Last week I shared lots of less-than-beautiful “before” pictures of my home, so this week my goal is to convince you that there are good things to come. Enter: our bedroom makeover! In our apartment, our bedroom was one of the last spaces I tackled because guests never saw it. That was such a mistake — every night when we went to bed, Sam would read and I would just stare at the walls and think about how much work I wanted to do in the room. When I finally got around to making it over, it made such a world of difference.
So this time around, our bedroom was one of the first rooms we worked on, about a month into owning the home.
Here’s the bedroom our first night in the house. Don’t judge, it was a stressful time.
And here it is for the first month we were in the house:
Yeah, this is pretty sad looking. This is me being vulnerable and honest with you guys, I do not like to show my home looking like this. The walls were a nondescript cream color, with wood window casings, doors, crown molding, and very beat up base boards. There were a number of holes in the walls, plus unsanded spackle from where the seller had done about 50% of the work to patch holes. And since we knew we wanted to paint, we didn’t want to spend time putting up mirrors, artwork, curtains, etc in the meantime — so our bedroom was in a state of bland limbo.
Though the room is relatively small and we have fairly low ceilings, we decided to go with a dark color — we’ve always liked to think of our bedroom as a little cave-like, a cozy place where we can retreat and sleep and relax. I picked out Black Pepper by Benjamin Moore, and had it color-matched to Olympic ONE paint. We also bought some tinted primer because we thought it would allow us to use only one coat of paint (paint is more expensive than primer), but when we opened it up it wasn’t as dark as I’d hoped (I think partially because it wasn’t freshly mixed since it took us a month to get around to the project after buying the paint) so we just decided to skip the primer. We ended up only needing one coat anyway, the coverage was so rich.
First I spent a day painting the window casings and doors white. It seems like this shouldn’t take so long, but it really does. I had to do one coat of primer and then two coats of white paint to cover up the original wood underneath. Before anyone panics about painting wood, it was not in good condition, and it looks much better painted. Plus it’s our house, and I want white trim. So there. ☺
I also spent time fixing and patching some holes in the walls — our seller damaged the walls in a few places by hanging artwork and such, so I needed to patch that up. In one place there were metal pieces that I couldn’t remove protruding from giant holes, so I use my dremel to trim them down and then I spackled the holes.
The next day, we were ready to paint. Sam rolled the walls, while I painted around the floor, ceiling, and windows with an angled brush. The detailed work takes so so so long, much longer than rolling. That’s the curse of having better fine motor skills than my lovely husband, I suppose. I painted both the crown molding and the baseboards the same colors as the walls, because I thought it would help make the walls seem a little taller if they weren’t sandwiched between trim on the top and bottom (the ceilings are only 7.5 feet).
I knew we had a winning combination when I saw how the dark walls looked with the white trim:
Once the paint dried, I tackled some decorating — adding art, mirrors, and curtains, plus moving in the new side table I bought at a yard sale the previous weekend to serve as a bedside table. I’m so pleased with it — it’s the same height as the other bedside table, and they relate so much better to each other because they’re both wood.
It’s a huge change, right?!? We’re pretty darn pleased. We love the paint — it’s a dark gray, but it reads deep blue in some lights. It feels so much more sophisticated now, but also calm and cozy. I don’t know if I would have thought a room could be both “sophisticated” and “cave-like,” but this room has convinced me. And I love the relatively simple decor.
Here are a few of my favorite details:
In our apartment I had an earring holder that I made out of an old bulletin board, but I wanted to keep the wall next to the mirror uncluttered so I grabbed an earring tree at Michael’s. The wooden box that says “Sage” is something my mom came across and gave to me. Currently it’s hiding my deoderant…now you know all my secrets. Also, in all our moving, our two dressers definitely got a bit beat up. They’re family pieces, and I really want to do some simple restoration work on them. Naomi has had good luck with Howard restor-a-finish products, so maybe I’ll give that a try and we can report back.
Another detail I like is the hook I added next to Sam’s side of the bed, where he can hang his robe. It’s tucked away from view when you enter the room, but within easy reach for those frigid and dark New England mornings when getting out of bed is torture.
This is what we have engraved in our wedding rings: “We finish each other’s” in Sam’s, and “sandwiches” in mine. It’s a quote from Arrested Development (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Frozen stole this from Arrested Development, and it’s not the only thing they lifted), which is one of our favorite shows.
To make the prints, I grabbed two frames from Michael’s in a two-for-one sale, and also got some posterboard that I cut to the size of each frame. Then I printed out the text on some nice paper I had left over from wedding projects, and used double-sided tape to stick the printouts in the middle of each piece of poster board. (Someday soon I will make actual mats for them using the mat-cutting tools I recently bought, but this will do for now.) Then I slipped them into the frames and hung them up. Simple as that. I’m a big fan — they’re sweet because they have meaning for us, but not overly romantic which just isn’t our style and also would feel kind of out of place in this bedroom which seems to have a more masculine aesthetic with the dark colors and wood furniture.
With so much more work to do on the house, it’s nice to go to bed every night in a space that we love and that feels complete. Lesson learned, bedroom makeover should always be near the top of the to-do list. Plus I love the fact that we totally made over the room while relying 90% on things we already owned, including so many DIY pieces — the only new things were the yard sale side table ($10), art behind the bed ($12 for frames), the earring tree ($12), and of course the paint.