Wednesday 16 January 2019

Pure and simple

It's all about minimalism in the bedroom this season - strip away the clutter for a stylish night's shut-eye, writes Nathalie Marquez Courtney

Arne Jacobsen’s Drop chair adds a quirky touch without overpowering this serene, monochromatic space. Around €349,
Arne Jacobsen’s Drop chair adds a quirky touch without overpowering this serene, monochromatic space. Around €349,
Suede cushion, around €62: Minimalist doesn’t have to mean monochrome,
Light grey herringbone blanket, €90: A luxe throw woven in Donegal by the McNutt family that blends classic craftsmanship and contemporary design,
Bedside cabinet, €1,950: This hand-made piece is both functional and beautiful,
Acrylic on canvas, price on request: Irish artist Lola Donoghue’s quiet, soft pieces are perfect for bedrooms,
Jewellery tray, around €31: Tidy clutter away into this pretty, simple tray,
Wall mirror, from €95: A cool and quiet mirror that will brighten a space without dominating,

Suede cushion, around €62

Minimalist doesn't have to mean monochrome,

Things that are in my bedroom that have nothing to do with sleep: A collection of perfumes, device chargers, a sweet jewellery stand, framed photos, a vintage glass carafe, a stack of books and magazines. None of these things are troubling in themselves, but they do lead to a space where the vibe can at best be described as cluttered rather than calm.

As all things wellness continue to trend, the lines between interior design and wellbeing continue to blur. This season, as a lot of our interiors start subtly displaying busier, more maximalist tendencies, one room in the house is set to stay stubbornly minimalist - and for good reason.

"Bedrooms are calming spaces, where you go to wind down at the end of the day," says Helle Moyna, founder of Nordic Elements, an online store and design studio specialising in effortless Scandinavian simplicity ( "A bedroom is somewhere you should have as little clutter as possible, with a focus on keeping it neutral and cosy," she explains.

In fact, cluttered spaces are known to increase stress, whereas minimalist bedrooms are designed to help you feel relaxed the minute you walk into them, and help you get a good night's sleep. They tend to feature soft fabrics and simple yet functional pieces, while also removing any unnecessary elements.

Helle regularly works with clients to create serene sleeping sanctuaries, introducing a few well-designed pieces and using quiet tones.

"I try to avoid patterns, like print patterns, and if I do use them they're very muted," she says. "I go for really soft tones and neutral shades like taupes and creams and browns."

That could end up looking cold or boring, but Helle keeps things interesting by using a mix of finishes. "Try layering different textures, but always stick to natural ones like linen and cotton," she advises. "I like to keep bedrooms quite neutral, with pops of classic colour rather than, say, a bright pink, which won't go the distance."

To add this colour, Helle likes to source pieces by local Irish craftspeople and artists; from hand-woven blankets from McNutt's of Donegal to the work of Irish artists like Lola Donoghue, whose serene, abstract pieces are interesting without being distracting. She recently used some of the Galway-based artist's pieces in a period Georgian property. "They have a lovely timeless colour palette and are soothing and calming to look at," Helle says. "Plus, if you ever wanted to change something over time, you could simply pick a colour from the painting."

In her own home, Helle focused on paring her bedroom back to the bare essentials. "I moved a lot of things to the bathroom, as it was a decent size and had good light," she says. "So in the bedroom I have a mid-century tallboy, a chair, then the bed - and that's it."

Her efforts have paid off; the room's serene design means it acts as a retreat from the busy pace of the day. "Recently, I just went up to the bedroom in the middle of the day and literally went off the grid for an hour," she recalls. "The kids were at school, the husband was at work, the dog was in the garden and I just lay down on the bed and I just had a sleep. It was bliss. It's just a so peaceful space."

Now who couldn't do with a room like that?



  • Creating a minimalist bedroom space requires a thorough declutter. Try to only have things in the bedroom that absolutely need to be there. Corral or tidy away anything that isn't essential.
  • Stick to natural fabrics wherever possible - think linen, cotton, silk and wool.
  • When picking beds, dressers or any other bedroom furniture, focus on simplicity, and go for sleek pieces with clean lines and minimal decorative touches to allow the room to breathe.
  • Working with a neutral or monochromatic palette of greys, whites and beiges will keep visual noise to a minimum. If you'd love a pop of colour, pick hues that you find soothing and calming - soft blues and pale pastels can work well.
  • To prevent a neutral space from looking too clinical, add subtle interest by using different textures and finishes in the same colour palette.
  • A lighter palette will visually open up a smaller bedroom, while darker hues will create a cocoon-like atmosphere.
  • Natural touches like houseplants and wood finishes can contribute to a bedroom that feels calm, clean and welcoming.

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