Five years ago, I bought my apartment in a French Normandy-style historic building built in the 1930s. These origins inspired the way I wanted to design my bedroom, and I felt myself drawn to the Hollywood Regency style, which emerged during Hollywood’s Golden Age, from the 1920s to the 1950s.
What is Hollywood Regency style?
Hollywood Regency is a result of film producers and set designers lavishly decorating interiors to look over-the-top and glamorous— a look which eventually carried over into the homes of silver-screen stars, like Joan Crawford.
To channel that opulence, I focused on combining the sleek silhouettes of mid-century design with the flair of Art Deco. Mirrored furniture, ornate details, lacquered and high-gloss finishes, bold patterns — like Chinoiserie — and a black-and-white palette are all hallmarks of Hollywood Regency design.
But a sleep sanctuary must also be soothing. My goal as a designer for this room was to create visual interest in each focus area while practicing restraint. Even maximalists understand the importance of using the right balance and symmetry of objects, patterns, and color.
While I initially wanted to pick a dark color to match the charm of Old Hollywood glam, I found myself gravitating towards light pastels and neutrals because those tones are more soothing to me. Selecting the right paint color is always challenging because there are so many choices! Finding ones that soothe me is always a good place to start.
I kept my color palette simple, black and white with muted pink walls and an occasional pop of color or pattern. Using the same color palette helped create a seamless flow throughout the room and each of its focus areas. I practiced restraint with accent pieces and knick-knacks to avoid veering into maximalism territory, and passed on overwhelmingly vibrant and bold colors, and loud patterns and prints.
Sleeping like a movie star
Designing this space was a bit overwhelming at first due to its size and the number of opportunities I had for creativity. And I’m the first to admit that my 400-square-foot bedroom is quite generous for one person. The previous owners originally used this room as their home office, with the adjoining room as a rehearsal space. (They were both in the entertainment business.) But I knew it was meant to be my primary bedroom.
Capturing indulgence through my bed, pillows, and sheets
Seeing how this was my bedroom, I splurged for a king-sized bed. The room needed to be filled and was definitely large enough to accommodate a generous bed. But as someone who never had a king-sized bed before, let me tell you, it is life-changing to have that much space to sleep on, especially during summer nights or when you’re sharing a bed with a partner. If you’re sleeping solo, all the more reason to vibe with the opulence of Hollywood Regency!
The velvet tufted headboard and bedframe were not extraordinary purchases, but I treated myself to nice cotton sateen sheets that make me feel like royalty every time I slip between them. (Satin is often the preferred bedding type for Old Hollywood glamour.) Finding the right sheets to snuggle in is a personal choice. You may prefer the rawness of linen.
Have you noticed how hotels offer guests at least four to six pillows per bed? It’s indulgent, and I wanted that experience. I bought multiple pillows in various densities and sizes so I have options to choose from every night, and even ones to cuddle with.
Positioning the king-sized bed
There was only one location that made sense for where to place the bed, and it was a relatively intuitive decision that makes me feel safer and calmer when I climb in for the night: facing the balcony. Wanting to see exit routes is actually a part of human nature: the exit makes us feel more secure, a feeling which I believe is integral for any sleep sanctuary.
Framing the bed
I flanked each side of the bed with matching, mirrored vintage nightstands. Finding the right height for nightstands can be challenging: I made sure mine were slightly taller than the height of the mattress so it’s not as easy for me to knock over a glass of water or for the light of my phone to disrupt my sleep in the middle of the night.
For a classic Hollywood-inspired bold, black-and-white accent, I added a plush spotted area rug from the Opalhouse collection at Target under my bed, ensuring that the size was large enough to cover the sides up to the nightstands. Animal prints are also one of the hallmarks of Hollywood Regency design!
Creating a sitting area
While a bed may be for sleeping, the bedroom should also allow for wakeful relaxation. And what I love most about my bedroom are all the areas I can sit, lie down, and relax. The sitting area is one of the most well-designed parts of my home — and it happened somewhat haphazardly through a series of gifts and chance.
It started first with an antique loveseat, reupholstered in white linen, and then I slowly added on the other Hollywood Regency-inspired pieces. The arched floor lamp with the chandelier details was given to me by a friend who was moving out of state. Another friend who is an art dealer sold me the large abstract art piece that I then had framed. I like how the colors complement the paint color on my walls.
As I mentioned before, metallic finishes and animal prints (like leopard and zebra) are signature elements of Hollywood Regency decor, so I intentionally pulled more of those details throughout the space, including the shiny, brass coffee table, which I bought from a set designer and consider to be one of my most prized vintage finds. The zebra rug — a flea market steal — and the brass ibex side table helped pull the whole look together wonderfully. Adding rugs and art on walls is the best way to “finish” a room.
The vintage room divider next to the sitting area does more than add a glamorous Hollywood Regency vibe. It hides the entrance to the walk-in closet since I removed the door that was there. It looked odd having a door swinging out in the middle of this sitting area, and I love that it is a unique visual way to solve a spatial problem.
Where I get ready for my day
It felt natural to make the corner next to my closet the space where I put the finishing touches on myself for the day or evening. I keep all of my costume jewelry (some vintage, of course) in a gold Chinoiserie multi-drawer jewelry box below the black-and-white print of Kate Moss. I feel like a kid playing dress-up every time I stand before the mirror, but as an adult, I just spritz a little bit of perfume on myself and every day becomes a special occasion.
The oversized mirror is actually a new piece, but everything else on top of the dressers is a vintage find, including the scalloped lampshade on the peacock lamp, which was so opulent and over-the-top, I had to have it.
The twin dressers were purchased separately from the same antique shop in San Diego (but somehow they found each other), and I had a friend refinish each one in a black high-gloss paint. They’re inspired by the Espana chests designed by Dorothy Draper, an American interior decorator who essentially defined the Hollywood Regency style. Any Hollywood Regency enthusiast aspires to own an Espana chest, and I’m so thrilled I was able to find two!
Adding more glitz and glamour over time
In true Hollywood Regency style, I made sure there was enough glitz and glamour to my bedroom sanctuary. And what’s more glamorous than a large palm chandelier? Another one of my favorite secondhand finds, the chandelier hanging above the bed cost me a whopping $5 — less than the cost of a gourmet ice cream scoop. Someone in Orange County was renovating his entire home and just wanted it gone. I was happy to take it off his hands.
As time went by and I had the funds to do a mini-renovation project, I walled off the entrance to the other room and was left with a long wall space. I’m constantly layering on existing elements, finding new pieces to enhance a space, or replacing old pieces with better pieces.
I was scrolling through Facebook Marketplace and came across this small electric fireplace. Again, another indulgent thing to have in a bedroom, but I thought why not. The couple who sold it to me was downsizing and thrilled it was going to a good home. They actually named it “Regina,” so I’m honoring their wishes and call her “Regina” from time to time.
The mirror above the fireplace is the highly coveted Anthropologie Primrose mirror. I actually bought it secondhand off Craigslist from the loveliest young woman who was moving in with her boyfriend. This part of the room always makes me giggle thinking about all the stories I’ve accumulated from finding these incredible secondhand pieces.
Bring nature in
I flanked each side of the fireplace with tall faux plants and potted them with dried moss. The large palm was purchased on Facebook Marketplace and the Chinoiserie-style planter is vintage.
Patience allows for you to find the right pieces and not regret buying something you’ll quickly replace, experimentation helps you determine what resonates best in your space, and commitment allows you to see your Pinterest boards come to life, especially on a budget.
I’m overjoyed and proud at how my bedroom has evolved and improved over the past five years. It’s become an eclectic medley of Hollywood Regency, curated maximalism, and bohemian all at once.