One Room Challenge

Before and After: A Red Wallpapered Spare Room Gets a Total Transformation for Just Under $3,000

published May 28, 2022
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About this before & after
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Before: red walls with desk and dresser
Credit: Amy Mynhier

Guest bedrooms in homes often serve multiple purposes. They’re a sleep space, sometimes an office space, and often a spot where extra clothes, games, or other seasonal items are stored.

In DIYer Amy Mynhier (@amhomedesigns)’s home, the spare bedroom “has been a little bit of everything,” she says. Since it was continually changing functions and not a high priority, it was difficult to decorate. She could simply shut the door and forget about it.

Credit: Amy Mynhier

Whenever Amy did take a hard look at the room, though, the first thing she wanted to change was the wallpaper. It was overwhelming and made the whole space feel smaller, especially when viewed alongside the reddish-orange tones in the wood flooring. It was too much red. “My husband would have to blur his background after numerous co-workers commented on the red wallpaper,” Amy says. “It was very obvious that it needed an update.”

In the eight-week One Room Challenge, Amy and her husband (under the guidance of Amy’s father-in-law) transformed the room, starting with the walls. “There were a lot of steps in getting the walls completed,” Amy says.

Credit: Amy Mynhier

First up, they removed the old wallpaper and washed off the lingering glue, then got to work on their picture frame moulding. “I have removed wallpaper, primed, and painted in the past, so those steps I was prepared for,” Amy says. “The other steps were new and definitely had a learning curve! Putting up the molding was fun and so exciting to watch it come together.”

Before installing anything, the group started by measuring the room to plan the spacing. Then, they sketched out the rectangles on the walls, cut the moulding to length, and nailed it up. This was a little tricky because the walls and floors in Amy’s home aren’t completely even. “It wasn’t a big issue, but I had to adjust accordingly and change cut lengths based on each wall and its quirks,” Amy remembers.

Credit: Amy Mynhier

Amy says the hardest parts of the moulding process were the smoothing details because of how much time they took to file, sand, and caulk. Her best advice is to start adding the moulding where you know furniture or curtains will cover it in the room. “You will get better as you go,” she says.

Another tough part of the process was getting the furniture just right for a room that had already been through several iterations. “I found a desk I loved and really designed the whole room around it. I loved the look of it and it was in budget, so I ordered it,” Amy explains. “When it arrived, it wasn’t even close to what I had ordered. They had sent me the wrong desk. When I went to correct this error, the desk was out of stock for four months. There was no way for me to have the desk and complete this room on time.”

Credit: Amy Mynhier

Amy had to pivot and searched high and low for a desk similar to the one she’d envisioned. She ended up buying one off Facebook Marketplace from a family that was downsizing. “They paid $1,600 for the desk in 1973, and I got it for $450,” Amy says.

Looking back, Amy says the desk was “almost meant to be” because most of the other furniture in the space is secondhand, too. The bed, nightstand, picture frame, and books are thrifted. “New furniture as well as the wood I was using for the molding had taken such a huge increase in price that I wasn’t sure if I could do it,” Amy shares. “I decided to thrift as many pieces as I could, and I was able to stay within budget and have the room ready by the deadline.” Her redo cost $2,958 total.

Credit: Amy Mynhier

Amy says if she could change one thing about the space it would be to give the ceiling a fresh coat of paint, too — but overall, she’s proud of how far the space has come.

Her favorite part is the picture frame moulding. “I had never used a miter saw, nail gun, or even bought wood,” she says. “The scope of the project was a little daunting with the number of things I would have to do, but learning new things is fun! … It’s such a good life lesson to continue to push yourself, and whether you mess up or create something beautiful, at least you tried.”

For more picture frame moulding inspiration, check out this home’s cool gallery wall and DIY moulding made from literal picture frames.

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.