Welcome to Second Nature, a Q+A series with Jute founder, Ali Davin, that explores all things healthy living, with a fond emphasis on that thing she does best—interior design.
Although you spend most of your time there with your eyes closed, the primary bedroom is one of the most important rooms in your house. It’s where you rest and relax, and where your body detoxifies.
To create a serene sleeping environment, it’s just as important to use nontoxic materials as it is to choose soothing colors and beautiful furnishings. Here’s how to design a primary bedroom that’s optimized for wellness.
I started with feng shui because I wanted a sleeping area that had proper energy and light. However, there were windows on three sides of the room, and while I love natural light, it’s not the best for sleeping. From a feng shui perspective, you need a wall to ground you, so you really don’t want windows behind your head while you’re sleeping.
I took out five windows and closed them up with sheetrock so there’s a proper wall for the bed. There’s a pitched ceiling above it, so now the wall anchors the space and the bed sits perfectly under the pitch. I still have plenty of windows on two walls, and it’s way more conducive to sleeping now. For those, we made window treatments using the same linen we have elsewhere in the house.
We did a custom bed with unstained oak slats and an upholstered frame with natural linen. It’s minimalist, but it needed to be, because it sits under this very dramatic pitch. I have a latex mattress on top with all organic bedding.
We have two symmetrical nightstands made from solid white oak that are simple and almost like cubes. They counterbalance the pitch of the ceiling. I picked up a couple of antique Swedish chairs in L.A. that are upholstered in a very soft mohair; the fabric is a little fancy for me, but the scale is very nice. I have an antique bench as well, and an antique dresser from my grandmother that I already owned and repurposed from my previous home.
I’m obsessed with these cute lamps from Spain. They’re custom ceramic with raffia shades, and we wanted them to be the focal point of the room, so that’s why the bedside tables are more muted. The other key piece is a black-and-white photo of the woods from a Dutch artist I love that will take up one huge wall. Because there are also trees outside the windows, it really makes you feel like you’re in a forest.
They can store dust, so if allergies are a problem, I tend to steer people away from them. I personally like things to be a little cleaner, so I might just go with an antique prayer rug on the side of the bed.
I always gravitate toward neutrals, and of course you want to use the most chemical-free paint available, because you don’t want any off-gassing while your body is detoxing. We’re trying a lime paint in a pale stone color—the minerals in the paint actually help purify the air, which is the best possible thing while you’re sleeping.
Use feng shui principles to optimize your sleep: position your bed away from the door and make sure there’s a solid wall behind it.