Room of the Month - Honeymoon Suite

By Sarah Van Arsdale on May 2nd, 2010

At NYIAD we teach students of our interior design classes a simple three-step method for designing every room they create:

  1. A successful room is functional.
  2. A successful room expresses a mood.
  3. A successful room exhibits a sense of harmony.

This simple Three-Step Method is the secret of every interior ever designed. We teach our interior design students to consider these three steps every time they look at a room. You'll find the great home decorating ideas in our Room of the Month series as well as in the design tips on this site helpful in creating outstanding room designs.

When our students mail in their interior design project for analysis by their instructor, the instructor starts by commenting on these three Guidelines. Of course, the instructor analyzes other elements of the project too – decor, layout, furniture, style etc. But the key to good decor – and the essential element of every great interior design – is adherence to these three NYIAD Guidelines.

How do they work? How can you apply them? It's beyond the scope of this Web site to teach you every nuance, but you will get an inkling from the Room of the Month Analysis that follows.

room of the month

The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, where the Stanley Safari Lodge perches high on a hill, may seem like an exotic location. It is, as a matter of fact, as it's surrounded by unspoiled bush, with the spray from the famed Victoria Falls visible in the distance, the sounds of the birds of Zambia nearby, and the knowledge that you aren't far from the home of zebra, giraffe and impala.

Still, as entrancing as the African sunset may be, what we're interested in always is this: how does the room look? For this special issue of Designer Monthly on springtime and weddings, we thought we'd take a look at an unusual honeymoon suite in one of the most beautiful settings in the world.

No matter how exotic the locale, the Sheffield Guidelines to Interior Design — function, mood, and harmony — can be pressed into service.

Stanley Safari Lodge

First, let's look at the big picture in order to get a good idea of the function of this honeymoon suite. What makes something a suite, of course, is that it's more than one living space. Here, the two spaces are combined in one large, open space, with the sleeping area on a raised dais, and the sitting area in a slightly sunken room. Each area functions just as it should; the sleeping area is made cozy by the necessary mosquito net that can be let down in the evening, and the sitting area provides seating for après-safari discussion of wildlife. There is good spot-lighting for poring over the field guides or looking at the day's photos.

honeymoon suite

The function of any room, especially in this period of interest in green design, should always take into account the setting of the room. Here, the open walls allow for free circulation of the cooling breezes, and the open, un-shaded porch creates a warm place to sit in the winter months, when, perhaps surprisingly, the air can be cool.

In the front of the room, a plunge pool provides a place to cool off after a day of rafting, hiking, or viewing wildlife.

built-in side tables

Taking a closer look at the bed area, we see there are built-in side tables for lamps and other night-time necessities. The fan over the bed provides an additional breeze when nights are warm, but there is also a fireplace in the seating area for cooler nights.

Turning next to the mood here, it's clear that it's appropriately rustic-safari. The frames for the bed and seating are made of rocks, giving an almost cave-like feeling to the room. The natural materials throughout, from the thatched roof to the rustic lamps, from the baskets on the wall to the locally-made sofa cushions, enhance this mood. But the room doesn't feel cave-like, because the light comes in from the outside; when dusk falls and the low, shaded lamps are necessary, they provide a soft glow that contributes to the mood.

built-in side tables

Finally, this room has harmony; it's been carefully constructed so that each element complements and plays off the next. The colors harmonize, with beiges, soft ochre, and pale browns predominating. Although these colors are so different from the green surrounding the cottage, they work perfectly to demarcate this is as the living space, while still inviting the eye to roam the incomparable landscape.

This honeymoon suite is a gem in the wilderness; while not every couple will make a safari their honeymoon destination, those who land here will find a room that is graciously decorated, the perfect way to set off the exotic location.