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Design

Design Conundrum: Do You Design For What You Want to Look At or How You Want to Feel? Arlyn Explores

Hey there EHD family. Arlyn here, back to discuss the mushy gushy side of design, as I’ve been known to do. If you missed my last post around these parts, you can read that here to see what I mean. That post is also where I gave you a sneak peek into the moodboard I put together for my bedroom MOTO (Makeover Takeover for anyone not familiar). And guess what, friends? Not much has changed since then.

Quick recap: My living room and dining room have been good and designed for, oh…two years now. Invigorated by the rocket fuel that is a room that’s finally “done,” I dove right into my bedroom that was essentially a hodgepodge of furniture pieces leftover from my cross country move a few years back and well, in full transparency, a bunch of junk. I’m talking a set of four unfinished dining chairs—I’m proud to say I finally gave up on that now inhabit a new loving home—numerous pieces of luggage, empty storage containers (why?!?), shelves turned on their side I never got around to hanging anywhere, a box for an old memory foam mattress topper size full…I have a queen bed…I welcome you to do the math there. I digress. The room was a sizzlin’ hot mess. Or should I say, the room IS a sizzlin’ hot mess. The years pass quickly when you’re pinning, folks, and sidestepping decision making.

But when the pandemic hit and weekends went from game nights with friends to binge-watching Top Chef tucked into my bed, phone in one hand and a bowl of Annie’s mac and cheese in the other, I looked around and said ENOUGH. Not of my actual Top-Chef-watching-mac-and-cheese-eating behavior, but of the giant WOMP WOMP that floated around the room, visible only to me. So I got to work, mining through my Pinterest boards, bookmarks on Instagram, reconnecting with the designer that had gone dormant inside me. I moodboarded, I blogged about it, I had a design existential crisis, I moodboarded some more. And then I arrived. Here’s a reminder of where I landed:

Bed | Plug-in Sconce | Nightstands | Cabinet | Dresser | Paint | Mirror | Curtains | Fabric Swatch | Rug | Lumbar Pillow | Duvet Cover | Quilted Set

And then guess what happened? I thought too hard about it. Who could blame me, after all? There was NOTHING ELSE TO DO. My eyes started drifting… “oooh look at that neutral room over there” and “wait! Green walls!” and “Am I already tired of peach before I even decided on a peach?”

But I do this. I know this about myself, so I forged onward. I ordered paint samples, got them up at my wall, stared at them day in and day out. I played the part of “good designer” and “tested” the paint colors…checked them out at different times of day, held fabric samples up to them. All the while fighting my inner design demons. “What if I end up hating this?” that testy little voice kept whispering, just loud enough not to ignore. “Ah, but what if you love it?” the other little voice said, sometimes louder, sometimes not.

Here’s the thing: That moodboard up there. I want to LOOK at that every day. I think if I walked into my bedroom and saw that, I’d think “Oh! So fun!” Fleshy pink wall! Burlwood accents! Rust-colored velvet! Yes! I’d “Pin” that bedroom, absolutely. But when my mind wanders and I stop to wonder how I’ll feel in the room, or rather how I want to feel in the room, I’m conflicted. If I had to pick the one thing the EHD community does best, I’d say it’s helping to psychoanalyze along with the writer to land at the best decision, even if that looks a bit different than where the writer thought they’d end up.

So, 600 words in, this is where I ask you for help. I’m going to walk you through a few different versions of my room I moodboarded that I put together to scratch a few itches I had. I needed to know what a full-color version of my room could look like, what a neutral version could look like, and then a middle ground. I’ll explain what I like about each, throw in a little inspo to show you where I’m coming from, and then either convince myself along the way of what direction to move in or plead at the end for your genius advice. Deal? I hope so because that’s precisely what I’m about to do. I hope you’ll come along ::grab’s your hand, giving you no choice in the matter:: and help me answer the big, juicy question: How exactly do you decide between what you want a room to look like/what you want your eyeballs to see, and how you want that room to make you feel, particularly if both of those options are actually very different things? Look, no one said this would be easy, but I hope you’re up to the challenge. I am!

Arlyn’s Bedroom: Full-Color Edition

Here it is again, so you don’t have to scroll back up:

Bed | Plug-in Sconce | Nightstands | Cabinet | Dresser | Paint | Mirror | Curtains | Fabric Swatch | Rug | Lumbar Pillow | Duvet Cover | Quilted Set

There is so much about this room that I love. The paint color, which I’m still deciding on, is warm and glowy. The light in my bedroom is so soft and nice that I think a hue like this would look wonderful at all hours of the day. I had the idea in my mind of juxtaposing it with an earthy rust velvet—that bed would be the statement of the room, surely. The fabric would catch the light just so. What’s not to like here?

I’ve been staring at this moodboard for months on end, and then I saw this room that Dabito of Old Brand New designed recently and I thought “yes! This is what I’m going for…it works!” (It’s also the space in the lead of this post.) Take a look:

design and photo by dabito for old brand new
design and photo by dabito for old brand new

His peach is a bit pinker than I’m going for. The white wall appears to be there as a balance, perhaps? In fact, I might like this room even more if it were enveloped in that peachy pink, instead of broken up with the white. This image makes my heart sing. This is who I am in my heart, in my soul. Also, this:

home of jacquetta wheeler | photo by isabel parra for architectural digest

My affinity for pink-toned rooms lately catches me by surprise. I spotted this perfect little sitting room over on Bobby Berk’s Instagram account, though it originally was featured in Architectural Digest, and thump thump went my heart again. While anyone who follows me over on my personal blog might know, I’ve been dealing with some personal health struggles lately. I spent the majority of August through December in bed. I did everything there: ate, worked, slept, “relaxed” whatever that means when your body feels like a stranger to you.

Being surrounded by boring beige walls, a mess, and not a lick of design can really make you feel even worse, so these happy blush rooms, with their hits of ochre and rust and blue and sage make me feel alive. This is why I don’t want my wandering eye to pull me too far from this, to be honest. It feels good right there in the center of my chest.

But the head and the heart can sometimes be at odds with one another.

Had I never looked at another photo on the internet, I’d probably already be slathering a fleshy apricot paint all over my walls, waiting on my rust-velvet bed to arrive. There’s something to be said about making a decision and just going for it, surely.

However, while I was brushing nice little squares of peach and blush and dusty pink on my walls in the daytime, I found myself regularly bookmarking rooms that had almost no color at all at night. Which brings me to…

Arlyn’s Bedroom: Neutral Edition

design and photo by studio mcgee
design and photo by studio mcgee

This bedroom, by Studio McGee, just brings so much peace to me. While my original bedroom design kept the blood pumping through my veins, these lower my blood pressure. Yet ANOTHER little voice in my head says “isn’t that how you want to feel in your bedroom?” Yes, okay little voice, YES. However, it cannot go unsaid that my bedroom has absolutely zero architectural interest (you can see it here). Where the front of my 1920s Mediterranean apartment has plaster walls, arched pass-throughs, coved ceilings and original oak floors, my bedroom has beige carpet, beige orange peel walls, and very standard ceilings. Truly, the only nice thing about the room is the light it gets through the original casement windows.

If I go this neutral route, the whole thing may fall flat as adding any kind of molding or paneling to jazz things up isn’t an option (this is a rental…I hopefully didn’t lose you there because I realize I may be overthinking all of this for a “temporary” space; however, I believe in loving the space your in no matter how long or short of a time you plan on spending there).

But let’s play the game, alright? Here’s a neutral moodboard option I put together, just to say that I did:

Bed | Plug-in Sconce | Nightstands | Cabinet | Dresser | Paint | Mirror | Curtains | Fabric Swatch Color | Rug | Lumbar Pillow | Duvet Cover | Quilted Set

I like this. It’s very soothing. I could go to bed and wake up here quite happily, mind you. So could my husband Charles. He’s a factor in all of this (though he likes all versions of these rooms, by the way). A subtle blush on the walls—Farrow & Ball Dimity—just enough color via an ochre velvet I’d use to reupholster an old French armchair I have, mostly neutrals throughout with a grounding mossy green linen duvet.

It reminds me of this room I pinned a while back of Molly Madfis’ home that was featured on Camille Styles’ website:

home of and design by molly madfis | via camille styles

Ahhhh…didn’t you just breathe a deep sigh of relief? I sure did. IS THIS WHAT I NEED?!? HALP!

Of course, both ends of the spectrum are not the only answer. There is a middle ground. “Arlyn, please say you did a potential ‘Goldilocks’ moodboard!” Why yes, yes I did.

Arlyn’s Bedroom: The “Middle Ground”

Before showing it, though, I want to share a photo from Brooke Wagner Design that might be that happy place between color-on-color and all-in-neutral:

design by brook wagner design

I like this for a few reasons:

  • It’s warm and interesting.
  • It has plenty of texture to keep the eye moving without overwhelming it with a barrage of color.
  • It pulls in those earthy hues I’ve been so in love with lately.

So, taking all those things I liked about the above room and marrying them with my first and second moodboards, I get something like this:

Bed | Plug-in Sconce | Nightstands | Cabinet | Dresser | Paint | Mirror | Curtains | Fabric Swatch | Rug | Lumbar Pillow | Duvet Cover | Quilted Set

Not bad, right? It brings in rust and mustard and ochre and blush, it feels textural but easy on the eye. But…is it just me placating myself?

Design doesn’t need to be this heady. I promise you. Had I been designing this space for someone else, I could have helped them decode their innermost desires and delivered a plan on a beautiful burlwood platter. But this is a room I have to live in every day. That I spend so much of my life in. Do I want to feel ALIVE, do I want to keep my pulse at a nice, soft 60 bpm, or do I want a little jig in the ol’ ticker but maybe not enough to feel like I’m being true to who I am as a designer/person?

I have a lot to think about, and while I’m leaning toward an answer, I want to pass the mic to you, dear EHD readers. Not really knowing me, but kind of knowing me…what do you see for me that possibly I’m not seeing for myself? Do I design my room for my eyeballs and my heart, or do I design it for deep breaths and my head? So curious to hear what you all think. Who will win? Colorful Arlyn? Neutral Arlyn? Somewhere in the middle Arlyn?

Oh and, uh, Emily, when you read this, please feel free to ALSO chime in…you’ve got my number…I expect a text. 😉

Opening Image Credits: Design and Photo by Dabito for Old Brand New

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MKK
6 months ago

Remember the story of Goldilocks? Too much color for tranquility, not enough going on for the eye and then, ahhh, just perfect in the middle.

Unless you know you will love rust for a very long time, having the bed be that color in first picture is a big $ commitment.

So, what you see ultimately is what instills how you feel in the room.

6 months ago
Reply to  MKK

Yeah that’s the big question. Will I get tired of the rust? I talked it through with my husband and he had the same question. I tend to not shy away from “big” moments but it IS an investment. A point I forgot to add here…the bed is from the company I work for so, financially, it’s not truly an investment (discounts!!!) but I don’t like being wasteful of just assuming I’ll have the means to swap it out easily if I DO get tired of it.

Kate
6 months ago
Reply to  Arlyn

I painted my dining room rust when we moved in over 15 years ago and have loved it every single day since 🙂

6 months ago

I am team pitter-patter of the heart. Go bold and colorful! It’s definitely the more risky choice, but it also sounds like the one you want.

6 months ago
Reply to  Jenny

I came back here and read through all the comments, and looked at my boards again and I think there could be a great middle-middle ground if I pull the rug from the middle version and bring it into the bold version.

Madeline Fuller
6 months ago
Reply to  Arlyn

Love the idea of the Goldilocks rug in the bold room! I’m on team bold and make your heart feel full and happy in that room. What a wonderful feeling to send you off to sleep. Plus the room can feel calming and soothing at night with the right lighting, and then fill you with pure bliss when you see it every morning in the bright daylight!

kate
6 months ago
Reply to  Arlyn

Or put the rug from the first version in the middle version? Spice it up a bit. Great post!

Addie
6 months ago
Reply to  Arlyn

Hmmm, I immediately pinned the rug in your bold plan because it’s gorgeous and a hard to find color combo, and for you, it balances out a saturated wall color so perfectly. I say go for your heart all the way, you won’t regret it because you’ll be enjoying how your room looks and feels like you and no one else’s. That said, I might reconsider the permanent bold upholstery on the bed: maybe use a more neutral color there? Then add big pillows against it to bring in the rust color? That would probably be my compromise. I love all the bold inspo photos, dreamy eyes! Thanks for sharing. I’m really looking forward to seeing this room!

ottan
6 months ago

100% team Goldilocks. I think it’s best to save loud statements for spaces you spend less time — powder rooms, dining rooms, etc. But at the same time, you want the design to be interesting.

I also think super neutral rooms require a certain amount of minimalism. Everything has to stay in balance to maintain that zen feeling, and that kind of discipline can be hard to keep up with in real life (especially if this room is your default junk room).

But if you go the neutral route, it won’t be hard to add more excitement with accessories if you change your mind later… the first plan is a commitment.

Love your approach to this, as always, and excited to see what you do!

Lucy
6 months ago
Reply to  ottan

I agree about neutral rooms being a little unforgiving in terms of visible ‘stuff’. I love looking at them, but with kids (in my case) I find that a room with more color and texture is less disturbed by some books, toys etc in open storage.

6 months ago
Reply to  Lucy

Oof good point. I’m not always the tidiest person. There’s always a pile of laundry somewhere…

Lisa
6 months ago

I actually really like the neutral version? At least if I’m seeing the colours on the moodboard correctly it doesn’t look like you’re going for an all white room but instead with the light pink walls, the lavender cabinet (or is it acutally grey? I hope it’s lavender!) and the blush nightstands it could be a really beautiful layered colourstory of pinks an purples which I think could be really soothing and calming but still also really pretty to look at! In the end I’d say go for what you want the room to feel like when you’re in it! Soothing sounds perfect for a bedroom though I agree that all white neutral everything might lean towards nondescript-blah in a box of a room instead of serene but surely there are other ways to achieve the same feeling with different colours? It sounds like you’re on the right track and I actually don’t think there is a wrong option here – all of them look gooooood and I want them in my room immediately!!

6 months ago
Reply to  Lisa

Hahaha thank you Lisa! I also really like the neutral version, but I was chatting with Jess (EHD Jess) last night about it, and it just doesn’t feel quite like me. It’s a room I’d love to STAY in, like…in a hotel.

Lisa
6 months ago

I like all of your options!! I do think that sometimes we can get stuck with what is theoretically possible? Like the first moodboard you designed is beauuuutiful – I too would pin that room so hard! But just because you could design than and it would look good doesn’t mean you have to do it if that makes sense? I sometimes get this when I’m hanging up pictures – I have a pretty decent collection of pictures, some that are very personal and some that I just kept because they’re pretty – and sometimes when I’m thinking about a new arrangement to put up I will realise that I grouped together mostly the ‘just’ pretty pictures and I’ll come to realise “that is a really pretty arrangement of pictures but it doesn’t mean anything to me” and then I play around somemore until I come to an arrangement that is both pretty and evoces the meaning I want it to. So I’d – lonwinded-ly – say go forth and create the bedroom you want not the one that is just pretty but the one that makes you feel how you wanna feel!

Alessa
6 months ago

Ooo, I love the bold and colorful and it definitely seems like your heart has a soft spot for it as well! I do also really like the middle ground and think it may have more staying power that would allow you to switch it up as you want without having to change around everything. Then again, if you abide by the Malcolm Gladwell “Blink” approach, following our first intuitions and gut-feelings usually leads to the best solution 🙂 Either way, I think your bedroom will look wonderful and I can’t wait to see it progress!

6 months ago
Reply to  Alessa

Blinkk was such a great book! Malcom Gladwell just has a way about him I (and millions other ha) really like! But yeah, I’m not sure there’s a wrong move. Actually, being overly deliberating is probably the wrong move. I JUST NEED TO PICK AND GO WITH IT.

Jessvii
6 months ago

I’d go with Colorful. The white middle-ground bed seems too bright. The minimal room seems too bland. I might snag the middle-ground rug for the colorful room, though, because the rug in the colorful room is not my personal taste.

6 months ago
Reply to  Jessvii

That’s really what I’m leaning toward! I liked the rug in the bold room originally, but the more I look at it, I think it’s a bit too heavy, particularly because my bedroom is not exceptionally large. It might “eat” the space.

Jen
6 months ago

I think it depends on how energizing you want your bedroom to feel. I love the colorful spaces, too, but they seem really energizing to me and I’d hesitate to put that in my bedroom where I’m sleeping. Even the inspiration photos are all living spaces.

Maybe the middle ground will pull in that color but still infuse a more calming feel.

Cat
6 months ago

I originally went neutral for our bedroom and it felt too “airy” for me. It was the exact dilemma of “I love looking at neutral bedrooms, I should love this” except I wanted to feel grounded, protected, and almost cave like when going to bed. We went incorporated a black-green corner and I feel so much better about it now! The middle ground seems like the best of both worlds!

6 months ago
Reply to  Cat

Ohh tell me about this black-green corner!

Jess
6 months ago

The colorful version is so special and still “neutral” enough, IMO! But I’m a person who never regrets buying the colorful version of a shirt that also comes in black and white.

Meg P
6 months ago
Reply to  Jess

That was my thought, too! I was surprised that the first one was the “colorful” one, actually. From the mood board it doesn’t look nearly as bold as the living room you found that has a similar set of colors.

It sounds like you have good options. I matter what you choose, and you can adjust once you see how it looks AND feels IRL. Go for something!

6 months ago
Reply to  Jess

Thank you for saying this. I also never regret the colorful version of something I buy. I once ended up buying a BRIGHT YELLOW dress for an event in New York for work…in February. Literally every body in the room was in black, and I was in, again, bright yellow…I was a bit embarrassed at first but then everyone kept coming up to chat with me. The dress was an ice breaker, it was a magnet. And while I’m not super social and being a social magnet is not super comfortable for me, it does speak to my inner desires of being “different.” Anyway, long story less long…I think I can make the “bold” version work with just a few tweaks.

Kelli LS
6 months ago
Reply to  Jess

Jess, I like the link between clothing preferences and decor preferences.. I worked in an antique print gallery for years, and I could almost always bet on a client choosing art for their bedroom that vibed with the clothes they were wearing. I definitely do it in my home, too: i like to wear classic neutrals with punches of quirky, strong color, and the same goes for my favorite rooms. Maybe standing back and squinting at one’s closet is one way to figure out a happy bedroom style?

i like all iterations. i gotta say though, the middle ground one isn’t really all that different from the all-in color one. i say go for the middle ground. and like someone else mentioned, a colored bed is a big commitment if you’re not fully committed to that color forever.

Caity
6 months ago

I agree with this! Bring in the color you love with textiles and fun accessories that can be changed later. I think you will be happy you did this in the future.

6 months ago

yeah there’s not a ton of difference really between any of the versions. All the main pieces (except the bed) are the same with tweaks in paint color and some decor. This all has my gears churning. So helpful!

Susan
6 months ago

From what you have written, part of the design problem is how many functions this room seems to have. I want my space for sleeping to feel one way, and the space for all those other things to feel another. If you had to “live” in this room for months last year it makes sense that choosing a direction is/was hard. That said, I would lean neutral for the foundation pieces that cost $ and add color with paint and accessories. I lean practical that way. Practical doesn’t have to be boring

Vera
6 months ago
Reply to  Susan

Yes!! All so well said!

6 months ago
Reply to  Susan

Practical doesn’t have to be boring…now there’s a statement to chew on for sure.

amanda
6 months ago

Team color! Life is too short, and the pink with the rust is too gorgeous. I think your shade of pink is a neutral anyways. Think about how happy waking up in that room each morning would be – like being on vacation! That is the kind of happy we need in our lives right now! Honestly, now I’m just convincing myself to put more color in my house. So thank you 😉

6 months ago
Reply to  amanda

Yes finding that neutral but just punchy enough shade of peach/blush has been a JOURNEY, but I think I found it!

Jenny
6 months ago
Reply to  amanda

This is what I think too. The colorful room would make me happy to be alive!

Mkw
6 months ago

I’m thinking you are drawn to the first design because bold and colorful may have a connection to home/who you are/your heritage. There’s comfort and calming in those feeling and not just lack of color.

6 months ago
Reply to  Mkw

Ha, you’re not wrong. Thank you for this perspective!

Kyle
6 months ago

I vote color! I especially adore that rust bed. With that wall color… I’m such a fan. In my first house I painted the ceiling of my bedroom light blue and it was my favorite detail of the room. I loved waking up in that bedroom. I thought I’d quickly grow tired of that random choice but I still smile when I think of it. This post is also reminding me to have fun in my decorating, an area that’s mainly been stressful for me lately. I’m going crazy trying to pick a couch (the PERFECT couch). Ha. When I get too in my head, I must research all options. And nothing gets done. Feels better to go with my gut and heart decision. So thanks!

6 months ago
Reply to  Kyle

We sound very similar, Kyle. If I don’t research ALL the options, or play through ALL the options in my head and make a choice…I feel like I’ve somehow missed “THE” answer. UGH, being high-strung can be such a curse.

Lane
6 months ago

You are overthinking it. I mean, those questioms make sense, but you lean toward a specific palette and forms in all your moodboards. As such there’s not much difference. They are all very similar and pretty. And I think all would feel and look just as good. I design for myself with both the feeling and look in mind. And I overthink individual pieces as well. However, I know that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. So I keep that in mind. There are some pieces that I like, but their form and message are so loud that I imagine I might get bored by it. Examples might be a snake lamp, a tongue print, and things that are in shiny gold or very rustic.

Liz
6 months ago
Reply to  Lane

I agree with this. I looked at the full-color board and my first response was, “What color? I don’t see any.” It looked very neutral to me. You’re wavering among looks that are extremely similar to each other. Go for what your heart/gut wants. Do NOT go for what would make a gorgeous photo, because you don’t live in a photo. Go for the room you want to see under lamplight when you’re getting ready for bed and the room you want to wake up in and the refuge you want to be in when you’re sick and not feeling well. Go for the bed you want to make every day.

Cass
6 months ago

Your “bold” option is….not that bold? I love it. I think so much of it reads neutral, yet unique, and you should definitely go that direction! I have fun! Give yourself a yummy bedroom!

Lucy
6 months ago
Reply to  Cass

Agreed!

Rebecca
6 months ago

My bedroom is has terracotta color walls. Not at all neutral, but it feels like a calming hug everyone I walk in – far more than white ever could (for me).

I think it’s because the color is warm and grounding and glowy. Much like you described.

So, I personally say go for the color (and select a calming shade)!

Rusty
6 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca

Yeah, I love colours of the earth on walls (internal and external).
I find them really grounding (oops, pun!) and calming since it evokes nature to my senses.

Mary Catherine
6 months ago

Hey there, since you referred to a battle between the head and the heart, I refer to sage advice I heard a long time ago regarding choosing a spouse: Find (design, in this case!) the one your head and heart agree on. I guess that means the latter designs. : ) Also, as you know because you’re a designer, remember to give yourself permission to craft a dynamic space with freedom to grow.

Rusty
6 months ago

Heeey, Little Chicken 😊

With everything you’ve been through (and are still going through), don’t be tempted to water down the things that energize you.

You spent aeons in that room and it’s been stressful and scary, so of course you wanna zen it out and beige it in. But don’t.
Your living room and dining room speak so much to what you love, let your bedroom do the same.

💥I think your original idea/scheme is bang-on, minus the bedhead. A more neutral bedhead can be amped up with throws, pi,lows (not karate chopped!), etc.
💥I like your middle ground ideas too, but wonder what it might be like with your original rug choice (I think you need a smidge of bluey-green in there, subtle, but there, connecting to your other rooms).

Since it’s Wednesday (and you know what THAT means), take a load off, allow yourself to just BE and walk around the rest of your house and see what the colours you already have make you FEEL.
Then, apply that to your bedroom.

Hugz, Rusty xx

6 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

Love Lillordag! (For anyone wondering, it’s Swedish for “little weekend” and something I started doing on Wednesdays to mentally take a break mid-week!)

6 months ago

Honestly, I think all three are neutral. I err on the side of color, so I like your colorful version, especially consider how much you have used color throughout the rest of your home. Your bold bedroom mood board is neutral and calm compared to the use of color throughout the rest of your house. Go for the colorful version!

Rusty
6 months ago
Reply to  Allison

I’ve gone from bright, saturated colours in my bedding, to bluey-greeny muted tones, with dashes of rust oranges.
It creates an alive feeling, with calming vibes in the blueish hues.

Katie
6 months ago

Totally team Goldilocks! I used to have a colorful bedroom and my current room is somewhere in your Goldilocks family. I stumbled into it after moving. While I was taking time to get settled I realized how much I loved my room being just a step more calming. And now I couldn’t give it up!

Kj
6 months ago

You have a bold sofa and a bold banquette/wall color. Something bold in your bedroom might be nice. Your “colorful” inspo pics (and some of your neutral pics) have contrast but your moodboards don’t have much. Maybe add some blue in the bedroom too?

6 months ago
Reply to  Kj

Yeah! I was thinking of going with a light slate blue on a chair I need to reupholster and in a few other spots (art, throw pillow, etc.)

Janna
6 months ago

Go with your heart! The colorful room is rich, cozy and warm. Def my first choice. I say go for it!

Kj
6 months ago

It’s definitely grey. Arlyn, I hope you already have the cabinet, it says it won’t deliver to the US.

jill
6 months ago

The middle ground is perfect for you!!

Vera
6 months ago

Hi Arlyn! I so enjoyed this post. (EHD is killing it this week!)
All three designs are beautiful and since each will provide benefits, you really can’t go wrong. The more energetic look will make you excited to wake up, and give you motivation if you have to work in bed (I’m so sorry to hear of your many months of suffering).
The quieter look will be soothing and perfect at bedtime.
So whatever you do, you’ll enjoy some benefits and have a gorgeous room.
One thought is – do you have any other un-designed spaces in your home? If so, you could apply the energetic mood board to it, and do the calm version where you sleep.
Whatever you do, it will be beautiful! Can’t wait to see!

6 months ago
Reply to  Vera

Thanks Vera! To answer your “thought” I do! I have a guest bedroom that has zero thought. I did what you said in my previous home: the guest bedroom had all the fun things…custom curtains I sewed out of this beautiful linen fabric with watercolor florals on them, I had Kelly green nightstands, printed bedding, etc. It was much bolder than my bedroom. And every time I went into the guest bedroom, I was jealous hahaha so maybe this actually led me a bit closer to my own answer!

Emily
6 months ago

I like the third option! bring in the color and texture in not so permanent ways (like throw pillows and bedding) instead of pricer items like furniture

Lisa
6 months ago
Reply to  Emily

Yes, this. Like, color in inexpensive IKEA curtains, vases, paint and throw pillows etc. Not beds;).

LouAnn
6 months ago

I actually had a bedroom painted in that peachy pink. And while it was beautiful to look at, it wasn’t all that conducive to sleep. There was a glow-y quality. And sometimes, I felt like I was trapped inside a terracotta planter — or a Calamine lotion bottle. Just too much peachy pink!

My vote: middle ground. It’s soothing, relaxing — not too bright white, not too pink. The tones and textures suggest: This is a good place to unwind and rest.

6 months ago
Reply to  LouAnn

“trapped inside a terracotta planter” HAHA oh noooo.

Rusty
6 months ago
Reply to  Arlyn

Um, READY TO BLOOM!!!

Margaret
6 months ago

I’m 100% Team How It Makes You Feel. Silly question, maybe, but how do you *want* to feel in your bedroom? I think you have to answer that question first.
I need to feel safe. Also, before I retired I used to work nights and had to sleep during the day. I wanted a cool, dark, cave.
So the room is painted dark gray, it has heavy, light-blocking curtains, and the bed is tucked in a corner.
I like the way it looks, but I love the way it feels.

Alice
6 months ago

The neutral pics look so restful, like they would give your brain a rest from having to process a lot of exciting colors and textures. I used to think that I was into wild colors, but I’m finding light, neutral tones so much more calming these days, especially for my bedroom.

Jenms
6 months ago

Hahaha I love the over-thinking part of this post! I do this ALL.THE.TIME. Just pick one and go for it, and then if you don’t like it, you get to “style, play, every day” and switch it up! 🙂 🙂 🙂

And in terms of which one to pick — my Mom always says “Start with your first choice. If it doesn’t work out, you can always go to your second choice, but if you start with your second, you’ll always be wondering if your first would have been better.” So, start with the all-color one and go from there!

6 months ago
Reply to  Jenms

Arlyn “Overthinking” Hernandez in the house!!! And I love this quote from your mom!

Deepa
6 months ago

Personally, I think for your bedroom, you should go with the one that brings you that peaceful aaaaaahhhh feeling — the neutral one. You can go with more high stimulus designs elsewhere in your home, but I’ve always felt like your bedroom should help you feel serene and decompressed. That being said, I might be biased towards neutrals right now. When I was younger, I was all about exciting, high stimulus design — for example, for a while I was going through a phase and painted my walls this intense, lipstick red. It was . . . a lot. But I loved it! However, now that I’m a full time professional and a mom to two little kids — and I’m mentally stretched thinner than I used to be — I find that what works best for my space design-wise is neutral minimalism. Because I always have so many demands and information constantly flying at me, I find that I function best when my space is peaceful, neutral and low-stimulus instead of adding to the overstimulation I constantly feel. And this is true even though I sometimes find colorful and maximalist spaces to be more beautiful to my eyes. So… Read more »

Mary
6 months ago

Arlyn, peeking around the rest of your house, you don’t strike me as the completely neutral type. (Your house is gorgeous by the way and how is this a rental!?). I’m loving the middle ground with a few tweaks – add in the rug and bolster pillow from the original design, so you are essentially just swapping where the primary rust color comes in- in the bedding vs. the headboard- which can be more easily swapped if you decide it isn’t your thing. That pink for the wall color is stunning. The neutral design is pretty, but also feels really safe (which is a-okay if that’s where your heart leads you! You need to live in this space, not us!). Looking forward to seeing whatever you come up with.

6 months ago
Reply to  Mary

Thank you! I really lucked out with this rental (Los Angeles is wonderful in that way). Lots to consider here…

amanda
6 months ago

this house, maybe the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, makes me want you to go colorful. (and this is way more color than you’re even suggesting.) but to me, this is grounding and tranquil, even though it isn’t at all neutral. https://www.reathdesign.com/franklin-hills

6 months ago
Reply to  amanda

Reath Design is my EVERYTHING.

Roberta Davis
6 months ago

I like the middle ground the most, too. It gives me the ahhh feeling. And I agree that you might not love a rust bed forever, so better to do it on thins that can be changed out more easily. They are all nice, but maybe #2 is missing a bit of interest. #1 has the rust bed. It will be fun to see it IRL!

6 months ago

Colorful all the way!!! I think you’ll regret not adding the color and then try to add it in piece by piece over the years in an effort to make it up (consciously or subconsciously).

Lisa
6 months ago

My daughter just moved, and had exactly this decision to make, and a very similar palette. She too started out with lots of color and texture–on the bed in particular–and in the end moved toward more neutrals and tone-on-tone. The difference in her case was that her rug (vintage, family) is beige, terracotta, peach, and a dark sage green, and as such provided more color without undoing the serenity. (She had one wall painted in, BTW, in Benjamin Moore Boudoir;). The rest of the room is a mixture of ivory and woods and brass and plants for greenery, but still tone-on-tone, if that makes sense. If her example is meaningful, I’d say it really depends on your non-bedroom life. Is it jangly? High-stimuli? Rapid pace? A quiet bedroom would be good. If your non-bedroom life is quieter, you may in fact find color comforting.

6 months ago
Reply to  Lisa

“Jangly”…I love this word and how you used it. Work life-wise, it’s a bit “jangly” but other than that, it’s pretty calm. I do wonder what I’ll want in a few years when there are babies/kids in the mix…

Suzanne
6 months ago

Middle ground! I was going to say the colorful one with a neutral headboard, so you have more flexibility in the future, and that’s exactly what middle ground gives you. The neutral bedrooms feel too bare for me, I’m a minimalist who likes color, so middle ground is usually where I land.

Andrea
6 months ago

Arlyn, the leather used for the headboard of crate&barrel bed (in your neutral choice) is perhaps more ivory-yellowish, according to the comments from customers on the site. I had looked at that bed, too, and thought you might want to check on that. Sometimes that little bit of change can throw off the whole color agreement in a scheme for me.

6 months ago
Reply to  Andrea

Ohhh I don’t like the sound of that. It would probably look quite dingy next to the peach wall color. Good to know.

Emie
6 months ago

I don’t think you could go wrong with any of the choices. That said, I don’t see any of you in the “neutral bedroom”. You’re a vibrant, lively person and that room just says blah to me. It’s void of ANY personality. The full-color bedroom screams “Arlyn” to me. I can see that being great in the morning but maybe not the effect you’d want at night? How you want to feel in a room is important… especially if experiencing health challenges. Thing is, that could mean different things on different days. Several comments suggested a mash up between full-color and middle-ground and I think that just might be the sweet spot for you? A newly found “Goldilocks” moment of sorts? Where ever this leads you I can’t wait to see it.

Kelly P
6 months ago

I have to vote for FULL ON COLOR! Those colors are lush and still cosy and soothing. I also think the Goldilocks version is lovely. The neutral is just a bit flat for me, particularly if (as you say) there aren’t any architectural details in the room. I think you’ll need more than just a few textures to make it feel fab. I’m excited to see what you end up with!

Krista
6 months ago

The full color option is stunning. Beautiful, neutral colors that are both interesting and peaceful. Love, love, love it! Go for the rust bed – it will make the space!

6 months ago
Reply to  Krista

Thank you Krista!

YC
6 months ago

I like your original design! I think it’s very soothing and warm–perhaps it’s more of a warm tone of calm as opposed to a “cool tone” calm (if that makes sense)? I wouldn’t necessarily call the first design “colorful.”

Lea
6 months ago

If I chose based off these 3 it would be the “middle ground” bedroom, it feels more you. Calm but edgy and with personality that isn’t up in your face for when you want to retreat or open your eyes first thing in the sunny Cali morning weather. LOVE the white oak and channelled bed with low key prints on the textiles of your inspo room. That burl wood in your mood board is fire!

6 months ago
Reply to  Lea

I may not end up with those exact nightstands ($$$$) but burlwood will be SOMEWHERE.

Erica
6 months ago

I’m not a designer by any means, which might be why I wonder about the idea that neutral=relaxing while color=energizing. I’m sure that’s true a lot of the time, but there are probably exceptions? When I was a student in Chicago & desperately needed some Zen, I’d go to the Art Institute (it was free to students on Tuesdays!) & sit in front of the Chagall stained glass windows and let my vision fill up with deep blues until I could feel myself taking deep breaths again.

I think the colors in your colorful board are welcoming and relaxing. The other boards are beautiful, too, of course. I think whichever board you choose will be wonderful.

E
6 months ago
Reply to  Erica

Yes! I’m more likely to find a color relaxing and soothing. Most of the “neutral” rooms I see would make me restless. And beige induces anger and disgust for me.

Karyn
6 months ago

Maybe you can mix both colorful and neutral to end up with something in the middle? I love the Middle Ground version…it’s got a lot of color but not too wild. Or just pull another neutral item into the Bold version to just quiet it down *a bit*.

6 months ago
Reply to  Karyn

This is exactly what I’m thinking to do!

Jane Lange
6 months ago

A few thoughts. Do you have to decide all at once? I think the paint color will make the biggest difference in the mood of the room (and it’s easy enough to change)–so I might nail that first. I love the pink tone from the Bobby Berk room, but if it’s too energizing, you can dial it down to something more subtle. Then you can build up with the pieces the are common amongst your mood boards. Then you can decide on the bed and the accent pieces. Since it’s your space and not a clients you don’t have to nail everything all at once. If it were me and my taste, I would go with a more saturated wall tone with the bed from the neutral palette and everything else from the middle ground room. I don’t really care too much for the rust bed (I think it may look dated in a year or so?). I also don’t like everything too tonal in the beigey pink (a la the neutral room). The middle room, with a fairly saturated wall color strikes the right balance to me.

6 months ago
Reply to  Jane Lange

Jane…I think you just helped me make my first move. I tend to design the whole space on “paper” and then install, but you’re right. I need to get the paint color up I’m really drawn to and see if I feel like I’m drowning in color (and then go a bit more neutral with the bed, specifically) or energized by it, hence adding more. Genius!

Amber Moon Leigh
6 months ago

Colorful! You can always change the paint to more neutral if it ends up being too much. But if you don’t try the one that makes your heart pound, it will haunt you on the daily!

Donna
6 months ago

Arlyn,

I see a couple of things when I look at your inspiration pins. The Dabito and Wheeler includes bold contrasting warm colors, pattern, bold collected art, and maximal styling. The Studio McGee and the Madfis, includes subtle contrast of warm off whites in color and pattern, minimal art and styling. The Wagner is similar to the McGee and Madfis, except that the warm colors are bolder.

So this all makes me wonder what it is about each one, other than the overall vibe, that moves you. Do you want a lot of art on your walls? Do you want maximal? You could do that with neutral or Goldilocks moodboard too. Do you want bold, contrasting colors and patterns? But maybe like minimal styling? You could achieve that with your first moodboard. Your moodboards don’t represent the art and styling so I’m not sure they represent the three different inspirations except for color. I tend to overthink too (in case you couldn’t tell 🙂 and it helps me to break it down this way.

All this to say that if you asked me, (you did!) I wouldn’t have an answer for you, just more questions 🙂

6 months ago
Reply to  Donna

OH this is a great set of questions. For my bedroom, I want simple styling, 100%. I have some art that’s really special to Charles and me that I’ll be using (pretty neutral), but otherwise, it’ll be rather pared back. So…it’s going to need something to jazz it up for sure.

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