In reality the bedroom is far more than just a room and a bed; it is a place of rest and relaxation and a place to escape to, sleep in and dress in. But although a bedroom satisfies a myriad of needs, to many it is simply a sanctuary and a personal space that people take a great deal of care and thought over. Of course, such interest in bedroom design and furnishing is nothing new.
Records tell us that throughout history different civilisations have taken an interest in the rooms in which they sleep. For instance, the Egyptians favoured beds that dominated a room and were reached by steps. Fabric was hung around what was often a wooden bed to form curtains that brought both drama and elegance to the room.
In Roman times the average bedroom was often a small affair. In Rome, some rooms were dedicated simply to the siesta and a midday rest, whilst others were only for nighttime sleeping. However, for both Greeks and Romans the main centrepiece was the ‘sleeping couch’ or bed. The beds themselves were made out of wood, with criss-crossed rope to form the main horizontal section. Expensive beds could be intricately carved and decorated with shell, gold or ivory and laid with colourful damask cloths.
During the 14th century an emphasis was placed on fabrics with silk, velvet and gold used in wall hangings, cushions and bedding. Medieval fashions echoed these elegant, expensive and expansive uses of fabric with clothing and bedroom furnishings both luxurious and decorative. The bed was, of course, a focal point in the room, but an ornately carved featherbed was only for the rich. It is here we first start to see the development of the four-poster bed. In the medieval period the ‘canopy’ or ‘tester’ was introduced, suspended above the bed by cords from beams in the ceiling.
The dawn of the Gothic era saw bedroom furniture in a range of materials including iron, heavy wood and glass. Imposing fireplaces gave way to high arches and warm light filtered into the dark from arched and pointed windows. As we near the later half of the 18th century beds were made in cast iron and were less dominant. Instead, furniture such as dressing tables, writing tables and wardrobes were on view and often added a softer, more intimate look to the bedroom.
As wartime decades in the 20th century hit both business and public pockets alike, bedroom furniture became less ornate and more standard, basic and functional. Colours were toned down and styles simplified. However, as interior design flourished post-war bedroom furniture took off once again and plastics became a popular choice for tables and stands. Bright, bold carpets and wallpapers were set against equally bright geometrically shaped chairs.
Today, these shapes and styles are still visible in contemporary bedroom design. However, the key to a perfectly balanced and styled bedroom is recognising what styles you like and how best to bring them together.
Whether it’s a Gothic inspired iron bed and bold patterned wallpaper of the 20th century or the elegantly draped four-poster, shape your bedroom to be the room that you enjoy being in the most.