Before and After: A Guest Room Gets a $900 Glow-Up with a Paint Surprise on the Ceiling

published Jan 16, 2024
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When you’re thinking about where to make improvements in a room, you might not think of the ceiling first, but paying special attention to the ceiling can make a space feel extra, well, special. 

In this guest room, upgraded by Apartment Therapy’s 2023 DIY Collective member Marcel Degenais (@brewcitybuilds) for homeowners Chris and Kim, the ceiling needed the most help. “The one thing that stuck out like a sore thumb was the ’90s fan in the middle of the ceiling, so I was happy to hear that [Chris and Kim] were open to swapping it out for a pendant light,” Marcel says. (The rest of the room was “a beigey tan with a turquoise accent wall,” Marcel describes.)

A neutral paint on the walls allows for a bold choice on the ceiling.

In his redo, Marcel swapped turquoise and beige for black and white. He filled and sanded all the holes from the existing art on the walls and went with a warm white (Behr’s Fresh Popcorn) on the walls. “I wanted to make the room feel bigger, so rather than painting another accent wall, I thought the black ceiling paired with a fresh coat of warm white walls would open it up in there,” Marcel says, but his favorite paint choice is the dramatic black (Behr’s Cracked Pepper) he used on the ceiling.

“If you’re considering painting your ceiling, you definitely should,” Marcel says. “It’s a great way to bring in a unique design feature for not a lot of money, or effort. You can literally choose any color you’re thinking and it will most likely look great. Plus, it’s low-risk, as you can paint over it if you’re not feeling it, or renting.”

The ceiling medallion and glass pendant are modern-meets-classic.

Marcel also swapped out the eyesore ceiling fan with a glass pendant, and he added a ceiling medallion for a little more architectural detail. “I am in love with how the black ceiling looks with the ceiling medallion and pendant light,” Marcel says “I painted it the same color and finish as the ceiling.”

Other swaps helped the room feel larger.

Other DIYs in the space include a floating shelf made from a 1×8 pine board, painted in the same popcorn white to blend in with the walls, and swapping out all of the old almond-colored light switches and power outlets for more modern white ones. (Marcel recommends hiring an electrician for this.)

In addition, changing the layout of the furniture in the room “made a huge difference,” Marcel says. “[Before,] the sofa was the first thing you saw when you walked in, so moving it to the opposite side of the room made it more inviting and less of a wall someone would hit as they entered the room.” Marcel says if he could change one thing about the guest room, he would buy a larger sleeper sofa “but it wasn’t in the budget, and [Chris and Kim] still needed a place for guests to sleep, so it wasn’t going to happen.” Still, he says “all the updates in the room made it fit in the space a little better.”

He added new window shades, a new rug, an accent chair from IKEA, and new decor to cozy things up. Marcel also used much of Chris and Kim’s existing artwork to create gallery walls with color cohesion. This time around, “They wanted to go for a more minimal vibe,” Marcel describes — and he certainly accomplished the goal, all for around $900. “You can make a space feel totally different with a fresh coat of paint and switching things around if you feel like you need a change in a room,” Marcel says.