Home Projects

The 12 Best Bedroom Before and Afters We Saw This Year

published Dec 22, 2019
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Credit: Lindsey Boehmke

A bedroom is a deeply personal space: It serves as a retreat from the rest of the world, the first thing you lay eyes on each morning when you wake up, and the last you see at night. It needs to be a functional, organized, comfortable and calming space—of which the “befores” in this countdown most certainly were not. But their “afters”? The best we’ve seen all year. Here, our top 12 favorite bedroom makeovers of 2019.

1. A Master Bedroom Gets Some Major Calming Vibes

Nick and Sarah Wissinger spent a year renovating the master bedroom of their very first home, and the results are nothing short of professional. Before they could get to the design work, they had to take care of the bones of the room, including skim-coating the walls, replacing the baseboards and adding trim around the windows. Then, it was on to the fun stuff: they upgraded the ceiling light with a brass fixture and added a pair of sconces on either side of the bed. Marble-inspired wallpaper gave the room a focal point, complemented by a mix of new, vintage and DIY furnishings. Now, the space is calm, happy and a perfect reflection of the couple’s tastes. 

Credit: Adrianne Hawthorne
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2. A Plain Modern Loft Was Transformed Into an Incredibly Colorful, Patterned, and Playful Home

Adrianne and Seth’s brand-new Chicago loft was sleek, modern—and a little cold. To warm up the concrete surfaces and stark white walls, they turned to color, pattern, and texture. They offset the grey concrete walls in the bedroom with a coat of bright yellow paint. A bright teal dresser, a rehabbed vintage piece found at a local furniture collective, plays well with the yellow without competing; the artwork ties it all together. The final result is a wonderfully maximalist space that feels playful and welcoming.

3. An Unloved A-Frame Turned Retro-Inspired Retreat

When Christina and Kele Dobrinski purchased their A-frame home in Serene Lakes atop Donner Summit, California, they wanted the design to have cabin appeal without the style feeling too contrived. Their inspiration? Summer-camp-meets-mid-century-chalet. And boy, did they hit the nail on the head in the master bedroom. Though they lost some space in the original room after rejiggering the floorplan, exposed high ceilings and new glass doors—offering up killer views—make the space feel just the right balance of spacious and cozy. A neutral color palette, live-wood headboard, and other organic elements help bring the outside in. Now, it’s the perfect space for both outdoor enthusiasts or those who would rather spend a cold day curled up indoors. 

4. A Master Bedroom Is Completely Unrecognizable After a Gorgeous Makeover

When Cali Gabrielle decided to turn her double shotgun-style Louisiana home into a single home, she knew the whole floor plan would need to be completely reworked. But perhaps the biggest change of the whole project turned out to be the master bedroom suite, formerly a kitchen. In the midst of the renovation, Cali opened up the home’s existing drop ceiling, exposing stunning architectural beams; under the parquet floors, she found wide-plank floors. After a series of spur-of-the-moment decisions to work her surprise finds into the final design, the space is open, airy and sun-drenched while still retaining the warmth of natural wood—just not the 70’s-style wood paneling kind. 

5. A Dark, Dramatic, and Totally DIY Master Bedroom

After two years of living in a mostly-empty bedroom with a mattress on the floor—while working on improvements to the more public-facing rooms of the house—Brianna Thomas decided it was finally time to create her own personal retreat. She built the master bedroom design around two inspiration pieces, a vintage Persian rug and an abstract oil painting. The biggest project, a 10-hour stenciling session, made arguably the biggest impact. Now, Brianna finally has the room of her dreams and we’d definitely say it was worth the wait. 

6. How a Master Suite Went from Basic to Fabulously Boho

When Maja Edwards and her husband Doug purchased their home, the Charleston location just 10 minutes from the beach was ideal. The builder-basic finishes and popcorn ceilings, however, were not. Inspired by the desert-chic vibes of Palm Springs, the couple decided to bring the same energy to their master bedroom. After a week spent scraping popcorn ceilings, they took on a handful of other large projects, including a dramatic sliding barn door designed by Maja. Contrasting woods and pink rugs warm the otherwise neutral space up. The room is now unique, personal and anything but basic.

7. A $180 Feature Wall Transforms a Master Bedroom

Mansa’s master bedroom had been put on the back burner for years, so when the time came to finally give it some much-needed love, her reno budget was limited. A DIY feature wall was just the thing to give the builder’s grade-bedroom some drama. After a significant amount of time marking out a pattern on the wall, Mansa used trim to create a striking geometric pattern, then gave the whole thing a coat of dark navy. Coastal accents in a lighter color palette now pop against the dark wall, proving just how far $180—and some extremely careful planning—can go.   

8. This DIY Bedroom Looks Like it Belongs in an Expensive Spa

Sometimes the best way to make a home your own is to hit rewind on some of the trendier decor decisions. When Bridgett Shepherd painted a wall in her room black—something she’d seen frequently on Instagram—it wasn’t exactly the chic space she’d envisioned, and the room felt colder and smaller. A fresh coat of beige instantly warmed the space up, and proved much more to Bridgett and her husband’s liking. They went all in on neutrals—including new textiles, furniture and wall art—and some bigger DIYs, like new closet doors and refinished floors. The end result is sophisticated, serene and tailor-made for the homeowners.

9. Bold Color Gives a Shared Girls’ Room New Life

When Gill decided to give her daughters’ bedroom a much-needed makeover, she was starting out with a small and dark space that didn’t exactly inspire creativity. Her first order of business was to set the stage with some white paint and light-colored flooring before layering on some seriously strategic color. An accent wall featuring bold, neon-colored removable wallpaper showed off the ceiling height and became the basis for the room’s color scheme. The finished space is functional and completely modern, while still being fun, vibrant and age-appropriate enough for the homeowners’ two young girls.   

10. A $200 Accent Wall Makes This Bedroom Unforgettable

For this year’s One Room Challenge, Liz Elliot decided the six-week deadline would be just the thing to get her in gear to finally fix up her home’s neglected guest room. The biggest time commitment ended up being the mustard yellow accent wall, which Liz tediously designed and installed herself—with very little experience—using semi-round wood molding. Simple accent pieces, like the faded rug and tufted bench, work well to not overwhelm the space. Though the room is small, every detail is purposeful; hanging glass pendants save much-needed space on the nightstands and are a clever alternative to sconces, which would have thrown off the pattern on the wall. Liz is now thrilled with the space, which shows some risks are meant to be taken. 

Credit: Lindsey Boehmke
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11. A Guest Bedroom Filled with DIYs and One Fab IKEA Hack

Lindsey Boehmke’s guest bedroom had become a catch-all for spare furniture when she decided to participate in the One Room Challenge. Over the course of the challenge, she DIYed the entire space, with the vision to turn it into a “modern take on a bedroom at a bed-and-breakfast.” She redid the floors, trimmed out the walls for a board and batten look, and even created a faux fireplace. A clever IKEA hack—two art prints hanging from a stretch of pipe—hide the TV when it’s not in use. Now everything in the room has a purpose, and guests have a gorgeous, calming retreat of their own. 

12. A Drab, Gray Tel Aviv Apartment Is Now Cheery and Colorful

When Shani Ring was tasked to personalize a newlywed couple’s Tel Aviv apartment, she had some great furniture to work with but a totally drab, bare-bones space. As part of a whole-apartment renovation, Shani painted the lower half of the bedroom walls pink and wallpapered the upper half, allowing her to use a pattern that may have otherwise been too busy if it had been used from top to bottom. Painting the full-wall wardrobe a complimentary light green makes it a focal point all its own. The room, once a blank box, now flows perfectly with the rest of the updated space, while still having its own design identity.