The Master Bedroom: Creating a Restful Refuge

“My bedroom is my sanctuary. It’s like a refuge, and it’s where I do a fair amount of designing—
at least conceptually, if not literally.”
– Vera Wang

Not far from my birthplace in the South, there lies a great refuge along the border of the Savannah River, extending into South Carolina. It is an abundant and handsome preserve of 29,174 acres set apart from the vast landscape of hundreds of thousands of acres that surround it.  Wetlands that were once upon a time farmed as rice fields create this refuge, and many of the original rice levees and waterways still serve as a core structure to the refuge’s topography.  It is a land of exceptional beauty, enriched with countless flora and fauna, birds, and animals of many kinds. This reserved and protected land provides a haven habitat for many varieties of wildlife.

Upon a recent visit to further discover this sanctuary, the great peace and tranquility of this designated land enamored me. Soothing rain danced upon the landscape, mystifying the aura of discovery. Like a Monet garden, giant yellow lotus blossoms painted the waterways. Birds of all shapes, colors, and sizes adorned the landscape with their perch and purpose. Moss-laden oaks paved an overarching path that led to ponds of tall and heady grasses among which alligators glided in quiet waters. Giant spiders wove their artful craft, attending their webs in silent anticipation. Truly, this was a world of wonder, a protected habitation where one desires to be.

Devotedly, I have counseled clients when creating and furnishing a home: after the necessities of kitchen and bath, immediately they should capitalize and invest their focus, energies, and even money in the master bedroom.

Puzzlingly, my clients wonder, “Why not focus on the living room or more common areas that family, friends, and a myriad of other people (like the mailman) may visit or see?”

I want to reply, “Who are you creating this house for, you or the neighbors?”

Often, I question if we build a house merely to influence, imitate, or impress others; or, do we build a home we love and love to live in?

Do we expend the majority of our energies and resources to sway those who may occasionally visit and hurriedly leave, all the while sacrificing personal pleasure and peace?

Or, do we artfully use our capacities and capitol to embody for us rather than excite others?

Every person and home need such a refuge and reserve where one can be safe to find solace from the susceptible frenzies and vulnerabilities of living. We all need a place to find rejuvenation and renewal, where even the birds and bees can live and find fulfillment. Do we have the courage to set aside, apportion, and create such an environment?  With just a few simple implementations, we can decide upon a setting and situation designed to find the same sanctuary we long to visit. Begin now to create that place of refuge in your bedroom. Follow these few simple suggestions to make your haven possible:

Love Enough to Turn the Key

Install a lock on the bedroom door.

There are two primary functions of a lock, especially on a bedroom door: a lock keeps the unsolicited out but also preserves the love within.  For a refuge to remain a refuge, we must safeguard from distracting, even damaging, outside influences that may disregard or even deface it. I have found that my children have a particular knack for proficiently undoing what I have resourcefully done. Protect your privacy with persistence.  Often, both recuperation and restoration come during isolated moments, employed for planning, pondering, reassessing, and regrouping.  Take time to ponder.  The bedroom can become a haven of healing when circumstances allow us to lock ourselves away from the disquieting tides of anxiety, cynicism, disturbance, and doubt.

On the other side of the hinge lie guarded treasures of love. One may make intimate and honest relations, divulge dreams and fancies, resolve differences, and tender tenderness. In this sanctuary, children kindle precious and caring moments of enlightened parenthood.  For what parent does not remember with great affection their children curled up in secure slumbering on their pillows, flashes of jumping on the bed in delight, and heartfelt talks with the teenager sitting on the mattress’s edge? With respect and reverence, this protected room witnesses tears, safeguards struggles, and celebrates personally won triumphs.  Know when to turn the key.

Curb Urban Sprawl

Have you ever noticed the phenomenon of how everyone gravitates to the most uncluttered and orderly room in the house?

Suddenly, it, too, becomes mixed among the daily muddle, no longer able to claim its standing as the tidiest room. Without organization and management, the master bedroom can become the epicenter of a home-based earthquake.  Papers and projects can surreptitiously spill over and create a dam of debris.  Take charge of the command center and issue an order for everyone to clear out and declutter. Rid the room of all its burgeoning piles. Clean out from the stashing, storing, and stockpiling in the corners, in the closets, and under the bed.  Place clothes, shoes, books, toiletries, and other cluttering collections in their proper place.  Then, keep it from reoccurring.  Guard your reformation with vigilance and continue to curb the domestic equivalent of urban sprawl.           `

Untangle the Winding Sheets

The design focus of any master bedroom should be the bed, as well as the view one may appreciate from it.

The bed is the very reason for creating the room. Since we spend approximately 33% or more of our lives upon it, doesn’t the bed deserve our utmost attention? Therefore this prominent furnishing and its solicitations should reign as the ultimate element of concentration in the bedroom. The bedstead should be a place one longs to visit, a soothing masseuse of relaxation and swaddling to the body and all its senses.

First, make the bed.  Staying in some of the world’s finest hotels has spoiled me. I have often questioned, “Why are these beds always more enticing than what I have at home?”  After some analysis, I have discovered their great secret: the sheets. Immediately, I decided to change my home bedding. The result? I have almost overnight become a self-proclaimed sheet snob.  After purchasing our first set of bamboo sheets, our lives changed forever. Whether you are a fan of bamboo or not, soft and supple fibers should sheath your mattress and pillows in an envelope of indulgence. However, try not to focus solely on the thread count, but select a fiber in combination with a weave that is luxurious to you. No matter if your preference may be Egyptian cotton, linen, satin, silk, or even flannel, be willing to invest in what you want to lay upon dreamily.

Layering also adds practical extravagance. Down duvets, comforters, coverlets blankets, and sleeping pillows (6 in our case) may create for you that enfolded feeling of sleeping in delight.  Not to mention, the layered additions afford the ability to adjust your slumbering surroundings to match the moment. If you are hot, peel off a few layers.  If cold, pile on a few. Foremost, make your bed comfortable, welcoming, or even persuading and appealing to you. Induce your bed to call to you with a siren’s song by untangling its winding sheets.  And, for heaven sakes, make your bed when you’re not in it!  It will then stand ready to entice you with alluring reverie all over again.

Stockpile an Indulgent Stash

The master bedroom is an oasis of nourishment and rejuvenation to the senses.

Yes, all of them. Feeding the senses requires a store and supply of ingredients.

One of the essential nutrients of our master bedroom is a carefully hidden bag of Guittard milk chocolate chips. What a delight it is to secretly elate in the restorative powers of chocolate in your most peaceful location! Supply your bedroom with a personal stash of perfect foods to fulfill your favorite snacking sensation.

Other essentials in your stockpile might include an entrancing book or motivating magazine to whisk away the confines of time or turmoil. Candles—with a constant supply of matches—create mesmerizing energy with their play of light. Creams and lotions readily at hand satisfy a  soothing back or foot rub. Spritzing a desirable scent may lull one into sensory seduction. A nostalgic record player and stack of your favorite vinyls or a modern docking station for your device both usher an atmosphere of tranquility or energy, depending on your mood. A small hoard of your favorite movies can likewise entertain into exhilaration. Whatever fulfills your need for sensory nourishment, make sure you have a plentiful stash for the bedroom.

Welcome the Living to Become Alive

Every room of the house needs the addition of a living component.

On a table or nightstand, nothing welcomes and receives one more graciously than an arrangement of fresh flowers, potted plants, or even a little bowl of fanciful goldfish swaying their furling tails in open hospitality. Each respires a renewing atmosphere of life into the room. Moreover, they silently speak of generosity, gratitude, and love. These living things, along with a respectful appreciation for them, pepper the air with an incomparable vitality. They remind us to breathe and to keep breathing. Infuse your bedroom with life by incorporating the living.

Control Light and Illumination

Lighting has a resolute power to control mood, attitude, and temperament.

To help regulate and influence these emotions, learn to control the light. A colorful stained glass pane from Chartres, France, hangs prominently in front of our master bedroom window. At midday, the western sunlight brilliantly brightens the faces of the loving couple depicted. This illumination encourages me to contemplate the bright and charming details of my loving relationship with my wife. At night, the glass becomes lifelessly dark until it catches the luminosity of lamps and lighted candles.

Lighting affects people in different ways. For some, the rays of sun peeking through a morning window may motivate and inspire. For others, sunlight may irritate and annoy. Some may desire to take a nap in the middle of the day and feel forced to retire to an undesirable basement bastion to defend the required amount of dimness they prefer for rest. At night, one may wish to create a seducing mood of intimacy or to read within a billowy bed. However, inadequate or brash lighting may force a sendoff and abandon. How beguiling can a good romance or mystery novel be under the garish glare of fluorescent lighting while perched humpbacked on a two-legged stool at a cold kitchen counter?  You get the picture.

For the best lighting control, readily employ the use of operable window coverings, lamps, dimmers, and candles to create and manage the light that produces the proper mood at the appropriate time. Your aspirations, your attitude, and even your amorousness will thank you for it. Control the light, and you likewise control your enlightenment within it.

Employ the Secret of the Armoire

The armoire is a piece of furniture with unassailable command. 

It functions ideally and with high proficiency in the bedroom. The armoire acts as the great facilitator and gatekeeper to many of the recommendations mentioned above.

It allows and promotes purposeful organization to curb domestic urban sprawl.

It consolidates the books and papers, collects the collections, and accumulates the clothes.

It can artfully store awaiting sheets or additional pillows.

It hides or discloses the caches of indulgent delights.

It houses the television, the controller, the music, and the movies.

It can accommodate the attractive fragrances and lotions as well as lodge the accessory lighting of candles and matches.

Combined with the affability of carrying another’s load and liability of confidentiality and concealment, all this ability lies within the armoire’s capacity.  Only willfully opening the door reveals the burdens on the armoire’s backbone. Employ the secret of the accommodating armoire.

Implementing these seven, prime, and engaging fundamentals allow the master bedroom to become a serene refuge from the ever-busy world. Seek to make your bedroom a sanctuary of inspiration to your senses and rest to your mind. Master the art of making the bedroom a designated land of safeguarded, peaceful living.

Rest well.

R. Shannon Mock




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