In the first of a multi-part series for Spaces + Places, a new design magazine, interior designer and author Michael A. Thomas suggests how to bring that "spa hotel' look right to the bedroom.
For three years, I was traveling as a volunteer leader for my professional society, ASID, sometimes heading out every ten days or so to meet members, crisscrossing the country to host meetings and teachworkshops. And with all that traveling, a basic hotel room with a mini-frig, good Wi-Fi connection and a comfy bed often became a welcomed refuge for the night.
During those travels, I began to notice a distinct change in the design of hotel rooms. Spaces once decorated with overtly busy floral quilted bedspreads, matching shams and blackout drapery were giving way to plain, simple and easy to maintain materials. Sometimes bed linens were just layers of perfectly ironed sheets and pillows of various shapes and sizes.
This trend was a result of hotels switching to “spa-resorts” designed interiors complete with comforters, oversized towels, fluffy robes and toiletries with exotic names. In some higher end accommodations, basic black coffee makers were replaced with in-wall cappuccino machines, a great amenity for those who need their early morning shot of caffeine. I prefer my ice-cold diet Pepsi.
So how do you create the “spa” feel in your own bedroom without spending a fortune? Here are ten basic tips gathered together after so many days on the road to help turn your bed space to a spa resort.
(1) Get rid of all the excess color and go for a splash of white. Lots of white. Bed sheets, shams, comforters and throws in a crisp white will do more to create a “luxe” hotel room than any one thing. And if you want a “pop” of color, use a set of accent pillows with interesting weaves or patterns,… just keep it simple.
(2) Make the bed a “work of art.” Tuck and fold and tuck some more. Make sure the bed garments are neatly folded with no loose ends showing, right down to the edges of the pillowcases. And if you really want to make a statement, press and iron the top layer of the bedding. And use starch. I know it is a pain but it creates a rich, crisp look.
(3) Lots of pillows on the bed are a nice look but what do you do with layers of pillows when you are ready for bed? Instead opt for sham-style pillows with lots of loft, two for a queen, and three for a king bed. And two sleeping pillows each with pillow protectors. Not only do protectors extend the life of a pillow, they give the pillows a smoother appearance.
(4) Clear out excess clutter in the room. Minimize the accessories and art. Get rid of the stacks of year-old magazines or books you’ve been meaning to read or hide them away in a basket. And if the room needs a paint job, consider mid to deep toned neutrals with an ultra flat finish. White colors look even whiter against a background of nothing-neutrals.
(5) Give yourself a treat : purchase a new robe and towels. White or off-white of course. I prefer robes without too much bulk but they must have pockets. And I suggest oversized bath towels with plenty of size, texture and bulk. One client of mine will only have bath sheets (not bath towels) in her bath that have additional width and length.
(6) Make an investment in a fine radio, one with a connection port to charge your smart phone and that can playback your favorite tunes you have downloaded on it.
After a rough day, you’ll appreciate having your own music in the background to take your mind off the activity of the day.
(7) Put all the lighting on dimmers. Whether table and floor lamps, overhead or accent lighting, the warmth and coziness of a space will be greatly enhanced by the softer lighting. And for those bedside lamps, put them on “touch-sensitive” switches… available for less than $12.00 at the big box stores. The make it so much easier to turn them on and off without reaching up under a lampshade to find the switch.
(8) Think about the windows as you develop your plans for your own personal spa-type bedroom. For me, I like to look out to my private courtyard as much as possible so I have no window coverings other than roll down, damask-patterned sunscreens.
But for some of my clients, they must have total or near darkness. Roller shades with black out shading behind or sliding panels of blackout materials work really well and reduce the need for yards of dust-collecting drapery fabric.
(9) There should be at least one chair in a bedroom area… and size matters here. Think about how you might use the seating. If a chair is only a space to “store” the extra bedding overnight, you probably have too much bedding. Consider one good stiff chair, ideally near the closet to put on shoes. Space permitting, and if you like to read someplace other than the bed, select a fully upholstered chair with a “pillow” back cushion, rather than a more ‘traditional style” back cushion. If the space is small, consider adding a bench near the bed or at the window.
(10) And finally, add a tray. A fine wooden, painted or woven rattan tray is an excellent place to store the purse, wallet, iPad or other daily essentials. Make it a habit to drop off these items in one location every day. It will save time the next day. You might add to the tray bottles of water, a scented candle or a bowl of your favorite potpourri. Mine is clove and cinnamon.
Now you are ready. Sit down. Lay back. Enjoy your spa.
- Michael Thomas, FASID is a well known designer, teacher and author with design offices and retail home decor studio in downtown Palm Springs, CA.
Michael is an award winning interior designer based in Palm Springs, CA. He is a Professional Member of the American Society of Interior Designers and a member of the ASID College of Fellows.
As a Certified Aging In Place Specialist, he creates smart looking spaces that are safe and secure and create homes for a lifetime.
And with thirty plus years in the profession, he has honed his humor, elevated his passion for design and sharpened his wit to not take anything too seriously except his design work.