Before and After: A $100 Makeover Gives This “No Design” Bedroom Major Retro Style

published Dec 11, 2023
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Some people are decade dabblers — a term Apartment Therapy’s Real Homes Hub Director, Adrienne Breaux, coined to describe one who incorporates lots of colors, textures, shapes, patterns, and other throwback elements from more than just one stylish decade. And this term just might be a fit for homeowner Libby Paulsen (@libpaulsen_), a lover of both vintage fashion and interiors. 

While Libby’s bathroom in the home she shares with her boyfriend, Sandor, leans a bit more toward the 1950s, the guest bedroom in their home, with its color palette and its “whimsical retro vibe,” as Libby puts it, skews a bit more ’70s. Well, it does now, anyway — before the redo, it was a blank space.

“We decided to update the space because we had guests coming into town and wanted an inviting space for them to feel welcome in our home,” Libby says. “Before our project, the guest room had no design.” Libby says it was last on their home to-do list and was painted beige by the previous sellers, so it was a blank slate. It had great potential, though, thanks to its large windows that overlook the yard.

A half-height stripe packs a color punch. 

“The most important step was painting the lower part of the room with Benjamin Moore’s Gladstone Tan, a paint that we had leftover from another project in the house,” Libby says, adding that because the beds she scored for the room on Facebook Marketplace had no headboards, she wanted the paint to act as a backdrop and ground the space. 

“The paint creates harmony between the two beds and the dresser, giving almost a built-in look,” Libby says. She had never painted a half-height wall border before and was a bit worried about creating a crisp line, but she looked up a tutorial online, measured and marked the outline, and then used tape to make it happen, and it turned out better than she expected. 

Because she didn’t have to pay anything for the paint for this project, Libby says she was “surprised with how big the impact was on the space with an almost-free transformation.”

Vintage finds fill in the space. 

Libby shopped her own home or went the secondhand route for most of the decor in the room, too, and she says she went with a primary color scheme to maintain a lighthearted feel throughout. The bedframes are IKEA UTÅKERS that Libby found on Facebook Marketplace. “The dresser was found being thrown out in the neighborhood,” she adds. “All the accessories besides the duvets and roller blinds were pieces that we already had around the house.”

Libby took down the mini blinds before and replaced them with roller blinds and drapes that she sewed with fabric she found at an estate sale. The rug is also vintage, from an estate sale, as is the lamp, and the blankets are vintage from eBay. “Finding pieces you can repurpose from around your home forces you to be creative and think of old objects in a new light,” Libby says. “The entire project was budget-friendly.”

Down the line, Libby says she wants to rip up the carpet and install new flooring, but for now, she’s pleased with how much change she made for just about $100. “I learned to look around my own home for supplies for a design rather than just going out and buying new every time I want to redo a space,” she says. “Also, using paint in a different way than just painting the entire room can make a big impact.”