New Room, New Me

Mar 23, 2016 | by Sandy Reitman

If I ask you to imagine your bed, what do you see?  Do you picture your current bedroom?  Or, a bedroom of years past?  What if I ask you to think about your bed at your last apartment?  Or, the one from the last city you lived in?  What if I asked you to think all the way back to your first bedroom as a child?  Can you remember?

I think about my various bedrooms a lot.  So many things happened for me in those rooms over the years that are so memorable.  I can see the beds, their frames, the posters on the walls, the clothes on the floor, and those images bring me back to that time in my life and what that bed and its room meant for me.

The first bed I remember was a full-sized, hand-me-down Mahogany frame from my grandparents.  We moved houses when I was about four years old and I was getting my own room for the first time.  But, see, I didn’t want my own room.  I loved sharing with my cool older brother Kevin and the thought of my own big room scared me.  See, Kevin had really cool bunk beds.  After successfully sneaking into his room at night to sleep on the bottom bunk for a couple weeks, it was settled that I would sleep there until he or I couldn’t stand it anymore.  His room was cool – it had a spaceship border and all the latest video games (this was the early 90s).  My room just had a bunch of nice furniture that I didn’t appreciate quite yet.

Who doesn't love puppies? (Theme Rooms:

Eventually, I made the move to my own “big girl room.”  I was excited about it and in a very strong girly phase and I got to decorate it myself.  Sure enough, my room was covered in wicker accessories and frilly white linens with purple hearts.  I remember getting made fun of by my brother’s friends for this girlish room, so my mind soon changed.

A few Christmases later, my parents surprised me with a newly decorated room (I happily spent the night on the bottom bunk bed) covered in black and red plaid with puppy details.  Yes, puppies.  I was obsessed with dogs.  Perhaps it was because my family just got our first dog, but who knows.  It was a little too much even for me.

Sure enough, I got over the dogs, but I was still sleeping on the same bed.  These years are a bit hazy, but I believe I went straight to a hippie phase. Patchwork covers and bright colored walls, covered in Led Zeppelin posters and photographs, this was one of the coolest rooms I’ve ever had.  I took every memory I had and was making and displayed it on my walls.  This was an homage to my ending childhood as I was approaching the last couple years of high school.

Then, I decided I wanted to be sophisticated.  I painted my walls Tiffany blue which really made the Mahogany pop.  Nothing on the walls and back to white linens.  I thought I was someone on Sex and the City, although I was more of a Carrie than a Charlotte at this point in time.  Today, I’d like to think I’m none of them.

Moving on…my next room was my college dorm room with the uncomfortable “long” mattresses and where that patchwork comforter and Led Zeppelin posters made a comeback.  Two rooms, two personalities.  We moved out of the house with the Tiffany walls shortly after my freshmen year of college when I moved out of the dorms, so neither of these rooms were around any longer.

Then, my apartments for the next three years brought my mattress from home back into the mix.  The patchwork blanket and rock’n’roll posters came with me to every apartment, except when I studied abroad in Athens, Greece.  Living in Europe often means a single, hard mattress.  They gave us wool blankets and a rock for a pillow, so I went to IKEA to upgrade (and had my parents send me some good American pillows).  A lot of memories in that shared room.

Going for the hippie look. (BlogStore:

I had beds and rooms at my parents’ houses over the years, but none I ever made my own.  I taught English abroad in Thailand and was met with the same single bed I remembered from studying in Greece.  This time, the heat was what made this room the worst.  My best friend and I shared two twin beds next to each other for six months and it was some of the best sleepovers I’ve had.  We were 22.

Then, I moved to New York.  I bought my first mattress and lived in the smallest SoHo studio known to man.  It was just the bed, kitchenette and a full bathroom.  I could only cover my walls with wall stickers since anything else would make it feel crowded.  I had gold sticker picture frames with homemade artwork that would switch out every couple months.  It was my favorite apartment of all time, but I still don’t know how I did it for two years.  So many memories in there, and some of the best.

No, that's not me. Yes, that's NYC living at it's finest. (The Tiny Life:

This mattress moved with me to my next room where I lived with a friend of mine on the Lower East Side.  I bought a cool wall sticker that never came off, even after I moved out.  That was a good room, but not the best time of my life.  I finished grad school and was trying to find work in a fly-infested apartment.  A good memory to have when you don’t remember how real the struggle can be.

Next, I moved into another small studio, this time in Alphabet City in a lofted bed.  I had to climb a ladder, using a radiator, every night to get to my bed which was illegally too close to the ceiling.  Not to mention this was a ground-floor, front-facing apartment on a semi-busy block.  Oh, the things that apartment saw and heard.  Those three years were memorable while all such a blur.

Now, I’m back to living with roommates, this time in Brooklyn.  I have a room with a conjoining bathroom, almost like a studio with two of my best friends sharing the common space.  Everything in my room is white, clean, organized and chic.  I make my bed every morning before I go to work and I often think about how I got here and the beds I’ve gotten out of along the way.