Making your bedroom fit your personality isn’t a matter of choosing and duplicating a particular style 18th century. Victorian, or Bauhaus modern, for example, but of putting things together to reflect your personal decorative attitude. How formal or casual are you? Do you like to surround yourself with cozy clutter or do you prefer to display only a few objects in more artistic, gallery-like fashion?

Formal or Casual? Take this Pillow Pop Quiz

To visualize how different attitudes affect decorating choices imagine for a moment a sofa toped with a pile of pillows – some matching and some not and ask yourself how you’d edit and arrange them.


  • Formality and symmetry go together. Would you pick two matching toss pillows and place one at the end of the sofa? If so you lean toward formality.
  • Casual calls for asymmetrical balance. Would you be likely to place a large pillow at one end of the sofa and two or three smaller ones at the other? And would your fabric choices probably be pattern-free neutrals? If you answered yes, you are the casual type.
  • Slick means paring down. Would you toss out all but one or two exquisitely shaped, handcrafted pillows, or perhaps eliminate the toss pillows entirely for a cleaner look? If so, you lean toward slick, minimal schemes.
  • Eclectic means mixing styles – as long as they are equally formal or casual. Would you group pillows covered in mismatched but color-keyed fabrics – say, blue striped pillows with some in blue and white patchwork quilt fabrics? If you would, you are the eclectic type.

Don’t be hemmed in by decorating attitude labels; few people fall exactly within the bounds of one category. Instead, relax and use this information as a guide not only in arranging such things as pillows but also in choosing and arranging major bedroom furnishings. By knowing your attitude and using the following tips, you can create a bedroom that comforts you and your eye.

If you prefer formality, you simply won’t feel at ease unless you center the bed along a wall or between two windows then flank it with matched lamps and tables.

If you are more casual, you may feel distinctly uncomfortable with such symmetry. Try moving the bed to one side of the room or place it on an angle in a corner. Then balance the off-center bed with a storage piece, reading chair and lamp, or bold artwork.

If you lean toward slick minimalism, you won’t relax unless you pare down. Start with a bold bed, then add a handful of well-designed accents. Provide plenty of closed storage to keep clutter to a minimum.

Ava Lazenby

The author Ava Lazenby

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