We’ve all been faced with the same daunting challenge at one point in our lives: an empty room. No, this isn’t going to turn into a philosophical rant. I literally mean a bare room — nothing on the walls, no furniture, no rug, no nothing. Just a new home that needs a little love, and a whole lot of vision.
Decorating does not come to me naturally. I discovered my unfortunate predisposition when my parents agreed to let me redo my bedroom at age 13. And when I come home to visit I still have to stare at the eye-burning popsicle pink on the walls, and slump against my feather boa pillows.
Luckily, I’ve come up with a few remedies for my questionable taste — culminating in a foolproof guide for planning, executing, questioning, and re-executing an entire decor overhaul (on an ikea or less budget). I’m happy to share my tips & tricks with you, whether you need them or not, but I guarantee that none of them will ever lead you to paint a 30x15 bedroom itchy-eye pink again.
My latest project is a pretty good example where I used all my tried-and-true tactics, resulting in a bedroom overhaul that I don’t hate. This one didn’t begin as a blue-sky, totally empty room development. Instead, it began as I woke up one night in my broken (shared) double-bed in the cold sweat of determination. I would have a king bed, it would be affordable, and this room would look amazing.
STEP 1: PINTEREST
Every great design idea begins (for me) with seeing someone else’s decor and trying to copy it. Pinterest is the ultimate tool for the design-challenged. So naturally, that’s where I began my plans for my new bedroom.
I ended up with a few pins I knew would be the basis of my inspiration.
So I had my colors: kind of a dusty pink/purple and grey. And I knew I wanted a linen duvet cover — because it looked like it might have a chance of keeping my eternally on-fire body temperature relatively cool. And apparently I’d need some peonies, because that’s the kind of thing that pinterest-perfect people keep next to their bed. Not a few bottles of motrin, different cups of water, and a snack.
STEP 2: FIND THE DUPES
Sure, I could spend $200 on a beautiful stone-washed linen duvet from West Elm, but I’m ballin' on a budget here. And even if I did have the money, there’s just something that feels good about getting a deal.
The first duvet I found was from the H&M Home collection:
Grey, linen. But at $129 dollars I knew I was going to have to pass.
So then, of course, I had to check Target. And (unsurprisingly) they had exactly what I wanted. But even Target has about three levels of cost. In the home section it goes like this: Room Essentials, Threshold, and Fieldcrest. So I settled for the Goldilocks choice and went for Threshold, reasonably priced at 70 bucks.
They had two good color choices — but I opted for the more subdued grey.
I picked up some cheap (but oh so soft) sheets in the dusty purple color at TJ Maxx for about $30.
It was all starting to come together. But I still needed what some people might consider the most important things — a mattress and a bed frame.
I’d heard about this Casper thing where the mattresses are supposed to be comfy, cheap, and they get mailed to you in a box. It sounded like just my thing, but when I started looking through their options I found that even their lowest cost was still out of my price range at about $800.
Luckily, we live in a world with Amazon. And sure, I might have to buy a mattress sight (and feel) unseen. But there are thousands of great reviews from complete strangers, so I know I’m buying a product I can trust.
Not bad for a King! And see, I wasn’t lying about the reviews.
STEP 3: Craigslist what can be Craigslisted
Usually, I would have started this step much earlier. But somehow, the thought of buying a used mattress just makes me cringe… and I’m sure I’m not alone here.
But when it came to buying a bed frame, Craigslist seemed like the best place to go. Especially when you see how much these pieces of wood go for even at Target or Overstock or anywhere else. So I spent about two weeks checking the site intermittently (or every day) for king bed frame. And then one magic day I saw an ad for an almost-new Ikea king bed frame.
STEP 4: Stagger your purchases to create the illusion that you are spending less money.
STEP 5: Put all your new things together (refer back to your pinspiration)
STEP 6: Ask people how it looks
STEP 7: Display aggression if they don't think it looks good
STEP 8: Once they’re gone, make the changes they suggested
STEP 9: Add some art - and if you’re cheap, just make it yourself
STEP 10: Step back and admire your beautiful decor. Be satisfied for one beautiful night of sleep, and then continue to buy small things at Target when you start to question your taste again.
AND compare your new decor with your original pins to feel extra satisfied. I went a little overboard and maybe did a full blown photoshoot with my cat & a cheese board.
Note to self: Get professional lighting tools
It's still a work in progress, but I try not to get caught up in making things look completely pinterest-perfect, because who really lives like that? I don't. But Pinterest really is great for one main thing — giving out inspiration to create a space that feels like you.
So while I'm always sure to check out what my favorite brands have in stock, a craftiness and some serious "Pinspiration" can go a long way.
Pin to your board!