Rylie’s bedroom dilemma

Posted on Fri, 20 Nov 2009 by KiM

Rylie wrote us the other day with a dilemma and I thought I’d post it here to see if anyone has some brilliant ideas to help her with her space. “I would like to ask you if there’s any chance that you might chance upon some wonderful ideas for rooms that are narrow. Its because my bedroom is kind of narrow and long, and I have no idea what to do about it. I mean I can hardly move stuff around without blocking the way. I’ve attached some photos of my room, pardon the mess! I’ve tried moving some things before but it always looks so… cluttered to me, so space-less!

I TOTALLY know what she’s going though, as my house is 12′ wide and the second bedroom is 7′ wide. I have to run off to do some errands so I’ll give my quick opinion and leave it to the rest of you to hopefully help her out.

I like the bed at the far end. I’d leave it there, and hang draperies all around that end of the room from floor to ceiling (even huge painters canvas tarps from Home Depot, and you can try dying them). That will give it a cocoon type feeling. I’d put the white Expedit shelving unit where the desk is to separate the sleeping area from the rest of the space. Then leave the dressers where they are and put the desk opposite them or vice versa. I think you need alot of storage bins and baskets (particularly to store all the items in the black shelving) so you can keep less of your stuff visible. And if you’re allowed, paint the front part of the room something bold. 🙂

Dolores2l says:

First I’d get rid of the curtains, maybe bamboo shades,starting at ceiling. Your windows are beautiful, SHOW THEM……. Leave the bed where it’s at and use the book shelves as a divider, then run (I guess it’s a desk at a right angle to the bookcase. This separates the bedroom area into two spaces.
I’d paint both the bookcase and desk white. it would look really cozy. Your dressers I’d also leave where you have them, pick a main color and stick to it.
If the furniture is white, you can add drama with even one great color. Maybe on the side where the bookshelves start paint that wall a color and see if you can find a rug for the bedroom side with that color incorporated. It’s really a great room, with great windows……..you should enjoy those windows.
But you have to get rid of a lot of stuff or find some storage. Good luck. I’m jealous, I wish I had those windows and all the beautiful sunshine that must come through them.
Nov.20/ Dolores

Linn says:

Take a day of, and throw things away or find some other hidden place to ceep all the stuff, you can not possible be using everything in that room?

AW says:

Unless you are really devoted to your current bedspread/comforter/duvet, I would suggest changing that first and then upgrading your curtains with something that matches well. Try more subdued colors such as dark brown, light blue, plum, or golds. The blue and yellow (so much yellow!) is really calling too much focus to your bed and window dressings, rather than the windows themselves and the rest of the room.

Have fun!

v says:

Once upon a time I lived in a beautiful apartment, but somehow it felt oppressive and I hated it. Only after moving 3 times in rapid sequence did I realize why I had been unhappy in the original apartment. Each move forced me to sort through my stuff and get rid of things I had thought I needed. In one year I ended up purging EASILY 2 thirds of what I had owned. Now I live with a lot less and feel a lot better about my living space. In retrospect, there was nothing wrong with my original apartment. It was just that it was crammed with so much stuff…

What we have here is a lovely room, with beautiful parquet floors. My experienced perspective says GET RID of 50% OF THE STUFF, hide the rest of it in nice looking (non see-thru) storage, throw a warm (soft muted color) coat of a paint on the room and VOILA, it will feel so much better. Only afterwards can you really start addressing the other aesthetics of decor such as the curtains, bedspread, placement of furniture, etc.

oregonbird says:

Okay, first LOSE those curtains. Then pick one color for the entire room (pale blue or yellow?) and prepare to change out a lot of the mismatches. Embrace the narrow — either increase the amount of black for drama and increased sense of narrowness, and make it part of the theme, or re-home your stuff in new white or colorful storage. Look through this site for Swedish deco solutions, because the white with occasional pops of color is exactly what will work in this room.

Look up — you have a very tall room. That’s where a lot of your storage needs to go — and it will look good. Fill in the area above the door, put a white shelf for containers in on both sides of the roof beam. You can even fill in above the far window, if you make an effort to make your storage attractive. Or this would be a good place for two narrower shelves, and a great arrangement of the books you don’t need right at hand. PAINT YOUR CHESTS OF DRAWERS WHITE and stack them on the other side of the room. Just keep your everyday clothes handy, and use the upper and lower drawers for the occasionals. Seasonal clothes and occasional hobbies etc. go onto the upper shelves. We live in a modern age — keep a list on your computer of what is where! Wall-hung glass shelves for trophies and eye-catching immediate storage. I like the green glass, but clear is good.

This clears away the mess that’s blocking your wonderful windows. Slide your bed to the door wall there, add backing cushions, a chair and small glass table — or if you don’t like being that close to fresh air, that’s where your working station — and white/colorful rolling storage underneath goes. Either way, a hanging lamp will be exactly what you need. If you don’t double-purpose your bed, then get the poor thing a headboard! Older iron beds give you an extra four inches of storage underneath — that’s a two-stack of zippered plastic linen/clothes storage, instead of one.

I haven’t read the other suggestions — I’m going to now! — but I’m willing to bet a lot of them will deal with moving around the stuff you’ve got. That isn’t the solution here — there’s no cohesion, you got what worked at various times and tossed it all together. If you spend a few weeks on CL, and a few weekends haunting the second-hand marts — and spend a week painting and sorting out everything from colored pencils to flannel duvet covers —

You’ll have a lot of extra room. You’ll need a stepstool and one of those claw thingies, but it will give you space for living in a room that doesn’t scream "utilitarian storage!" — which is what your room is ALL about right now.

Don’t forget rugs!

Vivian says:

The first thing that popped into my head was to get a rug with wide horizontal bands (8" wide minimum). The bands need to run between the narrowest width of your room (side to side, NOT front to back). Depending on the colour scheme you choose, you could use a simple black and white alternating stripe, or red/white, navy/white, brown/white.

The bands will help to visually ‘widen" the room and camouflage the busy pattern you currently have with the parquet flooring.

Decluttering isn’t easy, but it will make a HUGE difference in your space! Wishing you all the best in your re-design…

KiM says:

WOW – thank you everyone for all the wonderful suggestions for Rylie!!

Genesis Winter says:

I think you have the right idea with the bed at the end of the room, but have you thought about turning it so the head of the bed is under the windows at the end of the room, instead of by the wall? This would open up the end of the room. If you don’t need the easels at the end of the room much, you could put them under the bed. The biggest change I would make would be to put everything, except for a few decorative items, some place where you can’t see them when you first walk in. If the dresser tops on the left as you walk in were mostly empty, your room would feel much more soothing as you enter. Also, if you could get your storage items to all match in color and height, the pieces would tend to disappear visually, instead of looking choppy, which makes your space even more cluttered feeling. These would be small changes that could change the room now. Hope this helps!

Shalonne says:

Ok so I agree with what evveryone is saying, get new curtains I prefer in same color as walls bar to the ceiling height (Ikea curtain panels come in really long lengths, but if they are still to short add a band of accent color fabric to the bottom or middle, I prefer to use silk for this and raise the paint (I would suggest a neutral), I would also recommend a new bed spread, you can recover the existing one. Then…

1. rotate bed on current wall so it looks like a daybed (add under bed storage, include smaller file storage that can fit under bed, may have to get bed risers- they are cheap) Add area rug
2. move black units under the bed (think about removing completely), sand and paint them either a gloss white or gloss accent color.
3. move brown dressers to where the black bookcases are currently (
4. can’t tell by the picture, but move the white bookcases so they are parallel with the windows, where the desk is currently (not sure if they are freestanding or not, if not get some that are), separating the bed from the sitting study area. Their backs w facing bed. You can add artwork to back of bookcases so when in bed you are not staring at the back of a bookcase) You can also have one bookcase facing bed another facing door with artwork on back
5. get a smaller free standing desk (like a dressing table) place where white bookcases currently are, you can now create a sitting area here too, add area rug
6. declutter, organize, add baskets to hide/create more storage (that is how I store my cds or in a spare drawer- loose the cd tower, arrange books by color ie all blues together, etc)
7. You can add a chandelier and shelves to this front section also.

PS since it looks like you have a ton of clothing, you can also store some of it in drawers under the bed (I use the plastic ones since they are cheap and you may want to look into the collapisble hangers. Don’t forget you can also store shoes, sweaters, belts in the bookcases like art or in baskets)

Hope that helps! Feel free to email me if you have more questions

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