Stacie’s Design Dilemma

There’s nothing quite like a light and serene spot to rest your pretty little head. And that’s exactly what Stacie had in mind when she wrote to us. Here’s her letter:

What a fun site you have!!! I spent quite a bit of time on it last night and it occurred to me you might be able to help me out. I’m just about to overhaul my bedroom. Its very big and very dark and I want it LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT and airy. I’m into modern styles with a touch of hollywood regency in there somewhere (and I LOVE Barbara Barry). I have to keep the dressers, the TV, the bed and the window shades but the rug and the headboard can go. I’m really sick of the faux finish, and would love a light neutral color on the walls. Oh and I need a couple of chairs, or a lounge or a bench or something to throw junk on, besides the bed! This is such a fun idea you have, to get online advice. So give me whatcha got! – Stacie

The challenge is to lighten and brighten Stacie’s space while adding a clean, modern touch with a dash of sparkle. Luckily she has a whole lotta room to work with. Here’s our mood board:

Here’s the mood board breakdown.

1. This is our easy and breezy color scheme. We’ll incorporate a rich brown to tie in the existing chocolate dressers that will stay, while introducing a touch of subtle color in the form of some ambiguous gray-green-blue bedding. We’ll also replace the dark walls with a pale tan color (like Sand White by Glidden) and bring in some ivory accents to keep things looking airy and introduce a heaping portion of monochromatic texture and elegance to the space. We think the fireplace and the moldings should remain white, while the wall of the fireplace (which juts out ever so slightly) would look fabulous in a slightly deeper tan to make it a focal point (try Glidden’s Stonington Beige).

But wait there’s still more painting to do. We think painting the radiator to the left of the fireplace in the same dark brown tone as the dresser (with heat-resistant paint) would help balance both sides of the fireplace. We’d also suggest painting the radiator on the right side of the room near the window in the new tan wall color to help it blend into the background. And although Stacie said the existing headboard could go, we think the color and simple shape would work really well in the lighter space, and suggest that she paint the frame around the headboard (as well as the side tables) a rich glossy white. Everything will look insanely fresh and light after a few gallons of paint, making the rest of this makeover both easy and breezy.

2. Since Stacie has an entire 12 x 9 foot rug on the floor with hardly anything on it (talk about a huuuge bedroom) we though adding a clean-lined leather bench to the foot of the bed would begin to fill the void in the center of the room (and create a comfortable place for Stacie to take off her shoes or stack some glossy magazines). The deep tone of the leather will also ensure that the dresser and the tv aren’t the only dark objects in the room, keeping things nice and balanced.

3. This swanky arc floor lamp from CB2 adds something pure and modern to the space while helping to define what will become Stacie’s new seating area in front of that radiator on the right side of the soon-to-be-replaced rug.

4. Enter the rest of the seating area: a crisp chair in a light color (very reminiscent of a Barbara Barry original) with dark wood to tie in with the existing dresser. We’d also add this breathtaking ivory side table (also from, which could live next to the new chair and double as sculpture/eye candy. This swoonworthy piece introduces interest and texture while sporting an easily-wiped-clean resin surface… which will help keep Stacie’s haven low maintenance.

5. Some Marimekko bedding with a splash of our pale blue-gray-green accent color will keep things feeling light and open while introducing a touch of subtle pattern and color to the space.

6. A gorgeous, regency-inspired and wallet-friendly mirrored vase would be the bee’s knees atop the newly painted brown radiator to the left of the fireplace (and the best $29 she’ll ever spend). Since the heater has a wood topper, it’s a great surface for a few other decorative objects to add a little height and interest to that side of the room.

7. To inject another dash of hollywood regency, this elegant bit of bling in the form of a deeply discounted starburst mirror centered over the headboard would add just enough glam while bouncing even more light around Stacie’s newly serene sleeping space.

8. Bringing in one of these simple and sleek mercury glass lamps for the dresser on the right side of the fireplace will add a bit of height and a splash of sparkle while balancing the mirrored vase on the left. We also think that removing the existing mirror above the dresser will help make the radiator on the left and the dresser on the right appear more balanced.

9. Another dose of simple and light texture in the form of a sisal rug (so soothing on bare feet) will make Stacie’s bedroom feel like a luxurious oasis at the end of a long day. Since this rug is similar in tone to the existing wood flooring and the new tan wall color it’ll blend into the space, becoming more of a subtle monochromatic element and less of an obvious oversized rectangle on the floor.

10. Switching out the darker shades from the current pendant lights on either side of the bed for some white drum shades will instantly open things up and add the right amount of pure, uncomplicated white to keep the room feeling light as a feather.

11. And now for the finishing touch that’s quickly becoming our signature- cheap and chic white floor length curtains from Ikea to add some airy softness to the windows and keep the whole room looking light, light, light. Hanging them wider and higher than the windows will accentuate Stacie’s high ceilings and soften the hard edges of the windows without actually blocking any light.

That’s all she wrote. What do you guys think? I don’t know about you, but I think this room has the potential to be our hugest transformation yet and I absolutely can’t wait to see the stunning after pics.

Update: Stacie sent us her after pictures and they’re nothing short of amazing. Check them out right here.

Update #2: We sadly can no longer find the time to take on client commissioned mood boards (we now whip up general inspiration boards instead) but if we ever reinstate them we’ll make a big announcement!


  1. Kelli says

    Wow, this is beautiful! I can hardly wait to see the after picture. Stacie, please send an after picture…pretty please? You guys really do such an awesome job!

  2. Stacie says

    OMG, I’m dying. I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! You managed to source things from stores & sites that I LOVE already and I adore the palette. I’ve got some spending to do honey!!! Thanks so much! You hit the nail on the head. Pics to come of our transformation… yayyy!

  3. says

    I love how you’re able to offer suggestions on items that vary in cost. I may not be able to spend $130 on a lamp, but I sure can buy curtains from IKEA for $15!!

    Great advice. When I see these mood boards I wonder why I haven’t taken the time yet to make some for my own house. It’s so much more difficult to organize my ideas as I go!!

  4. Margaret says

    i know the bedding is from merrimekko, but i can’t find it online. can anyone send me in the right direction?? i’m going to continue looking, harder… thanks :)

    • says

      Hi Margaret,

      Since this design dilemma is older, it may be a discontinued pattern. But we always suggest eBay to find discontinued items, so good luck!


  5. Meg says

    We’re in the process of redoing our master bedroom and like Margaret, I was looking for the marimekko bedding. I happened upon this moodborad and realised it was the same thing I’d been looking for and I’ve been looking for a while and have only found a pillow on Etsy. Any suggestions for something similar? We love the grey-green, the texture and the modern aesthetic. We’re also using the master bedroom from Sarah’s House 2 as a bit of our inspiration.

    • says

      Maybe try for something similar? Or or even for the same thing (or something else that looks similar)? Good luck!


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