Before and After: A $60 DIY Bedroom Makeover is Majorly Minimalist

published Nov 29, 2023
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Over time, your design taste may change. For example, you might learn to love pattern-mixing and become more maximalist, you might become emboldened to incorporate brick and wood tones in your space for a more rustic vibe, or you might go totally boho. 

Homeowner Shawn-a-lee McCutcheon Bell’s (@salsjustlife) style has skewed more minimalist the longer she and her husband have lived in their townhouse. For example, when they first moved in, Shawn-a-lee added a birch wallpaper in her guest room, but recently, she ditched the wallpaper for crisp white paint and minimalism. 

“I have disabilities, so it’s beginning to get harder for me to clean, so going minimal was the right move,” Shawn-a-lee says. “Like the rest of the house, keeping things white and decluttered has not only brightened the space, allowing artwork to pop, but also allowed us to live more comfortably with less. I’m much happier not needing to fill every nook and cranny with things just for the sake of having them filled.” Here’s how she DIYed her make-under, for under £50 (or under $60), approximately.

Credit: Shawn-a-lee McCutcheon Bell

Underneath the birch wallpaper, there was more wallpaper.

Removing the wallpaper and painting all the walls a crisp white (Wilko’s Brilliant White) made the biggest difference in the room, but it was also the most difficult part of the redo, Shawn-a-lee says, because underneath the birch wallpaper she’d added, there were layers and layers of old textured wallpaper. 

“The wood chip paper was awful to clean up, and the thin ‘70s wallpaper was stuck tight,” Shawn-a-lee recalls. “A lot of work went into removing it all.” But she’s pleased with her bright white walls and says it’s easy to touch up nicks and scratches with almost any brand of bright white paint. 

Credit: Shawn-a-lee McCutcheon Bell

A new closet adds storage, and decluttering doubles down on the minimalist vibe.

Where there was once a brown wardrobe before, there’s now a full-fledged closet built into the alcove. Shawn-a-lee and her husband built the closet themselves. “We reused the doors from the wardrobe and used reclaimed wood to build a new closet,” Shawn-a-lee explains. “We put in simple shelving units inside which now hold all our clothes.”

In addition to concealing clothes and clutter, Shawn-a-lee and her husband got rid of a lot of stuff cluttering up the room and cut down on visual color by opting for lots of white decor. “Letting go of old clothes and knickknacks was easier than I thought it would be,” Shawn-a-lee says. Her advice? “If you find you’re resenting cleaning, are just accumulating stuff and never using it, and are sick of changing wall colors or wallpaper every year, then becoming minimal may be your saving grace,” she says. 

In her “after,” her artwork now takes center stage, she no longer spends hours shifting knickknacks around to clean, and she only has clothing she actually wears, she explains.

Credit: Shawn-a-lee McCutcheon Bell
Credit: Shawn-a-lee McCutcheon Bell

A DIY headboard adds a pop of color.

One last small change Shawn-a-lee made to the bedroom was the headboard. “I recovered the headboard with fabric which was a cheap and easy way of putting some color in the space,” she says, proving that minimal doesn’t have to mean color-free. 

The headboard is flanked by Shawn-a-lee’s artwork, of course, and two wall-mount light fixtures, which “allow the side tables to remain free for books and drinks at night, and removing all the clutter means cleaning is now a wipe and done,” she says. 

For more advice for creating a stylish, minimalist space like Shawn-a-lee’s, check out these seven ways to add warmth to a minimalist space, these three tips for simplifying your style, and these 35 minimalist bedroom inspiration photos.