The Single Best Way to Give Your Bedroom Character
We spend a third of our life in bed, yet as designer and artist Rebecca Atwood points out, it's often the last place we thoughtfully decorate. "The bedroom is your most personal space, and it's often one that gets neglected while you focus on decorating more public areas of your home that everyone uses and guests see," she says. "Creating your perfect bedroom is important because it's a space for you to recharge."
After struggling to find unique bedding beyond basics, Atwood decided to create her own line of sheets, pillowcases, and throws that instantly imbue any bedroom with personality. True to her signature aesthetic, colour and pattern play a major role in the designs. "I've always felt that pattern provides a sense of intimacy and can be transportive," she tells MyDomaine. And transportive it is: A blue duvet cover mirrors the serene ocean waves, a striped pillowcase looks like rain drizzling down a windowpane, and calming crescent moons dot a lumbar pillow. "Spending time in nature has always helped me feel more grounded and less stressed, so I wanted to create patterns that would bring that feeling into the bedroom," she says.
No need to panic, minimalists: Here's how a pattern pro would give your bedroom character this spring.
Step 1: Visualise
Minimalism has been the trend du jour for years, but Atwood says it's time to change up your all-white bedroom. "I love the idea of a fluffy white bed since it can feel so luxurious, light, and clean, but by adding a little pattern and colour, you can have that same feeling while making it more personal and comforting," she explains.
If you're uncertain about how to add colour and patterns to your existing space, she recommends visualising your dream bedroom. "To create a bed that really helps you relax and sleep, first think about a place that makes you feel calm and has that light and airy vibe you're looking to create. For me, it's the idea of sleeping on a cloud." This will help you create a mental mood board and guide your choice of colours.
Step 2: Pick Your Colour Palette
When choosing a colour palette, think about your bedroom as a whole, rather than focusing on one aspect, like the bed. "I like to let the place [you visualised] inform colour choices," she says. "When I imagine sleeping on a cloud, I see varying shades of white and gray, from soft pale dove to deeper purple grays. Imagining all of the variations and details helps widen your palette beyond white—you can still keep the colours very soft so it feels airy."
The easiest way to incorporate colour into your room is by swapping out pillowcases. "Pick out a few pieces in those colours and see how they go together. Let it evolve naturally, but keep a loose colour palette in mind, and it will be much easier to make your bed," she says. A quick rule of thumb: If colours appear naturally in nature, chances are they'll look great side by side.
If you're looking for a trend-forward update, take note of Atwood's colour predictions: "This spring, we'll be introducing some deep cobalt and happy yellow hues, which I'm really excited about. And for fall, we're thinking about shades of green, red accents, and hints of lilac."
Step 3: Introduce Patterns
There's no need to go bold—dreamy, subtle patterns can be just as powerful for setting the mood. "I think there's something to be said for softer, gentler patterns for the bedroom since it's a place you where you want to feel calm and restful," says Atwood. "I love painterly patterns because they're easy to mix with other patterns as well as solids."
Start small, she recommends. "I'm more of a minimalist when it comes to pillows on the bed, but adding just one decorative pillow can change the whole look." Guilty of never making your bed? "Try a long lumbar pillow for maximum impact" without fussy details, says Atwood.
Step 4: Layer, Layer, Layer
While Atwood's overarching message is to trust your gut, there are a few rules to note to layer conflicting patterns like a pro. Her top takeaways: "Unite different kinds of patterns together with a tight colour palette," as this will create unity. "Also, mix your scale with an assortment of small, medium, and large-scale patterns," she recommends. This will help create a cohesive bedroom, not a chaotic one.
Atwood likes to get strategic when choosing patterned items. "Use bigger prints on areas you want to draw the eye and smaller prints on areas you want to recede in space," she says. "It's an easy trick to help you draw people into a space." For example, a large graphic print over the bed will act as a focal point, and a hamper covered in a detailed print will visually face away.
The bottom line: Back yourself and be playful, says Atwood: "I believe if you love something you can make it work. Trust your gut, and if you love it, it's not really a faux pas."