Our new Monthly Musings series focuses on Rebecca’s advice and recommendations around a different niche subject each month. For October, as the nights draw in and the temperatures drop, we’re embracing the new season as Rebecca shares her tips and advice for making your bedroom feel cosier and more welcoming.
We are likely to be spending more time in our bedrooms with the change of the clocks and shortness of the days. Morning lie-in’s and early evenings snuggled up in bed with a book are both greatly elevated by creating a cosy and relaxing space that you enjoy spending time in. It’s not just about your bed linen (although that is certainly important) – there are many different elements of your bedroom to consider, from your bedside table to creating the perfect level of lighting.
Beside the bed
Your bedside tables are an integral part of your bedroom. Together with your bed and headboard, they set the tone for the aesthetic of the room. They have multiple functions – a place to put down your cup of tea and book, a surface to style with a lamp and other bedside essentials, and a place to store items you may want to reach for in the morning or at night – such as an eye mask, beauty essentials or your phone charger.
When choosing your bedside table or nightstand, the main thing to be aware of is its height. Note the height of where your mattress sits, so you can check that everything will be in proportion. You don’t want to be reaching up or down to turn on your lamp or pick up a book – the whole point of these pieces of furniture is convenience and ease.
Here are three bedside tables that I love, which would work well in most bedrooms. All three of these are great for adding character to your bedroom. By not being solid with cabinet doors or drawers, they will make your room feel more spacious and you can add more personality with the books or other items that you use to style their shelves.
Alfred Newall Bobbin Side Table – this is hand-made from solid wood by a master craftsman, and is a true modern classic.
The Lacquer Company Fitzgerald Nightstand – an equally timeless option with a clever tray top that will prevent objects rolling off the edge.
Vinterior Wicker Plant Stand – a budget-friendly antique option that doesn’t take up too much space.
Lighting is a key consideration throughout a home, but even more so in your bedroom where you want to banish harsh overhead lighting and create soft and warm lighting that makes you feel cosy and relaxed. Ideally, you would have different levels of lighting (or a dimmer switch) so you can create a variety of different ambiances. For example – task lighting is ideal for reading to avoid irritating your partner.
If possible, consider your lighting before you start decorating – you need to think about wall lights before you plaster your walls – but there are still ways to create mood lighting without making structural changes. If you can add wall lights, place these either side of your bed and choose lights that you can angle if you like to read in bed. For table lamps, bear in mind the size of your bedside tables and the height of the lamps – you want your eye level to line up with the shade to avoid the glare of the bulb.
Here are three options that I like for beside the bed, all of which are simple, classic designs that will complement any style of décor.
Vaughan Designs Bordon Wall Light – if you can add wall lights for beside the bed, these are a timeless design and allow for task lighting for reading. Win-win.
Pooky Spool Table Lamp – I have this lamp placed on an antique chest of drawers in my own home, but it would work equally well on a bedside table. I really like the contrast this piece has when placed on antique furniture.
Vaughan Designs Abbeyleix Urn Table Lamp – this is a classic and elegant option from one of my favourite lighting brands.
A bedside table has many purposes – possibly for storage as well as being decorative and functional. The functional aspect for me is a place for your book, a coaster, some beauty items and lighting, but of course this will differ based on your needs. Beyond this, I think it’s nice to add some personal pieces for a relaxing space.
When I can, I like to wind down before I go to sleep with a book. Here are three books that I currently have on my pile, waiting to be read:
If In Doubt, Wash Your Hair by Anya Hindmarch – the ultimate straight-talking handbook for how to live your life a little better, by entrepreneur Anya Hindmarch.
The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’ Donoghue – a surprising, sexy and funny tale of the relationship between a woman named Rachel and her gay best friend, James.
I Have Some Questions For You by Rebecca Makkai – a literary mystery that you won’t want to put down - part campus novel, part whodunnit.
Three pieces I love that are part of my nightly routine:
Asceno London Geranium Silk Eye Mask – crafted from soft sand-washed silk satin and has internal cushioning for extra comfort
Olverum Restful Sleep Pillow Mist – this soothing mist smells great but isn’t overpowering. I spray this before bed every night, and it encourages a peaceful night.
Margaret Dabbs Anti-Ageing Hand Serum – I add a small amount of this serum to my hands each night – it’s really lovely.
I try to keep my bedside table free of clutter to create a relaxing atmosphere when I’m in bed. Any odds and ends are tucked away in drawers, and I keep my books on the lower shelf out of the way. Other than my bedside lamp, these are the pieces that I like to keep on my bedside table:
Our Elizabeth vase – this fluted vase is the perfect size to display seasonal flowers on a bedside table.
A waxed coaster – our Greta linen coasters lie flat to the surface and protect finishes, also making it far more difficult to knock your water glass over.
A photo frame – placing a photo frame on your bedside table adds a personal and decorative touch.
A rattan tray – both decorative and practical, these have space for a carafe and a water glass while protecting surfaces and adding texture.
Guest bedroom additions
Of course, it’s not only your own bedroom that you want to feel cosy and relaxing. If you are planning on hosting family or friends, take the time to create a guest bedroom that feels like a home from home. Making guests feel welcome by setting up a small tea station on top of a chest of drawers. Use one of our rattan serving trays as a base and add a small kettle, a pair of tea cups and a selection of tea. Alternatively, a carafe of water and a couple of glasses. Placing a radio and a couple of magazines in the room also creates a homely feeling, as does a vase – big or small – with fresh flowers. Otherwise, a plant works well and helps to make a room feel lived in.
A pile of books on the bedside table is a lovely touch. Personally, I like to include travel books – they are crowd pleasers and always a treat to read - such as Gina Jackson’s British Boutique Hotels or something tongue in cheek relating to where you live to introduce them to the area – I’m based in Yorkshire so there are plenty of options!