How to Decorate a Bedroom in a Week: Steps 1-4

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Last week I posted this picture of Barbara Barry's Poetical fabric and a few paint swatches that were the inspiration for my parents new bedroom.


I posted that picture prematurely because we ended up going in a little bit different direction with colors after going shopping for complimentary fabrics. So pretend that I never posted that first image and I'll start over with my process. :)

Step #1: Assess the Room.
Take a critical eye to the space and figure out what's working and what's not. If you're having a hard time putting your finger on what's wrong, ask a stylish friend to come over and give his/her opinion. Sometimes it just takes a fresh set of eyes.

My parent's room hadn't been redone in years and it was time for something more current. It was funny how as soon as we laid out some of the new fabrics, my mom started tearing the room apart. "All this red has to go NOW!"


The bed needed to be centered on the wall. The TV cords needed to be inside the wall. All the furniture needed new paint finishes.


The bathroom was in for a complete overhaul, including new flooring and a new paint finish on the cabinets.


Every single wall needed fresh paint. More lighting, art arrangements better suited to the scale of the room, and all new bedding.


And we had less than one week to accomplish all of it. So I left Grace and Claire with my mom for some fun Grammy time. Then my sister, Ali, and I took our two babies shopping.

Step #2: Fabric Shopping.
I always, always start decorating a room with fabric. Nothing inspires me like textiles. And while I love to buy fabrics online, there is nothing like shopping for fabrics in person to get a true sense of the color and feel. I get nervous about buying expensive fabrics or lots of yardage online without seeing the fabric in person first.

My gorgeous sister, Ali, who makes the best design assistant in the world. Miss you, sister!




I brought a swatch of the Poetical fabric to Home Fabrics last week and my sister and I did some scouting for secondary fabrics. Originally we were looking for something with that aubergine color. But then I spied a whole roll of Suzanne Rheinstein for Lee Jofa 'Hollyhock' for $6.99/yd, which was great with the Poetical. And just like that the color scheme changed. We ditched the purple and took on yellow.


{Which is a mini step just to keep in mind: Be flexible. Don't get so attached to an idea or color that you make poor decisions or miss out on better options.}

After grabbing the Hollyhock, it was easy to select other patterns from all the great options at Home Fabrics. We got a few yards of a Robert Allen yellow ticking stripe, a gray, blue and yellow floral, a subtle leopard print and a lovely pale aqua damask. All of these were less than $7.99/yard.


These secondary fabrics would be used for pillows, a new shower curtains and small upholstery projects.

Step#3: Commit to Paint Colors.

Make sure you always buy your paints after you have your fabrics. It is so much easier to match a paint color to a fabric than the other way around.

We kept some of our original paint ideas. Ralph Lauren's Mauntauk Driftwood, Smoked Glass and Hopsack were purchased. But the other colors were traded out for two colors in Martha's new line at Home Depot: Yellow Magnolia and River Mist.



Step #4: Shop for Accessories.

Here's the really fun part. Bring your fabric and paint swatches with you. Don't forget to take some measurements of your space before hand and bring along a tape measure. And make a list! Don't buy something just because it matches your color scheme. Make sure you know where something will go in the room before you purchase it. Though if you're at a store with an easy return policy, its probably just worth it to buy anything that might work and then just return the no-go's later.


We scored majorly at Home Goods. I had my fingers crossed that they would have a pair of yellow lamps. And it was a good day:


I know these lamps are a much brighter yellow than the mellow marigolds in the fabrics we selected, but I think it's so important to layer shades and tones of colors in the room's palette. That's how you get depth in a room.

I needed a large and interesting mirror for the vanity area. At first I liked this huge, thick wooden mirror from the clearance section, but I worried that it was too heavy, even if we painted it out in a lighter color. We needed something with more mirror surface and less frame.


This 36" circular beauty was $40 on clearance and I knew we could come up with something fun to spice it up a little (and to cover the scratched up surface).


Other accessories were piled in (three carts worth!!) at Home Goods and then we hit up a vintage furniture store that was going out of business. There we bought an old vanity stool for $12 and a bunch of accessories (and some other goodies for clients back home - thank goodness for the extra suitcase!). We also went to some used book stores looking for art books and to Target and IKEA.

Once we had all the major items on our list, it was time to sit down and brainstorm a second list that included all the components we would need for the projects of the room. Most of the items from this list were at Michaels, Joanns and Home Depot.

The car was JAM PACKED and it was time to get started on the actual projects for the room.

I took this photo while I was loading up at Home Goods. Two mature ladies in gold sweat suits walked by and said "Oh my goodness! Are you a decorator? Or just a serious shopper?" I said "yes."


Come back tomorrow for all the DIY goodness.

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