How I turned our tiny L.A. bedroom into a zen den.

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In my early 20’s I wanted the darker, the more punk, the more contrast-y stuff. Lots of black, lots of red, horror posters, lots of stripes. And my bedroom reflected that, and honestly, my sleep cycle did too. This year I had an epiphany, As I worked to make every part of our new home delightful, I realized one of the major, maybe most important places I overlooked. The bedroom.

I honestly used to think, oh that’s where I’m going to go “crash.” It used to just be a bed frame with poor lighting, dirty dingy sheets and my dog in the sheets with me. Where I went to pass out — especially during my drinking days. A few months ago, I realized the importance of having this room be my SERENE space, my zen den if you will.

First off, we live in a two bedroom in East Hollywood in Los Angeles. A lot of the tenants in our building have been here for the past 17 years. It’s warm and cozy, renovated, but definitely not any sort of luxury living. But we LOVE it. It’s got Eastside charm and we love this side of LA.

So I did a few things to help upgrade our bedroom:

  1. Placement of the bed. A huge overlooked design flaw when arranging your bedroom is the placement of the bed. It may seem like feng shui bullshit, but honestly it helps. I’ve slept with the headboard against every wall in my various bedrooms and nothing feels quite as right as when placed at the center of the wall opposite the main door to the room. Our bed was under the window and it was a no go. So we moved it, opposite the door in the center.
  2. New Bedding. Sometimes you just need a new bed, and we think to start with the bed frame, wrong. I have an Interior Designer client of mine who hosts an amazing Design Series and she spoke about picking your bedding first when designing your bedroom. She said there are much less options for bedding, so it’s better to pick the one you want and then design around it when thinking of rugs, wall color, art, bed frames, etc. So I wanted to go with something more boho / mid century and I opted for a clean white comforter, nude warm beige jersey sheets, and a chunky knit wool blanket.
  3. New Bed. Then it was time to look for a bed. My go-to is always Overstock.com. I’ve had a great experience with the, and even when the furniture came broken, they have awesome customer service. So I looked for a few weeks. My pro-tip is look for a while, it’s never a look for an hour and hit pay type of purchase. I like to visualize for a while I saw this low mid-century bed and it stuck out in my mind for a week before I bought it.
  4. Utilize what you already have. We already had lamps, end tables, and a dresser. All mis-matching but all brown and vintage, so it actually worked. He had a old hotel lamp that added a little metallic flare, and I had my old office lamp with white and wood accents. In your 20’s you just take what people give you and both our end tables were donated as well as the dresser we have.
  5. Mirror as an accent, not function. I had a standing mirror in the corner, I thought I’d use it for checking out my outfits, but honestly it’s the darkest room, and we always use the living room mirror anyways, so I decided to use it to brighten up and expand the room by placing it above the bed as an accent mirror instead. It literally transformed the entire room.
  6. Free rugs! We lucked out, my best friend just bought a new rug and gave us his amazing Southwestern style rug, which actually came from American Home Furnishing in Albuquerque, NM.
  7. Curtains! We had dark blackout curtains and I opted to lighten the room up with white and sheer curtains with a gold geometric pattern. It really brightened up the room and made it feel clean, like the same feeling you get at a hotel. It just feels like a whole different part of the apartment and I love it. Relaxing and clean.
  8. Details. I found this Siddhartha piece at Ross and brought it home to make it feel a little more peaceful. I filled vases with dried Pampas Grass and Terracotta Orange Sun Palms to balance the non matching bedside tables. I also added an essential oils diffuser which makes the room like a spa.
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