bedroom before and after
Abbi Masters, Jean Allsopp

Junk Room to Bedroom

As it often happens, an extra bedroom (if you are lucky enough to have one) usually becomes a catchall for unfit furniture and boxes with contents that have nowhere to go. With a little smart shopping and practical do-it-yourself ideas, you can transform your personal junk room into a guest suite that looks like a million bucks.

Kim and Aaron
Jean Allsopp

A Modern Romance

Such was the case for MyHomeIdeas Associate Editor Kim Turnbull and her fiancé, Aaron. But with a wedding on the way and promises of visits from friends and family, it was time to clean house: toss the boxes, buy a real mattress, and create a beautiful guest room.

purple and yellow bedroom
Jean Allsopp

Bedding Basics

Repositioning the bed against the larger wall visually increased the room size and evenly redistributed the floor space. A mattress sale put the blow-up back in the closet. To celebrate the grown-up purchase, they chose a new coverlet from Target and lattice headboard from a secondhand store. It’s no coincidence that the headboard is similar to Pottery Barn’s Everett Headboard. Designers often look to classic and retro styles for inspiration.

Dwell Studio Pansy Comforter Set
$79.99 – $99.99
Available at Target

Flower Pendant Chandelier
$149 (on sale for $99)
Available at Lamps Plus

white dresser and purple mirror
Jean Allsopp

Make a Statement

A made-over dresser and mirror (along with new window treatments) turn this wall into a glamorous focal point. Taking cues from the colors and flower motif on the purple pansy bedding, a little Internet research yielded a whole bouquet of similar colors and flowers.

Wall color: Beach Plum by Benjamin Moore

mirror before and after
Abbi Masters, Jean Allsopp

Mirror Makeover

Gold may be the new standard, but not here. This oval-framed mirror -- a hand-me-down from Aaron’s mom -- adds texture and sophistication to the bedroom with its fashionable floral carvings. All it needed was a fresh coat of purple paint to tie into the color scheme.

Tip: Not sure what accent color to choose? Look to the paint swatch. We chose this accent hue by skipping two tones down from the wall-color paint swatch.

paint sample and inspiration
Jean Allsopp

Painting Tips

  • Look for paint companies that sell sample jars of paint that make trying out a color easy and inexpensive. Better yet, these less-than-$5 goodies provide just enough paint for covering small items such as this mirror.
  • Never buy paint on your first visit to the paint store. Pull every color strip that you think might work, and lay them out with your fabric and wallpaper samples. Look at them in the morning, at lunch, before you go to bed. Narrow them down. Obsess. Ask a friend. Only then are you ready to make a purchase.
  • A sponge brush is a great tool for pushing paint into cracks and crevices. It was the perfect choice to ensure a solid coat on this carved wood frame. A coat of white primer made it even easier to see spots we missed.

chest before and after
Abbi Masters/Jean Allsopp

Dresser: Before and After

Before: 1960s bureau with scratches and corroded hardware

After: Eyed for its simple lines, long legs, and vintage allure, paint perked up this piece. The front drawers were covered in of-the-moment wallpaper, and its status went from retro trash to modern chic. Even after paint, designer wall covering, a cut-to-fit glass top, and new satin-nickel hardware, the transformation still came in under $155.

Dresser color: Majestic Mauve by Benjamin Moore

Flowering Rose in Pink
$40 (per roll; we used one roll with feet to spare)
Available at Graham & Brown

Tips: To keep this wallpaper project simple, opt for a chest with flat drawer fronts void of any bevels or adornment. And one roll of wallpaper was more than enough to cover this dresser. Instead of tossing the remainder, use it to line the drawers.

chest makeover detail
Jean Allsopp

Salvaging Furniture

  • When bargain hunting, buy it when you see it, but be sure to take room measurements first. This dresser was found at a salvage store for $25.
  • Before making over any piece of salvaged furniture, be sure to clean it well. We took the old hardware off and filled the holes with wood filler before resurfacing the chest. Once the wallpaper was dry, we installed the new hardware with an electric drill.

white curtains with purple on bottom
Jean Allsopp

Window Treatments

The trend in designer window treatments is to hang the hardware above the molding and let the drape billow slightly. So why haven’t the big box stores caught on? These crisp white window panels were a great find, but even at 95 inches, they weren’t long enough. (Kim’s ceilings are more than 9-feet tall.)

To extend them and get a custom look, we trimmed the panels 10 inches and added a 2-foot band of color across the bottom. (We found an extra 5 yards of fabric in the remnant bin.) All it took was a straight cut (kitchen floor tiles work great as a measuring tool) and a straight seam on the sewing machine.

Grommet Top Window Panels $24.99 to $29.99 (each) Available at Target

black TV tray with mirrored top
Jean Allsopp

Table Matters

Looking for an inexpensive pair of matching end tables with some style? We chose these black painted TV trays and topped them with custom-cut mirrors for a glamorous look.

TV Trays
$8.99 each
Available at Target

Cut Mirrors
$16 each
Cut at a local glass shop

yellow ottoman on casters
Jean Allsopp

Seat Covering

A trio of inexpensive ottomans provides seating and storage at the end of the bed.

Using polyester suede in a buttery hue (to cover the original red) extended the palette into a complementary color scheme. All it took was 1 yard of fabric per ottoman and a staple gun. Casters picked up at the hardware store and anchored to the bottom offer mobility and a contemporary edge.

Vintage Suede Sunshine Fabric
$8.98 per yard
Available at

$25 each
Available at Wal-Mart

Tip: Like paint, never buy fabric without bringing home a swatch first. Local fabric stores gladly cut samples, and most online shops charge a small fee.

headboard with fresh paint
Jean Allsopp

Seek the Source

It’s no coincidence that we found a headboard in a secondhand shop similar to Pottery Barn’s Everett Headboard . Designers often look to classic and retro styles for inspiration. In this case, we just happened to be on the same wavelength. A little paint to cover the original dingy finish, and this headboard looks catalog ready.

Note: We used the same color on the chest and headboard: Majestic Mauve by Benjamin Moore . Not only did it tie the pieces together, we saved money by purchasing a single gallon of paint.

white lamp with new shade
Jean Allsopp

Swap It Out

Many big chain stores offer mix-and-match lamp bases and shades. But that’s not the case at closeout stores. These blown-glass lamp bases and mirrored silver accents suited this modern romantic bedroom, but they were overpowered by the black shades that came with them. We found inexpensive, more subdued ones as replacements.

Graphic Flower Paper Shades
$29.99 each
Available at Lamps Plus

Tip: Never buy a lamp shade in a store without bringing in your base. That’s a guessing game nobody can win. And if you order online, be sure to measure your existing shade to ensure a close fit.

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