The occupational hazard of this gig is that I mentally redecorate — and my house swap is no exception! While I haven't actually done anything, I've been keeping a list of what I would do to make it more beautiful, more organized and healthier. They're simple, mostly inexpensive tweaks that would work in any basic bedroom.
Start with a deep clean: I always start with a thorough cleansing, often a professional one. It's amazing what sparkling windows, shiny floors, glistening carpets and freshly scrubbed walls can do for a space. With light carpets, an annual steam cleaning is an investment in your health.
Change the hanging light fixture: Nice basic fixture but we could do better, right? How about a bold spot of color or something sculptural? Tord Bootje's Midsummer shade would add a touch of whimsy and it's a high end piece with a reasonable price. Budget constraint? Ikea's Knappa light is tried and true classic and would add some curves to a room that's mostly straight lines.
Consider a fan: Cities can be noisy and the white noise of a fan's whirr can block it out and help you sleep better. I even use it in the winter where it helps keep the air in the bedroom fresh. In this simple room, the Dyson fan would not only be practical it would be a beautiful piece of sculpure. It would be nice in that empty corner.
A padded headboard: I like to sit up in bed and read before I go to sleep and I find that pillows tend to get bunched up. I like this bed's wooden frame but doing something with that wooden head piece would be easy and would enhance the comfort factor of something I love to do (considering how you live is key to a home that works!). I'd wrap it in foam and fiberfill padding and find an upholsterer to make a simple box seamed slipcover in either white or natural linen. If you like a headboard but your bed's missing one, create one! You can go raw, industrial chic like Maxwell did and make one from felt, glam it up with ornate or simple tufting, or for the easiest DIY ever, try this simple renter-perfect headboard. Seriously, I could do this one (and I am a menace with a DIY).
New pillows: These pillows are fine but a little sad. Time for some new ones! I've discovered that the simplest, easiest way to get yourself looking forward to going to bed every night and to feel super luxourious at the same time is to treat yourself to new pillows. I'm a big fan of Ikea's Gosa Pinje side sleeper pillows. It's a feather down mix that's ridiculously cheap and comfortable so I can treat myself to four new pillows every couple of years without breaking the bank. And, they look nice and plump during the day.
Art: I'd add a big piece of art over the bed to bring some personality and life to the room. The person who lives here is a very talented artist and a piece of her art would be great here. If that's not your skill set, some easy inexpensive options: having a favorite photograph enlarged, attempting a little DIY (great excuse for a party!) or enlisting the service of a favorite kid.
Clear the room of books and knick knacks: Apart from a few favorite items and current books, I like to keep the bedroom as clear of clutter as possible. It only attracts dust and makes it harder to clean (meaning you'll clean it less often). This room has this wonderful long low bookcase. I'd rearrange the books, hiding them behind the wooden sliding doors and use the shelving behind the glass doors to display favorite objects. It's also a great place to store some of your more amazing shoes, whether it's your collection of heels or kicks.
Rethink the clothing storage: For most of us, our bedroom is also where we store our clothes. While small closets can be frustrating and have their own set of problems, this room with its open storage means clothing storage is also the decor and it needs some planning. For hung clothes, stick to one kind of hanger (I'm loving these ultra slim hangers right now) and merchandise your clothing by type and then by color (that's the secret stores use to make it look so inviting). Instead of the clear boxes that have been used in this room, I'd go for opaque boxes to store the other clothes. (If you can remember what's in a dresser drawer, you can remember what's in a box. While open stacks of folded clothes look great in a store, I'm certainly often too hurried in the morning to make sure those stacks stay neat and tidy!
Final touches: Keeping the bedding simple and light, I'd finish the room with a small sheepskin rug next to the bed, a vase of flowers in the corner and maybe a second reading lamp (a clip on would be perfect). Simple tweaks that would take a room from lovely to amazing.
Images: Abby Stone