Someone Asked Me What NOT To Have In Your Bedroom

Posted by Joanna Van Vleck on

I got an email this week asking me what not to have in your bedroom from the OE perspective. The email took me by surprise. I don’t usually think in terms of “not”. Way back in college, I took time out to be trained as an image consultant. I never liked that term. There were weeks of content on what not to wear. No whites after Labor Day (back then). No colors together unless they were the exact same shade. No denim pairing unless it was the same denim. The list was long. As the rule follower as I am, I noted them all and tried my best to conform. 

I carried these into my first home. Making sure to not have different wood tones or textures in the same room. Curtains that matched the throw pillows. Building a life that is rule piled on top of rule, missing the exact thing I was longing for….a place to exhale, a home that felt like a sanctuary I wanted to inhabit. 

Then I began to strip it all away. Life had other plans for me. To build an “off the shelf” life. One not based in rules or trends. Not following a Pottery Barn catalogue page or following what I think my friends would be impressed by when they came over. In order to do this, I had to remove all the layers I piled on. Inside of that was a liberation I had never known. A feeling of removing invisible weight I always carried around. 

Naturally, as guided by nature, simple things began to stand out. Everything, each piece, needs to feel good to me. I know this spot because my eye is drawn towards it. Maybe it is something old and small that reminds me of someone I love. Or something that reminds me of the rituals in life. I always love real plants. The alive green that reminds me of tending to things. Simple, nothing extra bedding. After many years of stacking throw pillows from my bed on the floor every night, I let them go. Having only pillows I use to sleep simplified my life. An exhale. I like bedding that is soft and natural. Nothing too busy. I want my bed to be a place of reprieve. 

Simple pieces that help organize. A small, ancient wood bowl by my bedside that holds the things I use each morning upon awakening. I prefer to have less and wait until I can afford things, allowing myself the time to gather and build the room slowly. There is enjoyment in waiting and building slowly. 

As I pondered this question of “what not to have” in your bedroom I felt the shift OE is bringing in the home goods space. We are moving from “shoulds” and “should nots” to the felt sense. It is not about your space looking good, although this is a natural by product, it is first and foremost, does it feel good? We are worth a home that brings nature into the every day. Making our spaces the sanctuary we desire. 

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