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The Bedroom Book    by Caroline Clifton-Mogg order for
Bedroom Book
by Caroline Clifton-Mogg
Order:  USA  Can
Bulfinch, 2003 (2003)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Looking for ideas to re-decorate a bedroom, or simply to add fresh touches to an existing décor? You'll find a wide variety of styles in The Bedroom Book, from stark and simple, through warm and cozy, to elegant and intricate. All aspects of a bedroom are addressed from bed types and headboards (which the author considers 'an artistic punctuation') to lighting, storage, bed linens and window dressings. There is advice on choosing a mattress, duvet and pillows and detailed instructions for making a variety of bed hangings.

This lovely book includes both photos of different bedroom designs and pictures of paintings of historical bedrooms; the comparison is fascinating as is information on bedroom decoration through the ages. I didn't know that Pliny the Younger (AD 61-113) had two bedrooms for daytime and nighttime use in a suite separate from the main house. And I'm intrigued by the evolution of Middle Age curtained alcoves off the great hall into testers (canopied beds), and by the fact that the bedroom only moved upstairs in the eighteenth century.

The author tells us that childhood memories often color our feelings for subsequent bedrooms, making this room an especially important one to us. She urges us to think of a sleeping space as 'an opportunity for creative interpretation', and then presents widely different examples. A platform under an arched roof of glass bricks caught my eye for unusual simplicity. I love the idea of a separate space in a traditional gypsy caravan in the garden, and mezzanine platform bedrooms seem very practical. Different kinds of canopied beds look like fun in the right space, and the clean look of tatami mats on a wood platform appealed to my eye.

The author tells us that 'Contemporary design is largely about using materials in an interesting way, using space cleverly, and finding new solutions for old problems.' She tells us to pick what pleases us rather than to follow conventions, to apply 'less is more' to choices of color and pattern, and use colors to evoke different styles and countries. Specific advice that caught my attention was to handle open-plan areas with an open mind, and not to miniaturize for small spaces, but to avoid clutter.

Caroline Clifton-Mogg suggests that 'The perfect bedroom should ... be so enticing and welcoming that it radiates sleep-inducing serenity.' Her Bedroom Book is full of ideas and advice to help us achieve that night-time serenity.

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