Havenly’s VP of Design Answers All Your Questions on Bedrooms

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WORDS BY Heather Goerzen

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Published on July 16, 2021

You know those bedrooms that just have you swooning? Beautifully styled, everything in its place, beckoning you to crawl under the covers with silk pj’s, a good book, and maybe even a glass of wine.

Well, we believe you, too, deserve to come home to the bedroom of your dreams. And who better to help you get there than the one, the only, the imitable, Shelby Girard, our VP of Creative & Design. She’s got impeccable taste, serious design skills, and knows how to turn every space dilemma into an effortlessly styled Instagrammable moment. Sure, we’re biased, but if you need more proof just take a peek inside her Parisian-inspired Brooklyn flat.

And today is your lucky day! We recently polled you on Instagram for all of your questions and challenges on bedroom design, and Shelby is here with the answers. From what to do about artwork, to incorporating a WFH desk, to wallpaper queries, Shelby shares her expert advice for creating a serene and stylish bedroom retreat.

Without further ado, read on for what Shelby says on bedrooms…

What is the best way to arrange art above a bed?

I love a good art statement above a bed! It helps draw the eye upward and anchors the bed to the ceiling. I’m often partial to a singular, oversized art moment for it’s sophisticated simplicity (that’s what I did in my own bedroom), but you can also consider more of a gallery style (try a series of matching frames with a consistent motif). 

Artwork Above Bed
Gallery Wall Above Bed

What is 'essential' bedroom furniture?

I find ‘essential’ is almost always relative. But if I was to put a stake in the ground, I would say most certainly a bed (no surprise there), some type of hard surface to work as a nightstand (your alarm ‘phone’ + latest Reese’s Book Club read has to go somewhere), and at least one lamp (overhead lighting is too stimulating as you shift into bedtime routine). We often see some form of clothes storage, like a dresser, in our bedroom designs, but for particularly small spaces that don’t have the square footage for one, I would suggest considering creative closet storage instead.

Any way to have a chic bedroom without the white bedding?

I’m always a fan of crisp white linens, but there are so many lovely bedding options to bring in color or pattern. Particularly if you’re wanting to do something a bit more modern and dramatic, or if you’re more of the boho or cottagecore genre. Take a look at our Design Editor, Heather’s, Italian-villa inspired quilt for a relaxed, yet refined, vibe. (And take a tour of the rest of her character-filled home.) 

Chic pattern bedding

How do you incorporate a desk in a bedroom?

Given over a year of WFH lifestyle, I think many folks faced the challenge of creating a dual-purpose living space, including a home office in the bedroom. Good news: it’s absolutely doable! Some simple guidelines… Stay within the overall room palette, maintain a consistent design aesthetic, and style for a cohesive vignette in your space. Consider ways to draw the eye upward with artwork above the desk, or even vertical shelving.

Desk in Bedroom

What are your ideas if we have only one nightstand?

While I love dual nightstands, I’m also a fan of a more eclectic, asymmetrical design. If you have a smaller bedroom, consider positioning the dresser near the other side of the bed for extra lamp light and hard surface space. Or try a vintage stool, stacked with coffee table books, or even a small pedestal table (remember Heather’s bedroom above?), to serve as a second ‘nightstand’. Or skip the nightstand altogether and simply go for a plug-in wall sconce.

Any suggestions for a stylish bedroom with a spin bike?

As a recent Peloton convert, I get it. Let’s face it, as wonderful as they are, spin bikes aren’t necessarily my go-to decor of choice. I would simply try to position it in a tucked away corner as much as possible. Perhaps you could add some potted or hanging plants nearby  to make it more of a wellness space en suite. Or if you have the room for it, consider a stylish partition to hide it out of sight, like this modern cane screen.

What window treatments are best if windows are partially obscured by furniture?

Go with roman shades. They add texture and softness to the top of your windows, without cluttering the scene. And bonus: shield outside light for a more peaceful night sleep.

Roman shades in bedroom

Can you layer rugs on carpet?

Feel free to — and by that, I mean, please do! Just make sure the two play well together. Check out how one of Havenly designers, Kylee, approached her own neutral carpeted bedroom — including incorporating a statement vintage rug. (And while you’re at it, step inside her modern farmhouse home.)

Rug layered on carpet

How can I bring a 20 year old matching set into today without breaking the bank?

It always depends on the style, of course, but there are a number of ways to refresh a set with a little design inspo and elbow grease. A lot of old sets are particularly dark and heavy, so consider stripping and staining to a lighter wash for a more current, natural aesthetic. Or just paint in a tone to complement your palette (a fun and fresh twist is to go really bright and vibrant). Also, try updating the hardware for an easy, budget-friendly facelift. If you’re not into the DIY scene, there’s still so much you can do with styling to elevate your space. Our designers are just a style quiz away…

DIY Bedroom Dresser

Is wallpaper on ALL walls too much? Especially if darker?

NO! Bedrooms are an absolutely wonderful space to go all in on wallpaper, wall-to-wall-to-wall. And by all means, if bold and colorful is your thing, I support, and applaud you! Just check out this bedroom from one of my LA clients with a dramatic botanical print. The trick is to balance out the paper with light linens and decor, preferably in solids, to brighten the space and serve as visual rest.

Bold bedroom wallpaper

Have more design dilemmas that could use an expert eye? That’s our M.O. Take our style quiz and discover your perfect designer BFF.

Words by Heather Goerzen