Goodbye, Dark & Drab— Hello, Coastal Retreat!

When my husband and I first bought our house, we were over the moon. After ten years in six different rentals, we were beyond ready to put down roots and stay awhile. What I quickly learned, however, was that our decision making skills would be put to the test. We could no longer say, “Oh yeah, I really wish the landlord would do something about that ugly tile.” If we wanted something to be done about it, we had to do it—and foot the bill.

Thus, our process was slow as we began making our house our home.

Facing the Facts

A year into the joys of home ownership, the only room we hadn’t tended to was our own bedroom. You can analyze up and down why we put off our own room and took on the communal spaces first, but let’s face it: the master bedroom is not usually a stopping point during a house tour. In fact, it might even be a little creepy if it were: “Welcome, can I show you the master bedroom?” Um, run! —

Nevertheless, the fact was our bedroom had become a conglomeration of furniture with no discernible scheme. We even used it as a place to store our giant bookcase because we couldn’t find anywhere else to put it (it was a very functional piece--you can see what we finally did with it here if interested).

Now if you were looking to pick up a copy of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged or Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation for a little lite reading, then this was the place. Not exactly the romantic ambience you might dream of for your bedroom retreat.

I tried to spend as little time in there as possible; however, before you start leaving messages for me with the number of a good marriage counselor, read on. We eventually realized the folly of our ways and reclaimed the space for ourselves, no counseling needed.

There were three main problems with our bedroom: the bland color scheme, the bulky bed frame, and the out-of-place shelving unit (aka the giant bookcase).

1: Color Scheme

Our neutral accent pieces, like the bedding and curtains, blended right into the beige walls making the dark, bulky furniture look even darker and bulkier. Using a watercolor painting of Venice as inspiration, we chose a light, breezy blue-green that matched the nautical feel we were going for, providing the perfect backdrop for our neutral pieces.

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Finding Inspiration

When re-designing a room, gather objects that speak to you and use them to create an inspiration board. You may not know at first what draws you to a particular piece, but that’s okay. The objects here helped inspire our room (and yes, that is a llama).

2: Bed Frame

Our bed frame was taking up too much precious real estate in the room. When we first got married, we decided to upgrade from the cozy quarters of a futon mattress (a relic from our college days) and get the biggest bed possible: a California king. It was luxurious! We also picked out the biggest frame we could find: a sleigh style. The curved shape of the headboard and footboard, although regal, added a good two feet of length to the already ginormous bed. By ditching the sleigh frame, we would both be able to walk past the edge of the bed at the same time. Sold!

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Make a Statement

Ditching the sleigh frame opens up the entire room. An oversize headboard is scaled to fit the vaulted ceiling, drawing your eye up and making the whole space feel more open. Another bonus? We no longer have to do an awkward side shuffle to get by each other.

3: Giant Bookcase

The giant bookcase had to go. The office/study feel simply wasn’t working. What to do with the very tall, very blank wall behind it was another story. We had always dreamed of having an historic home with fireplaces in every room, so we decided why not make part of that dream come true? Enter Uptown Market.

A Plan Unfolds

During our hunt for the perfect headboard, we came across a forlorn wooden mantel leaning against the brick exterior of the Uptown Market, where it had been exposed to the elements for who knows how long, giving it a, shall we say, weathered, look. Convinced I could make it work, we bought the mantel before heading to Charleston for a weekend getaway. While there we came across a bin of salvaged mantel decorations from an 18th century home— I couldn’t believe my luck! The mantel was getting a makeover.

After several months cruising around the interwebs searching for an electric fireplace insert that didn’t look like it was 1) fit for the Jetsons or 2) part of a “pictures with Santa” set, I finally found one I liked, just in time for the cold weather to arrive. After a weekend of cutting drywall and re-framing studs, we finally had the romantic retreat we envisioned.

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Modern Vintage

Mixing vintage and modern pieces together is one of my favorite room challenges. Finding the right balance is key: too many of one or not enough of the other can make the room feel like a mishmash.

A Happy Ending

Now rather than avoiding our bedroom, we often retire there for the evening with a little nightcap, sit by the fireplace, and read (kind of ironic since that’s what we didn’t want to do when it felt like a library). Most importantly, every time I walk into our room or open my eyes in the morning, I can’t help but smile.

If you have a room that you are avoiding like we were, maybe it’s time to face it. Seaside Styling & Organizing can help. And who knows, maybe you’ll add your bedroom to the home tour when visitors stop by, though I still don’t recommend using that as your opening line, no matter how great the room looks!

You can see more before and after photos of this project on our gallery page (there’s even a cool video if that’s more your style).

Until next time, keep enjoying this one and wonderful life,

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