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Order out of Chaos: Declutter the Bedroom

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Feng-shui expert Andrea Gerasimo explains how to make your bedroom a restful sanctuary.

The bedroom is a place to renew, repair and bond. But few bedrooms feel as intimate and restorative as they could be. When I first talked with Experience Life associate editor Jocelyn Stone, she told me her bedroom “worked,” but felt a little too much like a college dorm room. Here’s what we did to transform Jocelyn’s bedroom from crash pad to seductive space, someplace that would support her physical comfort, reflect her love of beauty, and entice her (and a future partner) to enjoy more quality time 

Noticing the Details

Like many people, Jocelyn didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about her bedroom. A frequent traveler, she painted the floor a beautiful turquoise when she first moved in, so it would remind her of the ocean. Since then, she hadn’t done much in the room except shut her eyes and sleep ­— and not always very deeply. The space presented a number of obstacles to quality rest.

The bed was in an energetically poor spot, facing the door and beneath the window. In feng-shui terms, this created an energetic freeway from door to window, running right over the bed. The rectangular rug on the floor only amplified that effect, destroying any feeling of coziness.

Other problematic elements: a flat-screen TV on the wall (I prefer to keep TVs out of the bedroom), pretty-but-chaotic patterned bedding, functional but oppressive blackout drapes, and a clip lamp and glaring overhead bulbs for lighting. (We would remove and/or replace all of these.)

Jocelyn, who is single, had shared her interest in finding a life partner, but the room wasn’t receptive to another inhabitant. A bedroom that supports partnership has to welcome people to both sides of the bed, with two tables and lamps. In Jocelyn’s space, a cardboard box containing a broken-down fan light inhabited the space where a second side table should have been.

Other challenges included a dearth of drawer space, which  Jocelyn had addressed by placing a set of fabric bins near the top of the stairs, but the top shelf was overloaded with storage. Similarly, the staircase had become a landing pad for shoes and boots, because it was the only comfortable place to sit down and take them off. As a result, Jocelyn was tripping up the stairs every night to bed. Not  very welcoming, or restful.

Creating Comfort 

Our mission: to make the bedroom feel more cozy and receptive.

Structurally speaking, head- and footboards on the bed are the ideal way to create a feeling of security, but that wouldn’t work in Jocelyn’s space. So we changed the dark drapes behind the bed to sheers that matched the paint. This created a “virtual wall” behind the bed but still let light in.

I added two big European pillows to create an ersatz headboard, and a chest with an eye-catching sculpture at the foot of the bed. Because of the sloping ceilings, we couldn’t move the bed to a true “command” position, but these adjustments helped create a similar feeling of security.

We also replaced the rectangular, stone-patterned rug with a round lotus-patterned one to break up the flow of energy from the door, and replaced the bedding with soft, restful earth tones to make the bed feel more peaceful and inviting.

Next, we added two matching side tables and bedside lamps to create a sense of equality between the two sides of the bed. We also placed two matching candelabra by the wall and matching rose quartz candleholders on either side table. This introduces some romantic fire energy, and pink is an important color for matters of the heart.

Placing a chair nearby in the corner gave Jocelyn a spot to sit down and remove her shoes; it’s also a handy place for clothes to land. Tossing half-dirties on the floor makes it harder to get a second wearing, and seeing them on the floor depresses energy — no way to start the day.

Finally, we placed a shoe rack in the hallway to provide easier passage on the stairs, and we hung a beautiful photograph on the first wall Jocelyn sees in the morning — a huge improvement over the flat-screen TV.

Jocelyn’s room is now a much more welcoming place for retreat in the evening, and a much lovelier place to wake up in the morning. And unlike a college dorm, it’s a space where Jocelyn’s future partner will feel right at home.

Andrea Gerasimo, FSIM, is a certified feng-shui and decluttering expert. Learn more about her work at www.thirdmountain.com.