master bedroom redo: making plans

Well, it’s been about 8 months since we first talked about redoing the master bedroom and in that time we’ve been able to accomplish…approximately nothing. (Besides lots of thinking about the bedroom, which I suppose counts for something!)


But we’re not giving up! Our plan is to make all the decisions and buy all the materials up front (what a concept!) and then just knock it out in a weekend (plus or minus a few days). Now that we host client meetings in our house, sleeping on a mattress in our living room might not be the best idea. (Although, I’m sure Avery and Bailey would love it.)

So, in the spirit of moving forward and making progress, I assembled three different “idea boards” for colors/materials/products/etc. Really, I’m just trying to establish a direction that we can get excited about. You’ll notice some elements that are consistent throughout and that’s because we have made decisions on a few things, including:

+ Flooring: in 2008, we refinished the original fir floors but they were really never that nice and have since been trashed (ahem, Bailey) again. So last spring we bought these Flor carpet tiles on sale. (Psst, I just noticed Flor is having a big sale right now!) They look a little darker in the photos but the thing I like is that they have hints of gray, blue and brown so should easily match any direction we go with. To save money, we plan on installing them as a “reverse area rug” of sorts, omitting any tiles that would be completely under the bed.
+ Bedding: the downside to owning a CA king is that it’s hard to find sheets. We have one set of light blue/gray ones that we plan on working with for the time being. We also recently bought a new dark blue/gray duvet cover from IKEA. I haven’t had the best luck with IKEA duvets in the past, but I must say I’m impressed with this one so far (and it was much more affordable than similar versions I’ve seen). Although I don’t own it yet, I’ve also been eyeing these coverlets from West Elm. I admit I’m partial to the yellow but think any color could work.
+ Headboard: the plan is make a built-in headboard from a sheet of maple plywood (which is currently residing in our shop).
+ Lighting: we plan on keeping the Artemide Tolomeo sconces and Modern Fan Co. fan/light combo.
+ Wardrobe: the IKEA PAX wardrobe will be staying but in lieu of adding custom doors (an idea we’d been tossing around) we plan on replacing the existing brown curtains and IKEA tension rod with something new and more functional.
+ Chair: I have a simple IKEA chair (that we bought in the as-is section years ago) that I use as a glorified clothes holder. (Y’know, for the stuff that needs to be hung back up.) It was pretty beat up when we bought it (for $5 I think?) and I don’t necessarily need to replace it, but then I saw this West Elm chair that Dana put in her bedroom and I WANT. Again, maybe it’s ridiculous since I rarely sit in this chair, but I’m thinking we could use it as extra seating when we have big groups over for dinner? (Also, Kyle says I’m good at rationalizing.)
+ Walls: part of the original motivation to redo the bedroom was that we hated our off-the-shelf “white” walls. First we thought we’d repaint to match the rest of the house (BM’s “Super White”) but we love the dark walls of the nursery so much that we’re now thinking more in that direction (though a bit lighter or less saturated perhaps).

Anyway, design options!


Funny enough, the biggest design obstacle I’m having with this space is NIGHTSTANDS. I feel like I have searched and searched (as seen on my Pinterest board for this room) but have yet to find the right thing. The nightstands shown in this first scheme are IKEA, but the actual color is a much brighter yellow and not quite the vibe we’re going with here.

I’m also still hunting for fabric for the wardrobe curtains (I’m thinking fabric will be a better route as standard curtain widths aren’t quite enough). I found this pattern on Tonic Living. In my mind we’ll do something with a small print and some color (but not too much!) so maybe this could work. I think whatever fabric we choose will help determine the wall color – in this scheme I’m thinking a lighter (yet warmer) gray to compliment the darker gray in the fabric. (The pillow is West Elm.)


In this second scheme, I chose a brighter, more playful curtain fabric (also from Tonic Living) with a more blue-gray wall color and these end tables from Target (which I think may be too blue in real life). In general, we like to use color for accessories and other elements that are easily changeable (like curtains and free-standing furniture), but color also tends to become a focal point so making the right decision can be tricky.


The third scheme delves a bit more into neutral territory, but there’s something calming about it. The curtains (we’d had to buy 4 panels) are from Crate&Barrel and the pillow is from West Elm. I found the nightstand on Makers Alley. (Anyone ever purchased something from there? I hadn’t heard of it before.) The concept is similar to our current nightstands (discontinued Offi TV stands that no longer fit with our bigger bed) and I like that, but I’m also thinking it could also be a DIY project. Though with the maple plywood headboard as a backdrop, I think I’d be inclined to make the box part a color. I suppose the good news in all of this is that nightstands are the one thing that could be added later.

So this is where we’re at. Design-minded friends, what do you think? Maybe there are some more options out there that we have overlooked? I would say we could go ahead and get started but I feel like we need to have a fabric or curtain picked out before we commit to a wall color. Oh, and then there are accessories and artwork. One step at a time.

FYI – I’m not being paid by anyone for the content in this post. Just hours and hours of good ol’ fashioned brainstorming and interweb searching.


72 Responses to “master bedroom redo: making plans”

  1. Emily says:

    I now want that chair for my new office chair! Maybe I can rationalize it? Hmmm.

    I’ve been toying with making a new desk, one with hairpin legs, and I found
    I haven’t used them, but if you want to make nightstands, they might be a good option. We went with the RAST three drawer “dressers” from Ikea and stained them to match our dresser. More storage is important when you live in apartments with crappy closets. πŸ™

    I like the wall color and nightstands from three, but the fabric from two.

    • Lauren says:

      Thanks Emily, I’ve known about for awhile but have yet to buy anything from them (I keep looking for a reason though!).

  2. Maria says:

    i like scheme #1. i actually really LIKE the ikea stockholm nightstands, i think you could use a pop of color in the space, besides yellow + grey = oh so sexy. love.

    • Lauren says:

      I know, I even went to see them in person and although it does seem like they’re built well…the yellow is really lemon-y. I don’t know. Maybe I could get over it. πŸ˜‰

  3. Lindsay says:

    I have this ikea duvet! I’ve had it for about 2.5 years (and lived with a large dog who sleeps in the bed). I’ve washed it a few times and it has held up really nicely! The one thing that I don’t like is the snap button closer. It isn’t a big deal, but it doesn’t look as seamless as a pottery barn one I had a few years ago.

    PS: I live in Seattle and I love following your blog!

    • Lauren says:

      Haha, I was impressed with the snaps because IKEA duvet covers used to have just an opening with no fasteners at all! I did notice with our old duvet cover (which was $$$) that the button holes eventually got stretched out and it wouldn’t stay buttoned. So maybe the snaps will be a good long-term solution? (Although I don’t know why people just don’t use zippers!)

      Always cool to hear about other Seattleites reading our blog, thanks!

      • Paige says:

        We have an Ikea duvet with snaps. I think they have worn out over time, because they have a tendency to pop open easily, but it’s also easily fixed. It’s also like 5 years old and my only duvet, so it’s certainly been put through its paces. I just can’t find others that I like enough to buy.

        My German grandmother always has the best duvets – they have the ties in the corners and little “windows” at the edges so you can reach your hand in there and and tie the corners without having to put your whole body in the thing. I love them. But they’re all white. Everything she owns is white. I wish I knew of a website or something where all of the “features” of the duvet were consistent and only the pattern varied, so I knew I was getting something that worked well no matter which color I chose.

        • Lauren says:

          So genius! I guess it would be “easy” enough to sew in little ties in the corners. Hmm…yes, someone needs to make quality, modern (and affordable!) duvet covers!

          • katie says:

            jumping in – my duvet cover has ties in the corners and i have no idea how you are supposed to use them – do i just tie to the corner of the duvet?? the cover is from west elm, i’ve really liked it so far but it is kind of pricey… luckily they often have bedding sales.

            • Cussot says:

              You can sew diagonal straps of twill tape to the corners of your duvet to
              give you something to fasten the ties to.

            • Lauren says:

              I wondered about that too…I assumed you just tie them to the duvet corner but maybe some duvets also have ties? This seems like it’s getting complicated.

  4. Dana says:

    Ugh, I’m feeling your nightstand pain! Everything I’ve found is either a funky color or waay out of my budget. Interested in seeing what you come up with!

  5. Monique says:

    I’ve actually found CA King sheets in the clearance section at Target. Also at TJ Maxx/Marshalls and occasionally Home Goods. We have a regular king but it is super deep so the CA king seems to fit a little bit better when making the bed. I also agree that the colors are nice in #3 but the fabric of #2 is pretty snazzy.
    Love the blog.
    Covet your new fridge.

  6. Laura says:

    Option #1 is really great; the yellow is perfect.

    I’m a big fan of the hairpin leg night tables in option #3, but agree a color is a nice accent. If you’re having a difficult time finding something you really love, have you considered going super minimal and building your headboard to include storage? I always like that option when designing a narrow bedroom. Something similar to these perhaps:

    • Laura says:

      Can always accent with a great piece of art for color!

    • Lauren says:

      Thanks Laura! We did consider a headboard with built-in storage but it gets tricky since we plan on having the plywood extend from wall to wall. (Almost like a wainscot on that wall.) We thought about integrating the nightstands somehow but I actually like the layering aesthetic of having a free-standing piece in front.

  7. LauraC says:

    I really like all three, they would all look great. But if I had to vote, that aquaish blue in the middle would win out. I just have a soft spot for blues that shade.

  8. LeeAnn says:

    Love all three choices, so helpful I know… I do lot of sewing – pretty much everything except clothing. I buy a lot of my fabric from They have a lot of the prints Tonic Living has but at much lower prices. Also free shipping over $35 and constant sales. I am all for supporting small business but saving a couple dollars a yard or more really adds up! Also making a duvet cover is a snap!

    • Lauren says:

      Thanks LeeAnn! Ugh, don’t even get me started on actually *making* the curtains! πŸ™‚ (I made the ones for Avery’s room and it took a full day!) But thanks for the tip on the fabric, it does add up that’s for sure!

  9. I was really surprised that Kyle wasn’t going to build a floating nightstand. Seems that that would solve a lot of issues and would fit your bed perfectly. If your headboard is already going to be built-in, it seems that it would fit the aesthetic. One of the designers that worked on my safehouse redesign project had an amazing one made. You can see it in this picture –

    • Lauren says:

      Thanks Melissa, we thought about it and it might be an option (that’s why I pinned the floating version from CB2) but I also like the simplicity of the headboard and nightstands being different things.

      • Jonathan says:

        Well, you mentioned you like the layered aesthetic. Why not build a floating nightstand that’s permanent, and then put a small chest or decorative storage box underneath? This could be changed out as your taste changes.

        And you mentioned using a pop of color…why not paint the inside of the nightstand the yellow color you used on the kitchen window-frame? I’ve always loved how that color popped. Just a thought to keep colors consistent t hroughout the home. πŸ™‚

        • Lauren says:

          Thanks Jonathan, I had that thought about the yellow too…similar to the boxes we built for Avery’s room but on a set of hairpin legs. πŸ™‚

  10. JacquiBee says:

    What if you hung boxes like that night stand with the hairpin legs, off the wall, or made the Headboard wider and hung them off that?

    • Lauren says:

      We thought about that too (especially since the headboard will extend from wall to wall) but I also like something about the layered look of free-standing nightstands (they would also be easier to change out in the future). But, we’re not ruling anything out yet.

  11. Paige says:

    I’ve had the same nightstand indecision. There’s a bed we really like a Crate and Barrel (Atwood – though we’d likely DIY something similar – I just love the rough dark wood headboard and the bench/shelf at the bottom of the bed – I’d put dog beds in it.) but like a nice contrast to go along with it. I’m thinking metal – maybe some brightly colored filing cabinets? Not sure yet. So many options, and I don’t want to compromise function for form.

    • Lauren says:

      I pinned a few filing cabinets myself! Although, when we’ve had similar nightstands in the past those drawers quickly filled with junk so trying to avoid drawers this time around.

  12. I prefer #1, but I’d change out the table with #3. Love me some hairpin legs.

    nick @

    • Lauren says:

      Me too…couldn’t justify using them on the cork but since we’ll have carpet in this room… πŸ˜‰

      • Either that or take the pillow from #1 and put it in #3. I like #3 quite a lot as well, just not particularly fond of that textured pillow. Either way, It looks wonderful.

        nick @

  13. Lena says:

    I like one the best, especially the curtain fabric. Maybe you could use the nightstand from number three with it? Or maybe paint the Ikea nightstand with a better yellow?

  14. Callie says:

    I feel your night stand pain. Somewhere out in the world, there has GOT to be a night stand that has the right combination of style, storage, size, price and quality… right??

    This is going to sound crazy, but — and, seriously, I warned you about it sounding crazy, so don’t be surprised at what I’m about to say — have you looked at JC Penney for night stands? Yes, I know. It’s crazy. They’ve introduced a whole series of modern furniture (Jonathan Adler has a line there) that is similar to CB2/West Elm and the prices seem like similar to the options you listed above. Granted, they also sell a side table meant to look like it’s made out of a stack of encyclopedias, so they aren’t all exactly winners.

    • Lauren says:

      Whoa, no I never would have thought to check out JCP (I’m not even sure we have them up here). Thanks for the tip! Hmm, stacks of encyclopedias…that might just work… πŸ˜‰

  15. Steph says:

    Time to finally delurk! I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now, your skills and aesthetic are such an inspiration.

    I like the first mood board, goldenrod yellow works really nicely with the softer grey paint on the wall. Maybe unpainted timber nightstands as well, in a rich darker brown that wouldn’t clash with the plywood, or painted white? I dunno, decorating is hard.

    • Lauren says:

      Thanks Steph, I know…it’s hard to make everything come together, especially if you’re trying to do it all at once and not collecting things over time as you find them. If we get the wall color and fabric picked out I’ll consider that a success!

  16. katie says:

    i like #3 – there is just something about it, but i also tend to like more calming and less bright colors in bedrooms. i also struggle with nightstands, usually because they are not tall enough. right now i’m actually using a small dresser as a night stand and it is the perfect height.

    • Kyle Zerbey says:

      Yeah, I joked with lauren that I should come up with a color scheme palette too:) I think calming neutrals with rotating art as a possibility for color could be a good option.

  17. Marta says:

    I like the 1st one and have some questions/proposals. Instead of the curtain for the wardrobe, could it be possible to build custom sliding doors and cover them with wallpaper (like at chezlarsson:
    For the night stand I would think about building it with the headboard and integrating the tolomeo lights, something like this: , , what do you think?

    • Lauren says:

      Thanks Marta, I think sliding doors are tricky for a two person closet as someone would always be blocking the other person’s side. That’s a cool photo with the integrated nightstands. We may end up going that direction, but I think part of it for us is not creating a super time/labor intensive project out of it.

  18. Dusa says:

    #3 for the win! The end tables – so useful (and hairpin legs? Squee!) Also, I’m digging the wall color in 3 – is it the same as the other two? Cause it just seems to pop in this mood board. And just think how good Bailey the photo-bomber will look in this room!

    • Lauren says:

      I think the third paint color is slightly more blue (or at least that’s how it reads on my screen). I think we’ll definitely have to get a few samples and try them out before making a decision. (I did have the Bailey thought re: the duvet…goldens look good on dark blue-grays!)

  19. Ilya says:

    No. 3! I like the darks and neutrals and those nightstands the most. I know its been brought up but I think the integrated nightstands is a great solution, similar to this:
    -Although i realize it doesn’t have the same layering effect you talked about.

  20. Chris says:

    I like #1 best but I can see #3 working too – I’d just want a little more yellow, maybe via art? I like all the pattern/texture. Fun!

    Having both sets of parents in for Thanksgiving – 7 weeks to get the living/dining areas repainted. Thank god our house is small!

    • Lauren says:

      Ooh, good luck! I know what you mean though, I cannot imagine having a bigger house most of the time! (Except for that day last week when we had 7 toddlers running around!) πŸ˜‰

  21. christine says:

    I need to do my bedroom and after looking at what you have done and I going today and look at paints and ideas.
    Thanks for sharing

  22. Sally says:

    side tables like these?
    with the extra foot nubs taken off the one table?

  23. Sandy says:

    I would go with option 2 and with the navy coverlet. Love the curtain fabric and more saturated wall color.

  24. ron says:

    I like 3

    But since I’m always looking for an excuse for Kyle to weld, I say DIY the night stand.

    Remember this

    Make a similar frame and add a walnut box to the top. As I recall you just had a lot of practice making boxes ;-). Leave it open or put a drawer in it. Or make a bit deeper and put a drawe and a shelf in.

    • Lauren says:

      Haha, I know…seems easy enough but not sure how much extra DIY time we’ll have after we do all the other projects in the space. Or we just wait till 2014 for nightstands. πŸ™‚

  25. Robyn says:

    For your bedroom, I would go with option 1. However, I think some of the brighter elements of option 2 would be fun in the basement. The nightstands could be used as sidetables and you could make some curtains with that fabric.

    • Lauren says:

      Thanks sis, I hadn’t thought about bringing some of those brighter colors into the basement. I did think that the current nightstands could become side tables or even put together to form a coffee table. Or itty bitty desks? πŸ˜‰

  26. Sabrina says:

    If you have Tuesday Morning locally, they reliably have Cal King sheets for under $50. Not the most thrilling designs, but good quality. We’re in the same annoying bed size boat here — and I’m so much happier with our DIY headboard than any we could have bought anyway.

  27. Cheryl says:

    I like a mix of option 2 & 3. The shape of the nightstand from option 3 but in the blue-green color of option 2 that would tie in with the sliding doors elsewhere in the house. Wall paint should probably be chosen after you pick your closet curtain fabric – easier to match/coordinate that way (if you pick the paint first there invariably are undertone conflicts).

    If you sew your own closet curtains – wash the fabric before sewing (in case of shrinking), then press all the hems really well after sewing (steam helps), then wash them but only dry part way before hanging so most all the wrinkles fall out. I’ve been looking at the Ikea Dignitet for complete wall of fabric behind bed with one window at the far side.

  28. Malene says:

    Have you seen the build in nightstands and headboard solution over at Hindsvik blog?
    It might be an option to build something similar.

  29. Sara says:

    What about the modernica version of the wire base side tables?
    They happen to be on sale right now too.
    I’m thinking about one to replace a wobbly stand we have

    • Lauren says:

      Yup, love those side tables! Even on sale, I think it’s probably more than we want to spend though. I think we’ll probably end up DIYing something similar.

  30. Mirela says:

    I like No3. No, I love No3, since it would be much easier to play with art and accessories! Can’t wait to see the reveal!

  31. Becky says:

    Late to the party, but I, too, vote for no. 3. I had a grey and yellow bedroom. The look was great but the feel was not quite cozy. To me, layers of tones and textures are so much nicer than contrast.

    A great place to get sheets is the Company Store. So many choices! So cozy.

  32. Janna says:

    Serious demo is going on! I was gonna shoot you a pic but can’t find your email at the moment (on my phone). Exciting!

  33. ooh, love option 3! i’m so into a soothing palette for the bedroom, i’m thinking it looks very hotel-y and comfortable.
    nice choices!


  34. Anne says:

    Now I want that chair!

  35. angsey says:

    How is your bedroom coming along? I’m doing mine too, but renting so I have limited options regarding painting. I just came across this chair. I love the color — any blue, teal, or turquoise. It is similar to the blue table in Option #2. Vinyl doesn’t bother me.

  36. Phoebe says:

    i just got this Threshold quilt (they also have the shams) from Target that’s really nice in case you were looking for a more affordable option. I got it in gray. it’s really soft and has a subtle chevron pattern. I saw the teal color in person and that looked pretty too.

    looking forward to seeing which color scheme you went with and seeing the result!

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