Patterned + Layered Guest Bedroom

After living in a place for a year or so, I usually come to realize that I like the guest bedroom more than I like the master bedroom, possibly because I put more consideration into decorating the guest bedroom. I sleep in the guest bedroom now and then to make sure I’m not overlooking anything that would make someone’s stay comfortable. Is there enough space on the bedside table for a guest to put their reading materials and phone? Is there enough floor space to open a suitcase? Are there a few empty hangers or a hook where someone would hang things up? I mean, these considerations are rather moot because will we ever have guests here in our Algiers home? Will anyone ever travel again? Sigh. We will be in this house for two more years, so I truly hope a few family and friends will visit us and see what our Algiers lives are like, inshallah. For now, though, it’s just one of the many rooms the cats can lounge in, which is silly because they’re perfectly happy in a sock drawer or closet, in fact, they prefer it.

So, this bedroom is the one bedroom on the lower level of the house. I toyed with making it the master bedroom, but decided that it’s kind of the perfect set-up for a visitor as they’d have a lot of privacy downstairs — the lower level is practically its own apartment, only it has no kitchen. When laying on the bed in this room, a theoretical guest looks out to our fun boho bar, which is arguably the most exciting view in the house. I imagine it would be fun for this guest, after a day of checking out the crumbling French buildings in Centre Ville or eating fresh seafood and touring ruins in Tipaza, to shake up a martini at the bar and then sip it in bed, feeling glad that they traveled to an exciting part of North Africa that not many people get to see. (Lobbying hard here: Come visit, friends!)

The design of this room began with the two pieces of art above that remind me of Beyonce and Coco Channel.They are from the boutique Bee on 6th in Rabat. The vintage orange and black rug is from Tangier. After I hung the two drawings/paintings, there still seemed to be a lot of white space as the ceilings are quite high, so I also hung that raffia evil-eye mirror (also from Bee on 6th boutique). The vintage star-shaped light fixture, I bought at a Madrid antique store and we bring it around with us and usually ask our embassy maintenance folks to install it. (At this house, we paid our landlord to do a bunch of light-fixture swap-outs and installations). Even with some wall hangings, I still felt like the walls were too bare, which is probably a product of me not painting this room. I am bothered by bare white walls. Now and then I would move new little tables and chairs to act as bedside tables and add new small framed paintings and prints of natural things (like shells and owls) or little objets d’art until the vignette looked visually satisfying. (I usually take pictures and then look at the picture to see what’s missing). I decided to put those sconces (from World Market) on the wall to fill up some blank space, and I really like how they look, even though I do hit my head on them sometimes.

I feel like it’s the bedding that makes it into an especially inviting space. I started with Brooklinen duvet and sheets (my favorite sheets but I probably should stop ordering so many sheet sets because why?) That’s a Target quilt in copper on top (I have the same one in dark blue in our master bedroom). It’s very soft and cozy. That “quilt” on the end of the bed is an Indian tapestry I got recently at an antique store in Michigan for like $30. It’s quite large, intricate, in perfect shape, and I love the dark moody colors of it, the mauve and plum and orange and blacks and brown.

It may not be as evident in the photos, but this room has a lot of different textures — the velvet quilt, linen curtains, satin seat cover, the crinkly brown craft paper in the artwork, the silky crisp sheets, a woolen rug — and a boatload of different patterns. This works because there aren’t a ton of different colors in here — it’s mostly neutrals: Black, white, gray, brown, gold, with some pops of copper, and orange. I think the end result is a cozy, worldly, and inviting.

And someday, we will have a guest in here! Actually, we did have one guest come and visit about a year ago, in the beforetimes, and he stayed in this room. Our friend is a major world traveler and has probably visited more countries than anyone we know, and he had a great time in Algiers. So, come!

To guest bedrooms,


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