14 Simple Ways to Wake Up a Bedroom

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I hate to admit it, but I have no love for my bedroom.

The furniture is dreary and mismatched. The closet is dark and messy. The room lacks light, organization and even a headboard for the bed. It's so uninviting that I use it only for sleeping and paying bills.

My husband and I bought our house seven years ago. Since then, we've gutted the kitchen, screened in a porch, renovated a basement playroom and decorated bedrooms for our two children. But our own room -- why bother? No one sees it but us, so it ranks dead last on the list of home improvement priorities, after any first-floor room seen by visitors.

"Everyone always seems to put it off," says Karen Bengel, a designer in Columbia Heights who did no such thing. Her bedroom, right, has warm beige walls, a modern four-poster bed, linen and cotton sheets and a jolt of color from red pillows. It's a mistake, she and others say, to give short shrift to a space intended for relaxation and comfort.So what better day than today to give some thought to the room in the house that, really, should inspire affection?

Home staffers asked designers, color pros, organizers, shop owners and others for advice on quick ways to perk up a bedroom. In honor of Valentine's Day, we culled the top 14 ideas, which you'll find in our slideshow. It turns out it really doesn't take much -- paint the walls, change the lighting, rearrange the furniture or commit to 10 minutes of daily tidying -- to create a room you will love.

Liz Seymour

Fast and Free

You don't have to buy a thing to make your bedroom more inviting. You don't even need to invest much time. Just try these simple (mom-endorsed) routines:

Make your bed

Hang up your clothes

Toss old newspapers and magazines

Pick up towels and laundry

Empty the waste basket

The following experts contributed ideas for our list: Designers: Susan Beimler, Karen Bengel, Mario Buatta, Bill Carroll, Annie Elliott, Linda Jo Foreman, Tynesia Hand-Smith, Joseph Ireland, Liz Levin, Chris Madden, Helena Peck, David Rowe, Sally Steponkus, Matthew Swingly. Organizers: Fran Cohen, Jill Lawrence, Nealey Levi. Shop owners: Ann Sullivan of Abrielle, Daren Miller of And Beige. Color consultant: Teresa Balcom of the Color Wheel in McLean. Author: Paul Darby.

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