When we first saw this room while house hunting we almost turned around and walked out the door. It had forest green carpet, 80's orange/brown wood trim, purple closet curtains and a funky floor plan. We had to keep chanting our mantra, "It's just cosmetic, we can change it."
The room has an interesting layout so it's easy to have no idea what you're looking at in a picture. Here's a floor plan to give you a better idea of what you're seeing.
Along the Way
We designed our entire master bedroom around the great duvet cover we found. Finding one we could agree on, however, was not a simple task. We started our search at our regular haunts - Target and Ikea. With no luck there we entertained options at Macy's and JCPenney since we had registries at those stores. After those strike-outs we perused Bed, Bath and Beyond, Walmart, Sears, Kohls, Herbergers and HomeGoods. We still hadn't found anything we could agree on and our feet were tired so we used our fingers to check out Pottery Barn, The Company Store, Crate and Barrel, Eddie Bauer, Restoration Hardware and more on the internet. A month before closing, we started loosing hope, and debated looking for fabrics we could make into a duvet cover.
That's when a friend suggested I look at Amazon.com for Nautica bedding since she had found lots of options there. I searched 'nautica' and 'duvet' and ended up finding two options I loved on the first page! Mike agreed on the Harbor House Chelsea Paisley Duvet Cover, which was actually a pattern I expected him to veto since it was so similar to this Pottery Barn duvet cover that we had already disagreed on. Rather than question his reasoning, I clicked on the king size duvet set (everyone recommended we buy a king even if we had a queen mattress) which included shams, chose a matching throw pillow and added them both to my cart!
Once we had the duvet cover, we chose sheets from Target (and registered for an extra set from JCPenney), bought a king sized comforter and king sized pillows to fit the duvet set shams, and found a textured pillow from Ikea. I actually already had two blue pillows that I found at Turnstyle Home months prior for $10 total, including pillow insert, and they matched perfectly!
We are so pleased with our bedding! Once we chose it, we picked paint colors to match, carpet to compliment, and curtains to coordinate. Although it took a lot of research and leg work, we think it was worth the work finding bedding we love and it ended up helping the entire room fall into place!
Every surface needed new paint. We started by giving the ceiling a new coat of white. Then we went to work on the orange/brown wood trim. Since the woodwork in this converted attic space wasn't original to the house, we had no trouble deciding to paint it. We primed with killz latex primer (after more experience we recommend oil based primer like BIN 1-2-3 for priming wood - see our post about primers) and painted a few coats of white. Finally we painted the walls. The three walls that wrap around the bathroom got the Hosta blue (Martha Stewart) along with the inside of the book nook. All the other walls were painted the Rhythmic Blue (Behr). The best news was we didn't need drop clothes since we knew we were about to replace the carpet! We love to paint but even we were feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of painting that had to be done. Luckily we had tons of friends come help and (as mentioned in our guest bedroom reveal) we were able to paint this master bedroom, the master bath and 3 other rooms in one day!
We made a promise that we wouldn't sleep a night in the master bedroom until we got new carpet. Not just because it looked awful (our eyes hurt!) but also because it smelled like a kennel. So we went carpet shopping and ended up finding a good deal at Carpet One and even got removal and installation for $79. We were willing to roll up our DIY sleeves and remove the carpet ourselves but we wanted an installer who knew what they were doing. So we ended up letting the professionals to their job and saving our energy for the painting and furniture building! I hated this carpet (and don't particularly like golf...)
Other than a reclining leather chair that Mike inherited from his grandfather, we had no furniture for this room. We could have pieced together mismatched dressers from our previous apartments, but because we were blessed with the 2010 tax credit and since we wanted some furniture for the guest bedrooms downstairs, we decided to buy new dressers and a bed for the master bedroom to start our married life together.
I had loved the Ikea Hemnes bedroom furniture line since I first saw it a few years ago. When I suggested it to Mike, he liked both the style and price. We looked at other furniture stores as well, but ultimately we went with the Hemnes dressers because we didn't want to spend a fortune and they're made of solid wood so they will last a while (more than most Ikea pieces). We ended up choosing two long dressers, one tall dresser and two night stands from the collection. It took me 10 hours working alone on my day off (with the company of a friend and her daughter though!) to put all three dressers together and a separate evening for the nightstands, but the work got easier and quicker with each piece)
I really wanted this mirrored dresser, but unfortunately none of our walls are tall enough to put the dresser against except for the walkway walls. We'd like to walk through the room without crouching or bumping our heads so I had to let go of this particular dream. We may eventually purchase a storage bench for the foot of the bed or this shoe compartment to fit along the sitting room wall, but for the meantime we don't need any extra storage and I don't want to put together any more furniture!
Mike and I both had full size beds for the past 27 years and we were quite accustom to taking up our full beds! We knew we would at least have to upgrade to a queen bed when we got married. Luckily, our house had a queen sized bed in it! Apparently the previous owners planned to take it but the movers forgot the bed and a night stand. I'm not sure how you 'forget' something, especially after wrapping it in cellophane, but there it was, still in our bedroom when we toured the house for the first time. So for the low price of $60 we were able to keep their queen bed! We'd like to upgrade to a king sized firmer option eventually, but we're grateful to have an inexpensive solution in the meantime.
The bed came with a mattress, box spring and metal base, but we didn't have a head or foot board. Since the only spot for the bed in the room was up against the windows (yes, we tried as many other ways we could think of both on paper and in reality), and since those windows are relatively low on the wall (they start 2 feet off the floor), we wanted a headboard that wouldn't block all the light. We ruled out the matching Hemnes bed and as much as I like cohesion, I don't actually like every piece of furniture to match. Wanting to let as much light in as possible, but also create a well defined bed space, we started looking for iron bed frames. I was looking at anything from antiques to brass headboards that could be painted. It's actually difficult to find an antique frame any larger than a full size bed. I did have a friend recommend a contact who could convert full antique iron beds into queens or kings. Fortunately, since that just sounds expensive, we found a newer design at a garage sale!
There were still a few downsides to my find, however. First of all, the bed frame had a broken corner. The seller explained that the bed still held itself up, but because she had a small dog that liked to hang out under the bed, she didn't want to risk that it might collapse some day. After a few phone calls, we found out that it would be a simple and fairly inexpensive soldering fix so I paid for half of the bed ($16 to be exact since that's all the cash I had!) and made arrangements to pick up the frame another day.
The logistics of how to get the bed frame home was the other problem. The garage sale was near my work in Chaska (45 minutes from South Minneapolis) and I drive a very small car. The lady who sold it to me was understanding and flexible as we first arranged to borrow a minivan and then tried to have a coworker help with her SUV. After both of those attempts failed, I decided it was either give up and forfeit the $16 I paid for the bed, or pay the remaining $14 balance and rent a truck from Home Depot to drive it home in rush hour traffic. I figured $50 ($30 for the frame and $20 for the truck rental) for a bed frame was still better than full price somewhere else so I sprinted to Home Depot and drove home in the rain and then all the way back again that evening to return the truck and pick up my car! Because it took more than the initial 90 minutes, we ended up having to pay $40 for the truck, but I'm glad we did!
When we got the frame home, before attempting to get the frame fixed, we tried setting the new frame with the head and foot boards around our old base frame and we gleefully found out that the new one just fit over the old! That meant that there would be no weight on the new frame and we wouldn't need to fix the broken corner for structural or safety reasons. Since we planned to get a bed skirt, we knew the crack wouldn't even show so we just left it! No more extra fix-it costs and a sturdy bed made us extra happy!
The room came with outdated track lighting on the ceiling. Mike didn't mind it but I knew it had to go, who wants to start their day by opening their eyes to such a gross sight?
Our solution was to the take the small chandelier from the foyer and move it to the bedroom where it was a little more at home. We replaced the lighting in the foyer with a new light that coordinated better with the living room fixture and gave out more light for incoming guests. We briefly searched for newer chandeliers but since the starting cost for a dainty chandelier is so expensive compared to the lower cost for a foyer fixture, we decided to reuse what our house already had and upgrade in the foyer rather than the bedroom.
We purchased 4 lamps for the room, one for each long dresser and one for each night stand. The dresser lamps were both from Ikea, but since Mike's dresser is in a small nook of the room, the ceiling is lower and we had to buy a shorter/smaller lamp. The area where my dresser sits had a slightly taller ceiling so we chose this coordinating lamp from Ikea. The nightstand lamps we chose have clear bases to coordinate with the dresser lamps, but we put a more textured shade from Target with it to add some height to the nightstands and frame the bed. (Unfortunately the base is discontinued and the shade is not sold online!)
Our closet already had a decent lighting system consisting of four florescent lights, so we didn't touch those. We did add a wall mounted direct lighting fixture that I had from a previous rental for my side of the closet.
The first curtains we bought for the bedroom were sheer airy curtains from Ikea. We had seen a display at the store which had curtains draped from the ceiling above the bed and down the back of the headboard which we really liked. We played around with how to change it since our ceiling is peaked and ended up just keeping them behind the bed. We think that these $5 curtains can make any room light and airy and love that with the white slatted blinds behind our curtains we can still control the amount of light coming in.
We bought blinds from JCPenney for the windows above the stairs and the two in the reading nook. However, when we first started sleeping in the master bedroom after our wedding it took us about two mornings to realize we would need more light blockage than the shades! We hightailed it to Bed Bath and Beyond where we had some store credits and bought a bunch of options. We ended up choosing curtains with a weave pattern in an oatmeal color. We bought 7 individual panels at the 84" height. Four panels for the closet and three panels for four bedroom windows and one other house window.
Three panels for five windows, how does that work? We bought the 84" panels but our upstairs windows are only 20" tall so we each panel in half! On the bottom half of each panel we simply slit open the bottom hem seam and threaded the curtain rod directly through the original bottom hem, hemming the new bottom where we made a cut. we placed three panels above a set of two windows by the stairs. We used one rod with a panel on each side and in the middle (the middle curtain panel hides the support bracket!)
Two of the pieces of extra fabric became curtains around the window in the reading nook. The tops of these curtains look different and are harder to slide along the rod, but since it's only the evening light that streams directly through these windows, we almost never need to close these curtains. We mounted a curtain tie back to keep them pulled open.
When it came to accessories, we started by spreading out things we liked that we already had. Then I worked at filling in the gaps both functionally and aesthetically. Mike had a lot of small items he wanted on his dresser so I found a manly metal tray from an antique store to coral them all. He also needed something to balance out the lamp so I picked up some pots and plants from Ikea. Unfortunately, because that corner of the room doesn't get much sunlight, one of the plants already died (the other is a cactus and doing fine). So I returned to Ikea to pick out an artificial plant instead!
For our night stands I picked out some milk crate baskets from Target. With the drawer and basket we keep the clutter off the top. Just having our alarm clocks, water glasses and lamps visible creates a clean and airy feel!
On my dressers I found I needed storage for jewelry and perfume. I was also searching for a place to store the belts I wear most often. For my tall dresser, which sticks mostly into the closet and therefore has only 6 inches of space on top, I found two painted drawers from an antique store. I put my belts in the larger and some flower hair pins in the other. Three willow tree figurines and a photo album that I previously owned complete the tall dresser vignette.
I had been given a plant formed into a heart that I used to balance out the lamp on my long dresser, so I got another Ikea pot to match to Mike's dresser planters. I found a jewelry box from TJMax and picked out a simple bowl from Ikea for any loose jewelry or hair ties that I use daily. To coral my perfume bottles I found a shallow dish from Ikea. A family heirloom hat now has a prominent place on a hat stand I found at an antique store. I added two vases (clear and blue) that I already had and bought a blue vase from Ikea that matched the bowl for jewelry.
The shelf in our reading nook area was decorated completely by things we already owned. Some gold picture frames feature my mother's engagement photo and my grandparents at their wedding. My dried wedding bouquet in a mason jar and a letter in a bottle from Mike further the romance!
Additional decor includes a hamper from Target, a tall blue planter from TJ Max that we use as a garbage can, some hat boxes leftover from the wedding, a blue throw for the chair from TurnStyle and our floor length mirror I found on clearance from Ikea ($150 down to $50!). The bottom of the mirror holds some blue mason jars and a telephone pole insulator we bought for the wedding.
The closet is super wide and pretty deep, the problem is it gets shorter the deeper you go. When we moved in there was one long curtain rod across the entire opening so you had to crawl through your clothes to get to anything behind. We knew there had to be a better way to arrange it! We found a way we're happy with but it's a little too long for the reveal. Check out the whole story here!
You might have noticed a trend that we're pretty frugal in our reveals. We managed to do our kitchen for $634 and our guest bedroom for $427 which even surprised us when we totaled it up. This room was far less frugal. We decided that the master bedroom was a great space to splurge and create a place designed for 'us' rather than a space pieced together from our separate lives. We were incredibly blessed to receive the 2010 tax credit and we did our job to stimulate the economy! Here are the totals.
$2,141 - Carpet from Carpet One ($3.99/sqft x 567 sq feet + $79 install - $200 promo)
$60 - 2 gallons Moonrise by Behr for ceiling and trim
$30 - 1 gallon Rythmic Blue by Behr for walls
$15 - 1 quart Hosta by Martha Stewart for accent walls
$600 - 2 Ikea Hemnes 8 dressers ($300 each)
$120 - 2 Ikea Hemnes Nightstands ($60 each)
$280 - Ikea Hemnes 6-dresser chest
$70 - Bed frame - $30 for frame at garage sale, $40 to rent a truck to get it here
$120 - Harbor House Chelsea Paisley Duvet Cover
$99 - Ikea Down comforter
$20 - 2 king sized pillows for shams (target, $10 each)
$40 - sleeping pillows from Target online only ($40 each, one as a wedding gift)
$0 - JCPenney Cream Coverlet (wedding gift)
$30 - Sheets (discontinued set from Target for $30 and extra set from JCPenny - wedding gift)
$18 Throw Pillows (2 blue pillows with inserts from TurnStyle for $10, 1 brown cover from Ikea for $8 with a previously owned pillow insert)
$10 - Ikea curtains behind the bed (4 panels)
$245 - Bed, Bath, and beyond - 4 panels on closet, 3 panels between 2 sets of windows ($35/panel)
$30 - Ikea curtains inner closet (6 panels, $15 each)
$30 - Bed, Bath and Beyond curtain holdbacks, set of 2
$120 - 6 sets of blinds from JCPenney ($20 each at 60% off)
$3 - Ikea shallow dish for perfume
What do you think? Any suggestions for future improvements?