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Bedroom Inspiration from Boardwalk Empire

Bedroom Inspiration from Boardwalk Empire

Here's my first post of the New Year and I've got my sights set on a NEW room. If you've followed my journey so far you'll know that we completed our renovation last year and have only decorated one of those rooms so far, my son's bedroom. (It's completely cluttered and untidy already so I'm glad I took the images before he moved in!) We are now left with 4 more rooms to decorate and fit out - the kitchen, downstairs reception room, small study and master bedroom. The most pressing matter is getting a new kitchen (but that's going to take a little while to save up for) so we've decided that we are going to crack on with decorating our master en-suite bedroom.

Inspiration from one of my favourite Tv Shows...

There are so many places to get inspiration from such as interiors magazines and Pinterest but for me the strongest inspirations are rooms that I've been in or seen on TV.  I guess it's got something to do with moving around and being transported around the room and seeing it from various angles that helps you feel immersed in it. So although I've never been in the fantastic sets of Boardwalk Empire, seeing other people move around the space is equally helpful. If like me you're a dark interiors lover you MUST watch Boardwalk Empire. Think fringed lamps, antique furniture, dark walls and wallpaper to die for. And yes - I think this is the look I want to go for in my new bedroom! I want this room to be a place of luxury and with a bit of 1920s elegance yet comfortable, peaceful and absolutely NO plastic toys in sight. (All images from the show below belong to HBO).

So Where Do I start?

When initially approaching any new room whether it's an update or a new blank canvas I have one main thought - 

“How do I want to feel in this room?”

For instance dark colours make me feel happy and calm but for my study I want it to energise me and have lighter colours in there. Then I start to brainstorm what colours and style will help me achieve that atmosphere. Of course it's important to consider the function of the room and how the form and function can be intertwined. For our new master bedroom the key thoughts are dark and moody, luxurious and sophisticated so that we can relax both body and mind after a long, tiring day. Even if those were the same goals for your bedroom, your own expression and design for are going to be very different from mine. Herein lies the beauty of letting the room express who you are!

The room at present

So here is the room as it stands at the minute. It's actually got a few more tools in there now and the plaster-boarding has been completed by Mr Skirting and the fire-boarding has been signed off by Building Control.

And just for fun so you can see the dramatic transformation and heart-stopping journey we've been on with this place, here is the space only last September. Yes that's our new bedroom just under the roof and on top of the where the builders are standing! It previously was our son's very cute bedroom with white floorboards and mid-grey walls. I was a little sad seeing that room knocked out...

Renovation Process

Design Ideas already in place

One thing I've learnt with this renovation is that there are design decisions that need to be made before the building work commences so that they can be incorporated into the build. Obviously any structural design-led ideas will already be in the plans and for this room we wanted to make sure that the curved section of the ceiling (which hides roof supports) is extended so the room doesn't really look like an extra bit stuck onto the house. Yes there was a financial implication of this but Mr Skirting was adamant that he wanted it to look like the room has always been there. Other decisions about plug sockets and lighting happen earlier than you think too. Before we started our renovation we briefed our electrician that we wanted long pendant lamps beside our bed with light switches that control these lights and the main ceiling light. This is an idea I stole from Julian and Miranda after seeing it when visiting them for my Journey Home Series. 

Totally nicking this idea from Miranda and Julian!

Totally nicking this idea from Miranda and Julian!


So apart from plastering and adding the picture rail, skirting boards and architrave the next step of the process to get this room completed is the decorating. Yay - my favourite bit and as you know I love doing it myself! But the big question is how exactly do I translate the Boardwalk Empire inspiration into this room. Well that demands analysing the main characteristics of those wonderful room sets and also finding what's out there on the market at the minute. Here are my key thoughts:

  • Vintage wallpaper is a must and the other walls, ceiling and woodwork need to be painted a dark colour. You can see why I am so attracted to this style! I wanted to avoid an overtly obvious art deco wallpaper pattern and I think you'll agree that the colourful palm prints are evocative of the period and will be very calming. If the budget stretches I'd love to wallpaper ALL the walls up to the height of the picture rail as I fear the days of feature walls are numbered...
  • The picture rail already in place in our 1930s home will stay. These definitely fit in with this era will be extended around the rest of this room. I really love having these in our rooms for the ease of moving pictures to different positions on the wall without leaving marks or holes. 
  • The door that leads into the en-suite (which short-term will be my 'hidden' study) will be a bookshelf which opens into the room. Thanks Mr Skirting for that amazing idea! I wonder how long it will take for the kids to realise there is another room behind it?!
  • Sourcing textiles for the curtains, cushions and potential chairs to be reupholstered will be key in creating the right relaxed feel. I find deciding on these elements easier to source when the main decorating is done. Think velvet though and maybe a little sheepskin...

So Here are My Mood-boards...

When I'm inspired to create a room based on a period in history I always have one slight reservation - I want to make sure the finished result is not too much of a cliche or look too much like a museum, out of place in our 1930s home. So the way that I achieve this is to marry the period ideas with some modern elements.

Bedroom Inspiration from Boardwalk Empire
Bedroom Inspiration from Boardwalk Empire
Bedroom Inspiration from Boardwalk Empire

Both leaf print wallpapers from House of Hackney // Lotus wallpaper and Stiffkey Blue paint from Farrow and Ball // Pineapple ceiling light from Made.com // Fringed lampshades from Lisa Lampshades // Gold leaf ceiling light from Laura Ashley // Almond Bed (which we already own) from Warren Evans // Vintage bevel mirrors (we already have a few of these) can be sourced from flea markets or eBay // Pink Neon Boudoir light from Rupert Francis

With new rooms I always enjoy incorporating existing items I have and have loved in my home for a while. A style secret of mine to have something in every room that is 'old' and that has personal meaning to you! Our existing bed and furniture from Warren Evans will go in there with maybe the addition of a old vintage wardrobe we have (but painted in the same colour as the wall). I have some gold mirrors that may be moved into this room and hung from the picture rails (remember I said how easy it is to change their position without damaging walls). When I've decided which wallpaper to go for and where to put it, then I need to choose the right paint colour for the woodwork and across the ceiling in a complimentary colour to the wallpaper (in the moodboards this is the dark blue colour).

Now one of my style mantra's is that your textile patterns and colours should be complimentary but not too 'matchy-matchy' but House of Hackney are the exception to this rule. They perfectly combine the exact same hues and designs to lampshades, fabrics and wallpaper to give a truly matching maximalist look - and it really works!

Donna Ford DIY plans

So there you have it? What do you think? I know the dark vibe isn't everyone's cup of tea but I am so excited at the thought of drifting off in this luxurious room in the near future! I have lots more ideas on my Pinterest Board for this scheme and more wallpaper ideas too so take a look for more inspo.

By the way does anyone know where to get dark grey carpet that doesn't cost the earth?

Donna Ford
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