Continuing on through my journey of making my builder grade house not look like a builder grade house…the next room up was my guest bedroom.
Since my mother often comes to help me with my projects, it seemed only fair that she should have a comfortable room to stay in while she’s here.
Keep reading to see what I started with and the steps I took to upgrade a builder grade guest bedroom.
The “Before” Room
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The “Before” version of the guest bedroom really wasn’t awful. The room is a decent size for a guest room. It has a large window so there’s lots of light. And it has a vaulted ceiling so that makes the room feel larger than it is.
However, the colors were standard builder colors, and since beige isn’t my thing, I knew that would have to change. And the downside of having a big window (that faces east) in the bedroom is all of that light can make sleeping difficult. There’s also a street light right outside this window, so having window coverings that keep the light out would be super important!
I also have a list of things every guest room should have to make guests feel comfortable (like a comfortable bed, a place to put their stuff, reading material, etc.) so I wanted to make sure I covered all of those items.
My inspiration for this room didn’t come from a decorating magazine or Pinterest picture (which is where I get a lot of my inspirations from), but from the bedding I wanted to use.
I actually bought this bedding at an end-of-line clearance sale a while ago and have been waiting for the perfect room to use it in.
The bedding is a contemporary-style floral print on a creamy-yellow colored background.
I knew I wanted to draw from the blues and greens in the flowers while using the cream color as the grounding color. I also liked the idea of nature-inspired elements (to go with the flowers) and natural wood tones (to go with the cream).
Keep reading to see the steps I took to transform this room into a not-so-builder-grade guest bedroom.
Step 1: Paint
If you have read any of my other posts, you probably know by now that I like color. So even though the original beige paint would have gone with the color scheme I picked, I didn’t want to leave the walls beige.
I decided instead that I wanted to do something inspired by nature.
Originally I was thinking of painting a blue sky scene (complete with clouds) on the ceiling, but I was having trouble deciding what to do with the walls.
Then my mother came up with the idea to do an ombre watercolor paint treatment. It would start with green on the bottom (like grass) and then use different shades of blue going up the wall until the top color would be a pale blue that would continue onto the ceiling as the sky.
We chose paint colors that were similar to the greens and blues in the flowers of the bedding. And I love the final effect!
Step 2: Replace Carpet With Wood Floors
There were really 2 reasons for going with hardwood flooring.
The first reason really has nothing specifically to do with this room. I have cats and dogs with a dog door that leads out to the garden. It is nearly impossible to keep carpet clean. So one of my missions is to get rid of all of the wall-to-wall carpet in my house.
The second reason was that the hardwood floor would be a natural wood tone that would go with my theme.
I decided while I was doing floors, I may as well do the den (next door to this room) and the hallway that joins them. This hallway meets up with the living room (which already had hardwood floors). Since I wanted the floor to flow through the whole area, the existing living room determined the color (natural oak) and thickness of the floor (3/8″). And the fact that I was installing over a concrete slab (and didn’t want to spend a ton of money) meant that I used a glue-down engineered hardwood.
I installed the floor myself, which ended up being a lot easier than I thought it would be. It’s a little messy because of the glue, and a little time consuming, but it ended up looking pretty good in the end.
Step 3: Add an Area Rug
An area rug always helps soften the room when you have hard floors. And I think everyone likes to step onto a warm floor rather than a cold one when they are first getting out of bed (that concrete slab is great for providing a stable surface for the flooring, but also makes it pretty cold to walk on).
I used to have this area rug in the living room, but it was starting to wear pretty badly. Since I do really love this rug, and it had the right colors in it, I decided to use it in the guest room where it would get less wear and tear.
Step 4: Cover the Windows
Since the window in this room is fairly large and faces east, I needed to make sure that the window treatments would block out the light.
The first step was to install blinds inside the window well.
The second step was to ask my mother if she would sew some curtains for me. Which she did.
The drapes are made with two different fabrics, a dark blue tone-on-tone paisley print on the bottom, and a blue, green and cream paisley print on the top. A little fringe trim separates the two sections.
Installing the drapes so that they go beyond the size of the window makes the window look even larger. I always try to have the top of the window treatments installed at the ceiling and the sides of the drapes extend at least a foot or two past the sides of the window.
Between the two types of window treatments, guests can control how much or how little light they want to have in the room.
Step 5: Add a Comfortable Bed
The bed in this room is a queen sized bed.
For guest rooms, I always try to put in the largest bed the room will hold…I have never had anyone complain that the bed was too big 🙂
I also wanted to add some extra height to the bed since the room does have ceilings that are higher than normal (it helps to make the room look proportional).
My plan was to create a cornice over the bed that was installed close to the ceiling and drapes behind the headboard that would make the entire bed seem taller.
Once again my mother was there to help with the sewing.
The cornice fabric is the same one that we used for the top of the window treatments. And the fabric in the drapes behind the headboard is a wide blue and cream stripe in similar colors to the bedding.
She also sewed a bed skirt out of the blue and cream stripe which helps to tie the whole look together.
Step 6: Add Storage
The bookcases on either side of the bed hold books that anyone who comes to stay might be interested in reading.
I bought these shelves unfinished and applied a couple of coats of urethane to keep the natural color. Since the bookshelves and the floor are both made of oak, the color is almost exactly the same.
I bought an antique wash stand to use as a dresser, which just happened to be the same color as the floor also.
It also has a large enough surface for people to put their suitcase on.
The TV stand with the cream top is actually an old bathroom vanity with a cream-colored granite top.
It isn’t exactly what I had pictured for this room and when I first put it there, it was meant to be a temporary stand-in until I found something better…problem is I haven’t found anything better 🙂
It is the perfect height, the granite is the perfect color, the round shape means that people aren’t banging into sharp corners when they go to open the blinds, and I already owned it so it didn’t cost me anything.
Although the wood is not exactly the same color as the floor, it has the same color tone.
Step 7: Upgrade The Lighting
I love chandeliers!
So any room that can function with a chandelier gets one in my house…which is pretty much every room :).
I also believe that every room needs some black.
This room didn’t have either, so it got a black chandelier. It’s a little unexpected, but I like that it ties in with the wrought iron bed and makes more of a statement than a regular clear crystal chandelier would.
I also think that bedrooms should have bedside lamps that can be used for reading. In this case, installing swing arm lamps on the sides of the bookshelves was the perfect solution. They are pretty and functional (we glued the beaded trim to the bottom of them to add a little bling).
Step 8: Replace the Closet Doors
The original closet doors were standard bi-fold doors which worked perfectly well (there isn’t enough space in this room to have closet doors that swing open).
The problem had was there wasn’t really a good place to put a mirror. And I think all rooms where people will be getting dressed need a full-length mirror.
So I replaced the regular bi-fold doors with mirror bi-fold doors which did the trick.
Step 9: Add seating
Since the queen size bed took up a lot of space in this room, there wasn’t a lot of floor space for a traditional chair. However a bench fit perfectly! It provides lots of room to sit down to take off your shoes while not taking up a ton of space in the room.
Step 10: Add Some Accessories
Last step is to hang some pictures and accessories to add some interest to the room. Since this room didn’t have much wall space left, I only needed a couple of items on the wall opposite the bed to finish off the room.
The Finished Guest Bedroom
Here’s the finished space which has a little more personality than the original!
The area for people to put their suitcase.
The TV area of the guest room.
The new room definitely has more personality than what I started with!
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This post was originally published on October 12, 2015 but was updated with new content on June 26, 2019.