Our Modern, Romantic (& Affordable) Bedroom Makeover

Our bedroom was a tiny hot mess just a few months ago. Today, it’s a tiny, romantic, composed space that makes getting out of bed hard.  Here is what we did. 

NOTE: In the post, I mention many favorite products and brands. Nothing is sponsored. These are my honest opinions.  


“Your home is the most sacred place on earth”. That’s my motto. If that’s true, than your master bedroom is the most sacred room in your home.  It’s the place where you begin and end nearly every single day of your life. Think about that. Unless you are a serious traveler (in which case I’m jealous) THIS is the room that sets the tone for each and every day. That’s powerful. 

Ours was anything but sacred. (Scary comes to mind) It was cluttered, drab, and the place where college street finds went to die (More on that in the video).  We put so much time and energy (and money) into the rest of our home that we allowed our bedroom to suffer for way too long.  Our anniversary was coming up, and I used that for a convenient excuse to give it a makeover on a shoestring budget. 

Before I could dive in, it was important to get my husband Michael involved and make sure he was on board. Let me tell you something about this guy I love.  He appreciates beautiful well made things but when it comes to paying for it….he’d rather spend the money on a beach vacation - which is very hard to argue with. 
Here is how that went...

Note - We know we are total amateurs on the camera but this is real life conversation so I am humbly sharing with you. Please be kind! 

Our Budget

So as you can see, budget was a BIG factor in doing this.  We just completed a major basement renovation (More on that soon!) and are also adjusting to the reality of having two kids in daycare.  So this literally had to be bare bones - “How-the-hell-can-we-make-this-look-good-and-still-keep-the-roof-over-our-heads” design?

I had to weigh what we wanted (a $600 chandelier) with what was non-negotiable (wall color and art). And we also knew that we could “phase in” the things that will cost more money like the built-in shelves and nightstands for example.  

In the end, we spent just over $1000.  See the end of the post for a complete budget breakdown and sources.


Overall, I wanted a master bedroom that was modern yet warm and moody. Romantic and sexy. I wanted texture and wood, leather, brass and flowers. A retreat…until 5 am when the girls start pouring in. It had to have dark walls. 

Design Tip #1 Whenever I design a room, I think of it like a 3 layer cake: 
     The Base Layer - Walls, Floors, & Ceilings
     The Top Layer - Key Furniture Pieces (Bed, Sofa, Chairs, Tables, etc.) 
     The Icing-on-the-Cake Layer - Accessories, Lighting, Rugs, etc. 
No cake is ever complete without the icing. Period. End of story. 

 Inspiration Color

Inspiration Color

The Base Layer: 
My entire home has white walls which I love. If there is one room where you can get away with bold color, it’s the bedroom. I wanted something that was going to wrap me up like a blanket. Dark green was it. We went with Hunter Green by Benjamin Moore and couldn’t be happier with the result. (Check out this post for more of my favorite dark green paint colors)

I have my favorite paint product that I’ve been recommending for years. This time, I tried Behr's Marquee paint available at Home Depot for it’s price point and coverage since we were going with a rich hue. The big selling point for this paint is one-coat coverage which is important with a dark color. 

Design Tip! Paint is hands-down the best way to recharge a room. It’s cheap, easy to DIY, and has the biggest impact.

What we did...

The Top Layer: 
For now, we decided to keep all of our existing furniture (i.e. "The Base Layer").  We reeeeealy want a new bed frame for all the reasons mentioned in the video. In it’s place we plan to (Buy or DIY?) a leather channel tufted upholstered headboard. (I’m obsessed with channel upholstery so don’t be surprised if you see a post on it soon).  Our agreement is we must first sell our existing bed on Craigslist. (Interested? Call me and don’t watch the video) 

Our desire for built-in shelves will also have to wait. Instead, my Ikea shelf (again...leftover from college) got a DIY makeover. We ditched the plasticy shelves and replaced them with raw unfinished wood from the lumber yard. Total cost? $60 bucks. Not bad. We spray painted the frame brass for a fresh modern look. I Absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the way it turned out.

Design Tip! My personal favorite gold/brass spray paint is “Rustoluem Pure Gold”. The coverage is perfection. I’ve used other brands and while the colors may also be good…the difference is in the spray nozzle!  I don’t know what it is but the Rustoleum Brand directs the paint right where you need it.  With other spray paint, I feel like the paint is flying all over the place. 

And our skimpy nightstands (a past Ikea DIY) will have to suffice for now. Truth be told, I just did a Capsule Wardrobe Makeover so I don’t feel like I need more clothes storage…yet.  (Capsule Wardrobe? More on that soon you guys! Subscribe for so much good stuff to come this fall)

The Icing-on-the-Cake Layer:
This is my favorite layer and what “Makes the Cake” for real in our case. The flower prints were the one thing I refused to compromise on.  Because look at them!? They are from an amazing photographer, Kari Herer, and the leather and wood hangers (So good!?) are from Urban Outfitters.  I always find something that serves as my "jumping off point". This was it. I feel like without them, the room would have felt like a country club instead of a romantic bedroom. 

The old window coverings made the room feel “dumpy”. We had droopy cellular blinds that were supremely functional and well made yet had zero-zip-nada style. Paired with Ikea curtains from college?!  ACK! Boooooring!   (People…I’m not suggesting we need leopard print window coverings, but anything with an ounce of style would be better what we had.)  Plus…I’m on a fierce mission to clear out any Ikea remainders in my life. 

Design Tip: I believe in Ikea Placeholders. Still got ‘em, Still recommend them…in doses. 

So I stripped away all the excess window coverings in favor of simple inside mounted woven roman shades. I chose top-up-bottom-down for more privacy and light. Many companies offer natural woven shades. I chose blinds.com because they are affordable, they offer great customer service, and were made for me in just under 3 weeks. 

Design Tip! Prioritize ordering window coverings because the usually take longer than other room elements! 

I will really geek out on lighting. It’s the thing I most often obsess over during late night online research sessions paired with a glass of wine.  However, we were not prepared to spend the kind of money on the lighting I really want right now.  But I still wanted a good looking lighting. Stay with me!

I’ve been coveting a particular wooden beaded chandelier for years now.  It would have looked beautiful in this room. Instead, I bought this flush-mount fixture from Lowes for $40 and spray painted it brass. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. (See image above)

Sconces. We wanted dimmable, indirect, moveable, affordable, plug-in, and stylish sconces. That’s not to much to ask is it?!  Can I just say..looking for all that is asking for cheap, fast, and easy.  Doesn’t exist. Until it does. (Wait what?!)  I found these beauties for $80 a pop. That’s unheard of. I feel like all those late nights of internet research paid off!

We kept the bedding simple. The gray Belgian linen sheets were a gift we had been saving for the makeover. They are seriously soft. We topped them with a white raw edge quilt. Eventually I’d like a vintage kantha but haven’t found one with just the right colors yet!

Finally, we edited and styled the bookshelf. Michael begrudgingly parted with books he knows he’ll never read again, while I let go of jewelry I know I’ll never wear again (Don't judge...I subscribe to audible.com ;). We rearranged the books by subject again and I picked up this acrylic jewelry stand to artfully display the pieces I choose to keep. Other dishes and bowls were used to keep accessories contained. 


Design Tip! Everyday items become art better when grouped with like items and placed in a bowl, tray, or charger. 


So that's it. I'd love to hear what you think! We spent a total of just over $1000. Not bad considering it looks like an entirely different room. I think my favorite feature is the Ikea Hack Bookshelf. It's so old, I honestly don't even think they sell it anymore. 

Would love to hear your questions or comments below!



Sources & Budget 


       Grand Total $1154

Final thought...The Case for Design in Small Homes

Our master bedroom is seriously tiny, which is what makes good design even more important.  I feel like bigger homes can sometimes get away with the occasional misuse of space or an ugly room where you can simply close the door. We don't have that luxury in our small home. You can see straight into our bedroom from the living room. Now I actually enjoy when the door get's left open (all the time!) 


You guys... So much good stuff to come.  A few things mentioned in the post you can expect soon...

  • Capsule Wardrobe Makeover 
  • Modern Farmhouse Basement Renovation Part II 
  • Sunny Side Home Tour 
  • DIY Upholstered Leather Headboard Tutorial (I sold the bed frame!) 
  • eCourse - How to plan (and finish!) your own home makeover