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"I want a peaceful, clutter-free place where I can relax," says Linda Brandel, who lives with her husband and 11-year-old daughter in Cheektowaga, New York. "I've tried moving the furniture around, but the room still feels disorganized." Even more than a smart rearrangement, Linda craves a sophisticated color scheme. "It's so blah," she says. Bare wood floors and small high windows that offer little light also have Linda stumped. And at the top of her wish list is a comfortable seating area. "The room is big enough," Linda notes. "I just don't know how to make it all work."
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To create a serene layout, designer Nate Berkus opts for a neutral palette. "I went with khaki walls and painted the existing bed white to add interest," he says. Next he suggests removing pieces like the standing mirror and bench that hog space yet have no real purpose. He oriented the headboard against the opposite wall and created access to both sides of the bed. Two end tables double as storage. Nate chose bamboo slatted blinds for the windows and placed a slipper chair beneath them in the corner. "Every bedroom needs a place to sit other than the bed," says Nate.
The Finishing Touches
Nate introduced a couple of key pieces to add variety to what Linda already owned. "Don't be afraid to have a range of tones and patterns in your space," he says. "It's a good thing when everything doesn't match." To define the entire area, Nate rolled out a big graphic rug in an earthy hue.
"I didn't want the room to look too traditional, so I chose a bureau with a zinc finish and hung a large ornate mirror for depth and sparkle." The bureau, he notes, is a splurge that could be bought later, when Linda's budget allows it (zinc dresser, restorationhardware.com, from $1,195). Other sophisticated details include a chocolate-hued duvet and a mix of pillows. "Finally, don't forget to give a space personality," Nate says. "Little things like a stack of books, family photos, and favorite accessories make all the difference."
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Nate's Bedroom Decorating Picks
A basket-weave shade brings in another layer of texture.
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Off the Wall
Inject a note of glamour with a trio of mod brass bursts.
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Linens in deep, rich colors lend a sophisticated look.
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Put a personal stamp on a cushion.
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An armless chair offers a sleek solution for kicking back.
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An "antiqued" tripod table mixes well with any style.
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A reflective surface can be both practical and decorative.
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A wool-and-cotton rug in a zigzag pattern adds cozy flair.
Originally published in the October 17, 2010, issue of Family Circle magazine.