The self-taught designer breaks down the formula for her cheerful bedroom makeover.
What makes a room more than just pretty, what are the elements that make it memorable? In our Secrets of a Great Room series, we ask designers to tell us how they created their signature rooms. From decorating advice to the practical nitty gritty of furnishings, we get their insider advice on crafting rooms to remember, like this bedroom by Ann Lacouture.
Ann Lacouture didn’t ever expect to find herself working as a professional designer. A mom of four, Ann says she was interested in interiors even from a very young age, but a college course on the history of design turned her off from further study “I was like, ‘Where are the fabrics? Where are the textiles?’” she says. Ann ended up with a degree in statistics and mostly shelved her childhood penchant for rearranging rooms.
However, when Ann and her husband built their own home, she found herself excited by the challenge of furnishing their family home. When she posted photos of her rooms in progress to Instagram and received a flood of positive comments, it encouraged her to dig deeper. Creating her son’s bedroom for the One Room Challenge, a biannual event in which designers and influencers chronicle a room makeover, changed everything. “It was the first time I designed a room from scratch,” she says. The results and the response have led to Ann designing for other people and a profile of her home in HGTV Magazine. In the latest One Room Challenge, Ann turned her eye to her own bedroom and the results of equal parts calming retreat and joyful place to recharge. Here’s how to borrow Ann’s fresh style.
Your bedroom deserves attention
“I never put this time and energy into my own bedroom,” confesses Ann, who says this was in part because it was the least visible part of her home. But post-transformation, she feels like everyone should give their bedroom as much design care as their public-facing living room.
Find a rug as versatile as your favorite jeans
“I change out my decor a lot, especially my bedding, so I needed a colorful rug that would allow me to change things around it a lot,” says Ann. Her search led her to our Coastal Blue Indoor/Outdoor Rug. “It reminds me of denim,” she says. “Think about it, every shirt can go with your favorite jeans.”
Grasscloth adds subtle texture
The Coastal Blue Indoor/Outdoor Rug inspired Ann’s choice of a blue grasscloth wallpaper. “It also has a kind of a denim blue and jeans-like texture,” she says, noting that this kind of wallpaper is extremely versatile while still more interesting than flat paint.
Balance bright colors with moments of rest
As her Instagram fans know, orange is Ann’s signature color, but she knows how to employ it in moderation. “You need to find rest,” she says. “It’s important that there are calm neutrals in the background all the time, so you can enjoy colors—and so you don’t feel overwhelmed.”
Choose a color leader
“When you are picking the color distribution, you always want a color leader,” says Ann of how she builds the colorscape for a room. She notes that this tactic creates “cohesiveness, so everything isn’t competing.” Her usual formula is to give the lead color is 60-70 percent of the design, about 30 percent to a secondary hue, and then a small fraction to one or two more that can act as accents. Blue is the color leader here, with orange as the supporting hue and a little bit of pink and yellow thrown in.
“Even one personal thing goes a long way,” Ann says, recounting a recent experience offering remote design consultation to a client, “The room was full of beautiful, expensive pieces, all new—but it was missing something really significant. Everything was beautiful but nothing was personal.” Ann says every room needs something that people want to know the story behind it or where you found it: “If no one is asking those questions, your room is missing the ‘it’ factor.” For Ann’s bedroom, custom artwork by artist Miriam Tribe is the most prominent of many personal moments.
Customization adds character
“Changing something on your own gives added interest and personality,” says Ann. Ann had seen a picture of a small dresser painted with delicate stripes and decided to recreate the look by painting IKEA dressers she was using as bedside tables. “You can’t go to a store and buy that,” she says of her DIY design.
Add softness to make a room inviting
Scroll through Ann’s Instagram feed and you’ll see lots of colorful rugs, pillows, throws, and fabric lampshades. “Soft surfaces make a room inviting,” says Ann. “Any kind of textile–whether it’s cushions or pillows or blankets—is comforting and welcoming,” but she notes that a soft and grounding rug in particular can make a big difference to how a room feels.
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