Before and After: A $350 Bedroom Redo Uses 6 Paint Colors to Make a Major Change

published Oct 9, 2023
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These homeowners wanted to use this extra-large room — technically a living room — as a guest room and home office hybrid.

Historic homes often come with formal sitting or dining rooms that don’t always vibe with 2023 living, so why not turn those into something you’ll use more, like a home gym, a home office, or zen den?

“Our home is a traditional foursquare Colonial, so it has a living room and a family room, and no one needs both anymore,” homeowner Emily Parlove says. For the Parloves, it made more sense to turn the living room into a home office/guest bedroom hybrid, and it took more than just finding the right furniture mix. 

“The previous owners hadn’t done much with the space since moving in, but it seems as if they painted the entire house some shade of off-white — walls, ceiling, and trim. All of it!” Emily says. “Plus, the previous owner was a heavy smoker, so most walls had that orange tint to it … this one being no exception. Working from home, I was using this room on a daily basis. It was really just this hollow space. It wasn’t welcoming or cozy or happy.”

The one thing Emily liked about the room was its size. Here’s how she used it to its full potential. 

The project started with $100 French doors from Facebook Marketplace. 

Before fully diving into furniture and decor, Emily and her husband purchased a set of French doors to place in the entrance to the room. “They were exterior doors, solid wood, and very heavy,” Emily recalls, but they would make for a grand entrance to the space. “We had no experience putting doors in, particularly ones in an existing frame,” Emily says. “So we were really going to be winging it.” 

It wasn’t until after they’d already purchased the doors and gotten started that they realized that the doors were too wide for the existing space — and that they weren’t actually a matching set, so the holes for the hinges didn’t match up. “We had to fill most of them and then re-drill,” Emily says. “We put our thinking caps on and decided to use a table saw to trim the doors down to size. We did not have a table saw, nor did either of us know how to really use a table saw. The project was immediately over-budget and out of scope. Needless to say, our $100 purchase of some really great solid doors turned into a really big project.”

But the hard work was worth it, Emily says. “Unless you’re examining them, you can’t notice any of the imperfections or asymmetry, so we think they turned out fantastic and get compliments on them when we tell people where they came from and how we got them in.”

“Seventy-five percent of this room project was just painting.”

After the doors were installed, Emily and her husband, Court, pivoted to painting. “I’d say 75% of this room project was just painting,” she says. “So much paint.” 

The light blue base on three of the walls is Valspar’s Cool Mist, and the orange accent wall is Behr’s Mango Tango. All told, Emily and Court had to choose six different types of paint: ceiling, trim, blue wall paint, orange wall paint, and teal for the dash patterns and furniture. “So many colors and rollers and brushes,” Emily says. 

And the dash-like pattern on the walls is her favorite part of the room redo. “When I explained to people what my plan was, they all suggested one wall with the pattern and then doing a solid color for the other three walls,” Emily says. “No way. I had a vision.”

With the rest of the home being gray or blue, Emily says she wanted one opportunity to go a little out-of-the-box. “It needed to be fun, but also inviting,” she says. “The pattern went much faster than I expected. I think it also helps that there are windows and doors on all of the pattern walls, which helps break up the busy.”

A furniture facelift brings the project to the finish line. 

After finishing the painting, the couple hung shelves from Amazon and played around with the placement of the (mostly secondhand) furniture. The bed and dresser are hand-me-downs, the ottoman and ottoman covers were auction and thrift finds, respectively, and the wardrobe was a Facebook Marketplace find for $25. (The project total, by the way, was about $350.) 

Emily decided to paint the piece teal, inspired by a wardrobe she saw online years ago. “Every time I look at it, it makes me happy,” she says. “Not only did it turn out great, but it also sort of was a dream come true to finally have this piece of furniture that I’d been wanting for so long!”

In the end, the biggest lesson Emily learned in making over this space is to be ambitious, especially with paint. “For the most part, we’ve played it pretty safe with our room makeovers, so I was ready to be a little adventurous with this one but was terrified I was going overboard,” Emily says. 

Her risks paid off, though, and she is very happy with the result. To anyone wanting to redo a space like this, her advice is, “Don’t be scared to be adventurous, especially when it comes to paint. It’s not hard to paint over it if you don’t like it, but it doesn’t hurt to try it.”