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How Art History Can Inspire Your Bedroom
We’ve dug up some helpful references from Picasso to Weischer...
Art Stuff 13 Sep 2018

Whether you’ve just moved into your first apartment or are just tired of looking at the same Ikea furniture you’ve had since you were 23, now is the perfect time to do a little interior redecoration. As we move further into September, getting forced to grudgingly trade tube top and rooftop bars for Chelsea boots, changing leaves and PSLs, you’ll probably find yourself spending a lot more time indoors—unless you live on a tropical island or in, say, Los Angeles (and even then, you’ll probably do it anyway out of that classic California complex that compels us to act like we have seasons to prove something to the rest of the country). But regardless of your latitude, do you really want to be doing your cozy apple cider sipping and 18th-century novel reading in a room decorated with your old Sonic Youth posters, pages torn out of 2008 Vogue (okay, that’s actually pretty chic in a Godard-circa-Pierrot le Fou way) and, god forbid, anything from the Urban Outfitters apartment collection?

No shade if this hits a little close to home—I’ll deny this furiously if we ever meet at a cocktail party or any place that could be considered “out,” but Urban got me through many back-to-school shopping seasons with minimal effort (and minimal damage to ye olde bank account) and maximum chic, at least considering the alternatives. Call me a snob but I literally (read: not literally) break out in hives at the mention of the Target dorm collection.

All I’m suggesting is that we use the falling leaves as a metaphor to burn some proverbial sage (actual burning of sage is also encouraged) in our humble abodes, take a long, hard look in the mirror and, Marie Kondo style, let go of past interior decor choices that, far from “sparking joy,” make us think long and hard before inviting a new friend (or a new “friend”) upstairs to “check out our art collection.” Imagine heading into winter armed with fresh furnishings that’ll make you so stoked to stay in and re-watch an entire season of Sex and the City before falling asleep in fuzzy socks at 8pm instead of cavorting until sunrise on a yacht, partying in some abandoned bunker, or whatever else you crazy people did over the past three months.

Getting to the point (yes, there is a point!): as inspiration for all the fervent feng-shui-ing you’re about to devote your weekend to, we’ve dug up some helpful references from, you guessed it, art history. Let the record state that we carry no responsibility for any credit cards that get maxed out on Chairish after the reading of this article.

Vincent Van Gogh, Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles (1888)

If cozy minimalism is your thing, look no further than Van Gogh’s bedroom in Arles, France. Van Gogh’s austere room contains nothing but the essentials—a bed, a wash table, a couple chairs and, of course, some art for the walls—and even the color scheme is limited to the primary red, yellow and blue. Take note, hoarders: less can really sometimes be more (yes, this is a subtle hint that perhaps not all of your museum posters from study abroad in college need to be displayed at once… especially if said study abroad happened more than five years ago).


Pablo Picasso, A blue room (A tub) (1901)

Pablo Picasso’s painting “The Blue Room” is seen in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/The Phillips Collection/Handout

We love the dreamy vibe of this cool Picasso bedroom, the red and yellow rug, futon and flowers adding some delicate spice to the otherwise monochrome space. The fluffy, overflowing white bed is, appropriately, the centerpiece of the space—it’s easy to imagine dozing off gently to Frank Sinatra or Charles Aznavour records in a room like this. The choice of hue might have been incidental to interior decor aims (1901 marked the start of his Blue Period), but Picasso did nail the bedroom color scheme in this picture: soothing, sleep-inducing blue is universally accepted as the holy grail of bedroom colors (show me a person with a red or yellow bedroom and I’ll show you a lunatic).

Carl Larsson, Daddy’s Room (c. 1895)


If your tastes are a little too luscious for Ikea brutalism, hop on the “more is more” train (while still keeping it classy) with this lovely, ornate but delicate Art Nouveau composition. Not exactly the pure functionality we’re come to expect from Scandinavian design, this charming little vignette from Swedish artist Carl Larsson has the underpinnings of modern global Airbnb aesthetic (bright white, sparse furnishings and cozy touches) but still maintains that old-world indulgence in embellishments and frippery. In short, everything I look for in a room (and in a man): not too hot, not too cold, not too loud and has its quirks without slapping you in the face with them. As a bonus, the title Daddy’s Room gives you leave to go on a little field day of speculation, Freudian and otherwise, as to why a grown man would have chosen to name his painting that.

Henri Matisse, Odalisques (1928)


Now that we’ve boarded the “more is more” train, we’re riding this baby to the end of the line. I’m so enchanted with Matisse’s psychedelic interiors, filled with patterns each bigger and bolder than the one before. All of his stripes, florals, polka dots and endless patterns of the artist’s own invention vie for dominance of the compositions, which should create a horrible clashing effect but somehow agree to come together in what looks like a vibrant choir, not a botched acid trip. I couldn’t narrow it down to just one photo, so for the full effect, check out the full collection.

Matthias Weischer, Egyptian Room (2001)


Ok, so it’s probably not a bedroom, but peep this funky tiled interior painting that looks like a 90s video game in the middle of an eccentrically decorated beach house… in the middle of the pyramids of Giza? Recreating this look might be a bit of a stretch for those of us that don’t have regular access to intergalactic travel, but on the off chance you are not Elon Musk or dating Elon Musk, you can still take some cues from the bold color choices, abundance of fronds and natural light to make summer live on inside this room forever—even when it’s January, you haven’t seen the sun in three weeks and you’re having an existential crisis because you’re not even sure how many pairs of wool socks you’re wearing anymore.

Text by Katya Lopatko
Photos via Reuter, livejournal, pressherald, juxtapoz

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