Q. Hey Jordan,
I am moving into a new apartment with my boyfriend, and I’m very excited, but there is a problem: the master bedroom does not have a window (crazy, I know!).
Do you have any ideas what I could do (be it lighting or decoration) that will make our new bedroom not feel like a holding cell?
A. I can definitely sympathize: while I’ve never had a bedroom with no window whatsoever, our first apartment in New York had a verrrry tiny window…with a view of a brick wall approximately ten feet away. And that brick wall had a window in it, and behind that window was a man who sometimes wandered around buck naked (yes, we had our very own Ugly Naked Guy). Which meant: blinds and curtains, and very little natural light in our already very dark and “cozy” space (and by “cozy” I mean: you had to sit on the bed in order to create enough space to open the dresser drawers).
So let’s start with the quick, easy fixes. The first thing to do is to pick up lightbulbs that mimic natural light (you can buy them at any hardware store). Also consider hanging a pretty fixture in the center of the room (ideally one with multiple bulbs, like this West Elm cluster pendant, which I have installed in an interior room in our apartment and absolutely love), and additional smaller lights around the periphery. Basically, the goal is to create a wash of warm, beautiful light and to eliminate any dark, shadowy spots.
Now that we’ve dealt with lighting, try any (or all) of these ideas:
- Use mirrors to create the illusion of space. I like the idea of hunting down rustic wooden frames to give the space a little shot of nature; you can find beautiful ones at flea markets or buy them new (try World Market).
- Keep the walls light; this is not the place to experiment with a dark red wall or a navy ceiling. You may, however, want to consider adding some patterned metallic wallpaper (like this Cavern Home style, which features, yes, gold tigers…but is actually much subtler than you’d imagine) to a single wall (preferably the one opposite the door); the metallic detail will reflect the light and make the room feel larger while adding texture for warmth and interest.
- Bring in some beautiful plants…but be sure to choose varieties that can live in the absence of natural light (or go for faux versions).
- Install a ceiling fan to keep the air moving, or go for a cool retro version that sits on the floor.
- Go for “green” room scents (cucumber, grass, airy florals) rather than sexy, musky ones.
- Incorporate light-reflecting fabrics (like all-white bedding) into your decor wherever possible.
- If you have trouble waking up without a sunrise to move you along, consider hooking up a lamp with a dimmer option to a timer.
- Keep things neat and clean! Zero clutter will work wonders when it comes to making your space feel airy and inviting.
- You might also want to consider creating a faux window by installing molding and curtains around an image of the outdoors…but proceed with caution, because if not executed beautifully this will look super cheesy. You can also install blinds or curtains around a lightbox, or purchase a wall mural depicting the outdoors – obviously this will look fake, but it’s also sorta kitschy and fun, especially if the rest of your decor is spare and simple.
I hope that helps! Good luck with your new apartment.