Before and After: A Stylish and Sentimental $500 Bedroom Makeover

updated Jun 12, 2020
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Many home upgrades are simply done out of the desire for a fresh new style or to appeal to your decorative tastes. You paint your bedroom walls to take away any bland vibes, or revamp your dining room with a decor overhaul to add some color to your space. But for Jessica Rubenacker and Chris Brummel, their guest bedroom makeover had a much deeper background story. Originally, the space wasn’t anything special. It featured a unique driftwood lamp and a one-of-a-kind clock, but not much else. Jessica and Chris had always wanted some kind of accent wall in the guest bedroom, but nothing jumped out enough for them to finally invest the time, money, and energy in making it happen, that was until they took a family trip to the Philippines.

“When we visited the Philippines as a family in 2018, this was the first time my mom had returned since she had immigrated to the U.S. as a toddler and the first time my sister and I had been to the motherland,” says Jessica. “Unfortunately and unbeknownst to us, our ancestral home (the house my mom was born in) had been demolished several years prior. This front stoop with this beautiful tile was all that remained, but we were just grateful to be there, and it was a moving experience to be there with my mom as she returned home for the first time.” It was the tile on the front stoop that served as a catalyst for the guest bedroom accent wall.

Jessica and Chris held the pattern top-of-mind throughout the entirety of the trip, and Jessica’s friend from Manila was able to find the original company that made the tile back in the 1920s. Unfortunately, the process for importing that tile wasn’t doable. So instead, Jessica and Chris decided to replicate it as best they could.

Using a Glowforge laser cutter, ⅛-inch thick draftboard, and some paint, Chris designed a simpler version of the original tile and the two of them got started. “It was A LOT of cutting and peeling off the masking on the boards, but we had nothing but time during quarantine. We even had stacks we were peeling while watching Netflix and even while visiting with family on Zoom calls!” says Jessica. Once the wall was complete, they painted it a super deep navy.

Two months and $500 later, they now have an accent wall in their guest bedroom that extends beyond the classic DIY reno story. “We love how the accent wall just brings the whole space together while surprisingly giving balance to the room,” says Jessica. “The dark navy, almost inky black color was neutral enough (but bold at the same time) that tied together all of the existing elements and we didn’t need to purchase any other decor or furnishings.”

When it comes to finding your own DIY project that melds who you are with your interior style, Jessica says, “make it fun and make it meaningful to you. Find inspiration in your personal histories, your travels, people and things you love. Each time you look at a completed project, those memories coupled with the dedication and energy you put into the project will make it all the more special and rewarding.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.