I’m super excited about today’s post. We’re featuring a stunning bohemian bedroom that marries vibrancy and serenity. It’s dark, colorful, and moody, filled with global textiles, vintage furniture, and thrifted finds, as well as furniture and art made by the owners themselves. The lady of the house, Bethany Riggs, is an artist and creative genius, and I can say that with full confidence because she’s been my best friend for 20+ years now.
Part of Bethany’s goal in decorating this house is to create a sense of refuge. They’re new to this house — they only moved in late last year, after tragedy forced them out of their previous home.
In August of 2016 they were living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If you were following the news last year, you may recall a catastrophic flood in Louisiana — and by catastrophic I mean Louisiana was hit with three times the amount of rain as it received from Hurricane Katrina. Bethany’s family were woken in the middle of the night by a neighbor who warned them to get out immediately, which they did. They scooped up their two kids and sweet dog, Leo, and anything they could take in their arms. They fled to a shelter, as floodwater surged up around the tires of their car.
Their home was lost, as well as nearly everything inside of it.
This home is part of their process of rebuilding, literally and figuratively, physically and emotionally.
To me, Bethany is the embodiment of a vibrant human being. She is passionate about travel, art, good food & drink, and deep conversations with friends. I always know that if I pitch an idea to her, she’ll be up for trying it. I think her bedroom conveys this feeling, wouldn’t you agree?
So that you can get to know her as well as I do, I thought I’d interview her for you.
Napkin Soup (<-- psst, that's me): Hi! Pleasure to meet you.
Bethany: And you as well? You’re being weird.
Napkin Soup: Naturally. Ok, so tell us about yourself in a few sentences.
Bethany: I’m an artist, mother, homeschool teacher, interior design junkie (seriously, it’s bordering on problematic at this point), and gin aficionado. How’s that for a start?
Napkin Soup: It’s excellent.
Bethany: I’ve been in love with nature, mermaids, magic, and gypsy/bohemian/tribal aesthetic since I was very young. I’m a firm believer that you can’t have too much color or pattern if you know how to use both.
Napkin Soup: A bold philosophy. What inspired your bedroom’s decor scheme?
Bethany: It was the wall tapestry over the bed. After losing all our furniture and decor in the flood, I was doing a lot of online shopping and stumbled across The Jaipur Art Factory‘s page. Their line of woodblock-print fabrics is incredible. I fell in love with the one in the picture (I mean, c’mon, ORANGE ELEPHANTS, Y’ALL) and ordered it immediately. And it just kind of became the starting point that I built my room around.
Napkin Soup: How long have you been interested in creating? Tell me about an early memory of art-making.
Bethany: I don’t remember the experience, but my parents took me to see The Little Mermaid when I was three. It was my first movie theater experience and apparently I was obsessed from the opening credits. My mom has file boxes filled with drawings of mermaids that I churned out over the next decade or so. I’ve always loved drawing but I didn’t start really experimenting with art techniques until college.
As for interior design, my parents were very open to creating beautiful bedrooms for all us kids. We could choose paint colors, bed sets, wall stencils, etc. So I have a wide variety of design phases I’ve gone through since I was about 7 years old.
Napkin Soup: How would you describe your work as an artist?
Bethany: At this moment? A chronicle of my descent into insomnia and madness.
But seriously, one continuing theme of my work since college is the interplay between rigid structure and fluid movement. I feel like my whole life is a constant struggle to maintain a balance between the two. So in my work I try to meld them. If I get too obsessive about the precision the geometry requires, I get stressed and lose my mind. If I just paint flowy abstracts I get bored and listless. I need both to keep me centered.
Napkin Soup: I love that observation. I think most of us can relate to that in some way. Tell me about your interior design style.
Bethany: Eclectic to the extreme. I never worry if something I like will work with everything else I already have. I just buy it if I love it. Lately though I’ve been leaning very heavily towards a moody bohemian aesthetic.
Napkin Soup: How do you make your eclectic pieces work together?
Bethany: I constantly move things around until I find an arrangement that suits. If I find a weird knickknack at a thrift store and it’s some hideous color but I like it anyway, I’ll spray paint it a color I like. I also tend to group different styles of things in different rooms. If I buy a throw pillow I love that doesn’t work in my living room, I’ll move it to the couch in my room or a bedroom where it fits better. Of course, the main benefit of being eclectic/bohemian is that nearly everything can work anywhere, since you’re not trying to maintain any one style or color scheme.
As an artist, I look for pieces that are solidly built with interesting details, and then I try my best to bring those details out in the refinishing process. I don’t worry too much about clashing styles, because a good coat of paint or stain can help tie anything together.
Napkin Soup: You’ve mentioned thrifting. I get easily frustrating when thrift shopping because I can never seem to find good stuff. What are some of your methods for thrifting successfully?
We’re a single-income household, and I’ve always had to live on a moderately tight budget, which means we thrift a lot of our big furniture pieces. Usually we refinish or reupholster items to suit our tastes, but with Craigslist and Goodwill, you only have so much to work with in terms of finding the perfect piece. It can be a lot of fun though, like a treasure hunt, and often we get incredibly well-made items for very little, simply because they’re outdated or in rough shape. Then the challenge becomes making them fit our space and style needs.
Before we’re done here, I want to be sure to include the canine among us.
Aren’t they lovely?? (They are.) I want to send a big thank you to Bethany and her family for sharing their beautiful home with us!
What do you think of this bohemian bedroom? Would you go this dark and moody? Tell us what you think in the comments below!
SOURCE LIST FOR MOODY + BOHEMIAN ARTIST’S BEDROOM:
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