Before and After: A $275 Upgrade Makes a Boring Bedroom Instagram-Worthy

published Jan 20, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Organic Modern
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: Sparse bedroom with tan walls

You can make a sleeping space beautiful without needing to shell out a ton of money for a fancy new bed. Here’s proof: Nicole Ellsworth was able to give her existing bed a new life for under $300.

“I have lived in my apartment for about three years and had never really paid much attention to my bed and wall above,” she says. “There were other areas of my apartment that I felt needed more attention, so I ended up just leaving well enough alone to focus my energy on those higher-priority areas.”

But that changed in 2020. “Once I started working from home during the pandemic and the blank wall was staring at me all day every day, the wheels began to turn,” Nicole says. She wanted something that felt warm, with sconces and an interesting headboard — and she wanted to keep it on a budget. She pinned some Pinterest images and got to work creating her space.

Nicole created a slatted headboard using plywood, which she cut, sanded, stained, and installed with help from her dad, a pro contractor. Having the slats go from floor to ceiling adds a sense of drama. The total cost for the slatted wall materials: Just $85.

Nicole found the artwork that now hangs above the bed in her parents’ house; it was part of her great-grandmother’s collection. Nicole’s mom, a pro framer, helped her mat and frame it for display. “I am very lucky to have such handy parents who also entertain my ideas,” Nicole says.

Next, Nicole grabbed two sconces at IKEA for $24.99 each. The backplate was silver, which wasn’t her style, but a couple coats of gold spray paint she already had on hand gave them a warmer look. Since they’re plug-in sconces, Nicole says all she had to do was let them dry before hanging on the wall — no wiring required.

Nicole finished the space with a new rug from IKEA, fresh pillows, and a couple new plants. Her total cost for the whole project came in at just $275.

“My room feels like a truly brand new place,” Nicole says. “It’s intimate and warm, and the sconces have dimming bulbs that I can control the brightness on.”

The best part: All of these changes are reversible before Nicole, who rents, moves out. “I didn’t want to do anything super permanent,” she says. “When I have my own home, I plan to do some hard-wired sconces, paint the walls, etc. For now, I am very pleased with the easy to move-out upgrade.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.