In the Wild

Interior designer Alvin Wayne on creating a cozy bedroom retreat

Even in a generic “white box” apartment

Cozy bedroom ideas with interior designer Alvin Wayne and CB2

Whether you live somewhere where the weather could be considered “chilly” or not, shorter days and longer nights mean more time spent in our bedrooms. Literally. And in the craziness that is 2020, we’re desperate for a retreat from this wild, wild world.

Enter Alvin Wayne, an interior designer based in New York City, and his luxurious yet cozy bedroom. It all started with the Nadi Cane Bed and grew into a worldly, eclectic place to rest and recharge—which is particularly impressive when you consider that Wayne lives in what he calls a standard “white box” apartment.

Originally from Florida, Wayne says his love for design started young, but he strayed from the path a bit and originally studied health care management. “I realized I love design and that’s what I should be doing, so I enrolled in design school in Atlanta,” he explains. “I worked in luxury retail while in school, which played a large part in my design aesthetic and eye.” Now based in New York City, Wayne works with clients all across the country, infusing elements of his signature style into his projects.

Speaking of which, there may be no better example of Wayne’s aesthetic than his own apartment, which he describes as “cozy, luxurious, masculine and approachable. I really wanted anyone who saw my space to know it was a reflection of me but still be able to envision themselves living there.”

Cozy bedroom ideas with interior designer Alvin Wayne and CB2

CREATING A COZY BEDROOM

“It was all about the view,” Wayne says of his bedroom design process. Which makes sense, since said view is prime New York cityscape. “I wanted [the apartment] to feel modern yet timeless, comfortable yet luxurious and natural.”

When beginning any new design, whether for yourself or as a designer for clients, Wayne recommends seeking inspiration in the things you love and using them as the foundation of your look. “I started with all the things I love—leather, marble and wood—and built my space around those elements. I also kept the scale of the furniture low to ensure it was all about the view.”

It’s important to consider both how you want to feel in the room as well as the function the space needs to serve. For smaller spaces like Wayne’s NYC apartment where one room probably has to do double or even triple duty, multi-use furniture can be a life saver. “You may need your room to [function as] a bedroom and an office,” Wayne says. “For example, my desk is actually a console table that I use as a desk to optimize space.”

When it comes to bedroom design specifically, Wayne has a simple guiding principle: “The bed is always the star!” he says. “Hence the name bedroom, right? The bed should be the highlight of the room—something you love. Think about it: it’s the last thing you see before you close your eyes and the first thing you wake up to.”

THE LAYERED LOOK

Small spaces and layered, cozy design aren’t mutually exclusive, as Wayne’s bedroom so stylishly proves. The key to achieving this look? “Texture, color and pattern,” Wayne says. “Play with textures in pillows and your quilt or duvet.” His bedroom blends the natural textures of the wood desk and bed, while the rug and bed linens masterfully mix color and pattern.

“I approach colors and materials the same way I do fashion: it doesn’t have to match, but does it work?” says Wayne. “I touch and feel the materials, I put them together to see how they work visually and texturally.”

I approach colors and materials the same way I do fashion: it doesn’t have to match, but does it work?

Cozy bedroom ideas with interior designer Alvin Wayne and CB2

Cozy bedroom ideas with interior designer Alvin Wayne and CB2Cozy bedroom ideas with interior designer Alvin Wayne and CB2

PERSONALIZING THE WHITE BOX

A few key changes went a long way in customizing Wayne’s apartment. “I added removable wallpaper that looks like concrete in the foyer and living room and swapped out the light fixtures that came with the unit. I also painted an accent wall behind the bed,” he explains. In fact, wallpaper, bold wall colors and “one ‘wow’ piece of furniture” are Wayne’s favorite ways to splurge and make a statement in a space.

“I always say your home should be a collection of all the things you love,” he says. “Save up and splurge on the things that make you happy.”

WORKING WITH SMALL SPACES AND SMALL BUDGETS

When approaching clients with smaller budgets, it’s all about determining the wants vs. the needs. “This will determine how to make the budget work for the space,” Wayne says. “You can make the most of a smaller budget with paint and accessories, [which] are the easiest and most cost-effective way to make any updates. Pillows, art, frames and lighting are all easy.”

Your home should be a collection of all the things you love.

Wayne’s approach to smaller spaces is similar. “Find out how the client lives in the space and what they need,” he says. “Look for items that can perform double duty. For instance, a console table could be a desk, a vanity or even a bar. Find that one piece that can be whatever you need it to be at any given moment.”

He has some practical advice for small spaces, too: “Always measure twice—sometimes three times!—to make sure items will fit.” (Though honestly, that’s probably true no matter how much room you’ve got.)

Cozy bedroom ideas with interior designer Alvin Wayne and CB2

Quick Fire

  • Soundtrack of your life: “Pure Imagination” (yes, the one from the Willy Wonka movie)
  • Go-to cocktail order: Wild berry mojito
  • We’ll never catch you without: Carmex chapstick
  • Guilty pleasure: Cake by the slice
  • Style icons: Naomi Campbell (icon) and RuPaul (the power of transformation)
  • Favorite designer: Frank Lloyd Wright and Kelly Wearstler
  • You’ll never get sick of: Sex and the City
  • Your current state of mind: Happy
  • Where you’d most like to live: New York … wouldn’t trade it for the world!
  • Last thing you binge-watched: P-Valley
  • Your greatest extravagance: A Daniele Fortuna sculpture
  • Most treasured possession: My antique floor mirror
  • Talent you’d most like to have: I wish I could play the cello
  • Your most overused word or phrase: “Literally” and “Dope”
  • Vintage or new: Both, because why wouldn’t you mix?

This interview has been edited and condensed. Photos by Alvin Wayne.

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