One Room Challenge

Before and After: An “Unfinished and Unloved” Bedroom Gets a Charm-Packed Redo

published Dec 13, 2023
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When you live in a home for a long time, it’s only natural for spaces to have a story. What was once a nursery will eventually become a teenage hangout, and what was perhaps a dining room could turn into an office. Rooms can go with the flow of life, and as long as you have the creativity to mold them to your needs, they can transform into whatever is being asked of it at the time. 

Shari Pegg-Bonaccorso (@shariBlivin) moved into her home in the 1990s, and this particular room had experienced many phases. “The house was built in the early 1940s, and this room was originally used as a main-floor bedroom,” she says. “But over the course of my living here, it has been a storage space, a dining room, my son’s playroom, and a daycare room.”

It had been painted many times — yellow, blue, gray, and white — throughout these shifts, and Shari felt that its latest iteration had left the most to be desired. “When my eldest son moved out, I kept a bed in there to use as a guest room,” she says. “Then my youngest son was given a piano, which ended up in that room. So it was just a mash-up of a space with no real purpose or decor. I liked that it was a good size, but it always looked unfinished and unloved.”

Shari wanted the room to feel like it was pulled together by a plan, with a look that made it worthy of being within view of her kitchen. “I like to think that my decor has a lot of character, and that room was just blah,” she says. “I didn’t want it to look sad anymore!” She decided to keep its purpose as a guest room, but didn’t want to go the usual route of turning it into a calming retreat. Instead, she wanted to make a design statement, and she did so during the Fall 2023 One Room Challenge

 A wall-to-wall mural packs a design punch.

Shari kept three of the walls white (Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White) and then partnered with Photo Wall to go bold on an accent. She picked out a wallpaper pattern of big white dandelions on a black backdrop, clearly making a statement on the surface that’s most visible down the hall. “I took a big leap outside of my comfort zone with this wallpaper,” she says. “I love black and white, and most of my house has this color palette, but I don’t have a lot of patterns. When I saw this wallpaper, though, I knew I needed it in my house!”

Shari had never wallpapered before and was nervous about how intensive the process would be. Thankfully, aside from some not-quite-plumb walls, everything went smoothly. The mural, from PhotoWall, was gifted for this makeover.

A flooring upgrade doubles down on black and white. 

If anything was a challenge, it was deciding that the resanded floors weren’t the right shade. (And yes, Shari resanded the floors herself with rented tools!) “When I sanded it, I did not like how it looked,” she says. “I had hoped it would be a light shade and I could just clear-coat it. But the wood was very grainy and had some damage that I couldn’t get out. I had the idea to paint it, but I was nervous about messing that up. If I did, there would be no money to fix it!”

After convincing herself to paint, Shari started her black-diamond pattern in the middle of the floor and worked her way out. Once she finished, she decided to white-wash the wood diamonds to give those spaces some dimension — this took a lot of time and effort, but she says it was worth it. “I’d say that this was beginner’s luck, because math and I are not friends,” she says. “I worked on every single square individually, and while I love it, I wished I had whitewashed the entire floor to begin with. Mistakes do make wisdom!”

Black and white furniture and decor are the cherries on top.

Shari shopped her home for a lot of the decor items, which include a clean-lined black bookcase, a striped Etsy bedspread on the raven-hued daybed, and contrasting accents like a brown pillow and a wood stool. 

She says that the room feels more like the rest of her home these days, and even though she can still feel its former lives, it’s now a testament of her perseverance and willingness to take risks. “I am the proudest of the floor. It was a lot of work, and I wanted to call it quits a few times, but I’m so happy I didn’t,” she says. “I just went for it, and I’m usually not like that. I tend to play things safe. But wow, does it feel good to push myself through!”

This project was completed for the Fall 2023 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here.