The 10 Best Bedroom Redos of 2021 Feature Smart Storage and Serene Styling

published Dec 15, 2021
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Before: White bedroom with bed, crates for nightstands, and gray rug
Credit: Amilia James

Good things take time. Sometimes good things take a little money, too. So when it comes to designing bedrooms, it’s no wonder that worthwhile transformations that could take several weekends and some cash can be pushed down the to-do list for projects visitors are more likely to see. As we look back on the best bedroom before-and-afters of the year, that seems to be a running theme: Why tackle a primary, kid, or guest bedroom when there are so many other things to accomplish?

These renovators know that the answer is simple: Because it’s worth it in the long run. When they massaged their budgets for paint, bookshelves, and vintage furniture — and then spent days, weeks, and months getting to work — they were able to discover how good it feels to have this job completed. A relaxing bedroom can be a calm cocoon at the end of a long day, just as a luxurious guest room can actually make loved ones feel welcome (no matter how much you say it). And when a child has enough shelving to store all their toys behind their own door, well, that’s a blessing for everyone. 

Follow along as we revisit 10 makeovers to see why they were chosen as the best bedroom redos of 2021. Using ingenuity, resourcefulness, and a much-needed push to get past the finish line, these renovators should inspire you to make your own bedroom feel equally special. 

1. A Boring Guest Room Gets Updated as a Mini Getaway

It’s common for guest rooms to be an afterthought, which is how Nida Rehman’s space looked before she started renovating it. It’s beige walls and cursory bed didn’t make it feel welcoming or cozy, and she wanted her visitors to feel both when they came over to stay. After calculating how to cut arches into plywood, she did so and installed them on the walls using a nail gun. Then she applied a joint compound to create a textured effect on the surface, placed beams overhead with her husband’s help, and furnished the room with plush hotel vibes. Now it feels like a mini vacation, complete with a reading sconce and plenty of pillows. 

2. A New Layout Takes a Bedroom From Cluttered to Calm

Michele Kraus Bennett’s bedroom had plenty of problems. In addition to a cluttered closet that blocked the sole heat source, making her cold in the winter, Michele’s bedroom also had awkward attic access doors behind the bed and dresser. The walls were also crumbling, too. She imagined an organized and thoughtful retreat where she could rest comfortably, and partnered with her neighbor — a contractor, for the win — to do a five-month revamp. The old closet was nixed and the attic was used for built-in storage, creating a bigger layout for a king-sized bed. It doesn’t even look like the same place! 

3. A Couple Vows to Make Their Primary Bedroom a Beautiful Retreat

Since very few visitors ever saw Jennifer Harrup and her husband’s bedroom, it stayed bland for years. Once they moved, she decided that their new bedroom would be filled with much more intention. Over the course of a year, they painted the mint walls a rich shade of blue, added a mix of traditional-meets-modern furniture, and arranged a sitting room fit for royalty. The results feel like the type of room you’d want to show to anyone who stopped by. 

4. A Neglected Bedroom Becomes a Place to Work and Rest

Prior to the pandemic, Sarah Wissinger and Nick Malburg barely used their guest bedroom — unless it was for clothes storage and the occasional visitor. But once she began working from home, they decided to transform the blank space into an office and bedroom combo. They painted the walls and installed a new white trim, and then built a wraparound upholstered headboard. They then constructed a desk with IKEA storage, swapped out the old fan for a new light fixture, and added lots of trendy furnishings. Now it’s an ideal area to get work done and host loved ones. 

5. A Dusty Attic Is Revived into a Minimalist-Meets-Vintage Guest Room

When Kerry Villers first moved into her home, it seemed as though the creepy attic hadn’t been changed in years. It was dusty, dirty, and smelled a little funny. So, it became a storage space more than anything else, until she found out she was pregnant and her family needed the extra room. With help from her husband and a couple of pros, they turned the attic into a cozy hideaway complete with vintage touches and lots of light. In fact, it pretty much looks like a hotel. 

6. A Room With Peeling Wallpaper Returns Much More Stylishly to the Past

Carla Isolano wanted a “decadent” guest room for her loved ones to stay in, so she was embarrassed when the actual state of the room was anything but. Besides peeling wallpaper and coats of old paint, the floorboards were also in desperate need of refinishing. It took her a lot of effort — which included unforeseen holes under the windows the wallpaper was hiding — but with a fresh coat of blue paint and Old World-inspired furniture, the room now has plenty of luxurious atmosphere to wow her guests. 

7. A Childhood Bedroom Gets a Moody Upgrade With Black Walls

Amilia James knew that her childhood bedroom could use some improvements whenever she and guests decided to stay over, so she took it upon herself to update its design with a moody palette. Using just $450 over the course of three weekends, she painted all the walls in a daring shade of black, and then built an angular upholstered headboard in pink velvet so that it would surely stand out. A desk was added to the corner alongside a few accessories, and now the room feels completely grownup.

8. A Boy’s Bedroom Is Upgraded to Have Toy Storage to Spare

There wasn’t enough storage in Nina’s son’s bedroom, and as any parent knows, that just won’t do. Nina imagined a more functional space that could still feel stylish well into his teenage years, and started by outlining floor-to-ceiling built-ins opposite his bed. She installed those cubbies and a window seat in a bright shade of white to coordinate with blue walls, but had a professional tackle a floating desk for homework. Now the room has storage to spare, and that’s always a good thing. 

9. A Cramped Bedroom Gets Upgraded With a Clever Fix for a Problem

Designer ​​Jordan Miranda had a client with a small bedroom that felt dark and cluttered. And, strangely enough, there was also a ledge that split each wall in two. Miranda painted the room in a creamy white, and then leaned into the ledge with a latticed headboard where art and plants can be displayed. She then outfitted the room in a bohemian style that’s all about earth tones, from the terracotta-colored duvet to the accessories on the new dresser. The room now feels brighter and larger, without any major changes. 

Credit: Katie Bullard
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10. A Dark Bedroom Gets a Bright Makeover With Intentional Furnishings

When Katie Bullard moved into a row house years ago, she sourced IKEA furniture to fix the main bedroom up quickly — and painted the walls charcoal without testing it out first. The results made for a room that was dark and impersonal, until she decided to change it with a bright white palette. Painting the walls again took a few days, but then she added a graphic accent that matched her black sconces perfectly. She also took time to find furniture that feels better suited to the space, making everything seem much more intentional.