One Room Challenge

New Paint and Built-in Storage Transform an “Awkward” Loft into a Cozy Bedroom

published Jun 27, 2024
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Having a spare room in your home is usually great, but when it’s a “neon green” loft with “an awkward sloped ceiling,” as Cathy Balsom describes the space in her house, it can be hard to make that room useful. Her extra square footage was also missing flooring. “[The room] was added on as an afterthought by the previous owners, as it was originally an open loft space open to the living room below,” she says. 

With a baby on the way, Balsom took part in the One Room Challenge and turned this unused space into a nursery/bedroom that works for her family. But it wasn’t easy, considering the room had no storage or closets.

Credit: Cathy Balsom
Credit: Cathy Balsom

Add storage and functionality.

Balsom started by laying down new laminate wood flooring (Bellagio Enzo Laminate Floor from Grange Design) and painting the room a reddish-purple hue: Fading Twilight by Benjamin Moore

Next up: Storage. She and her husband, Blair, worked with the room’s awkward angles to custom-cut two sets of cabinets — a first-time project for Balsom! “[We] framed out some braces to hold the doors for the upper cabinets under the sloped ceiling,” she says. Balsom notes that cutting the correct angles on the upper cabinets was the hardest part of the entire transformation process.

She added ENKÖPING doors from IKEA and painted the cabinets and doors the same color as the walls so they would seamlessly blend in. While Balsom is happy with the final product, she says she made things harder on herself by trying to pair the IKEA doors with cabinets bought at The Home Depot — she recommends using doors and cabinets designed and sold to work together. Gold heart-shaped pulls found on Amazon serve as the finishing touch on the custom built-ins. 

“These built-ins made the space under a slanted ceiling so much more functional,” Balsom says. Plus, there’s even more storage behind the cabinets, “hidden by secret magnetic panels, to hide multiple totes!” 

The space between the new closets created the perfect spot for a crib, and Balsom also ensured it would fit a larger sleeper in the future. “I strategically planned the opening for the crib to also be wide enough to fit a queen-size bed; as our little girl grows, we can easily convert this to a ‘big girl bed’ space!” she says.

Credit: Cathy Balsom
Credit: Cathy Balsom

Finishing touches make it cozy.

With the necessities taken care of, Balsom added smaller furniture and decor, which included even more storage. She turned a $40 dresser from Facebook Marketplace into a natural wood stunner by sanding it down, staining it to bring out the wood grain, and adding new gold hardware. “I had no idea there was such a beautiful wood grain under all that paint!” Balsom says. She says it can also double as a changing table, thanks to its “perfect” height.

She finished the space with earth-tone framed prints above the dresser, a white chandelier, an accent chair, and white-painted daisies on the ceiling, which Balsom calls “whimsical,” adding that they “bring a youthfulness to the space!” Overall, though, the bedroom has a more serene vibe. “The space makes me feel calm and cozy with the darker, moody color,” she says.

And for anyone who also has an awkward, unused space in their home, Balsom is all for sprucing it up. “Just go for it!” she says. “Dysfunctional rooms like this can be intimidating, but you can make them a space that you can actually use and enjoy!”

This project was completed for the Spring 2024 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here. Inspired? Submit your own project here.