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Have you ever taken a step back, assessed the decor and colors in your room, and realized that it just looks a little ‘flat’?

Well that’s what happened me recently with my bedroom. I’ve never really taken the time to design this room properly. I bought new nightstands, switched up the rugs and bedding every so often…but it just never felt right, because it was missing one important component of a successful design: contrast.

upholstered neutral colored bed with artwork over it

Contrast refers to the juxtaposition of opposing elements such as colors, textures, shapes, and sizes. When used effectively, these elements work together to create a visually pleasing design. By playing with opposites and experimenting with various combinations, you can transform any room from feeling “flat”, boring, and just “off” to a really beautiful design that you love.

light colored curtains with a bamboo shade and black curtain rod
blue curtains with a bamboo shade and brass curtain rod

My 2 favorite ways to add contrast to a space are through color and shapes. Many times you will hear people say that every room should have some black. While I don’t believe that’s true (I generally don’t decorate with black) I think that believe comes from the contrast that black brings to the space. However, any darker color will give the same effect.

bedroom with neutral bedding and contrasting blue curtains
Shop the look: nightstands // artwork // rattan lamps // curtains (color: winter sky) // rug
euro pillows // duvet cover // quilt // chunky knit blanket // blue throw pillows // bamboo shades

In my bedroom, for instance, instead of having the entire room in neutral shades – linen headboard, linen curtains, white bedding, light colored rug and light gray walls – I brought in a darker shade of blue for the curtains and one throw pillow on the bench in the corner.

This simple change instantly added contrast and lifted the entire room.

corner of a bedroom with small bench with throw pillows and blue curtains on the window

Over the past few years, I’ve really gravitated towards striking a balance between warm and cool tones, and not just sticking to one or the other. I first did this in my kitchen remodel, and now in this bedroom, you can see how the cooler tones of blue and white are balanced by the warmth of the White Dove walls, warm wood tones, and brass accents.

blue curtains and a nightstand with a rattan lamp next to a seagrass basket
ochre colored vase with dried white flowers

To balance out all the straight lines in the room (the curtains, the dressers, the window shades, etc.) I added a wavy mirror over the dresser. This adds contrast because it’s the opposite shape of what mostly exists in the room.

natural wood dresser chest with a wavy brass mirror hung above it
Shop the look: dresser // mirror // faux eucalyptus // chunky knit blanket// rug // door knobs

Adding a mirror in a bedroom like this that has poor natural light also has the added benefit of bouncing light around the room, making it appear brighter than it actually is.

I also just adore this mirror as it’s a great dupe for one of my favorite Serena & Lily ones!

reflection of the bed in the brass mirror

Balancing Textures

It’s essential to strike a balance between various textures in your home decor to create an energetic and inviting environment, too.

chunky knit blanket on a bed

Follow these tips to achieve the perfect balance:

  1. Mix and match smooth and rough surfaces, such as a cotton duvet color and a knitted blanket, to create an interesting contrast.
  2. Combine organic and geometric shapes in furniture and accessories to add depth and character.
  3. Play with scale and size by incorporating both small and large patterned elements in the room (easy to do with throw pillows and rugs).
faux tree next to a large floor mirror

Symmetry

One thing that has consistently bothered me about this bedroom is the lack of symmetry with the windows. In a perfect world, the wall with the bed would have windows on both sides of the bed. But alas, it does not. I found that having curtains to the left further highlighted this problem.

bed with white bedding and throw pillows flanked by white nightstands with rattan table lamps

I came up with 2 simple solutions to this problem: remove the curtains entirely (I didn’t want to because I love the softness they bring) or only hang one curtain panel to make the table lamps the symmetrical element on that wall.

This had the added bonus of letting more light in through the west-facing window, making the entire space feel much bigger and brighter. Win-win!

corner view of the bedroom with a bench with contrasting pillows
curtains (color: winter blue) // curtain rod // ottoman bench // teal throw pillow // neutral pillow

Final Thoughts

As you explore different ways to add contrast, keep in mind the importance of maintaining a sense of harmony and cohesion. Striking the right balance between contrasting elements is crucial to achieving a sophisticated and well-designed space.

the author arranging pillows on the bed

So, whether you opt for a dramatic black and white color scheme or a more subtle mix of analogous colors, don’t be afraid to take some risks and let your personal style shine through.

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5 Comments

  1. Hi Jenna. Beautiful room! Could you tell me where you got your bed and the name and color of it, please?

  2. Jenna, thank you for the great ideas in decorating my master bedroom.
    Can you please share with me the name and color color of your wood flooring and company it is made by? We have wood flooring similar and it needs to be replaced as well. I will appreciate any information you can give me.

    1. Hi! It’s 2 inch white oak that can be purchased at any flooring company or large hardware store. It’s stained with Bona Provincial

  3. L. Griffith says:

    Great posts with so many wonderful ideas. Gentle decorating can be difficult for those of us who don’t know what we’re doing or have limited resources. Thank you for your guidance.