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Room of the Month - Safari Bedroom

By Sarah Van Arsdale on May 09, 2006

At NYIAD we teach our students 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.

Safari Bedroom

The room we've chosen for this month illustrates perfectly the principle that eclectic decorating ideas can indeed all work together to create a beautiful and powerful effect. The trick is in choosing the right design elements, not necessarily in choosing elements that are created with just one palette in mind.

Too often we get stuck in one design rut: all-Victorian, all-rustic, or all-modern. This room brings together designs from different regions and periods, and makes them all work together.

Looking first at the function of this room, it obviously serves primarily as a bedroom. By the size of the bed, a California king, this is most likely a bedroom designed for two. But regardless of how many people share the room, it's clearly made for those who like living large. There is a great deal of space between the chaise at the end of the bed and the table on the far side of the room; enough space to really show off the throw rug in between.

And it appears this room actually serves more than one function. The bookshelves indicate that this room also works as a study or library, and the shelving certainly offers plenty of storage space for oversized books.

The mood of this room is best described as eclectic. It has a world beat to it, with items collected from various corners of the earth. The patterned rug is a home-spun piece of Americana, while the two chairs on either side of the table are side chairs done in a Victorian style. The table standing between them is more Oriental-influenced, and the framed shirt is a decorative antique from France. The bedspread with the zebra pattern of course recalls safari days, and the woven rattan carpeting furthers the atmosphere of travel and the outdoors.

This room evokes a mood of adventure and excitement, while still providing a comfortable and comforting place to come home to. The fact that one can walk from the room directly out those glass doors and onto a terrace completes the feeling of openness and expansion.

The remarkable thing about this room is that despite its eclectic nature, everything here pulls together to provide one complete look. Much of this is done with color: the rattan flooring is the same color as the antique framed shirt and as the background of the bedspread. In fact, there are many shades of brown in this room, each of which helps to bring out the others.

This uniformity of tone in the color not only brings the disparate elements in the room together, but it also allows the bits of color to really pop out, making the grab the eye.

And while the pieces are from different periods and different regions of the world, they have in common one important feature: they are all classic, well-made pieces with delicate lines. The only discordant note would be the bookshelves, which are a little too industrial-modern for the rest of the room.

By pulling together function, mood, and harmony, this room can easily serve as the place you want to come home to, without feeling that you've had to give up your travels to do so.