Meet the Bedroom that Feels Like a Hug

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Award-winning Interior Designer and American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Ones to Watch Scholar Sarah Barnard has unveiled a happiness-inducing residential design project in Beverly Hills, California — the bedroom that feels like a hug.

“We need a safe, restorative space to help our bodies rest and recharge,” says Barnard. A hug has many of the same characteristics, it makes us feel secure and comforted, and when we let go of the embrace, there’s a rush of oxytocin that leaves us with a sense of lightness.

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Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that acts on the brain’s emotional center, promoting feelings of contentment, reducing anxiety and stress. When you hug often, your level of oxytocin increases, which strengthens social bonds. Hugging also stimulates dopamine and serotonin production in the body. Dopamine is a pleasure hormone that’s part of the brain’s reward mechanism, while serotonin is responsible for maintaining mood balance.

The jumping-off point for the bedroom was the curvilinear bed frame, an award-winning design by Autoban, carved from American black walnut. Its silhouette mimics the action of hugging, and the interior is lined with purple velvet, blending the natural texture with dark, feminine styling. To further the feeling of intimacy, Barnard chose a non-toxic, king-size organic coconut mattress topped with a reversible duvet in a custom, color-blocking scheme.

The word ‘phantasmagoria’ is scrawled across the wall behind the bed — a neon homage to the images that flicker by in our dreams. The client, a self-proclaimed bookworm, chose the word herself after much deliberation. High-pile black carpeting delivers a softness underfoot, and layered window treatments allow the client to sleep undisturbed in total darkness. “Window coverings serve many purposes,” says Barnard. “Not only do they block out sunlight and create privacy, but they add a decorative element to the room that unifies the composition.”

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The two-tone wall color, a marriage of plum and lavender, envelops the space. These hues were intentionally chosen to saturate the formerly bright bedroom, establishing a cozy, cocoon-like atmosphere. “The ceiling color extends to the walls, linking the two colors together in a way that the sharp ceiling line never could,” explains Barnard.

Hanging above the bespoke American Walnut nightstands are a pair of cloud-like pendant lights that emit a soft glow. A wall of concealed storage eliminates visual clutter, which can heighten our anxiety levels and impact sleep quality. Upholstered benches at the foot of the bed and by the entryway provide a comfortable spot to rest or dress in the morning.

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It was the client who initially requested the space “feel like a hug,” which Barnard describes as a “brilliant explanation of what good bedroom design should do.” The revamped master bedroom, a physical embodiment of a hug, provides all the comfort, safety, and well-being her client needs to settle into a restful slumber and wake up feeling warm and fuzzy.

See the rest of this home here Featured in LA Dreams Magazine

Beverly Hills Bibliophile: Luxury High Rise Home Design


Nestled in a chic high-rise building, this colorful Beverly Hills suite features the owner’s impressive collection of books, art, custom furniture, installations, complete with natural and luxurious materials.

An expansive art collection lines the entryway and halls. Paintings, drawings, mixed media art, and the owner’s embroidery cover the deep blue walls. The thoughtfully curated collection includes contemporary artworks from across the globe with a focus on feminist portraiture and fiber art.


Floor to ceiling windows on two sides of the living room reveal unobstructed views of the city outside and are framed by a dracaena specimen and a large sculpture by Renae Barnard. Custom furniture commissioned for the homeowner, who needed the seat height of her chairs and sofa to have a custom raised seat height to enhance its ease of use. Tillandsia, low-maintenance “air” plants, dot the space throughout and are reminiscent of the environment outside.

The dining area features custom wall to wall shelving, displaying the owner’s beloved collection of books, plants, and sculptures. Bright blues and purples make the airy and light space feel both grounded and vibrant. Around the dining room table, a variety of vintage office chairs and a bench seat were upholstered with the same teal linen textile, allowing guests to experience their favorite seat comfortably.

An agate-inspired grasscloth wallpaper adds a natural and organic element to the plush, achromatic office. A custom desk made in a black powder-coated steel was designed to fit the owner’s specific needs perfectly. A custom bookshelf was also chosen to keep her books close at hand while seamlessly blending with the modern desk. Pillows embroidered with Picasso illustrations add sophisticated interest to the sleek dark sofa while a fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) adds life and color to the elegant workspace.


The master bedroom features a luxurious, award-winning, American black walnut bed frame by Autoban. The handcrafted headboard is lined with purple velvet, blending the natural texture with dark, feminine styling. A 300 thread count Egyptian cotton reversible duvet in custom color scheme adorns this California king bed (featuring an organic coconut mattress). Above, custom neon artwork reading “phantasmagoria” adds an ethereal glow. Plush black carpeting feels soft and comforting underfoot, and curtains allow the owner to sleep in total darkness. The two-tone purple walls were specially designed to draw attention to the art and to fulfill the owner’s request to have the bedroom “feel like a hug.”

by Kelsey Betancourt

Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit