More Ways to Waste Time reader Jacqui writes, "When my husband and I bought our first house last fall, we painted nearly every room before moving in -- we figured that was easier than having to 'move out' of rooms later in order to paint. But painting before establishing a design plan has left me unsure about how to really finish our bedroom.
We love the wall color and the contrast with the black and white bedding and furniture. But I'm stuck on finding a rug, curtains, and something to go in that weird little corner next to the bathroom door. Do I stick with black and white for the textiles, or is that overkill? Do I find an accent color or are the three colors enough already?
Finally, please settle a long-running debate in our house: What do you think of the enormous IKEA artwork over the bed? Any other suggestions you have are most appreciated!"
I know you really like it, Jacqui -- but to be honest, all that dark blue and black together looks a bit dreary and dated to me. You can cheer up the scheme a lot -- but still retain the high-contrast black, white, and blue look you prefer -- simply by replacing some of the black elements with white ones.
See how all the white and other light-toned pieces in the pictures above and below pop against the inky blues and make the wall colors even more dramatic? To follow suit in your room, you could keep the patterned blanket at the foot of the bed, for instance, but switch out that black duvet cover and sheet set for snowy white ones.
Add a white drum shade on the bedside lamp and clean white curtain panels to the window to cover the bland mini-blinds and inject even more brightness into the space. (IKEA sells great white linen curtains for next to nothing.) And though you might not want to go this far, I'd consider painting the metal bed frame and the leaning bookshelf next to the bed white as well.
Speaking of the bookshelf, I'd move it to the wall to the right of the door, lose the small metal table that's there now, and look for a substantial bedside table or small dresser to balance the one you have on the other side of the bed. I do like the black on that piece -- it looks dramatic and sophisticated. And with a mostly blue-and-white color scheme, a few black pieces will help ground the space -- as the black bedside table does in the otherwise light and airy room above.
Top photo via Nibs
A white or light-colored rug will make the room feel extra dreamy, while a faux zebra hide (you can find them pretty inexpensively on eBay) or other black-and-white-patterned rug, like these two options from IKEA, will inject some fun pattern in a way that's not overwhelming.
Once you've scaled back the black, you could add in one or two colorful accents. As shown here, yellow or orange both compliment blue beautifully, and add energy and zing to these spaces.
Red, as shown at top, is another classic compliment to blue -- just use it sparingly. Apple green would make a deliciously crisp foil to the particular shade of blue you've chosen for your walls. And even a rich lavender, as shown in the bottom photo, can work with blue.
As for the picture currently above your bed, well -- it does sort of scream "generic IKEA artwork." Even when your budget is small, I think it's important to find art that's more unique and personal -- especially in a spot you look at every day. Blow up one of your own photographs and hang it above the bed; stretch a piece of fabric that you love over a canvas; visit Etsy and other sites to stock up on inexpensive prints from artists whose work you admire, and then hang a bunch of them in a grouping similar to the one shown above; or display found objects -- a vintage sign, an assemblage of pressed leaves, even a gnarled piece of driftwood you found on your last trip to the beach -- in place of the boring IKEA print.
Readers, what's your take on Jacqui's blue-and-black bedroom? What would you keep, what would you lose, and what would you change? Please chime in with your advice for her!
(P.S. Have a design dilemma of your own? Send it in, along with a photo or two, and I'll put it up here for a communal brainstorming session.)