Think of today’s bedrooms and bathrooms as stylish sanctuaries for refreshment and renewal. For an insider’s view of what’s trendy and timeless, we turned to Phoenixville-based interior designer Liz Walton, who’s created comfortable first-class retreats throughout the Main Line region.
MLT: When we’re on our backs in bed, we look up. What are some ways to improve our view of ceilings without making structural changes?
LW: In one of my favorite bedrooms, which already had angled ceilings, we used tongue-and-groove painted wood to create a cozy and comforting aesthetic. We also love to wallpaper the ceiling as a fun accent. Another option is to paint the ceiling a soothing color.
MLT: There are so many mattress options out there. Any tips for selecting the right one?
LW: Ultimately, it comes down to knowing yourself and what you need for a good night’s rest. My husband and I recently went through the mattress-buying process. We chose a hybrid model constructed using foam and springs that’s hypoallergenic. We also have clients who specify an adjustable mattress, where they can control the firmness of each side, with the capability to raise and lower the back and foot. My advice is to carefully consider what your sleep needs are and start from there.
MLT: What about linens?
LW: Having sheets that are cool, comfortable and able to breathe ensure the best night’s sleep. Bamboo sheets are gaining popularity for their health benefits. They’re naturally temperature-regulating, making them great for year-round use. They also are antibacterial and hypoallergenic, which means they stay cleaner longer. Cozy House Collection offers a wide variety of bamboo sheets with a luxurious resort-like feel at a great price point.
MLT: We’re seeing more wallpaper—and bolder patterns—in bedrooms. How do today’s papers differ from those of the 1980s?
LW: After removing several layers of wallpaper in our first home, my husband and I vowed never to use it, but now I want it everywhere. Today, there are so many varieties, from natural textures like grass cloth and braided jute—which offer a casual bohemian vibe—to realistic murals, to glitz and gold and everything in between. The patterns are fresh and fun and [can reflect] the personality of the homeowner like never before. Wallpaper has the power to transform an otherwise sterile space like a laundry room and delight guests in a powder room. It’s pure joy—and right now, we all could use some of that.
MLT: What are some closet systems and storage options that help keep bedrooms streamlined and uncluttered?
LW: Dedicated storage is the name of the game. We’re designing very tailored closets, taking every item into account. Lighting is key, and we take great care to ensure items don’t get shoved into the back of a closet or lost in a corner. We take an inventory of our clients’ items and discuss what they need out of a closet, whether it’s a bench seat to sit on or an island with a large countertop top to accommodate accessories.
MLT: What about flooring options?
LW: Hardwood floors are a classic and never go out of style, and a nice soft area rug adds texture and comfort but is much easier to clean or replace than wall-to-wall carpet.
MLT: TV or no TV in the bedroom?
LW: In a perfect world, the bedroom is a place to unwind and relax away from media. That said, reality is a different story, and many people like to unwind in their bed with their favorite show. I follow my client’s lead on this one. After we really get to know them, it’s an easy discussion.
MLT: What special touches and/or finishes can make a small bath feel more luxurious?
LW: Bathrooms have become the at-home spa. We have several designs happening right now, and almost all of them include steam and aromatherapy showers. Heated floors are now standard, and large soaking tubs are highly requested. When there’s space, a beautiful chandelier is incorporated. Little luxuries like gorgeous gemstone and crystal hardware make all the difference. Lighting makes a huge impact in the bathroom, and we like to incorporate as much mood lighting as possible. Toe-kick lighting is great and acts as a nightlight, providing a soft glow. Wall sconces and LED mirrors provide the perfect lighting for hair and makeup.
MLT: Brass continues to be a strong trend in faucets, lighting and hardware.
LW: More and more manufacturers are adding brass. Unlacquered is beautiful and very popular for its aesthetic and antimicrobial properties.
MLT: What are some fabulous options for showers?
LW: Steam showers are very popular, as well as aromatherapy features. Essential oils are used so you can choose a scent to your liking.
MLT: And tubs?
LW: Freestanding soaking tubs are a must-have in a luxury bath. One of my favorite manufacturers is MTI for their design, comfort and unique sculpture stone.
MLT: What are some popular finishes and their plusses and minuses?
LW: Porcelain tile is always popular for its look, durability and price point. We tend to specify marble because nothing compares to the beauty of the real material. Quartz is a popular material for countertops for its clean look, low maintenance and durability. We’re also designing with statement tile, and our friends at Devon Tile keep us up to date with current trends and timelines for new products.
MLT: How do you decorate with bath linens?
LW: For us, less is more. We keep them simple, using neutrals as a base and adding accent colors with hand towels, artwork or plants. A beautiful, embroidered hand towel or accent towel can really pull a room together when used sparingly.
MLT: What else can play a role in a well-appointed bath?
LW: Plants add life to any space. Bathrooms tend to be more sterile looking, due to the variety of hard surfaces. Incorporating plants or artwork adds life, color and texture and is a great way to personalize a space. We love the company Artisan Moss for its unique products, customization and zero maintenance.