Keep Calm & Get Some Beauty Sleep!

Our bedroom now blooming!

Hello my dears!

Lack of sleep during Covid is an understandable problem, for a variety of obvious reasons I won't bore you here with because you already know that all too well. Sooooo, as in all things to do our best in life, no matter what curve balls are thrown at us, what can we do about it?!

First of all, is your bedroom conducive to sleep or is it a drab cluttered mess? Just wondering, because it makes a difference to your sleep quality. I have no scientific proof of this of course since I'm not a scientist in a sleep-lab*, and I'm not a medical doctor dispensing sleeping pills either, but it's common sense to me to make your bedroom clutter-free and attractive if you want to sleep better.

(*I saw a blog post once of a woman showing tons of wires hooked up to her in a drab science-y sleep-study lab and I thought to myself: "Personally, if that were me in that sterile environment hooked up to all those beeping machines, I wouldn't sleep better, I'd scream! To each his own, but I'll take my own practical and creative sleep strategies I share here today any day, thank you very much!)

Steve and I have spent the last few weeks updating our dollarwise bedroom to our favorite floral garden-y colors that make us happy, and help us sleep too. Of course, our style of decorating and our fave colors are not for everyone, but it feels yummy to us because we like our bedroom to feel like one of the many Bed & Breakfast Inns we have stayed in since 1987.

Maybe YOU though, want an all-white bedroom, or a soothing calm pale blue, or no flowers. Or striped wallpaper. You do YOU so you can sleep well too!

If you do want to make your own bedroom feel like a relaxing B&B, here's a tips article I wrote way back in 2005 on that topic. And here's a good inn site to look at some rooms for bedroom decorating ideas. Don't worry that you don't have fine expensive 1800's antiques and pricey 1000 thread count linens; you can re-create a lovely look like these upscale expensive B&B rooms on a dollarwise budget, just like we have done in all our own former and our current "inn-style" bedrooms. Just shop at places like Amazon and Wayfair for a "copycat" look, and have fun! Example.

Here are the sources of where I bought things for our current bedroom, or something similar.

Similar floral quilt and standard pillow sham or similar comforter

Floral Euro shams similar

Similar lavender quilt

Floral fleece blanket on chair

Similar painting over our bed

Floral blackout-light curtains

The pictures on the side wall are from Home Goods a couple of years ago.

Rolling cart vs. nightstand for a new m.o.

I recently bought rolling carts from Container Store to replace our old nightstands that were getting a bit ratty looking. I wanted something easy to clean and lightweight and that was easy to move to vacuum under. I also didn't want to get sick from the chemical smell of particle board nightstands which is so prevalent these days, so powder-coated steel here avoided that issue that I've had in the past. The lid on top I purchased separately and it acts like a tabletop.

The baskets in my carts I also purchased separately, and as you can see, they're great organizers. I measured carefully before ordering it all and it worked just great. I really like the clean lines and easy move-around m.o. of these carts. For such a low price, they are a dream and not cheapy-feeling, but nicely made and sturdy. They are also versatile: Should you move, they'd work great in a bathroom, kitchen, craft room, garage too. I like multi-purpose products to make your dollar go far. Similar cart. Similar cart in fun rainbow colors!

The small white drawers are great for organizing all those little nightstand doo-dads and sleep aids. What I like most about these little white drawers is that they can be placed horizontally or vertically. (You just swap the drawer around.) They also come in other colors and sizes and can be stacked. The shallow white basket on top I already had and is from the Dollar Store. These drink coasters on my nightstands are really pretty in person, very absorbent for glass-sweat, and they come in a nice holder. Great dollarwise gift idea!

Speaking of sleep aids, personally, I like to use natural things to help me sleep should I need that at times, (but not every night), like gentle homeopathics, for instance, or Bach Flowers. I also like to read something positive before bed too so I read books like Choose Hope, Choose Joy, Proverbs, and this pretty book is one I want to try in the future. What you read, or watch, before bed makes a difference in your sleep quality, I think. (Shhh, don't tell, but sometimes I read on my Kindle before bed, which I am not sure is so good to do but I've gone nearly all paperless in my life, including books. Yes, I read past my bedtime, too.) :)

I'm also considering getting a little tabletop fountain for a soothing sound that induces sleep and calm. You could also try a white noise machine too.

My cart stays organized with baskets.

Here's another cart view.

The pink case stores my essential oils and I personally like this lavender oil to relax for my best sleep, or sometimes chamomile. I put them in my lotion and rub my feet and hands or why not give your mate a massage with that? Yum. Sometimes I drink chamomile tea or Cup of Calm tea too. I like my tea in a pretty floral or humorous mug that transports you to a regal place.

My desk I bought years ago at an antiques store in CA. You can also find older desks/tables like this at thrift stores or online at eBay etc. for a song. Clean them up really well, give them a new non-toxic stain or couple coats of durable paint from Ecos Paints and you'd be surprised how good they look. Older desks often have more interesting lines and carvings too than modern ones.

As for beds, that's a very personal choice and not one to be taken lightly. Our current bamboo pillow-top mattress came with our new home as it had been a vaca rental for three months so we kept the bed as we needed a new Queen size one and our old King bed was too big anyway so we gave it away in CA before moving. It is really comfy and I have had no chemical-smell issues with it that make me ill. (Flame retardants.) This has happened to me in the past so if you need to replace your bed to sleep better, be careful! Beds can be tricky for both comfort and laden with chemicals and I have no easy answers for that so I will let you do your own online research to suit your own body and health sleeping needs.

I do spend a pretty penny for organic cotton sheets from Lifekind that touch my super sensitive skin as they are soft and odor-free, which I need. Doing our whole bed in their organic linens though is not in my dollarwise budget, nor do I want an all-beige bed look, so I stick with the sheets when they have a sale. I have not tried Lifekind's beds/mattresses so I can't comment on those, but they have been in biz a long time. I have tried both of their pillows: the wool and the organic cotton. There are pros and cons to each. The wool is softer but I didn't like the "barnyard" smell it emitted. (My husband says that's lanolin in the wool. I believe him since he grew up on a sheep farm. But it still smelled like a barnyard to me and um, no thanks.) So then I ordered the Lifekind organic cotton pillow. It's nice, but much harder. If I had to order again, I would still buy the cotton vs. the wool pillow, but the light fill rather than medium. My hubby likes medium fill though. So suit yourself, always!

We ordered an organic cotton futon online two years ago from The Futon Shop for an extra portable bed for our den that has no odor and is really nice. Our customer service was great. Next mattress, I think I'll try there. They have non-toxic futon frames too.

Here's another bed tip: Maybe you're athletic, but I personally don't want to climb a mountain when I get into bed, so we opt for lower platform bed frames. Have you seen how high some beds are? I saw one with steps up to the bed on one side online. I don't think that's decorating-cute; I think it's a recipe for a broken ankle, foolish, and I am not doing a high bed. Neither should you, unless you want to deal with more things that go bump in the night, which will probably be YOU. We put our mattress on this new low platform frame from Amazon when we moved in and I love the low height, (I measured before I ordered, on purpose!), and we have had zero problems with it. I really like it. No odor from the paint or the wood slats. No squeaks. (And it's now two years old and we are not tiny people.)

Floral blackout curtains are a dream!

I'm loving my new colorful blackout curtains. This was taken before I replaced my old desk organizers items, but it's a good shot of the curtains so here it is. Blackout curtains help you sleep better! I can personally vouch for that.

My chair is years old from Home Goods. The legs are a bit scratched from moving but it's so comfortable that I want to keep it forever. I touch up the legs now and then with furniture pens like these.

Fleece blanket for new "upholstery."

And I "reupholstered" the chair in a floral print. :)

My cute hubby

My handy hubby Steve hung the new curtains for me. What would I do without him?! xxoo

French Lavender paint it is!

We haven't painted the accent wall yet, but we've chosen the paint color of French Lavender from Ecos Paints. Their Marvelous Magic was too purple-y pink and bordering on "Barbie" pink. No thanks; I left Barbie dolls, and that pink, at age 6. :) Daring Deception was too blah blush. French Lavender is a soft lavender with some grey in it that felt calming to me. It also went well with our painting. Bingo!

My article "How Color Affects Mood in Your Home" will give you an idea of how you might want your own bedroom colors to feel.

To test paint colors, I paint a strip on a few white pieces of paper stapled together for thickness so it doesn't bleed through to the back, and I write the color and number and then make a splash of color and hang it on the wall with wall-safe tape. I let the paint dry and look at it several times a day as the daylight changes to be sure I like the color all day long since in my case, I work/write from my bed.

I love Ecos non-toxic paints and have found their customer service to be superb. I have become ill from many paints in the past and they do not have any odor or bad chemicals I react to. They have provided paint 'round the world to large companies and individuals.

Monet colors make us smile!

We moved some paintings around that we already had. The horizontal is a new Monet and I love it. His use of color just draws me in. Steve is a huge Monet fan so this was a find. (He wears Monet socks. But don't worry, not to bed!) :)

You can't see it in the photos of our bedroom this post, but I also have a Monet mouse pad that I love.

Here's another thing you can do to help you choose bedroom colors: look at a favorite painting and match some paint chips or samples to it. There you go!

Decorate around blah flaws

There will always be things about your bedroom that you don't like. Even if you buy your home new. But you don't need to do an entire remodel. (Unless you want to remodel or have recently won the lottery and decide to build a castle.) :) Do your best to decorate around the flaws in your room and to take your eye away from the blah issue is my motto. Bright florals or prints or paintings and a painted accent wall will help that cause along -- your eye will go first to the pretty colors and painted wall and not to the brown carpet or whatever your particular bedroom-ugly might be.

Think of it like this: When you dress up for a date night, you don't accentuate your worst body parts, but your best. When you wear makeup, you don't accentuate your worst features, but your best. Do the same with your rooms!

Great example of this: I helped a woman years ago with her bedroom revamp when her family's finances were at a really low point due to a job change and move and she was sad and stressed. She lamented that she wanted built-in bookcases, (she had great taste and a very big suburban home that became unaffordable for her to furnish with all things new.) I showed her how she didn't need expensive built-ins but could still have "the look." She needed to stay on her tight budget so she didn't end up a bag lady, think outside the box, count her blessings, and I also gently but firmly suggested that she quit whining and start problem-solving or she was going to be even more miserable. Custom-installed French Doors could wait too due to the tight budget she was now on. (Sorry; I was an 8th grade teacher so we can do tough-love, (on ourselves too!), when we feel it's warranted. Ask my former students.) :)

For "the built-in look" she wanted, I suggested she buy two white bookcases, place them on either side of her existing 1970s oak dresser that she had painted herself in a nice bright white paint so that it now looked like this, put the TV on top of the dresser or hang it on the wall right above the dresser and then add books, silk plants, and some pretty things to the shelves and the whole DIY get-up would "look like" built-ins. The eye would go to the books, pretty decorative items, and away from the inexpensive white bookcases and white dresser. All three pieces blended visually into one "built-in look" piece.

She couldn't believe the transformation once it was all done and she told her "faux built-ins secret" to all her friends. I also suggested she could change out the pulls on her dresser to more stylishly-modern ones like this if she wanted. If you ever do that, be sure to measure the distance of the holes that are already drilled for the existing pulls or knobs or you'll have to fill the holes in, paint over them, and re-drill and that's not so fun and sometimes you can still see the old holes plugged up even if you're careful. So I try to avoid that by measuring the existing holes and buying new pulls that are the same size if possible. (Sometimes it's not.)

My repainted desk top and re-organized desk is working great!

The point of all this is ... we all need good sleep, even more now during you know. And so, we need a bedroom that supports us to that end, whatever your chosen decor style may be. And you don't need to spend a ton of money to pull it off. Use your ingenuity. Get resourceful. Go over your budget and see if you can free up some money in some categories to spend on your home. Maybe not immediately, but maybe as a goal to work towards. Maybe you'll decide to use the money during Covid that you would have spent on vacation this year for your home instead. Maybe you'll scale back some on Christmas spending this year. Just a thought. My article "How We Save Money for Travel" doesn't have to apply to just travel. You can use those $ savings-strategies for something else you want instead. Like a little bedroom upgrade for better sleep perhaps? You can figure it out. I know you can.

I hope you make your bedroom feel like a hug to you.

Blessings, fluffy bed pillows, chamomile tea, and Proverbs,

Kathryn :)












© Kathryn Bechen 2020



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