Before and After: A Dark, Gloomy Bedroom Becomes an Artist’s Airy Home Office

published Jul 23, 2021
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Before: gray room with beige carpet

Many people across the country had to carve out space to work from home this past year, due to temporarily shuttered offices and stay-at-home guidelines issued in a number of states. While some people will eventually head back, others will continue working from home indefinitely — which means a more permanent setup is required.

Professional artist Jennifer Allevato had worked from home prior to the onset of COVID-19, but in her old place, her home studio was cramped and dark. At the townhome she and her husband recently purchased, though, the bedroom that she wanted to turn into her studio was a little bigger, had 15-foot-high ceilings, and — most importantly, for an artist — great natural light.

However, the room wasn’t a perfect setup as-is. The dark gray walls and tan carpet weren’t ideal for a painting studio, and the room’s closet was too closed-off to be functional. So Jennifer, her husband Jason, and her brother John all pitched in to make the room a dream studio.

Jennifer and Jason started with the painting, covering the dark gray with a bright and crisp white. “The dark gray walls took three coats of white paint to cover!” Jennifer says. “Looking back, we probably should have primed before painting; I think it would have gone much faster.”

While they were at it, Jennifer removed the closet’s doors and shelving to make the space more functional for her needs. “The result was a nook perfect to tuck a small computer desk into, without sacrificing any floor space for art making,” she says. And there’s an extra personal touch: the back wall is lined with wallpaper she had custom-made from her own artwork.

Jennifer and Jason hired pros to rip out the old carpet and replace it with new luxury vinyl plank flooring with a whitewashed look. “Since this is an art studio with paint and water and varnish and general messiness, I wanted a floor that was low-maintenance and water resistant,” Jennifer says. “I have since discovered that dried acrylic paint can even be peeled off these floors, which is just so useful as I tend to be a messy painter.”

Jennifer’s brother John helped her install large shelves and a peg rail system for all of her paintings. “The peg system was based off artist friend Catherine Freshley’s tutorial, using 1×2 trim board and ½-inch dowels, but I placed mine horizontally across the walls instead of vertically based off the space I had,” Jennifer says. “I painted the peg strips white, but ended up keeping the shelves natural wood for a touch of warmth.”

The peg system isn’t just for storage, either: “I can even paint larger-sized pieces easily since I’m no longer restricted by the size of my easel,” Jennifer says.

Now, the bright white studio is the perfect place for Jennifer to work. “I knew I wanted an all-white space for as much light-bounce as possible while painting,” she says. The after, with light floors and bright walls, is just what she’d pictured. “It truly feels like a gift,” says Jennifer.

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