Space for Living: sleep

Interior designer Maria Stripling loves a good night’s sleep.  Some of the places she has slept in may not have been conducive to a restful night, but they all had their good points.

The beach cabin with an unfortunate horse-hair mattress, but great-sounding waves; a Turkish rooftop with its big sky view and 100 other travellers; a tiny caravanette shared with good friends….

Much  has been written about the importance of ambience, lighting, calming fabrics and colour schemes… …a load of feng shui? Perhaps, but creating the right bedroom may be the best thing you ever do to your home.

A growing family; a desire to have friends to stay more often; the need to look after an elderly parent…are all reasons to add or improve a bedroom. So what are the options? A loft conversion, restructuring existing space, an extension?

If you want to avoid the need for planning permission, then a mezzanine may be for you. In small, contemporary spaces, it allows you to move the bedroom higher and to free up living space. It can increase the value of the property, and this internal structure, while meeting building regulations approval, shouldn’t need planning permission even with the installation of simple skylights. This is also a viable approach to protected buildings, provided you don’t break the roofline or add a dormer.

By creating the mezzanine you open up possibilities for the space underneath to be used as a bathroom, kitchen, or living area. Using glass, you can borrow light from downstairs and create interest in an otherwise plain internal space. Of course you’ll need the right height for standing space above and below, but there are ways of achieving this too.

A mezzanine may not work for you, but other ideas for better use of existing bedroom space include opening up the eaves to add a sense of height and light and provide additional storage. Customised beds, made to fit a space, are also bespoke pieces of furniture which you can take with you when you move. For open plan bedrooms, use a folding screen or curtains to close off the bedroom space from other areas in the day and reduce light at night. These simple ideas needn’t be boring and are aimed at utilising existing space, while minimising redesign costs.

If you’re dreaming of your own en-suite, remember that even the smallest of spaces can be transformed into something amazing in appearance and functionality. And you won’t have to share this space with your guests!

Don’t forget the little things, such as using mirrors to bounce light around the bedroom, creating a feeling of space. For bedrooms with sloping ceilings or awkward, unused corners, think about installing a freestanding bath, just a hop away from the pillow. Divide open plan space between bedroom and bathroom using glass walls creatively and, if you are shy, opaque glass gives you a little more privacy.

Who needs nights on the beach or under canvas, when a floor-to ceiling window could give you a view over stunning city roof tops? Add a balcony or terrace and just bring the outside in. You may never want to leave that comfy divan again.

© Maria Stripling, Leapfrog Home.