Before and After: A Windowless Basement Becomes a Sunny Bedroom with the Best Headboard Hack We’ve Seen in a While

updated Mar 29, 2021
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Windowless Basement Bedroom

When it came to redesigning her teen daughter’s space, blogger and interior stylist Jewel Marlowe‘s work was cut out for her. The cramped area lacked storage and character: Beige walls, dated wall-to-wall carpeting, and mahogany dark furnishings were pretty much all it had. A color-charged makeover was what it needed, especially since there were no windows—or natural light—in this basement room.

First things first, the bed had to go. Marlowe sold the piece for $50 at a community yard sale and immediately went to work on giving the room a much-needed facelift that involved a fresh coat of paint and new stock trim moldings.

Once the foundation of the room was set, it was time to bring in the color. Inspiration struck when Marlowe spotted a fan palm leaf print designed by Julia Schumacher on Spoonflower. The aptly titled “Boho Sunshine” pattern, set on yellow cotton fabric.

“I’ve always wanted a headboard that matched the wallpaper behind it, and this was the perfect little room to play around with it,” says Marlowe. Her daughter, however, didn’t like the idea of wallpapering the entire room, so they went for the next best thing: A patterned headboard hack with matching bedding. 

Using eight 1”x5”x8” boards, which retail for less than $5 a piece at home centers, Marlowe built a horizontal, tufted headboard that would sit on the ground behind the bed frame. She covered each piece of board twice, first in batting, and then in the colorful fabric. “By far, the hardest part of it was matching up the repeating pattern,” the stylist says, but with a little planning and some trial-and-error, she managed to cut and fit the look to perfection.

The complementary duvet cover and shams came next, settling in as a seamless extension of the integrated headboard. Of course, this whole headboard hack would be much easier—and cheaper!—to pull off with solid fabric and your current bed linens. Matching things exactly obviously ups the decorative impact. But you could pick something complementary for your “headboard” or even work with a more freeform, organic patterned fabric where the repeat doesn’t matter as much.

Much like the rest of the room, the old-school mahogany dresser also got a new lease on life. Using sample paint from the garage, Marlowe mixed in Plaster of Paris and water to make a basic DIY chalk paint, which would negate the need to prime the dresser. She then sealed it with Velvet Finishes’ Protect to glaze the unit and spray painted the hardware gold, so that it would pop against the forest green hue (Behr’s Chard).

A new closet, built out by a contractor earlier this year, also got the paint treatment, with a dreamy wash of Farrow and Ball’s Setting Plaster—or what Marlowe refers to as the perfect shade of pink. Inside, she installed an old dresser that previously lived in another room upstairs and gave it a revamp of its own. “It used to be black, gold, and had ugly legs,” the stylist recalls. “I had always liked but not loved the piece, and we wanted it to look like a custom closet built-in, but with the flexibility to remove it if needed.” So they matched the dresser’s paint to the walls and attached molding to it, so that it would feel as if it was built-into the closet itself. 

For the finishing touches, Marlowe brought in a large jute rug to cover up the dated carpeting, and she added decorative accents featuring pops of green to tie the elements of the charming room together. A cheerful oasis, indeed.