Our Minimal Home: The Bedroom

img_0191img_0189I’ve already given you a small peek into our home here and here with the kids room. I’ve decided to continue with an ongoing home tour that will hopefully inspire those wishing to minimize. I’m no expert, but I think we’ve found a good branch of minimalism that works for our family. Some are more drawn to a sleek, modern style. Others are simply trying to de-clutter possessions they’ve amassed. Whatever your style and goals, I hope this glimpse of what works for us is helpful.

I never specifically set out to be “a minimalist.” I sometimes feel like a fraud when I use that word. But if you boil it all down, “minimalism” is a word encapsulates the simple lifestyle our family strives for:

We strive to minimize waste.

We strive to frugal and resourceful.

We strive to not bring unnecessary items into our home.

We strive to keep our lives uncluttered in the metaphorical sense as well.

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Our bedroom is my favorite room in our house. Large enough to have space and small enough to be cozy. And the views are incredible year-round.

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Miss Minimalist says in her book The Joy of Less that the bedroom is the perfect space to go all-out minimal. It’s also a good place to start if you’re new to minimalism. That’s because it’s your space. No one else will critique or judge the look of it. You have only you and your partner’s things to manage – not those of the whole household.

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A bedroom is already simple by nature. All it needs to have in it is:

  1. Your bed
  2. Your clothing

That’s it!

Optional things that I like:

  1. Plants
  2. Earplugs
  3. Essential oils
  4. Phone charger
  5. Chair for reading / nursing baby
  6. Mirror
  7. Lamp

I personally don’t think the bedroom is the place for computers or TVs. I’m a light sleeper and these things can interfere with a good night’s sleep. While I have my phone near me at night as an alarm clock, I try not to look at it right before bed and I have it automatically switch to “Do not disturb” mode at 9 pm.

Josh and I are big fans of working from home. But not from the bedroom. Anything that could cause stress or overworking late at night needs to go. In the same vein, feel free to surround yourself with calming activities such as cross-stitch, knitting, reading, essential oil diffusers, and good music.

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I started by minimizing my closet, and let it grow from there. Once my wardrobe was smaller, I started removing other things. Shoes. Hair things. Jewelry. I removed an extra mirror and an extra lamp. I removed a table and bookcase. I reduced my lotions and beauty products.

Here’s the danger of minimizing one room at a time: relocation is not as effective as donation. When removing items from the bedroom, consider getting rid of the item entirely. Just moving stuff from room to room doesn’t solve anything if you have too much stuff to begin with. I placed the mirror, lamp, and bookcase in my guest room rather than donating them because they were fitting additions in that room. But if I didn’t have a guest room, or if the guest room was already fully-furnished, I would want those things out. No reason to hang onto “spare” lamps and mirrors and bookcases.

I like that my bedroom is painted white, but that’s just personal preference. The color of the room should be whatever is calming and relaxing for you. The last thing you want is to feel claustrophobic or overstimulated in an area of rest. If white is too stark for you, light gray is my second favorite choice. 

IMG_6446Those plants. Not necessary, but so uplifting! I have plants in nearly every room of my house. I find it especially important in the bedroom because we breathe that air for at least 8 hours every night. These are dracaena palms – very easy to care for indoors and great for the air. In the winter I only water them every couple of weeks.

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We were able to eliminate Josh’s bedside table when we moved. (And honestly, there just wasn’t room for it the way our room is arranged.) He just puts his glasses and phone on the dresser before bed. I kept mine so I have a light by the bed. All that lives on it is a tin containing my lip balm, nighttime essential oils, and earplugs.

Our bed is one of the few furnishings in our home that we purchased new. We no longer have a bed frame, and we actually like it better this way. The bed doesn’t wiggle or creak as much and it makes the ceiling look higher. Win! We have four sets of sheets for our bed that I keep in the hall linen closet – two cotton for everyday and two flannel for winter. Maybe that’s a lot for a minimalist…but I like that I can wash them frequently without worrying about them being dry before bedtime. It’s all about finding the type of minimalism that works for you. In the summer a top sheet is our only blanket and in the winter it’s a flannel top sheet and several down comforters. (No duvet. I find them overpriced and I’ve washed the down comforters multiple times without any issues.)

The headboard is up-cycled from wooden shutter doors we found in the garage when we moved here. Headboards are definitely optional. But I like how it grounds the bed and gives height to the wall behind it. And it was free. Would I recommend going out and buying a headboard? Never. But if you want one, it’s quite easy to come up with something unconventional.

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The dresser is gifted from my parents. Josh and I share it. Since I minimized my wardrobe, this is easier than it used to be. Neither of the closets are very big, but they fit our needs. We’re the kind of minimalists who believe in working with what you have rather than wishing for more space. We don’t complain about a closet being “too small” when the real problem is an overabundance of possessions. I know, clothes and shoes really do take up a lot of space. Here in the midwest, we have to be equipped for all four seasons. And no matter how minimal I get, I still like to have the right coat and shoe for every type of weather. While I no longer have to rotate seasons in and out of the basement, I’m still not completely there.

It might be worth mentioning that Shiloh was born in this room. That might be another reason this room is my favorite. After Shiloh was born, this room doubled as a nursery. We added a bassinet that we used as a changing table. I’m not recommending buying a bassinet though. Ours is borrowed and we rotate it among friends. Because it only gets used for the first two months of a baby’s life, I find it an extravagant item to buy and store. I like that it had a basket underneath, though. I kept Shiloh’s clothes and diapers in the basket and a muslin blanket or two at my bedside. He slept in my arms the first couple of months before transitioning to the crib. In my experience, new babies don’t need anything fancy. Mine didn’t even sleep in the bassinet. They wanted to be by my side. It was nothing more than a convenient place to set them down occasionally.

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As far as energy-efficiency goes, we draw the drapes every night for added insulation and open them every morning for the sunlight. When we first moved here, the home still had all its original windows from 1908. While charming, they were single-pane so we replaced them and have noticed a huge difference in energy bills. In the winter it’s insulated enough that we don’t need to run the heat overnight. Fleece and down comforters are really magical at trapping body heat and maintaining warmth. We installed ceiling fans in all our bedrooms when we moved here. I find I can go almost all summer with no AC as long as I’ve got a ceiling fan.

Again, this is what works for us. Thanks for taking a look into one of my little happy places on this earth. I hope this has been inspiring. What rooms would you like to see next? Best wishes figuring out what works in your space!

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