Life calls to us in a frantic rush, but inside our homes, soothing surroundings provide food for the soul.

Brent and Chume Bertrand's elegant and understated primary bedroom is awash with peacefulness and fresh with renewing benefits. Tranquil colors, harmonizing fabrics, warm furnishings, and historic accessories found throughout the family's Great Falls, Virginia, residence convey a subtlety that echoes nature.

Less Is More

Versatility and comfort are priorities for Chume and Trent, as is the absence of clutter.

"The bedroom's style and furnishings blend in with Chume's native Thai culture and traditions, reflecting a calming impact that is close to nature," says designer Daniel Nichols. With Daniel's assistance, the couple's first objective was to bring in color. Soft sage greens and woody browns now give a feeling of rejuvenation.

Understated Furnishings

Primary emphasis is placed on polished wood furniture with distinct lines and soft curves, ranging in color from light to deep caramel. At the center of the space, a sleigh bed represents both form and function. Complementary pieces are minimal, including a cushioned bench and two side tables. A console rests in front of a wide window that is covered in light-filtering Roman shades. Light and elegant bed linens and a silk comforter, embroidered with glistening threads of silver, gold, and greens, enhance the grand richness of the space. An array of fresh flowers and potted plants brings life.

Reflections From Thailand

Suspended above the bed, an oil painting depicts huts along the water in a rural community near Bangkok. "The painting had been sitting in a closet for years when Daniel pulled it out," Chume says. "Its realistic scene and calming influences have significant sentimental value for our family. The art mirrors the feel of the room."

Leave Something for the Imagination

Simplifying a room can be achieved with many different styles. Above all, it requires a minimalist approach. Here are some suggestions.

  • Minimize anything other than anchoring pieces, such as the large armoire. Few accessories allow the focal pieces to dominate the room.
  • Bring in natural light with sheer window treatments, blinds, or simple Roman shades in neutral tones.
  • Use nature-inspired colors on walls and accent pieces.
  • Conceal elements of everyday life in storage areas.

"Simplicity Rules" is from the April 2004 issue of Southern Living.