Simple and Serene Master Bedroom

By Kate Riley October 9, 2009

Our master bedroom hasn’t changed much over the years.  The linens and accessories get rotated over time, but the colors, textures, and wood tones have remained the same.  While I swoon over so many designer rooms, for my personal bedroom, I retreat to the comfort I find in timeless and traditional style.  This is the room where we retire at the end of the day and while I may take design risks in other areas, in this particular space, I seek only two things: simplicity and serenity.  There’s something soothing about the fact that in the midst of remodeling our home, expanding our family, and changing jobs, this room has remained a constant in our lives.

I’ve always sought to balance the masculine feel of the dark wood tones and olive green rug with the femininity that comes with crystal accents and soft textured linens.  After all, this master bedroom is hers and his.  I’ve never wanted anything too trendy, bright, or jarring here.  Simple creams, bronzes, and pale gray/greens dominate the space.  The wall color is ‘Pueblo’ by Ralph Lauren.


We purchased the antique Drexel Heritage furniture the first year we were married.  It was previously owned by a couple married for fifty years, so we considered that a great omen when we bought it.  In fact, it was Mr. CG who found these pieces and brought them home.  Here is the highboy on my hub’s side.  Our old master bath beveled vanity mirror didn’t fit the new master bathroom, so I just turned it on its side and put it behind the highboy to pull more light into the room.  Then I hung some framed wedding photos with ribbons.

highboy crop

You long time readers have seen this fabric covered headboard with nailhead trim before.  I made earlier this year.

I special ordered the chandelier from Home Depot last year.

master bed and chandy

The damask duvet is Ralph Lauren, from our wedding registry.  It’s held up all these years.  I bring it out every summer.

master from window  linens

I’m sentimental, so I recently framed our wedding picture above our bed.  Sconces are from Pier One.

sconces and photo

I bought an inexpensive 24” x 36” frame from Aaron Brothers, and a large thick linen textured poster board.  Then I painted and cut some balsam wood, and mounted it to the poster board like I did with this key art project.

balsam wood champagne frame

DIY framing up close:


On my side of the bed is the Ballard Terrific Trio table I found on Craigslist.

ballard table

On the table are some favorite reads, a thrift store lamp that I wired myself, and deep purple roses from my garden.

her side table

purple roses and lamp

I found this rose bush at a local nursery two years ago, and it thrives in my back yard under a lemon tree.

The crystal vase was a wedding present.

garden roses

On his side of the bed is this side table Mr. CG found at an antique fair.  We used to have a pair of narrow nightstands flanking the bed, that matched the highboy and dresser as part of a set, but was all too matchy matchy for me, so I switched them out with his side table and my Ballard table.  There is the other thrift store crystal lamp I wired earlier this year.

his side

Some of my favorite colored accents are this sequined celadon accent pillow.

fav pillow

This aubergine urn and colored glass bottles.

colored glass

And this original painting by Ernesto Treccani we found at a gallery on our trip to Bellagio, Italy many many years ago.  It’s called “Maternita” and it reminds me of all three of my children.  I have only three pieces of original art in my home.  This is one of them.

above fireplace


The store bought window panels I’ve had for over eight years.  They are a pale grayish celadon color with a subtle floral pattern in cream and bronze.   I’ve never ever lined them on purpose because I like how the light comes through them by day.

window panels in master

Pattern up close:

curtains up close

In front of the fireplace is a reading chair I ordered from Calico Corners seven or eight years ago in a bronze lattice patterned fabric.  The olive colored silk pillow pulls the colors from the rug.  But quite frankly, it’s not really a reading chair.  It’s a “collector of all the unfolded laundry” chair.  The pile climbs high very quickly.

reading chair

Then there’s the area of the room I call the “south side” because it’s just not right.  Not yet.

It’s way too many wood pieces right up next to each other.  I love the antique dresser, the mirror, and the inlaid wood armoire in the corner.  What I don’t love are the (temporary) dining room chairs.  I’m definitely on the hunt for a pair of fabulous upholstered chairs on either side of this dresser which will make the “south side” look less like an antique store.  With a pair of upholstered chairs, this side will feel much fresher and more modern.

south side

But this mirror and this Lladro I do like very much.

lladro and mirror

My grandfather used to buy Lladro pieces for my grandmother years ago, and as a girl, I always admired them.  This particular Lladro was a present from my hub when the babies were born.  How sweet is that ?  But he’s no fool.  Whenever I’m upset, he just points his finger at it.  Smartypants.


The aubergine and green accent colors are repeated with these garden hydrangeas.

garden hydrangeas

My bedroom is certainly traditional, but to me, it is also classic and timeless.  It brings me comfort at day’s end.  It’s where I cuddle up with my family and read my favorite magazines.  Oh sure, it could use some new upholstered chairs, but if I start to complain about that, then there’s something wrong with me.

It’s simple, soft, serene, and it’s mine.

I mean, it’s ours.

master from door

And perhaps you’ve noticed, but there is no television in my bedroom.  Not judging – that’s cool if you do.  I’ve just never had one in my sleep space.  We’ve been tempted to get one before, especially for Saturday mornings when the kids wake up way too early and want their cartoons and we want our sleep.  But we’ve just never brought one into the space.  And I doubt I ever will.  In here, I personally prefer the quiet solitude.

master bedroom from door


So tell me, what is your most favorite decorative piece in your bedroom?

And how do you feel about having a TV in your bedroom?  Love it ?  Hate it ?  Can’t live without it ?  Do share.


  1. Wow. What a beautiful space. I’m jealous! My husband an I have only been married a couple of years, so we are really just starting out, and the bedroom has definitely been on the bottom of my priority list because it’s the one room that nobody else has to see. That being said, I have done the best I could. My favorite feature is the rich, textured, fabric backdrop I have hung behind the bed as a makeshift headboard. It really adds drama to the room, and compliments my beautiful sage, cream and brown Pottery Barn bedding I received for our wedding. I am actually planning to do a post on this technique soon. Check it out. :)

    PS: We do not have a TV in the bedroom either.

  2. Your room is absolutely beautiful. I can totally understand why you love it so much. You are very clever and gifted in creating beautiful spaces. Sending smiles.

  3. Hi Kate,
    Love your bedroom, it’s beautiful. We recently remade ours, and I think my favorite piece is the headboard we made from a six panel door together. Fun project + time with hubby=bliss.
    Changing the wall color probably made the biggest difference in the room’s feeling, though. We went from olive green to a Waverly color called “Antique.”

  4. What a beautiful post. I am moving soon and have been thinking of nothing but our bedroom. We have a beautiful red comforter (JC Penneys) that I bought 3 yrs. ago when we were building our home. I loved it then and it was the most expensive set I had bought since we got married 18 yrs. ago. Now I want soothing and calm. My furniture is a traditional set that I love. (I LOVE Drexel Heritage) I would love to go gray on the walls with black & white. My first idea was a nice soft green with black and white but I think that I have looked at too much online and got too many ideas. I love the trendy orange but I would never do that. I look at a lot of pictures and while loving them, I would do them. We do have a tv to work around and our room is huge. I am headed up there at the end of the month. I haven’t seen the house but twice and I want to get a feel for it on the next visit. I do love your room. I love the wedding picture, the soft walls, the nightstand, just the all around feeling of it. You did a great job. I am off today to look around to see if anything catches my eye. We’ll see.

  5. Your bedroom is so beautiful! Your pictures look like ones from a magazine. I love the soft elegance of your room and the light colors. Your olden furniture pieces have stood the test of time and really are timeliess.
    Be a sweetie,
    shelia :)

  6. Hi Kate!
    I love your bedroom too, so calm and peaceful!!! What great furniture! I share your thoughts about the TV in the room… I don’t want it either… neither in my girls bedroom. I think we must not let it dominate our lives…

    My master bedroom you can see here:
    I painted the walls recently. It is a very small room but it was what I had…The stripes and the painting above the bed, which I painted and framed myself, are what I like better.

  7. What a beautiful and romantic looking room. My husband and I have only married for under a year and living together 2 1/2 so our bedroom is very”yuck” no personality, no style, and most of all laundry and baby paraphernalia strewn all across the room.

    My biggest goal before the end of the year is to finally turn our bedroom into something we love to retire to. Not that we dread because it’s so randomly put together.

    As for the TV. We have one in our room now, but barely use it because its so far from the bed we can barely see it. I’m still torn on what to do about a TV in the bedroom. I like the idea of not having one, but yet I like the idea of mounting one to the wall and curling up on a date night or having lazy Saturday mornings in bed.

  8. LOVE! your bedroom is so beautiful! we are about to move into a new home, and our master bedroom is a completely blank slate- like “no trim on the windows, primer on the walls” kind of blank. i really enjoyed a peek into your room to get some ideas!
    we have toyed with the idea of a tv in the bedroom just for snuggly movie nights in bed… but i keep coming back to the idea of peace. one room in our house should be free of distraction & technology, so our master bedroom will be our retreat from all the electronics.

  9. Love your room, it is just beautiful and very serene. Love your blog. I have more cottage style in my bedroom and my favorite piece is a very small child’s version of a highboy that I have had from childhood that I now use as a large jewelery box. Yes I have a TV in my room, it started like you talked about when my son was young (he’s 18 now) and we would cuddle in the morning and he would watch cartoons. I don’t watch a lot of TV but I do watch the news in the morning when I am getting ready for work. it serves its purpose and its a small flat t screen behind doors when not in use.

    Once again I love your blog..


  10. Love your blog, love your bedroom.

    We have a tv in our room that rarely gets turned on–we use it most often when we have company over, since the guest bathroom is right next to our room.

    Glad we’re not the only ones with a “reading chair” that’s actually our laundry’s favorite hangout.

    Thanks for inspiring me to work on it a long the way to truly make it our retreat (although we don’t have kids yet so pretty much the whole house is a retreat).

  11. Oh the room is beautiful! I agree, you need that comfort to go to at the end of the day. I would have to say my favorite piece in my bedroom is a small ceramic figurine of a woman that was my mother’s when she was little. When I was little she let me put it on my dresser and it’s stayed with me ever since. What I love about the piece is that there are small holes in the area of her dress—you see, she’s like an old time room freshener. You spray a few cotton balls with perfume or scented oil and insert them from the bottom of her dress and she smells up the room. It’s beautiful! As for the TV, I agree, we don’t have one either. We’ve also toyed with the idea for when we want to snuggle easier watching a movie on a Friday night, but we then nix the idea.

  12. Your room is all the things you said you wanted it to be, calm and serene. Beautiful, love the muted color palette.
    TV’s, yes I have a TV tucked away in an armoire in our bedroom, I occasionally love a bit of late night viewing, particularly if my husband is traveling!
    Have a great weekend…Janell

  13. Oh i love it! I really like the different textures of fabric in the room. Thanks for your advice on my bedroom I can draw some inspiration from yours for sure! We do not have a tv in our bedroom either and I am just fine with that!

  14. How beautiful Kate! It IS serene, just how I love bedrooms!! That sparkly pillow is the cherry on top. :) There was about a year I went without a TV in the bedroom and I surprisingly made it. ;) I won’t go back to not having one though — it’s how I decompress at night and my Bub and I lay in bed every morning and watch cartoons. It HAS to be hidden though! We just bought a flat screen for that room and it had to fit in the armoire. Ha!
    (Btw, I don’t think your feed is working or something, your new posts aren’t showing on my blog roll!)

  15. Your bedroom screams sactuary. A place of peace. Bring in a TV and it might off set the purpose of your quite place. Unless you are able to hide. Just a thought.
    Wished my room looked like that. Yesterday I took out a garbage bag, a box and bag full of donatable cothes, toys, books and a lot of crap! Now it looks neat and clean relaxed but nothing like yours.

  16. {Swoon} Love it Kate! Your master bedroom is gorgeous! You’ve got me thinking about mine now… We *do* have a large flat-screen TV mounted above the fireplace, and I think we always will. It’s just too cozy to curl up in bed with the fireplace going and watch a movie after the kids are in bed.

  17. What a perfect & serene room. Luxurious without being pretentious. Yours is just the look that I’m going for and I’m about halfway there. My favorite piece is our antique bed, circa 1908. Its mahogony with gorgeous carved appliques & detailing. Of course, antique beds only come in one size — double — so we are pretty cozy in there!

    As far as a TV, we don’t have one, very purposefully. For me, it would bring an unrestful element into the room.

  18. I’m so glad I’ve found you’re blog — I’m loving it. Those Ballard tables (and their folding chairs) are awesome and so versatile. How cool that you found one on Craigslist.

  19. Your bedroom is gorgeous. We don’t have a TV in our bedroom, either. I can not think of anyone whom I know, who doesn’t. At least I now know there are two of us.

  20. (Picking jaw up from floor) It’s amazing, Kate…even the South Side, lol. That made me smile. :)

    The Lladro is lovely. I haven’t seen that one before. I also really like your accent pillow.

    Thanks for being real about your laundry…it piles up quickly in our room too.

    We do have a small flat screen in our room, but we never watch it. Honestly, it was a lifesaver when my girls were babies, and I pumped for 6 months with the first and 7 months with the second. It would have hell if I just had to sit there and stare at the wall all day. Having the TV kept me awake so I didn’t fall off the bed. That said, we don’t ever go to sleep with the TV on…I’ve always heard it’s not good for your sleep cycles. But I know some people like it and I guess that’s their preference. :)

    Gorgeous, lovely, beautimous room! :)

  21. You have a beautiful room! Its truly simple and serene. Keeping the bedroom more or less constant over the years is a really good idea. I love the way your photo frames blend well with the environment.
    Personally, I’d love to add a touch of contemporary bedroom furniture to my room for the young and refreshing feel.

  22. What a lovely master retreat! I wish you lived on the East coast so you could come over and give me some tips!! I agree about the no T.V. in the bedroom. We had one in our room the first 5 years of marriage. When we moved last we decided to see what it would be like to not have one and we LOVED it! Not only because it made the room look better without it, but because of what it did for our relationship. Instead of sitting side by side watching T.V. until we fell asleep we talked about our day and had time for just us. It has been wonderful.

  23. Really lovely. Enjoyed seeing all of the great pics of your master b. Thanks for sharing those with us, and inspiring us to make our homes a reflection of who we are. Holly at

  24. Love Love LOVE you blog,

    Mostly the tutorials (sp?). I love to see how you pull your home together and then break it down step by step. Honestly, its been more then helpful, it’s been a LIFE SAVER! Moreover, I just bought a log home in hte county. It’s lovely but I am stuggling to make it what I call “organic” not to be confused with rustic. Plus the added bonus that I have to consider my husbands taste which dont jive with mine all the time.

    Any ideas?



  25. Oh Kate! Its just lovely! And I think we have the exact same armiore! I love that piece! And thanks again for all the advise on the buffet!

  26. I don’t want a TV in our bedroom either. Granted, I’ve only been married almost two months so maybe that will change but I’d like the bedroom to be a sanctuary. If we want to watch TV there’s plenty of comfy furniture to lounge on in the living room!

    Your bedroom is gorgeous! It looks like it came from a magazine. I envy your bedding! We are suckers and let our bloodhound pup sleep with us. That pretty white would last maybe a day! That sequin pillow is perfection.

  27. Your bedroom is just beautiful! You have such an eye for color, and the whole feel is so restful, just as a bedroom should be. We’re renovating our kitchen right now, I wish I had done our bedroom first so I would have a place away from the chaos – it’s taking over our house!

  28. Your bedroom is really coming together as a lovely sanctuary. It has that quality of a room that wasn’t Decorated All at Once, but evolving as you find things to bring into it.

    A couple of suggestions to consider: you mentioned not liking the dining room chairs that flank the large dresser–could you move the arm chair from Calico Corners to that side of the room? The arm chair is quite visible as you walk into the room–right in front of the fireplace. If it’s most often piled with laundry, perhaps it would be less visible if moved away from the bed. The ottoman could stay in front of the fireplace. Also, consider a big beautiful basket (with a lid!) to hold unfolded laundry until you can get to it.

    One last thought: when your remodeling is finished and you’re ready for a decorating project, new draperies on the windows could be hung higher on the wall. That would create a more graceful fall of fabric and carry your eye upward. Happy decorating!

  29. We have been tv-less in the bedroom our whole marriage and I think we will keep it that way. In fact we only have one in the living room – that’s it. I’m sure when we have kids we will have a second, but I don’t think I ever want more than 2 in my home, too noisy. Of course we balance that out by having 8 or 9 computers – i loose track :)

    I love your color palette and the bed looks so cozy!!

  30. First, I love your blog. It is on my everyday read list. You have very creative ideas.

    The bedroom looks very serene. We have a laundry chair (2 really) and a small old TV. Wish it was a flat screen. It relaxes me, has a timer to turn it off or on as an alarm and, since we are on the 1st floor, I can send the kids in while one practices piano or I see the news in the family room. I’m working on a blog of my bedroom…coming soon.

  31. I am catching up on all my bloggy reading this am.

    My husband and I do not have a tv in our bedroom. Our space is for quiet bliss.
    The kids don’t have a tv in their bedrooms either. That is because when they are sent to their rooms it is truly a punishment. :) No seriously, you need space in your home to just quietly be.

  32. I wondered where you went! This is a great post. I love all the details of the space. I never had a TV in my room until I got married and it took me years to get used to…my husband can’t live without it! So I wore a sleeping mask for a while and now I can’t live without it either! Crazy what we do for love :)

  33. We don’t have a tv in the room, but we bring the laptop in every so often. No problems unless the Mr. decides to stay up later, then he gets to head off to the couch or use earphones. In the kids rooms tho? No way unless it’s a treat night and we just hang there and watch a movie, but no permanent fixtures of that sort.

    Your room is beautifully coordinated. Very serene & romantic- just right!

  34. Thank you for sharing your sanctuary. I feel the same way regarding a television in the bedroom…don’t want it! In fact, we have only 1 television in the house – my feeling is that my 3 children need to not only spend time together, but to develop that give and take (and ok, occasional down and dirty argument) of what kind of programming to watch.

    I do have to disagree about your comment regarding original artwork – do you not feel that what you do is art in its own right? From just the brief perusal of your blog, I think you have scads of original artwork in your home.

  35. Katie,
    I know I’ve posted before, and I always answer your surveys and polls, but I just wanted to say that I totally love stalking your blog!!! I download the pics I like, and none is more beautiful than your bedroom… okay, so maybe your kitchen and stairway come really close (LOL)… Anyways, thank you so much! I watch HGTV and DIY all the time, but nothing even comes close to the confidence and inspiration that you give me!

  36. i love your bedroom! i found it by googling “antique” and master bedroom. . .

    we built a house last year and i have about everything somewhat completed except our bedroom, and i can’t decide what to do. . . . . . i’m at a loss!

    anyways, i love yours!

  37. I love your room!
    Right now we have a TV in our room, it’s the “old” TV, when we got the BIG TV for the family room (decorating nightmare!) The nice thing is, when I do decide to get to my mountain of laundry on MY chair I can watch something to take that boredom away :D Not perfect, but I think perfection would entail a maid, and, well, that’s not going to happen :D

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