Evolution Of A Bedroom

Blerg. I either have food poisoning or a stomach bug today. But thanks for all the stool love this morning, guys (wait, that sounds kinda gross). And as for this afternoon, while I attempt to avoid breathing on anyone else in this house (who are all thankfully unscathed so far), I thought it might be fun to create a little “timeline” of how each room in our house has evolved, since it’s definitely never an overnight transformation around here. And given our copious bedroom updates, we thought it was a fine place to start. So without further ado, here’s how the room has evolved over the last twenty months since we moved in. It’s still not done, but it has definitely come a long way – and it’s really fun to look back on some of those “middle” stages and wonder what the heck we were thinking. Haha. Thank goodness for trial and error!

This rundown is a pretty great reminder that small changes (along with a few big ones) can really breathe new life into a room as you learn what you love and how you’d like to live. We’ve actually come to a place where we wholeheartedly believe that over-time tweaks are half the fun (I’d probably want to move every year if I could only do a room once and then had to live in that frozen-in-time-result without changing a thing). So here’s the very first shot of our bedroom that we shared the day we moved in. Pretty much a blank canvas.

First we just plopped our furniture down on the floor and didn’t even have a bed for the first three weeks or so. Getting up every morning from a ground-height mattress = not our fondest memory.

Then we got Ed the Bed since we were overwhelmingly excited to have such a giant room to work with (our old bedroom was around 10 x 11′ and this room is 16 x 16′ – so we thought something big and frame-y would look awesome in our cavernous room).

Then we got this duvet on clearance from West Elm, but John only let me get it under the stipulation that we would ebay it if we found something we liked more down the line. Hindsight = 20/20. We never should have settled and definitely should have held out for something we both loved. Oh well, live and learn. Right now it’s neatly folded in our playroom just in case we decide to use it/the fabric for some other space (curtains for Clara’s big girl room, etc). Otherwise it’ll definitely hit ebay someday.

Next came our big ol’ snowball of a chandelier, which is still one of our favorite things to stare up at before bed or squint up at in the early morning. Here it is hanging oddly low thanks to that top bar of Ed the Bed (it looks crazier in this pic than it did in person, but it still wasn’t quite right).

We struggled with Ed for a while, tweaking him to remove those top posts since they were just too encroach-y with the chandelier. Oh and we got a nice big jute rug to cozy up the splintery old wood floor. Here’s that phase.

Then we found two Alaskan botanical prints at a yard sale (we honeymooned in Alaska, so we thought they were sweet for our bedroom) and hung them on either side of the bed with Ramsey in the middle.

Things pretty much stagnated there for a while until Ramsey was broken during a book shoot (he jumped off the wall in the kitchen when no one was even in there) and we decided to hang the botanicals inside the bed posts instead. And then we found our new rug at a local outlet, so we pulled the old rug out (with plans to use it under our dining table or in our sunroom eventually – or craigslist it if we don’t like it in either space down the line). Our new super-discounted outlet rug definitely breathed life back into this stuck/stagnating room. So grateful. Sometimes it takes changes like this to jump-start things again once you’ve hit a wall.

Then in a flurry of trying new things, we gave three different prints (picked up for $2.99 from Ikea a while back) above the bed along with different pillows from around the house…

… only to decide we preferred the botanicals and another pillow combination (along with some lamps that we actually bought for the bedroom instead of just using leftovers from our first house’s living room).

Then we finally put on our big kid pants and decided to just give the bed a try on a wall that we previously thought would be way too challenging (thanks to an off-centered window on one side and a nook on the other side). At first it looked crazytown

But after we re-hung some art/rearranged some furniture that we already had, we ended up here.

And then we gave Ed a little haircut.

And then we made an upholstered headboard to cozy things up a little more.

Next we finally painted the walls a darker color (Rockport Gray by Ben Moore) which definitely helped the headboard and all the thick white trim pop (John wanted to do it for months and he finally wore me down). Boy was right. We love it so much more in this moodier sleepier color.

It’s especially noticeable how much the new color accents the chunky white trim around the sink nook. Such a difference!

Of course we still have plans to:

  • refinish the floors
  • possibly paint the ceiling a light light blue color
  • furnish the entire bare wall across from the bed
  • eventually turn a window into a door that leads out onto the deck
  • someday vault the ceiling so it’s sweetly peaked (how cozy would that be?)

… so we’ll have to keep you posted. But it’s pretty interesting to look back at all of these phases of evolution, sort of like a time capsule of where we were, where we were trying to go, and where we are now.

Actually when we look back in our archives, every single room in our first house evolved the same way – moving things around, using what we had, altering things to work, getting new things along the way, and hitting up lots of outlets and thrift stores along with affordable retailers like Ikea and Target to keep things wallet friendly. Did we make mistakes? Sure! Did we learn as we went. Absolutely! If we could rewind would we skip all of those wrong moves? Who wouldn’t! But it’s pretty cool that even with those mistakes, you can come pretty far (and learn a ton about yourself and what ya love) by just giving things a shot and letting a room evolve over time. Sometimes over a long a$$ time. Haha. But the journey is part of the fun, right? Our first house took us 4.5 years to figure out, so maybe we’re getting a tiny bit faster in this one?

Although some other rooms are completely untouched, so maybe not. Haha.

It’s funny how some things stayed, like:

  • Ed the bed (although he did get that trim)
  • our free hand-me-down dresser from John’s parents
  • our leaning mirror (which John got me as a wedding present back in 2007)
  • our $50 Ikea chandelier

Meanwhile, other stuff came in from other rooms, like:

  • the Hobby Lobby mirror that used to hang in the living room
  • that small white cabinet from the dining room

And other items went out, like:

  • the old rug
  • the old side tables (both of which we’ll reuse or craigslist for loot to put back into other tweaks)

Thankfully even things like those old too-small yard sale side tables were just $11, and we’ll probably get to use those in Clara’s big girl room (and can always resell them for at least that much) so it’s a good lesson that just because you buy things, you don’t have to be married to them. Undoing something like a paint color or an upholstery fabric can take a day of work, but it’s hardly irreversible. And it just might be the key to making it through a not-sure-where-we’re-going phase and onto another love-it-so-much-more phase. Heck, even if over time you realize that a furnishing or accessory isn’t the best choice for a room, there are definitely other rooms where they can go to live (like our blue stool story from this morning). We love keeping things flexible and taking a completely reversible approach to making our house a home. It’s just so much less intimidating and final than having some unspoken can’t-make-mistakes rule (even if you wait for years between decisions, there’s no guarantee that you’ll love each choice- sometimes you just have to live and learn).

It’s fun to see all of these bedroom evolution pics on one page, right? So stay tuned as we slowly work our way through all of our other rooms (probably on and off over the next few months – or years if we fall off) just to see where they’ve been and where they’re going. The goal would be to keep these posts updated as we go, and to link to them from our House Tour page – or another page called Room Evolutions – so anyone who wants to see details on a specific room could click on that room and see these rundowns with a bunch of links to all the projects during those different phases (a number of readers have actually requested that we group room updates that way).

Have you ever snapped photos of a room over time as it evolved? Did it take more than one paint color to get it right? Were you surprised to see what stayed and what went? Were you shocked at how much of a difference some free changes like rearranging the floor plan or tweaking furniture (like cutting Ed’s posts) can make? Did little homemade touches (like an upholstered headboard) end up making all the difference? I think our DIY headboard along with our giant pineapple-based lamps are our favorite things in the room these days.

What’s your favorite thing in your bedroom?

Psst- This month we’re making a trip out to visit John’s grandma in Huntington, WV, so if anyone has an awesome house that they’d like us to crash (a la these) in either Huntington or Charleston WV, we’d love to check out your digs and hopefully stop by (just send your submission pics to crashme@younghouselove.com). Woot!


    • says

      So far her doc says that she’s sleeping well in her crib and not trying to climb out so he has encouraged us not to rush her out of it, but once she outgrows her crib (and we get to auction all the book stuff in the playroom) I think it’s on!


  1. Frannie says

    I don’t want to be “that” obnoxious commenter, but I learned after much googling a few months ago that stomach bug is spread by… how do I say this… miniscule droplets of the sickies. Ew. And bleach is the only thing that kills it. My hubby had it twice in two months, and I was trying desperately to keep myself and our little girl from catching it. It seemed to work! I quarantined him to the guest room/bath and wouldn’t let him in the kitchen until he was better. And I sent him in with the bleach and papertowels :) A mama friend told me that real blue grape juice works too. I drank it and who knows if it helped or not but we never got it! Feel better :)

    • says

      Thanks Frannie! I’m cleaning up after myself and pretty much hiding for the most part. My cure has been Gatorade & two ibuprophens (for the super soreness I’m feeling). Haven’t thrown up in eight hours, so maybe there’s something to it! Haha. So for anyone else out there, I couldn’t keep down anything else, but that combo seems to work.


  2. sophie says

    favourite thing in our bedroom? The books I’m reading. hands down.

    Next favourite – the curtains I sewed from sari fabric purcahsed at Value Village, and the two dressers we found on kijiji. But those are tied with the leaping lizard green we chose for the walls.

  3. says

    I’d actually buy those nightstands from you if you’re willing to give them up! I’d need the dimensions to make sure they work w/ our bed, but if they work I’d pay $40 or $50 for the pair.

    • says

      Aw thanks Laura! A few folks have asked about them so I’ll have to see if we’ll be using them and put them up for grabs in a nice fair way if we don’t end up keeping them :)


  4. Amanda C says

    LOVE this post, and the whole “room evolution” concept! I am trying to do the same thing – taking pictures of our home in stages, so we can see where we started, and how far we’ve come.

  5. torrie says

    question for you!! our wall colors and lighting always seems to look like your (1st)”blank canvas” shot: yellowish. but your very 2nd pic where you laid your furniture down looks so much WHITER and BRIGHTER! so, my question is, did you actually paint the room white/off-white? or.. is it simply because those original blinds were taken down, the lights were off, and natural sunlight was coming in?? such a stark difference! wish my rooms could look this crisp and white in real life and in my (iphone) pics!

    • says

      Oh yes, it was just natural light/a better time of day! One thing you can try to do is use a white balance mode on your camera if you have one, which can crisp up white walls that might be reading as really yellow for some reason. Hope it helps!


    • torrie says

      oh wow! thanks so much! guess it also helps to start off with WHITE walls… ours are beige to begin with. thought those walls were a beige in your “blank canvas” picture. i want white walls for sure now. it’s decided. oh…i have to ask the husband? what? haha

  6. kari says

    Take some time to be sick and watch a movie and relax!! I feel guilty reading a blog post that you wrote when you should have been taking a sick day!!

  7. Kay says

    This was really helpful to read. I watch too much HGTV so I always feel like when I decorate, I have to decorate to a solid end point where I’m “done” with the room? Your website has been so helpful in helping me see that the process is important and a room is always changing.

    One question: is it ever difficult to purchase items, knowing that perhaps they won’t end up being permanently used in your decorating scheme? I struggle quite a bit with this problem–I overthink a purchase until I end up just walking away.

    • says

      We definitely try to ask ourselves a few key questions about something to help us feel better about a purchase’s longevity, like:

      – Do we have a spot in mind for this?
      – If it doesn’t work there can it work in another room?
      – Can we somehow alter it to work better if it doesn’t work as-is (with paint, fabric, etc)?
      – Can we ebay/craiglist or return the item if we get it home and it just doesn’t work?

      Thankfully that takes the fear out of most things, and we definitely use #2 a lot (things come home for one spot, but work better in another spot, so we love staying flexible like that). Hope it helps!



    • Kay says

      I can’t figure out how to respond to your comment so I’ll respond to myself!

      This absolutely helps! (And thank you for giving me an answer while you’re not feeling well! I’m hoping you have a speedy recovery!)

  8. Carrie B says

    So great, thanks for sharing – we moved in our place 2 months ago and already rooms have had several lives. Anyway, for selfish reasons I cast my vote for you guys to replace the window with a door. I’m planning on doing something similar in our bedroom, and would LOVE to see how you tackle it first!

    Feel better!

  9. Pat E. says

    while everyone else fights over the bedside tables, I call dibs on the West Elm duvet cover….let me know if you ever list it on ebay!

    (and feel better Sherry! be sure to stay hydrated)

  10. Jennifer says

    When you move pictures/wall hangings, how do you deal with the leftover holes? Do you spackle and paint over, and just hope you can’t tell there was a touch-up? One specific example is where the Alaskan pictures were above the side tables after you moved them to above the bed. I’m always so nervous to hang because I’m worried any kind of touch-up will be noticeable.

    • Jennifer says

      What about the paint blending in? Is it just the paint finish you use, or is there a specific way you paint to cover up without being noticeable, especially at eye level (rather than just painting a medium circle where the spackle is, do you do long strokes, etc.)?


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