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Guest Bedroom Reveal

We were super blessed to find a house we can grow into.  The Allen Abode came with 3 bedrooms and a 4th partially finished bedroom in the basement - egress window and all - but the basement is definitely a story for another day.  Since there are just two of us (and no, there's not a 3rd on the way just yet) we only need one bedroom.  We really like having people over and Katrina's parents live in Milwaukee, so we decided to make a nice place for out-of-town guests to stay.

The state of this room was scary when we first viewed the house and we knew it would need an immediate change.  Here's the story of our guest room transformation.



After, After

Update from April, 2011 - We've done some new updates to the guest bedroom, be sure to check them out!

Along the Way

We're guessing (hoping?) it was a child's room. The obvious problem was the dark blue walls with gold stars sponge painted on them. It may have been super fun to paint and a kid probably loved this room, but we think our out-of-town guests have a different style.  It took a few tries to get the room the way it is now but we eventually landed on a design we both like.

The floors were also in a weird condition. It was evident that they were carpeted at some point and it looked like someone pulled it up to land a space ship (or perhaps a circular buffer) on the hardwood floors! We decided that sanding, staining, and sealing was in order.  Mike and his friend rented two sanders from Home Depot and sanded the entire main floor in one day.  After that he stained this guest bedroom (and most of the other rooms on the main level) with Minwax Provincial and added some poly over the top.

Move-in condition with crop circles?
Sanded and ready for stain/poly Final stained floors

Of course painting was necessary!  We knew if we just painted over the sponged-on stars we'd see the outlines embossed on the walls forever.  So we took a palm sander and sanded every single star, it was kind of fun having that much control over the universe! We needed some heavy duty primer to cover up the deep blue, so we went with Kilz2 latex primer and sealer.  With a painting party and some great friends, we were able to paint 5 rooms in one day!  We had a fun triad of friends who took on this room and taped, primed, and painted in the course of a few hours - thanks Hopestars!!

We (ok, our friends) originally did one accent wall a dark gray (Dark Pewter by Behr) and three walls a lighter gray (Silver Satin by Behr). Once the paint was up we realized the light gray only brought out more of the yellow tone in the wood that we despised so we decided to paint all four walls in Dark Pewter (this time doing the work ourselves with one helping friend).  We were a little nervous that such a dark paint would make this 10'x10'  room feel as small as the blue walls did, but we knew it was worth trying, and ended up really liking it!

To frame the windows we found some white curtains from Ikea and white shades from JC Penny at 60% off - (a good price/bad service story to share later).  If you're super observant  you might have noticed the window looks a little wider in the after pictures than it does in the picture above.  The window is so far right on the wall that it was impossible to center a full bed under it.  The bed looked out of balance so we mounted the curtain rod centered over the bed and give the left side a little extra curtain love to make everything look happy.  Shhh, it's a secret!

We had a good amount of furniture already when we got married and combined lives.  We bought a queen bed for our master bedroom leaving us with two previously owned full beds and other mismatched furniture.  Since we were blessed to be included in the large tax credit, we decided to get new master bedroom furniture that all matched and was 'ours' so we had plenty of extra pieces to disperse around the house and into the guest bedroom.

This room was a little tricky to arrange.  The room is only 10'x10' but has a good sized closet which unfortunately takes up an entire wall, further contributing to the arrangement dilemma.  We came up with lots of floor plans in our head but they never fit in reality.  The amount of furniture we wanted in the room made it appear cluttered.  So we scaled down to just a bed, dresser, nightstand, bookshelf, and an antique chair.

We also debated whether the bed would look best straight along the wall or angled into the room.  It was too long so we made it a separate post with photos of both options and a poll where you can tell us which way you like better!

Originally we had a light red duvet and sheet set that was mine from college and had faded to a soft pink-red.  When we bought the house 2 months before our wedding, we made a pact not to live together until marriage and also not to have anyone sleep in the master bedroom so it didn't feel like a 'mine or yours' situation after the wedding.  Mike lived at the house for 6 weeks while I finished my lease, then I moved in and Mike stayed at his parents house for the last few weeks before the wedding.  With that said, Mike was staying in the guest room and not feeling the red-faded-to-pink bed!  It was a little too emasculating... even for a man who co-authors a house/design blog. :)  We also needed bedding for the basement bedroom since Mike's bedding was in such poor shape he should have replaced it years before we even met!  So we decided to try to find something more gender neutral for the guest bedroom and put the 'red' downstairs.

It was difficult to find bedding that matched the walls.  We had painted the walls a blue-gray since I had a similar color with red in a previous rental and loved it.  But we painted before making our bedding switch and apparently the fashionable fabric color is a green-gray.  We must have bought and returned 5 sets of sheets and duvets until we found one that matched and we liked!  We ended up going with this Ikea combo:


With blue-gray walls, white window treatments, white and gray bedding, and brown wood the room was full of neutral!  We liked how it looked, but it was a little bland and in need of some fun, or dare we say a "pop of color"?  If you remember from our porch fall makeover we replaced the blue/green/yellow colors from the summer with a fall theme of brown/orange.  What did we do with the fun colored items?  Well, most of the serving items went into a storage bin, but we did shift some yellow accessories over to the guest room.  We LOVED how the bits of yellow brightened up the room!  We really could have gone with anything in the bright red/orange/yellow spectrum but since we already had some yellow things we chose this pallet.


We thought it would be fun to give Minneapolis some love through the art in this room for our out-of-town guests.  On one wall we gave homage to Minneapolis' old trolley system.  Back in the day we had a better system than even San Fransisco!  But in the 50s the trolleys were replaced with buses, leaving only a few nostalgic tracks left.  One of our favorite dates before engagement was having a picnic along lake Calhoun, then taking the trolley to the connecting Lake Harriet to attend an outdoor orchestra concert.  We were geeking out on MN history at the trolley museum and managed to miss the orchestra concert completely!  But we did snag a bunch of black and white trolley photo reprints from the 20s.  We had such fond memories of that date that we chose this site for our engagement photos!  We chose three shots of us with the trolley to print in black and white and made an art display of all the photos.

On the opposite wall we hung a painting (made by our talented friend Greg) because the colors matched so well.  We put a few more engagement photos of us near the trolley - this time in color since the trolley was yellow, old photos of my parents (who will probably be our most frequent guests), and some egg cups which have become my new favorite thing to search for and collect, with L-O-V-E marbles atop.

On the dresser we placed the typewriter used at our wedding for our unique guest book to continue the old-time feel and with hopes of allowing guests to write about their stay.  Some books, glass knick-knacks, a photo frame (no we haven't replaced the stock photo yet) and a lamp finish off the dresser display.

Budget Breakdown

$20 Killz primer
$15 Behr Dark Pewter paint

$60 Sanding/stain/poly - multiples rooms averaged $0.60/sqft
$30 Admete Rug discontinued from Ikea

$40 Duvet + pillow set
$70 Bedspread and pillows
$15 Bedskirt from Target (discontinued, but from the cheapest line there)
$30 Bamboo sheets from Target (discontinued already!)
$22 Throw pillow (two gray covers to use over pillows we had, and one white cover for the chair)

$0  Chair from Mike's parents
$0  Dresser that was Katrina's changing table when she was born!
$0  Full bed that Katrina had (mattresses inherited from her parents and frame bought from a garage sale)
$0  Bookshelf of Katrina's
$20 Night stand from The Cottage House (a local vintage store)

Window Treatment
$40 Drapes (two pair, $20 each)
$30 Shades (two pair, $15 each on sale at 60% off)
$24 Curtain rods (two, $12 each)

$20 Lamp base from Target
$5 Lamp shade from Target on clearance
$31 Wall art (large vertical frames were previously owned or gifted, wall shelves were previously owned, egg cups $2 a piece, white Ikea frames $5 and $4, $20 black oval frame from Ikea)

TOTAL:  $462
What do you think, do you want to be our next guests?
Comments (13) Trackbacks (0)
  1. This room looks so so great. And the fact that it was under $500 makes it so much better. Fantastic job!

  2. This room is beautiful! I love that wall color. I might do something similar in our guest bedroom because we have the same shade of wood trim. You inspired me!

  3. Thanks for the kind words Kate and Kristi! Yay for more Minneapolis bloggers!

  4. Oh are you guys from Minneapolis too? That's cool! I clicked your link from the Young House Love comments. :)

  5. It turned out so great! I would come and be your guests even though I live a few miles away!

  6. WOW! I'm here from DIY Show Off – amazing job you guys. The under 500 dollar price tag is impressive for that much style. Nice yellow accents and I love the personalization of your pictures.

  7. Glad I found this post…since I'll be using it as my inspiration for our identical guest room. Love your blog(if you couldnt tell by all my comments today:))

  8. I love how you do price breakdowns, My husband and I are in a similar situation buying our first house. I have been looking at so many beautiful rooms on blogs with no clue how much to budget. This helps a lot!

  9. Glad it helps, Candace! It helps us to write it all down too. The cost of curtains and shades is always a surprise but it helps us budget down the road!

  10. I really love this room! I'm definitly going to reference it while I'm trying to redecorate our master…though I'm not sure I can say redecorate, since it's never been done!

  11. I've popped on over from Better After and I'm in love with the gray and yellow color scheme I've been seeing lately! Love this space! Great job!

  12. Thanks Ashley and seemoommysew! Good luck with your redecorate… er "decorate". Send us pictures when you're done!

  13. Wow! Great job on everything! It looks amazing!

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