A Cheap Bedroom Makeover

Affordable ways to update an old Victorian bedroom design.

Q: I want to redo our master bedroom, which is currently painted cream and furnished with a black cast-iron bed, oak dressers, and two small club chairs. The bedding is mostly white, and the curtains are a subdued floral. Our house is a Victorian (although not the frou-frou kind), so I’d like something that fits in but looks a little more up-to-date. Our budget won’t run to replacing everything, but can you offer any suggestions about color or furnishings?—Sleepless in Thornwood


A: As we all know, paint is the simplest way to change the look of a room. What this year’s hottest (or coolest) colors are depends upon which expert you ask (at Sherwin-Williams, they seem to like ’em all). But recent favorites, like soft shades of gray and tan, continue to be in vogue, probably because they create that tranquil effect we all need just now. Benjamin Moore predicts their historic Wythe Blue will be the color of 2012. It’s a grayish blue-green that looks very soothing, especially with white trim. Check it out at their website: benjaminmoore.com.

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Donna Bouley is an on-staff designer at W.L. Landau in Hartsdale, a family-owned biz that offers Ethan Allen furniture along with free interior decorating advice—our favorite kind. “A new bed would make the biggest impact,” she declares. “Maybe a four-poster—that’s very dramatic. And you can choose something in an interesting finish,” if you don’t want cherry or another traditional wood.

“Changing the chairs would give a new look,” she continues, offering a shout-out for one called Redgrave. “It’s a beautiful little tufted chair that’s very bedroom-y. It has a slant back, so it’s very comfortable and fits a lot of tall men. It would look great with a four-poster. Lighting is another easy way to update a look, so you could throw in some interesting lamps,” Bouley goes on. “And accents play a key role. Mix updated contemporary things with traditional.”

If you want to keep costs down, “new bedding and window treatments could give a whole new look,” Bouley notes. The cast-iron bed can be softened by adding layers, “with a comforter or a duvet and an assortment of pillows with beautiful trims,” she says. “Soft blues and greens or sea foams—those colors are calming for a bedroom.”

They’d also go well with Benjamin Moore’s Wythe Blue, should you decide on it. Sweet dreams!

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