ergonomically incomplete.
Is your mattress right for your back needs? Is it adjustable? Is the bedframe sturdy- at a high enough elevation? These are some of the questions you should be asking.
True, sometimes the pillow game can be excessive, but there might be a good reason. Psychologically speaking, seeing all those pillows might trigger reflexive thoughts about rest. It’s associations like these we want for our perfect Sleep Sanctuary. One fun way to add a touch of contemporary cool to your bedroom is with fun, graphic throw pillows. Of course, opt for eye-catching designs or pop art-inspired pillows that complement the rest of your décor.
Most contemporary bedrooms are going plush and fluffy- and we are all in support of that. But plush and fluffy is obvious. You probably want to know what additional elements you can add to create a sleep sanctuary. The earthy biophilic trend is our favorite look, for its almost universal appeal, likely due to the grounding effects, versatility, and affordability. Plants are a fast and easy way to add mother nature’s texture to your bedroom and have the added affect of bringing fresh oxygen.
Natural accessories span a wide range of neutrals, making them easy to include in diverse aesthetics. White and grey stone pair well in minimalist settings, while cherry and dark wood furnishings can be dressed up or down to suit any theme. Taupe, tan and camel are trendy neutral colors to keep in mind when shopping for nature-inspired wall coverings or rugs. Raw textiles also play well with natural light, creating a comfortable, cozy abode that looks incredible at all times of day.
Some more naturalistic elements people have included: Wool, live edge hard wood, carved stone, jute, sisal, beads, paper (like Chinese lanterns) ethically sourced pelt, shells, tufted duvets, faux fur, and raw linen.