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Master Bedroom Aesthetics – Anyone For Hot Pink?

We’ve made some progress sprucing up the master bedroom.

First, we bought a gray velvet bed, from Room & Board. Then, a white duvet cover and pillows from local Rough Linen, and a lightweight down comforter from Warm Things. Buying sustainably has never felt so sweet.

The bed and bedding, along with a neutral Moroccan style rug from Garnet Hill, puts us well on our way to serene, textured, gently modern.

But, that’s not what I want. I’ve finally admitted to myself that I love a little drama. Not full-on, gypsy-colored, patterned extravaganza. Nor mega-glitz with shiny everything. No, I like architectural, vivid, global drama. And humor.

Luckily, our dignified bed wants a bench. Even better, the bench will want upholstery. The adventure begins.

The bench. I’ve looked at many styles. One thing — I’m constrained by dimensions. The size of the bed and its relationship to the wall requires a length of at least four feet and a depth of no more than 15 inches. OK, maybe 16. I would ordinarily be drawn to wood and straight lines, but here, given the existing dark wood dresser, and rectangular headboard, I found myself preferring curvy, metal, upholstered. Let’s track the hunt’s progression.

“Simple. No, too much wood. Upholstered and painted wood, too heavy. Gothic, too gothic. Oooh, modern metal art! Botanical cutouts in turquoise! Oh, oops, $2K. But metal, I liked the metal. Oooh, look at this quasi-garden style. Ooh, curlicues! Hmmm.”

And this is how we find ourselves at a genre we didn’t know existed. Hollywood Regency. How better to leaven neutrals with a bit of camp and circumstance?

I could go for high-end vintage, from 1st Dibs,

Midcentury Italian Gold Leaf Wrought Iron Bench

DIY fixup via eBay,

Hollywood Regency Bench on eBay

Or, because neither of those are quite long enough, put two small reproductions together,


from The Well-Appointed House. A retailer I’d not heard of before.

And joy upon joy, the possible upholstery thrills me almost more than the bench itself. I believe I have found a home for this souvenir from my 1982 travels through India. A woman I had come to know, from the city then called Madras, sold me a Kanchipuram sari. “It’s a classic,” she explained, “They do not weave silk like this any more.” I think I paid her $30. In any case, 33 years later, here it is.


Unscathed. More beautiful than the photos – I cannot capture the sheen, nor the way it changes from burgundy to brownish, and from magenta to a redder hue.

I want someone to make me a long cushion for the as yet unfound bench. I imagine a long vertical slice of magenta and burgundy, lightened by lime and gold in the check and  border.  And then more pillows, for the bed, and the armchair which I plan to slipcover in yet more white linen. I hope the silk forgives the scissors.

I might even add a very subtle gray and white toile to my cushioning strategy. We’ll see.

Historically modern. Sleekly curlicued. The tension and serenity of competing beauty. I’m very excited.

Affiliate links may produce commissions. This does not apply to 1st Dibs, Room & Board, Warm Things or Rough Linen.

57 Responses

  1. Wonderful fun and so rewarding, in the end, to have this creation of a room to begin and end your days in. You’ve been so generous in sharing the process throughout — look forward to seeing, eventually, that bench all dressed in those glorious colours!

  2. I think the peacock bench would be perfect, as I think the silk is too fine and delicate to be used on the bench, which will get more wear and tear than you’d might expect. You could use it for pillows, and if backed, maybe for the chair, which probably gets way less use than a bench would. I think the idea of adding in a gray and white toile is great. I think the peacock bench is very romantic too.

    1. @kathy, I think Kathy has a point. Occupants of this lovely room will be putting their feet on the bench to tie or polish their shoes, rough laundry baskets will be pulled across it as laundry is folded or laid out to be put away; a heavier fabric will probably resist better.

    2. @kathy, The silk is weirdly strong. Apparently it’s all from mulberry, or so the Internet tells me. I think that’s one of the things that Kanchipuram was known for. I expect the bench to be used largely as a place to throw clothes that are neither all clean nor all dirty, and to sit on when putting on shoes. That said, the peacock bench is splendid.

  3. I think a curvy bench like the one from OKL or the Well appointed home would be perfect to balance the angles of your bed. Your fabric is beautiful!!

  4. Have you thought about commissioning a custom-made bench? It probably wouldn’t cost more than the benches you’re looking at.
    Your Indian silk is beautiful. How about a gorgeous robe that you could hang on a wall as a piece of art when you’re not wearing it?

    1. @Vancouver Barbara, I hadn’t thought of custom, but I suppose wrought iron is one of those things that can be done! And a robe would be too Artsy for me, no matter how hard I’m trying to learn;). But on a wall, if not on the bench, yes, I could do that.

  5. I think the peacock bench is a thing of beauty & I would not be able to resist it

  6. The peacock bench is indeed gorgeous – but it is BEADED. It is in no way practical, so for those who fear the silk sari fabric not sturdy enough for a bench, the peacock bench is even less so…..(geez, I even used “sturdy” in the post before I realized I would be outing myself as a Sturdy Gal – but one who does appreciate drama. Or, in my case, more whimsy.) Good luck with your search!

    1. @Kelly, Thank you. Oh, yeah, beads. And no shame in the Sturdy! That’s one of the prime tenets of this blog:).

  7. Your bed and linens are gorgeous. Love the Haute House Peacock Bench and the Well Appointed House Rustic Bronze Wrought Iron Bench. As a veteran of many years of upholstering and slipcovers, I agree with Kathy that your gorgeous silk is too delicate to be an actual cushion. I’d use a stronger, complementary material for a cushion, and use the silk for pillows.

  8. Noooooo! My heart is breaking at the thought of a real Kanchipuram sari being cut up to make pillows (sad tear). It would make such a great lehenga or shalwar. But being a true believer in karma, I will nonetheless celebrate its rich life and impending reincarnation.

    1. @Chaitri, I thought of putting it on the blog sale, so that it could be worn in its true state, but I just can’t bear to get rid of it. Reincarnated, that sounds wonderful.

  9. I’m another person in fear for the lovely sari. I think I would frame it and just admire it that way. (Still, it would be more practical as a bench)

  10. Is significant husband on board with the hot pink? So many would not be. Would like to see that fabric on a skirted round bedside table (your side), some throw pillows from that fabric, and then other throw pillows in mossy green with mossy green upholstery on the bench ( maybe welting in the silk?) I look forward to seeing the final choices. BTW skirted tables are wonderful for storage :)

  11. Having lived for a few months in India when I was a newlywed, I am thrilled that you will find a use for the beautiful sari. While it’s nice to think of it being worn as originally intended, it is wonderful to think that you will find a place for it that will make you smile every time you see it.

    1. @MJ, You lived in India as a newlywed? Wow. What an experience. Glad you approve of sari repurposing.

  12. The sari fabric is gorgeous however you decide to use it. Maybe even for drapes? I love the color – so typically Indian.

  13. LOVE the hot pink sari fabric. If you aren’t too hard on the bench I think the fabric would hold up fine, good saris can be pretty sturdy – if it’s big enough you could keep some aside to recover it down the track.

  14. The sari is beautiful. I wonder if the silk is too slippery to work as a bench cushion?

  15. Don’t fear silk. It is very strong. I used raw silk on an antique empire couch (civil war thing) and it held up to my surprise for a very long time. Just watch out for grease: french fries, hand lotion, etc…. will be hard to remove the blot. But…..I was told long ago that silk was around longer than you can imagine and used for all kinds of work fabric. Raw silk is very nice!!

    1. @susie, Good thing I don’t eat french fries in my bedroom! But the lotion thing – point well-taken. The civil war couch sounds amazing.

  16. Uh- what i meant to say…. the silk on the couch dated 1870 was done in raw silk…..still looking pretty strong, just dirty…we were all impressed!! .I replaced with new raw silk…….

  17. Love the antique bench and say YES to the pink sari as cushion- so gorgeous and calming x

  18. Your sari material is beautiful and I can totally see you in it. My friend Noreen had a business called Silk Route that made garments from antique saris. They were simple shapes for robes, tops, jackets, and pants. Really beautiful. Were sold for a time at Urban Outfitters. As to a choice for a bench, I’d go with the one from Horchow.

  19. The sari fabric is gorgeous! If husband is willing to live with pink, I’d say go for it! (And a real man would say yes, we know that!) I love the ebay DIY with the sari cushion, or two small benches with sari cushions, although I’m not convinced that those are the ones.itll still be serene, with a pop of fun. Shouldn’t every bedroom have that? Wink, wink…

  20. Perhaps check out wrought aluminum benches for more style possibilities. And I’m not up-to-speed on Hollywood Regency but I’ve heard about it as the host of a local interior design radio show I listen to likes that style. The idea appealed to me because I like vintage for our 1940’s era house. Searching online pulls up quite a bit of Hollywood Regency if you might enjoy perusing it.

    1. @Megan, @Lisa, I think you’re right: they can’t work aluminum exactly like wrought iron, but they’re starting to make furniture from extruded &/or cast aluminum that’s supposed to be reminiscent of cast iron. (I think “wrought aluminum” is a misnomer, but I’ve seen it called that. As someone who’s retired from making sure the proper & precise metal manufacturing specs & terminology are called out, I figured I’d lighten up & let the term slide.) I’d appreciate aluminum’s lighter weight too. I do like real hand-forged wrought iron, though, for its texture & handmade look.

  21. Oops–sorry–that was my first time using the “reply” function, so I didn’t do it quite right.

  22. I love this idea of a touch of the ornate, of curves, and a bright bold color. Have fun! There should be a little drama or surprise or just plain fun in a room, don’t you think?

    As for the silk, I would say go for it. I have silk cushions, that are not all that special or rugged of a fabric, that have survived decades of abuse from dogs, cats, dirty feet, and even snotty 3 year olds, although yes, oil and lotion may be a problem.

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