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Planned clutter can fill super-size bedroom

The Baltimore Sun

I never thought a master bedroom could be too big, but that is the case in a home to which we recently moved. Our king-size bed, night tables, chair and ottoman don't come close to filling the space. Other than introducing pieces that are of no use in a bedroom, can you suggest how we might create a more lived-in look?

Your problem isn't unique. The master bedrooms in many new homes are so large that they can look sparse and unwelcoming even when furnished with some oversized pieces.

The solution is clutter. Properly executed, a cluttered look will make your bedroom seem a lot more lived-in but not at all chaotic.

In this photograph from Decorating Ideas That Work (Taunton Press), Heather Paper suggests how a corner of any room could be cluttered up in an attractive manner. A velvet-tufted chaise lounge with a fringed skirt was introduced here alongside a decorative screen as a way of adding color and pattern that help soften the space. I can visualize putting a chair and ottoman on the other side of the screen to fill out this corner.

Some small tables for books, magazines and framed photographs also could be scattered around the room. A bookcase can be added as well, along with a bench at the foot of the bed where a bedspread could be placed.

If that's still not enough furniture, a writing desk and chair can be positioned perpendicular to a wall or used in place of a night table. And be assured that all these pieces do have functional roles to play in a bedroom.

Don't forget to define a seating group with an area rug. And then there are flowers, plants and drapery that will surely help make even an extra-large bedroom appear pleasantly cluttered.

Styles? I wouldn't worry about that aspect of your look. The designs of traditionally styled rooms are being interpreted much more freely today than a few decades ago. We're seeing colors, patterns and furniture that once would have been considered "wrong" for the look of a particular period.

Some historians of interior design point out that styles now associated with specific periods were never as hidebound as we have come to believe. Domestic interiors, these scholars suggest, always have been regarded as places of refuge. So they typically have been arranged more in accordance with personal tastes than in obedience to someone else's standards.

Rita St. Clair is a Baltimore-based interior designer. Readers with interior design questions can e-mail her at rsca@ritastclair.com.

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