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Bedroom interiors 101: How to master ‘understated glamour’

Using luxurious textures, lush furnishings and look-at-me lighting, learn how to master ‘understated glamour’ in your bedroom.
Design Inspiration Guides
understated glamour_hero

There was a certain quality about the bedrooms shown in the old movies of early Hollywood. Filled with sophisticated, beautiful women and suave, well-dressed men, they emanated a certain je ne sais quoi unmatched in the modern day. Of course, being surrounded by opulent furnishings and quietly regal décor helped drive that luxurious feel. The sublime grandeur of those old Hollywood movies endures to this day, and you can’t help feeling warm and fuzzy when you picture a silver dressing table set or a filigree-detailed chandelier.

Understated, old-school glamour that suggests subtle luxury at every turn can be a brilliant way to bring some panache to your bedroom. But, translating the ethereal appeal of old-Hollywood into practical interior design techniques can be difficult without some sort of direction. Without a rulebook to guide you, your plans for a refined room could quickly descend into a mish-mash of clashing pieces and OTT décor.

If you crave the vintage chic of a luxury bedroom, here are our tips on how to master the theme with ease.

understated glamour_aurora

Set the mood: regal colours

Going for understated glamour is all about choosing a colour scheme that feels opulent and sophisticated, but that isn’t overpowering. We love rich colours like plum, navy, teal and burgundy although it’s important to use deep colours like these sparingly to hold on to the ‘understated’ part of the description.

A great way to incorporate these decadent colours into your bedroom without overwhelming the senses is with an accent wall. To really make it sing, you could go for a textured wallpaper instead of a block of colour, for an intricate surface that creates a feeling of depth in the room. But if you’re still not convinced about going for a bold wall, don’t worry. Creams and egg-shell shades can look glamorous when paired with the right furnishings.

For example, a beautiful upholstered bed like this Aurora Bed Frame in velvet would work wonderfully with pale walls. Finish the look with a matching navy bedside cabinet or a navy one-seater sofa placed nearby for a chic, glamorous feel. Highlight the deep navy with matching curtains, and then use neutral creams, beiges or light browns (or a metallic like gold, rose gold or silver) for everything else to keep the look restrained yet sumptuous.

Think opulence: lush bedroom furnishings

Once you’ve got your colour scheme sorted, it’s time to finish the room with plenty of lush furnishings and accessories.

If you did go for the elegant upholstered bed frame, continue the theme of lavish fabrics throughout the room with lots of crushed velvet and silk soft furnishings. Keep your décor restrained by interspersing those plush fabrics with vintage wooden pieces for classic chic, or go the modern route with metallics instead. Whether you’re contrasting plush chaise longues with vintage wooden wardrobes or offsetting buttoned vanity stools with art deco inspired mirrored bedside cabinets such as the Francesca bedside chest, a healthy mix of soft fabrics and sleek furnishings can help create a harmonious luxury look that doesn’t go overboard.

The trick to understated design is to choose the direction you want to go in before making too many purchases. Things can quickly get out of hand without a clear direction to follow, and you could end up going down the garish and over the top route, rather than a sophisticated and refined path. Either aim for old-school glamour and find vintage pieces that evoke the past, or go modern and find minimalist furnishings with clean lines that still make a statement.

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understated glamour_eternity lamp

Make the most of the functional: luxurious lights

What better way to add instant glamour than with a chandelier? There are tons of gorgeous options to choose from, and you don’t have to go totally OTT, if you don’t want to. Choosing something twinkly and vintage-feeling will add that extra layer of chic glamour to your room, even if it’s small or relatively simple.

Alternatively, you could go for a couple of Eternity table lamps for either side of your bed, and opt for an overhead light that’s glamorous but endearingly pared-back, such as this Frost 3 light Crystal Ceiling Pendant.

Accessorise and accent: plush textures

Round off the understated glamour of your bedroom by adorning surfaces with richly textured finishing touches.

Showcase a velvet upholstered bed frame such as the Evelyn, by hanging velvet curtains or suede lampshades in shades of the same colour. If your bedframe is metallic, keep the theme going with metallic furniture, or matte gold or silver cabinets for a subtly luxurious finish that fits the glam-chic vibe.

When the months get warmer, you can change heavy bedlinens for light cotton ones and swap out the velvet curtains for some summery silk or satin ones in powder-tones.

understated glamour_evelyn
understated glamour_evelyn 2

Some of the easiest swaps that make an impact include curtains and cushions, bed spreads and throws (from faux fur and velvet to shimmering silk or satin). Some of the bulkier items in your bedroom can also be surprisingly easy to change up, including mix and match headboards to switch the mood whenever you fancy, and new dressing tables to match whichever new style you’ve chosen.

This is where it gets adventurous, so feel free to play around with your choices and explore the different levels and surfaces of your room. Make sure to keep your foot firmly in the ‘understated, not garish’ camp by limiting yourself to no more than five different textures and fabrics at any one time.

If you love the glamour and glitz of old Hollywood, it might be easier than you think to translate the look into a gorgeous interior theme in your home. Create the bedroom of your dreams, and one that you’ll love to waltz into after a (refined) night on the town, with our guide to understated glamour.


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