I’m really excited to share a new interior project that I designed during lockdown – a sage green bedroom in a zen city retreat. Finally, however months later, I was able to visit the bright, two-bed, east London apartment and get some snaps to share here. The project aimed to transform the blank canvas of a new build into a cosy and inviting first home for a young creative couple.
The apartment was already finished to a high spec, so this project was all about adding warmth and subtle character to the pared-back, minimalist spaces.
The homeowners are passionate about wellbeing and really wanted to create a soothing, grounding home to enjoy simple, everyday rituals. Through the process, which became much more of a collaboration as I got to know them and their needs, I learnt so much about Feng Shui and how to truly create a sense of balance and harmony in a room. I always think they’re the best projects – when the interior designer and client really understand each other and can find a common ground to bounce back and forth on. I think in the end, the client probably taught me as much as I helped them in bringing their initial ideas to life.
In today’s post, I’m focusing on the apartment’s sage green bedroom. In subsequent blog posts this week I’ll also be sharing the open plan living room (which features a cosy window seat) as well as the multi-functional spare bedroom that conceals a guest bed in a clever bespoke storage solution.
Interior design, styling and photography: Cate St Hill
Adding character to a new build
The mood board for the main bedroom showed a soothing sanctuary of soft greens, pale woods and cosy textures. I wanted to keep the light, airy feel of what was essentially a white box, but add a feature wall to help ground the bed and give it more presence. The colour of choice was green of course!
According to colour psychology, the colour green is associated with nature, renewal and energy, bringing to mind lush landscape and restorative forests. Green is known for its calming qualities; being at the centre of the colour spectrum, it has a sense of balance, harmony and tranquility. It symbolises good health and growth, and in Feng Shui, represents family and new beginnings. I think it’s the perfect shade for a bedroom, helping to create a soft backdrop for rest and relaxation.
With a new property you don’t have the ornate features of a historic home to fall back on. To add character to a new build, it’s all about building up the texture. In this sage green bedroom, it meant adding contemporary tongue and groove panelling, along with a thick, shaggy rug and naturally undone linen bedding to create a soothing, tactile environment.
Below you can see the original mood board and visualisation I created for the project. The space evolved slightly and panelling was added to give even more character and create a shelf to display objects and books. I think it worked out really well in the end and became the perfect addition to the space. Top tip for new builds: instead of mimicking detailed panelling you see in period properties, choose something a little simpler to match the clean, contemporary lines of new architecture.
The influence of Feng Shui
If you’re unfamiliar, Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy that aims to harmonise and connect individuals to their surrounding environment. ‘Feng’ essentially means wind and ‘Shui’ means water. For interiors, Feng Shui seeks to create a sense of balance with the natural world by carefully arranging furniture and objects to harness certain energy forces.
In the bedroom, for example, according to Feng Shui the bed should be arranged in a ‘commanding position’ – ideally opposite the main door to the room through which all the energy is said to enter. You want the bed to have a clear sight line of that opening, but not be directly in line with it. When choosing the bed itself, it also meant finding one that was lifted off the floor and didn’t have any built in storage (which according to Feng Shui, would be a little like sleeping on all your excess baggage, which makes sense when you think about it!).
Good Feng Shui also requires the presence and balance of five key elements – metal, earth, wood, fire and water. For metal we have a hint of brass on the bedside tables and wall lights; for earth we have the warm ochre bed throw; for wood, we have the beautiful pale oak bed; for fire we have the shape of the light fittings and the triangular pattern on the rug; and for water we have the black accents. All combine to create a rich, nature-inspired sage green bedroom that instantly calms on entering.
I’m really pleased with the results. It just shows how a little hint of colour can transform a room and make it feel more intimate and inviting. I know you’ve seen a green feature wall before in my bedroom but this is more of a sage green than a forest green (it’s Ambleside by Little Greene), which somehow feels lighter and more restful. This room is now the perfect retreat to escape the city and find a moment of peace!