Friday, September 3, 2010

Virtual makeover - loong post

One sweet reader that I'll call Miss C asked me if I could help her with a makeover dilemma because she liked what I had done with our living room.

Miss C lives in a rental so nothing could be done with the walls as far as color goes, the furniture had to stay and she also had a certain look in mind. That is an old world look (I love that stuff!) with rich and sumptuous colors, fur and velvet and such tings, all based on a Tree of Life rug purchased in Turkey.

Now I have never done anything like this before so she's been my guinea pig :) And she's been a real sport about it! I haven't completely been able to go with her wishes because I still needed it to look good to me and I was limited to what was already in the room. I would call the look of the room "afters" more of a Colonial Island look, of course sprinkled with other influences since this is me doing the decorating :)

I made some drawings of each wall of the room to try to illustrate what I had in mind. I'm not an artist so these are rudimentary and I only had the kids colored pencils to work with (=limited color palette) but hopefully you'll be able to see what I see in my mind. Click on the pics to see larger versions. Here we go!

A view of the before, the headboard wall which is to your left as you enter the room.

Same wall in the after version. I left the furniture where they were on this wall and added drama, color and coziness with accessories. The colors in the room will be the existing turquoise/teal with the addition of oranges and golds to add some warmth to the mix (browns, whites/creams and blacks are neutrals so they don't count :)).

1. Since we can't paint the walls we'll be adding lots of fabric. These lengths of fabric behind each of the night stands (floor to ceiling length, an inch or two off the wall) is just yardage cut in half length-wise, hemmed on all four sides with rod pockets at the top and bottom, a thin PVC pipe (find it at the hardware store) inserted in the rod pockets and hung with fishing wire from the ceiling. I'm thinking a very shiny fabric here in a fairly bright orange, real silk would be ideal but I think costume silk would look great. As in the pic below (no source info on this pic, sorry).

2. To add more romance and softness in the room I've hung a mosquito net from the ceiling above the head end of the bed, the back of the net tucked behind the headboard and the front "flaps" draping softly to each side of the bed.  Image from

3. Behind the net above the headboard I've put a mirror that Miss C already had in the room, it should add some sparkle from behind the net and the dark frame will add some weight and definition to the wall.

4. On each night stand a large gold colored vase with two huge leaves, I've seen leaves like this at Hobby Lobby in the fake flower section.
This is one of my vases. A thrift store glass vase, PVA glue (Elmer's) and gold glitter, when dry spray with a varnish to prevent shedding. The two vases don't have to match, get the two largest ones you can find at the thrift store. And in my opinion cheap gold glitter bought in bulk looks better (more sparkle) than the more expensive ones.

5. A large orange colored bolster pillow, maybe similar to this one but in a classical pattern? Image via Seeing Design.

6. Since we're keeping the two night side lamps the glass one will need a boost by some chunky old books to reach the same height as the other one. If you don't have old books use new ones wrapped in pretty paper or fabric.

7. To break up the whiteness of the bed in a white room I've draped a throw/length of fabric over the foot of the bed. I'm imagining this one to be champagne/beige colored with some gold in it, enough of gold in it to give the overall appearance a gold look. If you wanted to indulge that fur craving this would be a perfect place for a fake fur (buy it by the yard at the fabric store, many choices).
This pillow looks similar to the kind of fabric I had in mind, it has a texture rather than a pattern (no image source).

8. A large chevron patterned rug. You could get away with a small one on each side of the bed but this big version will give you a greater impact. I'm imagining this one in cream and orange. The color of this one via Apartment Therapy.

But the chunkiness of the stripes and instructions on how to DIY from Little Green Notebook below.

I  would suggest using a canvas drop cloth from the hardware store to make it so you can go BIG in size :)

The before of the second wall, what you see right in front of you as you walk in the room.

And the after.

9. The Tree of Life rug now lives on this wall. To give it more significance I've put a large empty frame in a dark color around it (look for this at thrift stores or use custom framing services).
This is what the rug looks like for those of you that wondered about it :)

10. I would suggest raising the curtain rod to a position about midway between where it is now and the ceiling (putting it at just a couple of inches below the ceiling) and adding finials to give more importance and oomph to this area. The finials should be on the chunky side, maybe something like this from Target.

11. Since the existing curtains will be even shorter when the rod is raised I suggest adding on another fabric to the lower third of the curtain and make the panels long enough to puddle a little bit on the floor. Fabric in a more muted orange/spice color like this one from

Add a gold/beige colored beaded fringe over the seam for extra sparkle. And I think there should be a bed skirt on the bed and whatever fabric you use for this lower part of the curtain would be great to also use for the bed skirt.

12. LARGE plants give you more for your buck. Bigger leaves are better because it gives a less busy impression but you do what works. I personally have a White bird of paradise and it's easy to take care of but needs a lot of light. Fake plants can work, just think of the size of the leaves :) Here's mine.
I got it at Home Depot for I think something like $15-20. But depending on how much light you get in your room you may need something different. And just a simple plant stand to sit on.

13. Using the space overhead in a room makes the space feel cozier. Here a trio of different sized nylon lanterns in orange, gold and turquoise. The nylon has a shiny look to it and by putting gold beaded trim around the bottom opening they'll look dressier than it's lowly paper cousin. Attach the hanging lamp kit with hooks from the ceiling and lead them down to an outlet. If the cords bother you use cord covers, cream to blend in with the wall or brights to coordinate with the lanterns. Find them on Luna Bazaar and the smaller size at Paper Lantern Store.

14. A petite armchair in chocolate velvet in the corner, shaped like this one (another one with no image source, sorry). This one will have a twin on the next wall, see below.
Since I didn't have any measurements of the room the dimensions of things are estimated. The chair and plant placements will have to be adjusted depending on how much room there actually is, this chair can be pulled closer to the dresser on the other side of the chair.

15. An accent pillow in a cool pattern or glitzy fabric in a teal/turquoise shade. How about something like this from here?

 Another before of the third wall.

And the after.

16. To distract the eye from the TV screen on the wall another piece of fabric makes up the background. I would suggest that this fabric be starched to the wall according to directions over here.  It wipes right off when it's time to move. But you can also just hang it like we did on that first wall. I'm thinking this fabric would look fabulous, from Joann's. Stenciling on muslin would be a good DIY for the same effect.

17. The desk the TV was sitting on has moved to another room and the TV screen now sits above the dresser which has moved from the corner to the middle of the wall.

18. The existing candle sconces that used to be over the bed now flank the TV.

19. A beautiful mirror on the wall to replace the one we put over the bed, from Lowe's.

We're on the last wall so this post is almost over :) The before.

The after, can you tell I ran out of steam? :)
20. Put up a curtain rod here, add the same kind of finials as for the window and make sure they're placed at the same height.

21. Add a long curtain panel/window scarf here of the same or similar fabric as for the window treatment across the room. Tie it up to trail along one side of this nook and make sure it puddles on the floor. If you want to be fancy you can hang a small chandelier (just for show, no need for it to work) in the ceiling in this nook, above the door. It'll only be visible in passing though so this is only if you feel strongly about it. Also, on the wall in the nook, on your right hand side as you enter the room. Why not put a little collection of newlywed pics or other love dove pics in espresso frames here, just to show that this is your private space?

Ok, I know there's a lot going on in this room but I actually think it could look fantastic in the end. I hope my client, Miss C, hasn't fainted from impression overload or choked on bright colors :) I would suggest to just do/buy the things you know you really love, one thing at a time, adjust the shade of the colors (more or less muted) until you find what you feel most comfortable with.

If you just do the things you love you'll actually love your room even while it's transitioning and if you change your mind along the way you'll be able to re-use the item in a different way somewhere else.

I know that if I had to personally complete all these projects it would probably take me about a year, so I guess you'll have a laborious year ahead of you :)

I hope you'll enjoy your Colonial Island room!

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  1. How fun!!! You did so much work! I love the ideas, and so impressed that you found all those examples. I hope she loves it and does the makeover and sends pictures - you must post them!

  2. I have already done a majority of the makeover today and let me tell you, it is already looking quite incredible. An entirely different room!! I hung a canopy over the bed using a plant hanger with 2 cream window sheers attached , and also went ahead and moved out the tv desk and put the dresser there with the tv on it. So much more room this way! And also put the leaves in the vases on either side of the room, and hung up the rug on the wall. It is looking soooo good:)Thank you thank you thank you!!

  3. C, I'm so glad you're liking the ideas IRL as well. Sounds like you've been busy :) I'd be interested in seeing that canopy one of these days when you get a chance, sounds interesting :)


I really appreciate you taking the time to comment because I know you didn't have to. Additional ideas or related techniques are always welcome, the more we brainstorm the better all of our end products will be.
While I try to answer all comments I sometimes don't make it or have your contact info. If you don't hear back from me it doesn't mean I hate you, I just ran out of time (or simply had no way of contacting you).
I wish you a great day!

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