How could the bedroom be the cause of disturbed sleep? Counter-intuitive. I know. Feng Shui has some answers. And it has nothing to do with wind chimes, frogs, etc. Hear me out. Please.
The mind feels most relaxed in a room with grounded and balanced energy flow.
What does that even mean and how do we go about creating that?
Energy can be visualized as a flow of people and air into the room. Creating a sense of grounded energy all depends on the furniture layout.
This starts by deciding the location of the bed. Place the bed such that the headboard of the bed is along the longest wall, facing the door to the room. This should allow for a sight-line towards the bedroom door while being seated in your bed. Being able to view the entrance to a space vs subconsciously having to “watch your back” puts your primal mind at ease. Don’t place the bed at an angle. It is unsettling and creates a corner behind itthat’s hard to vacuum creating “stagnant energy” (read dust and stale air). The bed should not be facing a bathroom door. It is acceptable if the bathroom door is towards the side. But keep it closed. It’s just good hygiene.
Unless you live in a mansion or your bedroom is huge or you are very tall, a queen bed is the largest size you should go for if you don’t want to dwarf out your space.
The next element is the headboard. The shape, size, and material is a way to visually anchor the bed and establish it as the most important piece of furniture in the room. Of course, it does provide back support when you are sitting up in bed and keeps you from rubbing your head against the wall. 47″ high headboards don’t show much behind pillows, 54″ high show a lot. 52″ is a happy medium. Upholstered headboards are considered to be ideal since they provide the most sense of ‘comfort’. Wooden headboards are next in comfort. Slightly rounded shaped echo the soft curves of the mattress and duvet covers and are considered to be most relaxing.
Some design blogs and magazines show wall mounted shelves over the bed (instead of the headboard) full of photo frames, monogrammed art, and books. That looks great in photos but it makes me anxious. Living in an earthquake-prone area like California just makes me worry. Sure, you may argue that the whole roof can fall on your head. However, just in case there’s a smaller earthquake, I don’t want to increase the chances of books, photo frames, etc falling right onto my head. Or worse, on my nose. Things can wobble and fall without an earthquake. I feel the same way about the drum shaped pendant lights hanging over the bed. They looks great but they’re not for me.
The next goal is to create balance which can be achieved by using the design principle of symmetry. In a squarish room, the bed is placed in the center (or faux center) of the room with at least 2 feet (24″) of walkway on either side of it. In a more elongated room, there might be space for a chair or chaise longue or dresser towards the window.
Identical side tables and lamps look good in pairs and are encouraged in a bedroom. Feng Shui states that identical nightstands and lamps also indicate democracy in a relationship. IMHO, what indicates the most democracy is having an equal walkway on either side of the bed. So, do not shove the side of a bed against a wall. Doing so restricts access and putting on new bed sheets. Cleaning under it can become a weekly annoyance. If you are cramped for space, leave at least 1″-2″ space from the wall.
Avoid a mirror directly reflecting the bed. Your own glimpse from the corner of your eye can catch you unaware and creep you out in a semi-asleep state.
The space under the bed should be left empty for air to circulate. The height of the bed should allow you to get in and out comfortably whether you go for a lofty platform or a low base. If you live in a tiny apartment, please do not place a space-saving-pull-out drawer for shoes under the bed, no matter how starved for space you are. Leather, suede, rexine, rubber, pleather and glues used to bind the shoes emit gases that you should not be inhaling, especially when you are asleep. It is also a big Feng shui no-no since it blocks and contaminates the energy flowing around and under the bed and the mattress.(Read as air-circulation). Be creative and find other places for your shoes, books, boxes and other ‘stuff’. I will share ideas for tight spaces like studios and student accommodation in a future post. The central message is to visually and spatially delineate different functions in a studio as much as possible.
Indoor comfort is highly dependent on temperature and sunlight. Don’t place the bed right under a window. Keeping it farther away protects you from noise, glare, temperature extremes and cold drafts which can cause body ache. Keeping the window wall clear also provides scope for proper window treatments instead of having curtains being overlapped by the headboard. Ease of access to the curtains or blinds is a basic requirement of daily use. This layout also allows the possibility to look out of the window when you are sitting in bed. This also contributes to creating a sense of safety to your instinctive mind. Even if your logical mind disagrees with me.
The bed is going to last you a long time so stick to a neutral color that can work with multiple color palettes. Feel free to play around with color in the bedding and throw cushions. This will allow you to switch out the look whenever you wish by changing the bedding colors whenever you want, even seasonally. Patterns and colors evoke a visceral response in us and impact our heart rate. Choose them carefully. If in doubt, pick plain white sheets. They are a foolproof choice.
Hotel beds with crisp sheets symbolize a sense of relaxation and cleanliness to a lot of people. White cotton sheets with a thread count of 180 or more are the most durable and last years of washing even at high temperatures. They are the most comfortable because they absorb moisture away at night and keep your body cool and dry.
The whole idea is to create an environment that allows for a great sleep so that you wake up recharged for the next day. While design can’t curb external stresses like job pressures, family demands, good design can ensure that your room won’t add on to your stresses. May you have peace of mind. Bonne Nuit!