Laura Rennie

Laurel’s guest room makeover

Laura R.6 Comments
Earlier this week I headed to Bel Air, Maryland, to visit my closest friend. Laurel and I have known each other since middle school, and she is one of my greatest cheerleaders. Most recently, she has encouraged me to pursue my dream of having a side business as an interior decorator. She invited me to visit her new home and do a makeover of her guest room. How sweet is she? 

Laurel described her guest room as a bland-looking space with a hodgepodge of various pieces of furniture. I was given a budget of $225 (though she preferred I stay closer to $200) and full freedom to decorate how I liked. She already knew she wanted to reupholster the chair and asked for my help with picking a fabric. She told me she wanted the room to feel welcoming and cozy, with a place for guests to set down their bags. She also hoped to see a pop of color somewhere in the space.

Please excuse my not-so-great phone pictures. I can’t believe I forgot my DSLR! :(
Here’s what the room looked like before:




And here’s what it looked like a day later:



What a difference!

In case you can’t tell from the pictures, there is just over a foot of space on either side of the bed, and several feet of space between the end of the bed and the closet. My very first suggestion was to remove the trunk at the end of the bed. The trunk is truly great, but it was too deep for the space. While I love mixing up styles, it was too different in style from the bed. Laurel agreed that it wasn’t the best fit, but she really wanted a surface for guests to set down their things. I walked around her house to try to find a different piece of furniture. Thankfully, she had a bench that was the perfect length and depth for the foot of the bed! We swapped the trunk for the bench right away and the room already looked better. 

The pale yellow wall color is very fresh in person and I had a hunch we could make it work. Laurel can always paint in the future. The bookshelf looked a bit plain in the pictures Laurel sent me, but once I saw it in person I could see it’s a beautifully made antique piece, and the wood is too pretty to paint!

I suggested we try the following: a colorful patterned bedspread with white curtains, or colorful curtains with the existing white bedspread and a few fun accent pillows. I was originally leaning towards colorful curtains, but Laurel said she’d ideally move the white bedspread to her own bed. Our direction was decided upon pretty quickly when Laurel fell in love with a blue quilt on our first shopping trip to Target. (Funnily enough, I have the same quilt in yellow.) We found curtains we loved, but they weren’t in stock. We left Target having spent just over half of the budget (quilt, shams, accent pillow and faux plant.) I still wanted to pick up curtains, a nightstand, a lampshade and a piece of framed art, but we didn’t have a ton of money left over. I also didn’t love the accent pillow we had picked up from Target. We went to Home Goods next and I immediately spotted the PERFECT pillow. I also found a great little accent table at Home Goods. It was the right size, shape and color for the space, and it was only $40! (Accent tables at Target were $60+.) We picked up a couple baskets to try on her bookshelf and eyed the framed art section. No luck on art! We also tried Kohls for art, but again — no luck. 

We called it a day and went back to Laurel’s to have dinner. We played around with our new purchases and discovered we liked the look of the quilt without the shams. Not buying shams opened up more room in our budget, which made me very happy!

The next morning we went to a different Target and picked up the curtains we had wanted, a third storage bin for the bench, and a curtain rod and lampshade. We peeked at Ross for art, but didn’t find anything we loved. At that point getting art was last priority. We actually didn’t have room in the budget for art. We would have only picked something up to show what Laurel could do in the future. We went to Walmart for fabric and decided to see if they had better prices on a similar looking curtain rod and lampshade. They did! YAY! I also spotted an inexpensive owl vase that I thought would look great on Laurel’s bookshelf, since it’s very close in color to the blue quilt.

Back at the house, Laurel worked on installing the curtain rod while I styled the bookshelves. I used the new vase and basket along with books and and a sewing box Laurel already owned. I had brought along one of my mirrors to use in her room and offered to sell it to her at a fair price. I wish we could have hung the mirror lower, but then no one would be able to actually use it! (If you love the mirror, the T.J. Maxx in Frederick is selling that exact one for $20. Mine is from Target several years ago.)

Here are a few more pictures of the updated room:


The top print says, “Be our guest” and the second says, “Welcome, the wifi password is ...”
(The room looks blue because this photo was taken at night, when the only light was from the lamp.)

Remember, this is how it looked before: 


and now:

Those curtains! That lampshade! And that little faux plant! Eee! :)

Laurel already owned the two gray storage bins. We bought another, but accidentally grabbed the wrong size. We would have hit her max budget if we had bought the bin, though. We agreed it wasn’t necessary and she can always add one in the future.


Laurel wasn’t sure about this table when I picked it out, but she was willing to try it. I’m glad she fell in love with it, because I think it’s absolutely perfect.


The white fabric I picked for the chair has a gorgeous weave. I know white is risky for stains, but it looks awesome against the wood and Laurel can easily Scotchguard the fabric.


Notice how nice our purses look on top of the bookcase? Haha.


I adore that accent pillow. Laurel was outside of the store when I found it, and it was really fun to see the look on her face when she walked in and saw me holding it up. It was love at first sight. :)

The photos truly don’t do the room justice. It was a pleasant room to be in before, but it lacked personality. I loved how the original white bedspread brightened up the space, so I’m glad we went with white fabric for the chair and used all white pillows (as well as mostly white curtains). The gray lampshade is much fresher looking than the old one, and it adds subtle color and texture.

Laurel has a beautiful front board from an upright piano that she mentioned could be used in the room as art. I LOVE that idea! I suggest painting it white with milk paint and giving it a slightly distressed look. (Like this and this.) The color of the front board is too similar to the wall color in daylight. The little ledge could be used to lean pictures against, but I think the piece is gorgeous just the way it is.


How the budget was spent:

Target quilt - $60 (on sale)
Target curtains - $48 for 2 panels (on sale)
Home Goods accent table - $40
Walmart lampshade - $15
Walmart curtain rod - $12.50 (cheaper in store)
Walmart owl vase - $10
Target mirror - $10 (no longer sold in stores or online)
Home Goods Basket - $6
Target faux plant - $3 (from the dollar bin section!)
Walmart fabric (for chair) - $3
=$207.50

I happened to visit Laurel on her birthday. My gift to her was the white accent pillow from Home Goods. It was a good price for a large and well-made pillow. I wish I had bought one for myself!

Here’s what Laurel has to say about her room’s new look: I completely adore it! The transformation is amazing to me. It went from being very plain to inviting, fresh, and pulled-together in no time! My absolute favorite is the curtains she picked out and how she hung them. They really add interest to the room and help mask the fact that the window is off-centered. I was a little unsure of the wooden side table at first when she picked it out at Home Goods. I wasn't sure it would go well in the space, but once I saw it next to the bed, I fell in love. It's the perfect little table for that corner! Laura made the space exactly what I wanted. I can't wait to have my first guest come to stay! 

Which change or new addition do you like best? I love it all (duh), but I think the biggest wow comes from swapping out the curtain rod and curtain.

Laurel, thank you for encouraging my dream and for trusting me with your guest room!