One Room Challenge

Before and After: A “Boring” Bedroom Gets a Serene Makeover and a Clever DIY Headboard

published Jun 21, 2022
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About this before & after
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Rental Friendly
Before: Bedroom with window and mattress on floor

Choosing the right headboard can be tricky, and sometimes the best solution is no headboard at all. From painted arches to peel-and-stick wallpaper to gallery walls above pillows to cool light fixtures, there are plenty of alternatives to traditional wood, metal, or upholstered headboards for spotlighting a bed — and they’re often DIY-able and less expensive than your average headboard.

One such example is Rebekah Bearden (@builditthrifty)’s slat wall feature behind the basic bed frame in her guest bedroom, which she added during a whole-room revamp as part of the the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge.

Before, the room was pretty sparse. “It had no clear design, just some random furniture,” Rebekah says, adding that it was “dark, drab, and boring with no identity” and “definitely not the coziest place to put a guest.” She was looking to make the space feel more complete and cozy.

She also had a 30-year-old piano in the room that she wanted to spruce up. “It had definitely seen better days,” Rebekah writes on her blog. Rebekah was able to revamp the piano — and the room — through the power of DIY.

First, Rebekah upgraded the walls. She skim-coated three of the walls to make them smooth before adding her cloudy Photowall wallpaper (her first time trying pasted wallpaper), and she primed and then painted the wall opposite the bed a bright white, Benjamin Moore’s Simply White, a “go-to white that’s everywhere in [her] house.”

“Even small changes like paint can make a bedroom feel so much better!” Rebekah says.

After treating the walls, Rebekah swapped out the light fixture — a controversial “boob-style” one — from before for a more trendy flush-mount one with crystal daisy details.

Next, it was time to make the bed a feature in the space. Rebekah built a bed frame from scratch using select pine. To get the unique weathered color, she stained it using a white stain first and then a golden oak stain on top. “The end result was like a neutral greige, which was exactly what I was looking for,” she writes on her blog. “I also did a wood conditioner before I applied any stains. It really makes a difference.”

Rebekah used the same wood stain on her slat wall, another DIY first for her. The pendant lights hanging to the left and right were $16 clearance finds from Amazon. “They are faux and not hardwired in, so I got battery bulbs to use in them,” Rebekah says. Both the slat wall and symmetrical lighting help to make the bed more pronounced in the space — no attached headboard necessary.

You might not notice these details at first glance, but Rebekah also revamped the trim and doors in the space to make everything more polished. She used wide-set trim around the windows and for the baseboards, and added new facings, hardware, and paint to her original doors.

For the piano, Rebekah used a light pink piano photo she found on Pinterest as inspiration; the paint shade she picked was Behr’s Angelico. “It’s just the right amount of pink,” she says on her blog. She taped off the keys and wheels so as not to spray paint on them, and she used Barkeeper’s friend on the pedals to remove tarnish.

“I’m in love with how this painted piano turned out!” Rebekah says on her blog. That and the wallpaper are her two favorite parts of the space. The wallpaper was gifted, but because Rebekah DIYed many parts of the room, she was able to keep costs under $500 for the completely transformed space. All those DIYs help turn the room into a space that’s totally unique to Rebekah’s personal style.

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.