Before and After: A Dark Bedroom Gets a Bright and Breezy Glow-Up

published Apr 20, 2021
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About this before & after
Home Type
Historic Home
Project Type
Bedroom
Style
Mid-century Modern
Organic Modern
Scandinavian
Skill Level
DIY
Rental Friendly
Yes
Before: Bedroom with dark gray-purple walls and black nightstands
Credit: Katie Bullard

When you move into a new place and need furniture ASAP, you often don’t have time to search for a perfect fit. That “good enough” space can be, well, good enough — but after a while, you might find that it’s time to upgrade your surroundings to match what you’d really envisioned.

Credit: Katie Bullard

That was the case for homeowner Katie Bullard at her 1910 rowhouse. When she moved in back in 2016, she’d “grabbed the first furniture we saw at IKEA to furnish it.” As for the wall color, Katie had picked a charcoal gray without first testing it in the space.”I knew it wasn’t quite right as soon as I saw it,” Katie says. “The room always felt dark, and not in a fun cozy way.”

Credit: Katie Bullard

Last year, the bedroom also became the office, presenting new challenges. “When the pandemic hit and we started to work from home, we jammed desks in here too,” Katie says. “I realized I was spending all my time working and sleeping in a room that didn’t bring me joy.”

Credit: Katie Bullard

Knowing she could do better, Katie decided to scrap the room as it was and redecorate it in a way that actually made her feel happy to be there.

Credit: Katie Bullard

Inspired by a photo she saw online, Katie decided to do a graphic wood trim accent wall in the nook behind the bed. She started by painting the whole bedroom white — which took a couple days — then purchased a nail gun and a manual miter saw to do the woodworking. After borrowing a pressure tank from a neighbor for the nail gun, Katie was able to pull off the accent wall herself. Painting the trim black made it pop; it also helps the cords of the new wall-mount plug-in sconces blend in seamlessly (a smart hack!).

Credit: Katie Bullard

As for the furniture, Katie reached for pieces with a lighter feel than the old dark wood ones, and a cool mid-century style. The trickiest pieces to find were the nightstands, since the bed nook only fits about 10 inches on either side — but Katie managed to find a matching pair of slim marble-top side tables that fit perfectly.

Credit: Katie Bullard

A slim shelf turns the tiny nook where one of the dressers sits into its only little display area. And of course, the final touch is a hanging plant by the windows (which now feel way bigger without the old curtains).

“I love that the space feels so much lighter and brighter,” Katie says. “As a friend commented, it manages to be both interesting and calming. Overall, the room is much nicer to be in now!”

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