Q: I'm looking for a new headboard for my average-size bedroom, which has traditional mahogany furniture, a dark wood floor and off-white walls. Can you suggest an interesting design, not necessarily in wood, that would help make the room look a bit larger and more sophisticated?
A: Let me encourage you not to add more wood to a setting that already has quite enough. As an alternative, you might also try creating a headboard out of fabric. The photo depicts just that sort of solution.
This treatment may look rather elaborate, but it's really quite simple and not as heavy as an actual canopy. It will also work well regardless of whether your own wall slopes like the one shown here.
The effect is achieved by gathering and stretching fabric on small round rods behind your bed. About two-thirds of the way up from the floor, the material is ballooned out to another rod installed at ceiling level and about 2 feet away from the bed wall. This produces a softly draped and gently sloping arrangement, which is then finished off with a contrasting material -- in this case, a floral in a swag and jabot-like design.
Stephen-Paul Associates fashioned this ensemble for the bedroom display at the recent Designer Showcase House in Pasadena, Calif.
Should you prefer a sturdier backdrop for bed pillows, attach a low upholstered board to the bed frame and cover in the same fabric used for the gathered treatment. You'll then have a secure and firm headrest.
To conjure an illusion of greater spaciousness, the windows could be dressed with more of the material used for the headboard. Such coverings should be simply swagged and pulled back to the side of the window frames.
I also suggest that you carpet the wood floor, perhaps in a medium tone that will go with the overall color scheme. In this model, the choice was a DuPont "Stainmaster Luxura" by Camelot. Besides being easy to maintain, its wall-to-wall coloring causes the floor area to look more expansive.
All the other fabrics, including linens and duvet, should be off-white in order to blend with the color of the walls.
Your mahogany furniture will now introduce a note of serenity to a setting that appears strikingly different. In reality, however, the transformation will have been wrought by changing only a few of the room's major elements.