Italian Decor in Your Bedroom
Italians see their bedrooms as a haven of repose, and this is why Italian bedrooms are known the world over for their atmospheric quality as well as comfort. Be it furnishings, accessories, or Italian beds or other furniture, bedrooms in Italy are private yet cherished spaces in the Italian home.
Italian bedroom decor is not very difficult to bring into your own home no matter where you live, because principles of Italian design are pretty simple. One has to bear in mind that Italians like their bedrooms uncluttered, comfortable and adroitly lit.
There are different ways to achieve these, depending on the amount of space you have in the bedroom, the quantity of natural light available, and last but not the least, your budget. LifeInItaly examines three main types of Italian bedrooms, always keeping in mind that infinite individual variations are possible:
The Rustic/Tuscan Italian Bedroom
This look would be ideal for your bedroom if you have lots of space. While there is a way to get the finishes and furniture ideal for this look, the one thing you can't compromise on is space. The more space, natural light and air there is the more your Italian Rustic/ Tuscan look would come alive.
Italian Textile Furnishings for a Rustic Look: Curtains and bed covers for an Italian rustic look would be usually in tones of cream, light yellow, and the indispensable white. While matching prints with prints or having the lenzuola or sheets in different patterns could be an idea, for the most Italian looking bedroom, try white cotton sheets. Curtains could be made of rough cloth, in colors that allow natural light into the bedroom.
Italian Wall and Floor Finishes for a Rustic Look: Go for natural finishes and materials for the walls of an Italian bedroom with a rustic look. The colour of choice is white, followed by burnt terracotta colors, and other earthen tones. The finish is usually rough, in order to reflect the rustic Tuscan charm of simple living. Floors made of terracotta tiles, especially in antique finishes, work well with this look. Also possible are wooden floors with a warm velvety sheen.
Italian Furniture for a Rustic Look: The Italian furniture for this look must be big, chunky, lived-in. The bed dominates the decor, and for this look a wooden, high bed is best. An elaborate yet tasteful head stand can work wonders for this look, as would four poster beds with curtains, and carvings on the posts. Go for a antique finishes wenge oak, light oak, grey oak or walnut on your wardrobe. Add a carved, heavy wooden chest of drawers and possibly an ornate mirror. Introduce wrought iron into the look, either with the head stand of the bed, a shelf or two, or a small side table.
Italian Light Fixtures for a Rustic Look: Wrought iron used in light fixtures gives your Italian bedroom the Tuscan look, be it in the central lighting arrangement, candle sconces, or wall-mounted candle holders. These add a romantic touch to your Rustic Italian bedroom, and as every one knows, Italian bedrooms need a spice of romance in their decor.
The Minimalist Italian Bedroom
This look is ideal for bedrooms which are short on space, in apartments in big cities. Minimalism gives the appearance of a more airy, larger space. Young Italians today have taken up this no-fuss look, and they strive to give maximum effect with minimum furniture.
Italian Textile Furnishings for a Minimalist Look: Minimalist look involves solid colors and easy-to-maintain fabrics. No prints, not too many colors in contrast for the curtains, covers or cushions. Go for one base color with accents, or shades that complement each other. Luxury or shiny fabrics can be used as a contrast.
Italian Wall and Floor Finishes for a Minimalist Look: Bedroom walls for the Italian minimalist look are usually white or cream. In some cases, the home owner decides to paint the walls in light, vibrant colours so as to add an acent to cramped spaces. Avoid texturing. Floors could be wooden finish or monochrome, depending on your taste. Tiles are rarely used for this look.
Italian Furniture for a Minimalist Look: The Italian minimalist bed usually does without a headstand, or the headstand works double duty as shelf, etc. Sometimes the entire bed could fold up and become a seating arrangement. Cupboards are designed for space utilisation, and are usually made of steel and plastic. Go for a metallic look, and if using wood, stick to small areas. Besides being streamlined and modern, comfort should be the watchword for the furnitures chosen for this look.
Italian Light Fixtures for a Minimalist Look: Light fixtures in an Italian minimalist bedroom tend to be slim and graceful floor lamps, which add a decorative, modern twist without taking up too much space. Pendant or ceiling lights in interesting shapes are also used. Go for lights that will express your inner artist.
The Contemporary Italian Bedroom with Traditional Accents
Traditional accents in a contemporary bedroom is a way of getting the best of both worlds. Suitable for large bedrooms and small, this kind of decor is more a question of an impeccable sense of balance than anything else. The idea is to bring in the traditional without introducing a jarring note with the modern principles of home styling and decoration.
Italian Textile Furnishings for a Contemporary yet Traditional Look: Curtains for this kind of Italian bedroom must be chosen with care. They need to be as bland as possible so as to give precedence to the furniture and other items.
Italian Wall and Floor Finishes for a Contemporary yet Traditional Look: You might want to do a Tuscan wall and leave the furnishing and other aspects very minimalist, so as to introduce the traditional, yet stay essentially contemporary. Same goes for tiles. If the rest of your bedroom is very contemporary, tiles in shades that match or contrast the furnishings could be a way of providing an interesting element of tradtion.
Italian Furniture for a Contemporary yet Traditional Look: In a room decorated the minimalist way, a striking piece of furniture involving Italian art could be the best way to introduce a traditional accent. Old wrought iron bed styles, or an ornate mirror, for example, would give the right sense of tradition to an otherwise modern bedroom. The idea is to mix and match colors so that the traditional piece of furniture complements the other elements of the bedroom decor rather than fight against them.
Italian Light Fixtures for a Contemporary yet Traditional Look: Wrought iron light fixtures and light scones could be an ideal way of introducing a bit of the old Tuscan look into a contemporary setting. Go for something small that still makes a strong statement while choosing such light fixtures for your contemporary Italian bedroom.
Having looked at all the different types of Italian bedroom decor, it should be easy for you to customise one according to your own tastes, the amount of space available, and the look you want to portray. LifeInItaly wishes you all the best in your Italian decorating ventures, and welcomes your decor questions on the Life In Italy Forum.
By Damyanti Ghosh, January 2010