Before and After: A Studio Bedroom Gets a $1,250 Redo That’s a Maximalist’s Dream

published Jan 30, 2024
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Stripes, a popular design and DIY trend this year, can be controversial. In small doses, they can be whimsical and joyous, but, if done in an overwhelming way, they can cause quite the optical illusion. 

When Michelle Norris (@michellenorrisphoto) worked with her partner Forrest Aguar (@forrestaguar) on a studio project — the pair own the apartment but rent it out — they chose to lean into the organized chaos of colorful stripes. In the about-100-square-foot bedroom, there wasn’t a ton of space to play with, but for Michelle and Forrest, bigger meant better when it came to pattern. 

The bedroom’s style before wasn’t exactly drab and colorless. There was pale yellow on the walls, but the “mishmash of styles” and “uninspired furniture” meant the room didn’t make a lot of sense. “There was carpet throughout that feels like it could have originated in a movie theater or bowling alley,” Michelle adds. “The lighting felt dim.” 

The stripes line up on the walls and furniture.

Michelle says paint made the biggest difference in the space, but it was also the most time-consuming and difficult part of the project, and her advice to those wanting to pursue a similar project is to “be patient with the painting because perfecting it is worth the time.”

Forrest carefully measured out the striped pattern and meticulously taped the walls to map out each stripe, and then the pair painstakingly coordinated the stripes on the bed frames and side tables with the varying widths of the wood paneling.

The matchup of the stripes from the walls onto the bed and bedside tables (in black and white)  “is a fun touch that feels out-of-the-ordinary, not to mention the continuation in the bedding,” Michelle says. For the walls, Michelle and Forrest used Benjamin Moore’s Summer Lime, and the bedding is from Spoonflower.

The “movie theater or bowling alley” carpeting didn’t go — it provided bold inspo.

Instead of immediately ripping up the dated carpet, the pair decided to use it as a retro inspiration for the rest of the room. In fact, a few of the “dated” elements from before stayed. 

The wall was wood paneled, so Michelle and Forrest used the vertical lines as a guide for their stripes on the wall, and they added a pop of red (Benjamin Moore’s Million Dollar Red) on the trim. “The red trim specifically elevated the space in a way we can’t emphasize enough,” Michelle says.

The couple also kept the same bed frame and side tables from before and just painted over them. Their budget-savvy redo cost about $1,250.

The maximalist after is a “feast for the eyes.”

In the small closet space, they added a bright red locker that matches the trim and replaced the glass on the mounted light with white instead of a pattern. Michelle and Forrest chose to decorate the rest of the room with a mixture of new and vintage pieces. The tall red lamp, standing mirror, black pitcher, and lamp on the locker are vintage. The striped lampshade is custom by Colours of Arley, and the small pink lamp it sits upon is from Target

“The space is a joy to be in now,” Michelle says. “It feels vivid and bright. It’s literally lighter with improved lighting, but it’s a feast for the eyes everywhere you look.”