Adulting 101: How to Make Your Bedroom NOT Look Like You’re Still an Undergrad
Posters taped on the wall with blue tape? Check. Neon-patterned fleece duvet cover? Nightstands that we got for free that match literally nothing in our apartment? Double check. My husband and I are 32 and, until just a few days ago, our bedroom still looked pretty darn close to a college dorm room. College ended 10 years ago! Not only are we grown-ups but we’re married ones, and it’s high time our bedroom got an upgrade. Or at the very least, a headboard.
Earlier this month we kicked off our very first home makeover series and, #humblebrag, my apartment is the one getting totally transformed! We’ve teamed up with Lowe’s to show all y’all a whole bunch of different ways to transform your space without breaking the bank or breaking any walls ;) Whether you’re moving into a brand new place or are just ready to grow up your space, follow along for tons of tips on how to create a home that reflects your style. It’s all about coordinating the old with the new, the patterned with printed and making sure that your home really feel likes YOU. Best of all, all of the updates we’ll be making are renter-friendly and designed to work in even the smallest apartments.
So far, we’ve shown you how to prep for a DIY makeover, transformed part of my hallway into a mudroom and added tons of color, plants and storage to my two bathrooms. Now, it’s time for one of the most important spaces in the house: the bedroom. It’s where you start and end your day and should be a place that is calm, comforting and clutter-free.
1. Pick a Color Palette: You’ve decided that it’s finally time to make your room actually look like an adult (or two!) lives in it. Though you don’t need to stick too strictly to it, it’s important to pick a color palette and general design theme. Creating a Pinterest board that includes colors, furniture and other decorative elements is a great place to start. You can check out my Apartment Makeover pinboard here. My husband David and I wanted our room to be a place of relaxation, so we chose cool tones that remind us of the ocean. We painted the walls a slightly muted version of your typical sky blue, specifically Open Seas from Lowe’s collaboration with HGTV HOME™ by Sherwin-Williams. (Note: the exact color is CP 02 Open Seas SW 6500.)
2. Personalize Your Headboard With Paint: Speaking of paint, how about personalizing your headboard? In our case, the first step was actually acquiring a headboard! We hit up Lowe’s to find a simple white headboard. Next, it’s time to paint. No matter what design or color you want to paint, we’ve got a major pro tip for you!
If you paint directly on the smooth white surface, the paint will peel right off. And now comes the hack: for this headboard, we simply turned the main panel over and painted on the cork surface. It absorbed the paint easily, and still fit perfectly into the headboard frame. I wanted to create a simple two-tone look, since I knew the bedding and pillows would be patterned. Check out the quick and easy DIY steps below.
– light teal paint (FF 07 Tame Teal SW 6757)
– deep teal paint (GS 20 Intense Teal SW 6943)
– paint brush
– painter’s tape
1. Flip the main panel of your headboard over, so you can paint on the cork side.
2. Place your painter’s tape diagonally about 1/3 of the way across your board.
3. Paint your lighter color first. For us, it took 3 coats to get a smooth finish. Let the paint completely dry.
4. Place a piece of painter’s tape along the same diagonal, but allow a small sliver of the first color to show — this will ensure you have a seamless line.
5. Paint your darker color. Again, this took 3 coats to get a smooth finish. Let dry and you’re done.
Above the bed, we’ve got garlands for days! I handmade this epically long tassel garland as the photo booth backdrop at my wedding. It’s so rewarding to find a permanent place for it two years later. Bonus: It’s VERY earthquake-friendly which is pretty dang important here in San Francisco.
3. Cozy Up to Brand New Bedding: Now that you’ve got a stylin’ headboard, how’s about we upgrade that bedding? Though I loved my super colorful bedspread (so much that we actually used it as the backdrop in our Save the Date video!), it didn’t convey the feeling of calm that both of us were looking for. It also felt very Anj and not very David, and the bedroom is definitely a place that should be about both of us! We found this less colorful but still super fun set of bedding that coordinates beautifully with the rest of the room. Choosing a bedspread that is predominantly white also made our room feel a heck of a lot bigger!
4. Choose Nightstands for Style *and* Storage: As I mentioned earlier, up until now our nightstands were ones that we got for free from a friend who was moving. While they weren’t the worst, they certainly didn’t do us any favors in the storage department. In the interest of cutting down on all the different textures and colors in the room, we chose a pair of simple white nightstands that include both a drawer and a cabinet.
Gotta love the his and hers vibe ;)
5. Save Space With Wall Sconces: If you’re tight on space in the bedroom, it’s a good idea to reconsider your lighting. Lamps take up a lot of valuable surface area on your nightstand, and you might be able to install wall sconces or switch to floor lamps. Once you evaluate, make sure to check with your landlord to see if you can install electrical connections for lights — or just go with the floor lamp or clip lamp option.
6. Hang Your Clothes Like a Grown-Up: Still treasuring the wire hangers you get from the dry cleaner? It’s time to grow up and it’s also time to purge. To truly makeover our bedroom, we couldn’t simply add paint and new decor, we had to take things out of the room. Since we had to pack up all of our clothes to paint the space, we took a cold hard look at my husband’s 10 navy blue hoodies and at my 8 pairs of black booties — and we ended up donating 12 bags of clothing, shoes and accessories to charity.
Now, about those hangers. Step 1: Get wooden, flocked or at the very least plastic hangers so that your clothes will actually last without weird pointy creases in the shoulders. Step 2: Return your wire hangers to your dry cleaner — they will appreciate them!
While you’re at it, go ahead and add a few double clothes hooks on the wall for things that you access on the daily. This is also a great place to hang up an outfit the night before an early flight or meeting.
7. Color Organize Your Closet: With your hangers in place, it’s time to organize the closet. While my husband David’s shirts don’t vary a ton in color, my shirts, dresses and skirts definitely do. Rainbow organization to the rescue!
8. Minimize Clutter With a Shoe Rack: Downsizing your shoe collection is not enough: You also need to organize it so your shoes don’t get scuffed just sitting there. I tended to just pile as many shoes as possible on the floor, but employing a simple white metal shoe rack is a great way to evaluate what shoes you need to have access to on a daily basis.
9. Store Seasonal Items Under the Bed: And for those shoes you don’t use on the daily (or weekly)? Under the bed! (Psst: Head here to see how to make your own rolling under-the-bed drawers!)
10. Customize Your Curtains: Or in my case, curtain! Our apartment came with a dark brown curtain that we had to hem using duct tape. How janky is that? To go with the calm blue theme, we knew this was the perfect opportunity to bring indigo-dyed linens into the mix. Any white cotton curtain is a good base to start with — then all you need is indigo dye.
Head here to get the full tutorial. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself dyeing everything in sight using indigo dye. The great thing about this type of dye is that you get a completely unique result every time — it combines the beauty of tie dye with a limited color palette that makes everything look more refined.
11. Add in Minimal Decor and Wall Art: It’s important to me that the bedroom stays relatively clutter-free, but you don’t want your space to feel like a totally impersonal hotel room. David and I hung up two framed prints of sailing races, gifted to us by his aunt. On the dresser, we’ve got tons of books, a few framed photos and hearty winter plants that do well with minimal light. We picked up our plants and ceramic planters at Lowe’s here in SF.
And there you have it, a room that looks nothing like a dorm room and a whole lot like a beautifully designed bedroom. I can’t say the shoes will always stay on the rack, but I’ll do my best ;)
Be sure to follow my apartment makeover series over the next few weeks — we’ve still got four more rooms to transform!
This post is a collaboration with Lowe’s.
Styling and Production: Anjelika Temple, Kelly Bryden, Brittany Griffin
Photography: Chris Andre