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The Rife Team

What does your bedroom mean to you?

Qezz’s photos explore her housemates’ most intimate interior spaces.

Our most intimate spaces often reveal our individuality most. You can express yourself in the clothes you wear, the language you speak, and the spaces you create.

Growing up, I envied people who had their own bedrooms and places to hide and get lost in. I would dream of putting certain posters and lights up in my shared room with my sister, but we had different tastes and agendas. Regardless, we made do with posters of artists we evenly liked and taped up the latest Vogue covers.

Other people’s bedrooms fascinate me. If I admire someone, I often envision how their personal space is designed and put together. Their space is a reflection of their being, and it helps me understand them better.

I have the privilege of living with my three best friends, and we are experiencing quarantine together. Each of their rooms has its own personality. My interest in bedroom design led me to curate a list of questions to ask them and to shoot a photography series to go along with their responses. Welcome to our world.

Emily; my 5’8 Rapunzel with many cosmetical talents

What does you room mean to you?

It means a lot. It’s my personal quiet space, where I go to relax and feel comfortable.

What atmosphere or energy do you want to create?

I want the space to feel cosy. I have lots of stuff around the room and I like it when a space is lived in – but I’m trying to find a balance of it being lived in yet calm. It’s a bright room so it feels really tranquil but I also want it to have more life.  The door has a massive window in it which you can see through – I’ve put a blind up, but it doesn’t quite fit. Subconsciously I feel this makes my room a public space as having access to what’s inside makes it feel more communal. I actually don’t mind that – it lets more light in! I still have things to perfect. Although I say my bedroom is a place for me to go be with myself, I also like having people here. When I shut the door, it’s me time, but when it is open, everyone is welcome.

To what extent is your space reflective of your identity?

Most of the stuff I have in my room is very personal. There’s a Polaroid I have taken of my mum and my dad in a rose garden, for example – I love it so much and it’s really important to me. There are also pictures of my sister and brother as we were all growing up which I hold very close to my heart. I also have a few paintings my granny did. Everything in my room is sentimental and it’s because I’m very, very overly sentimental. I also have a thing about keeping my parents writing – if my mum even sends a Post-it note to me I’m really funny about getting rid of it.

What are three significant items in your room?

  1. My family photos.
  2. My toys: Puzzle, who is this really ugly pink frog thing. It’s one of my prized possessions, and it’s called Puzzle because he looks puzzled all the time. There’s also a tiny monkey which is actually a new addition I got with my parents when we were moving in, so again it means a lot.
  3. My plants: they make my bedroom more alive and interesting.

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How do you spend most of your time in your space?

Probably reading or knitting at the moment, but recently I have set up a little corner with all my makeup kit so I can practise on my housemates. I’m a professional hair and makeup artist for film, tv and theatre. I have worked on few crowd rooms in couple of films and television shows. I worked on Morbius, Venom and The Spanish Princess, which is actually filmed in Bristol!

Eleanor: my goddess of intellect and style.

What does you room mean to you?

I think my room means more to me than most people’s bedrooms do. I have lived in a lot of bedrooms and I have always said that my room reflects my mental health: if my bedroom’s not how I want it, it has an effect on me.

What atmosphere do you wish to create in your room?

I want my room to be inviting, and I want people to hang out there. If you’ve ever seen a 2000s-era teen drama with Lindsey Lohan or Megan Fox, that’s the vibe. I am so obsessed with the way those films make bedrooms so personal and intimate. I have this weird thing where I think: ‘at what point am I going to stop being a 20-something student? When will I become that girl who has bed linen, framed photos and a day rug? Is it a goal for me to be this perfect adult?’ Not at all – I think I’m going to cling onto this eighteen-year-old bedroom from Lindsey Lohan’s filmography for the rest of my life. The second I take down these cranes, the second I stop having bunny ears covered in sick on my clothes rail – that’s when I know I’ve grown up.

To what extent is your space reflective of your identity?

I’ve had a lot of bedrooms in the past couple of years, so this space has become an amalgamation of moments in my life and everything in my room has a story behind it. Weirdly, I can remember where everything is from and how I felt in that moment. I associate objects and moments with feeling.

Even my childhood bedroom back home has remained untouched for the past five years. When I go home I like being reminded how I was when I lived there, rather than painting it all white and having an Ikea bed with some fancy linen.

Also, books! They’re definitely representative of me. I remember when I lived in a box room in Brighton with no space between the bed and the wall. There was barely any furniture in the room, and I made a bedside table out of books, and it was multipurpose because I was studying literature at the time. I had all my course books and a table in one!

The biggest inspiration for my room is 500 Days of Summer, when Joseph Gordon Levitt goes into Summer’s bedroom and says “It was like going into her world…” Having people see my room for the first time is a milestone. This isn’t how I appear on social media – this is just me laid bare to the world, every part of me is here. I’ve had friends in past who’d come to visit me in my different homes and they say they can pick my room out of a line up because it’s always the same sort of vibe.

What are three significant items in your room? 

  1. My dad is my icon. This Japanese print was his when he was a student, so I took it with me to university. I used to think It was really cool looking and ‘raggedy,’ but I can tell I’m in my twenties now because I want to frame and preserve it.
  2. These cranes I made follow me to every room I move into. I made them when I was really upset two years ago. I remember going into Brighton and buying fishing wire and a book of sheet music from a charity shop. I hung them up in the tiny box room I was living in at the time, which was so depressing it needed some kind of excitement in it. I hung them all over the room and they’d fall on me when I was asleep and never stay up. I will know that I am an adult when I stop having these cranes in my room.
  3. The third I’m going to spilt between a poster my mum gave me from a Pre Raphaelite book of paintings. It’s nice to have memory of your parents. Also, a feathered fan, from a bar in Manchester. We met up with an old friend of ours there who we didn’t know was gay until he bought his boyfriend along with him. I remember taking the fan because it came with the cocktails.

What do you spend most of your time doing in your space? 

In Sex and the City, Carrie has an interconnected room, and now that I have an en-suite, my favourite thing is getting ready and having people in here. I remember on New Year’s Eve when all of my friends came down to visit and there was five of us in my room getting ready. I have so many mirror spots! It’s purposely designed as a getting ready space. I find getting ready cathartic– it’s expressive and sets you up for the night. Even when I’m getting ready for work I’ll sit in front of a mirror, listen to a podcast and take my time. I think decorating the place you spend most of your time is so important. It’s a manifestation of your inner mood. It’s never a waste of time.

Sophia: my most valued Leo with endless musical talents and beauty.

What does your bedroom mean to you?

It’s where I can get creative, cry and just lie on the floor if I need to.

What atmosphere/energy do you wish to create in your room?

Honestly, I am still undecided only because I have a limited amount of decorations. My room is like a child’s room with a couple of jokes here and there. It represents my laziness, in a way, and how much a child I still am. I have the top room and it is the coolest bedroom in the house. It has this level to it which I sleep on and it’s almost an escape for me.

To what extent is your space reflective of your identity?

My room has a lot of art and pictures from my family. My room is probably more reflective of my mood than anything else. If my room is messy then it means my mental state is also messy; likewise, if it’s clean then it means I’m working on it. It’s quite expressive.

What three significant items in your room? 

Definitely my digital piano C100. When I moved into this house that was the first thing I wanted and needed. It keeps me sane.

  1. My laptop – how else will I write, and watch endless supplies of YouTube videos?
  2. Finally, my teddy bear ‘Hippy.’ It’s a piece of home I bring around with me.

What do you spend most of your time doing in your space? 

In quarantine, I play music in my room a lot. It has become a therapy for me. When I am feeling restless, music helps me concentrate. I also, spend a lot of time doing my hair in my room. My hair is becoming my identity. It does sadden me how long I spent not taking care of my hair and now it is a tiny afro. Only in the past few years have I embraced how much of my identity is rooted in my hair. The upkeep of it is so important to me. I want a 70s Assata-Shakur-esque afro. I’m working on it. My hair products and my hair routine are a massive part of not only my identity but my room too. My hair for years was pretty much a point of shame for me, enhancing the differences between me and all of my Caucasian friends. Once I wash my hair, I’ll put in Cantu leave-in-conditioner for my ends, Jojoba oil for my roots and a leave-in-conditioner spray in before cornrowing it. I’ll leave them in for about a week and then have a day of an afro with no product. I’m hoping if I keep this up, by the end of quarantine I might have a big fro!

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