The Romance of the Statement Headboard
I love a statement headboard; they are big, bold, beautiful and undeniably dramatic. They add comfort and quality to any bedroom, as well as injecting a much needed dose of romance and seductive sensuality that many bedrooms lack.
You don't need a statement headboard to make your bedroom romantic, but I'm here to convince you that they certainly help! If you've ever studied Kit Kemp's designs, then you'll know exactly what I mean.
For those of you who don't know, Kit Kemp (MBE, no less!), is one of my favourite designers; in fact, she is my favourite designer. Her rooms are high-end, quality and so creative I want to cry looking at them! She is a huge inspiration to me and if I could work with any designer of my choice, Kit would be the one I'd choose (sorry Laurence! I love you too, but Kit..!).
Kit is the Founder and Creative Director of Firmdale Hotels and the Kit Kemp Design Studio; she is also an author of several books, a textile, fragrance and homewares designer - and a highly respected champion of British art, craft and sculpture. She is incredible and I want to be just like her one day.
Similarly to what I intend to create with my own work, Kit's hotel and residential designs are known for their originality and colourful, detailed storytelling which captures the imagination whilst celebrating the crafts of people, established and new. Kit has collaborated with many artists, designers and global brands and has won numerous awards for her amazing work. If you've never heard of her before, then please do look at her website and books; you won't be disappointed.
Unless you're a little bit dull - then you might be.
A Brief History of the Headboard
In ancient times, headboards were invented for the sole purpose of preventing draughts from disturbing our sleep; the headboard would block the cold air coming in from the head of the bed, allowing the sleeper to stay warm at night. Headboards go all the way back to the Pharaohs in Egypt, where they were used as a symbol of status - often carved from wood, stone, or metal, such as gold or silver; the Greeks, using their bedrooms as a social setting, then updated the original stone and wooden headboard with cushions for extra support and comfort during times of drinking and eating with friends - in bed (as you do!) - and thus, came about the 21st Century headboards of today.
Today, headboards not only offer us comfort in bed as we read our favourite books at night, they also help to protect our walls from damage, as well as creating a much more personal touch in our wonderful sleep rooms.
Almost any bed frame can support any headboard, so you needn't worry about buying a whole new bed if you fancy adding a statement to your bedroom, without spending too much money. There are plenty of people out there creating these beautiful works of art these days, but if you fancy giving it a go yourself, there are also plenty of tutorials online to help you - and you definitely won't be short of inspiration; Kit alone, has designed so many you can take a look at on Google, or Pinterest!
The Statement Headboard
I suppose the canopy beds of the Middle Ages are the beginning of the transformation to our statement headboards of today; this is when headboards became more of a decorative part of the bedroom - often being decorated with elaborate carvings, architectural paneling or elegant upholstery.
In the 19th Century, bedrooms became more intimate and less social - and people started to use them more as private spaces, away from prying eyes and the company of others less confidential. Bedrooms became less ornate around this time, but the headboard remained a staple feature; eventually replacing the canopy and often being upholstered in the same fabric as the bed curtains.
Further into the 20th Century, upholstered headboards were seen as a decorative, but comfortable luxury; I certainly didn't have any pretty headboards growing up! And today, whilst they can still be a large expense, they are much more popular, due to our love of interior design and our talents for DIY projects having grown - allowing such luxuries to be more obtainable to everyone.
So, what options are there and why are statement headboards so romantic?
Shapes & Styles - Fabrics & Colours
Headboards come in a myriad of shapes, sizes, styles and thicknesses and can be made in any way you desire. They can have hidden storage, take up whole walls, wrap around your bed, or even hide a whole dressing room, wardrobe or en-suite behind them. They can attach to your bed, stand on the floor, extend over your ceiling, or seemingly 'float' by being attached to the wall instead. There really are no end of possibilities when it comes to what you can do when it comes to your headboard.
Whether you like simple, sleek lines, or a more curvaceous, sexy style; whether you're into soothing colours, or bold pattern, or whether you're a modern lover, or a vintage collector, there's a headboard out there for you. Perhaps you like elaborate shapes with plain fabric - or simple shapes with maximalist pattern; or maybe you love industrial design, cottage-core or granny-chic. You might like tufted headboards, over-sized headboards, slatted, woven or wing-back headboards. There are no limits, no impossibilities and no end of options! So, get your creative cap on and create something special.
Or - use an interior designer who loves to create romantic bedrooms; you know where to find me if you can't afford Kit Kemp!
So, why are headboards so romantic? Well, how can they not be?! When you consider everything that makes you think about love, lust, passion, seduction, sensuality - romance - and you use all of these elements in your design, then romantic is exactly what you get!
They can be Sensual (kind of!)
Think about what romance is to you. Is it a certain colour, a certain image, or a certain fabric? How does it feel to you? Is it soft and silky, finger-sinkingly-plush or luxuriously velvety? Or is it a warming hug, or the feeling of cocooning safety? An enveloping wrap-around headboard might be for you.
How does it look? It is bright and dramatic, light and soothing, dark and mysterious; is it images of nature, such as beautiful flowers or calming trees, or is it a certain piece of artwork that's always held special memories for you?
Does it have a sound? Is there a pattern or a colour that you connect to something that plays over in your mind - be it a conversation, a piece of music, bird-song, your favourite date at the Opera, or the Ballet - or something else entirely?
Or is it a taste? Perhaps a pattern of fruits, a delectable chocolate brown, a fresh minty green, or a deep wine red makes you think of those flavours.
And finally, how does romance smell to you? Is it floral or fruity, creamy or spicy, musky or sweet? Perhaps you'd like a palette of neutral vanillas, mustard yellows, rusty reds, or candy pinks.
Whatever your senses need to fulfil your version of romance - go with it. If it's right to you, it's never wrong!
They can Evoke Special Memories
Is there a special hotel you stayed in, or a restaurant you ate at that takes you back to a special time with your loved one? Perhaps you were lucky enough to stay at one of Kit's incredible hotels! What were the scents, colours, patterns, fabrics in the room? What flavours did you taste? What music was playing? Whatever romance is to you - use that to create your headboard.
Size can Matter!
Once you've found your fabric, or chosen your colours, think about how large you'd like your headboard to be. I love over-sized, shapely headboards, like Kit's creations; but I also love the idea of a wrap around headboard that not only covers the walls to the sides of the bed, but also hangs over the bed, on the ceiling - creating a whole 'room-within-the-room' of sorts - all upholstered in a rich velvet and featuring wall lamps and sheer curtains for an extra element of cosiness.
My obsession for headboards started when I was given an old (but still very good quality) divan bed by my friend's parents. The headboard had seen better days and was a simple shape with rounded edges and cream fabric. I decided I was going to reupholster it with crushed teal velvet and embroider beaded peacock feathers onto it as the base for the master bedroom design I was working on. I'd already decided on 'Deep Blue Spruce' by Valspar for the walls and ceiling, and had already painted the wooden furniture in 'Homestead Blue' Fusion Mineral Paint, but peacock blues were the theme I was running with.
The peacock has long been a favourite animal of mine. I love birds, in general, but some just mean much more than others - especially when it comes to creating glamorous, luxurious and timeless spaces. The peacock symbolises integrity, respect and honesty; protection, beauty and good fortune. They can also symbolise love, passion and allure - as well as sometimes being seen to symbolise arrogance and vanity. Of course, the peacock itself isn't arrogant - just confident in its ability to seduce and arouse interest with its natural beauty and elegance; and this is why I love peacocks so much.
The headboard looked great afterwards and became the perfect feature for the room - albeit a little small to see behind all the cushions! I really want to recreate it in a much larger form one day and would definitely make one or two changes, from experience next time around. Firstly, I'd find a gorgeous, deep teal, luxurious velvet, rather than the crushed velvet I used - and secondly, I'd embroider directly onto the fabric, rather than appliqué-ing the feathers on afterwards. Although - the appliqué does work quite well, despite my oversight of embroidering in the wrong direction of the fabric on 3 out of 4 of the feathers!
I did toy with the idea of making and selling them, but the embroidery takes such a long time, I'd have to charge a fortune. So, I shall have to settle on creating a one-of-a-kind headboard to be enjoyed by other's someday. Perhaps I will fulfil my little dream of designing hotel bedrooms, just like lovely Kit! Or maybe I'll just make one for myself and enjoy it at home. Who knows?
Dramatic Creations are Always Romantic!
Whether it be clothing, jewellery, accessories, or interior design, drama is always romantic! Think back to frilly cuffs, Tudor ruffs, ruffled collars, oversized hairstyles, hats or crowns; statement necklaces, huge diamond rings, wedding gowns, a dramatic heel, a cravat - or anything theatrical, striking or remarkable... it naturally brings romance with it.
Take a look at Kit's headboards - without them, her bedrooms would still be beautiful, but they wouldn't be quite as impressive or eye-catching. Her headboards add an enormous level of romance to her spaces; the same way her distinctive lighting, statement lamps, or bold fabrics add romance to her restaurant spaces.
Romance equals drama. Think about how your heart pounds when you look at the person you love; how your stomach turns when you feel their touch, or how it flutters at the sound of their voice. Think about that headiness you feel when you kiss; the excitement you experience when you smell their scent, or that delightful uneasiness you feel when something arouses you.
This is why statement headboards are romantic!
Romance isn't just love or lust, beauty or attraction; it isn't simply a feeling of sheer pleasure or perfect contentment. It is also vulnerability and trust, communication and compromise; it is collaboration and connection. Romance needs co-operation from all involved in order to find the perfect solution for satisfaction.
As an interior designer, I see romance in all of my designs; romance is what makes me strive to create and what makes me want to work for you. All of these elements in the relationship between client and designer need to be upheld for a successful, romantic design to take place. Transparency, trust and communication are the key components to any relationship, but to trust somebody else - on the outside - with your romantic ideals is a big thing. Your designer understands this and they will be there to talk to if you have any doubts or questions along the way.
Thank you so much for reading; I hope you've enjoyed learning why I am so in love with the statement headboard as a main feature for romantic bedroom design - and why I am so enamoured by Kit Kemp and her glorious designs. Please look at Kit's websites for more and show her work some love on her instagram page, here.
I look forward to creating my own beautiful bedrooms in the future; I hope to hear from you soon.
All my love