One Room Challenge

Before and After: This Teeny Bedroom’s Boho-Meets-Whimsical Redo Spares No Detail

published Aug 28, 2022
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About this before & after
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Before: Bedroom in old home

While it’s not super common for homes to stay within one family over the years, some lucky families are able to keep real estate within their lineage for generations.

That’s the case for interior designer Kelly Collier-Clark and her family; her brother just acquired the home that had been in their family since their mom was a kid. After her brother moved in, Kelly had a new design project on her hands, and this time, it was for a 9-year-old client.

Kelly’s niece had been promised her own bedroom after previously sharing one with siblings — but her new-room-to-be was damaged in some areas and unfinished in others. (See: the dilapidated closet and falling-apart trim.)

“I promised my niece that when she got her own bedroom again I would design it for her,” Kelly says, and the family connection made it special; the room once belonged to Kelly’s mother when she was a child. “My mother was thrilled that her youngest granddaughter would now be sleeping and playing in the room she did as a child. It also gave my niece something exciting to focus on amidst yet another move.”

What commenced was six weeks of repairing walls and floors, cleaning, painting, wallpaper pasting, installing a new light fixture, planning the layout of a fairly small room, and accessorizing, all of which Kelly completed during the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge for around $2,500.

“My niece’s only request aside from a pink color palette was a bookcase,” Kelly says. The savvy designer delivered on both. She painted the walls, ceilings, and ceiling medallion Sherwin Williams’ Angelic for a seamless ballet pink look. Then, Kelly added some drama on the wall opposite the bed with a peel-and-stick watercolor-y mountain mural that’s still in the pink palette for a cohesive feel.

A $40 bookcase provides ample book storage, and for optimal reading in bed, Kelly attached two clamp spotlights to her niece’s headboard — way easier than drilling holes to install sconces!

Overall, the project was a mix of DIY and outsourcing, and Kelly says it was not one without difficulties. The windows, for instance, were original to the home, and not all of them opened. Kelly went used Marcello Velho Flock Curtains from Anthropologie to cover the older windows’ imperfections, but in an ideal world, she would have replaced the windows altogether.

A twin bed, dresser, and other furniture from IKEA created a functional foundation for the bedroom. Finishing touches, including delicate flower dresser knobs, an owl-shaped basket, and a vintage-style area rug tie the space together in a slightly boho, slightly whimsical style that maximizes the bedroom’s small square footage.

For those tasked with their own renovations in smaller spaces, Kelly stresses the importance of measuring all furnishings and planning a layout beforehand. For this project, she says painter’s tape was her best friend; you can see how she used it in the “before” photo above to map out where each piece would live.

Thanks to her aunt’s thorough expertise in interior design, Kelly’s niece has the cozy, tranquil bedroom she’d long been wishing for. And the best part? This space is all her own.

This project was completed for the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here.