Modern Spare Bedroom Modern Spare Bedroom

Usually when we hear the term "spare bedroom," we think of an extra room in a home. But "spare" is one of those words known as a "country," because it has two meanings which are opposite to one another. On the one hand, "spare" means "extra," but on the other hand, it means "sparse."

We'll look at this room which fulfills both definitions. It's an extra room in the house, but there isn't one extra thing in it.

Designers may think of this room as being particularly Swedish in its look, and the blonde wood, clean lines, and lack of clutter certainly echo the movement of Swedish design of the 20th century.

That look grew out of the industrial society of Sweden in the late 1800s, marked by exhibits at the World Exhibition in Stockholm in 1897, where the painter Carl Larsson exhibited watercolors of his home, designed in large part by his wife, Karin Larsson, in simple furnishings with light colors.

Later, the Stockholm exhibition of 1930 marked another turning point in Swedish Design, with large windows, clean surfaces, and Spartan décor. Then, in 1955 the home exhibition, H55, also showed off more of what would become the quintessential Swedish look. This look was in part created as way for the working class to have beautiful furnishings, and was, naturally, influenced by the German Bauhaus movement.

This look can be found, of course, at the popular Swedish IKEA stores, which are now sprouting up around the U.S., following the trend in Europe. At these stores, this Swedish look is offered at low prices, making the dream of fine design for all come true.

Let's take a look at this room using the Sheffield Guidelines for Interior Design: function, mood, and harmony. This bedroom serves the function of a guest room in more than one way, as all such guest rooms ideally should. First, there is a queen-sized bed, allowing plenty of room whether a single person or a couple is visiting. The room is also large enough to allow for a crib or a cot if a couple with a child is staying over.

The bedside lamp and the window shades are particularly thoughtful touches. All too often, a guest room isn't given the attention that a regular bedroom is. The best way to design a guest room in your own home is to actually sleep there for a night; this is the only way you'll find problems like a blast of early-morning sunlight.

This room could still use one more item, and that would be a nice, soft area rug by the side of the bed. The light wood floor is beautiful, but it would soften the room just a bit to have a rug, perhaps in an off-white color.

This room also serves the function of being a sitting room as well. The two chairs by the window allow the guests a place to sit for a moment without having to use the bed. Even though the chairs are not made for lounging, having a place to sit in the guest room can often make all the difference, so that the guests don't feel their only recourse is to lie on the bed when they don't want to be socializing with the hosts.

The mood of this room is sophisticated and serene, which is a perfect mood for a guest room. The attention to details, the smooth lines, and the color scheme all contribute to this mood.

And the harmony is working here as well. Notice how much wood is used in this room; each piece of wood echoes the other, even though they're in slightly different tones. Granted, a heavy mahogany dresser would look out of place here, but having furniture in the same design, with different colors of wood, allows for harmony without sacrificing variety.

This room may be spare - in both senses of the word - but it's clearly one that will be happily used by visitors seeking a respite from the busy, crowded world.

Reprinted with permission by the Sheffield School of Interior Design.

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