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Six Ways We Upgraded Our Bedroom


Our bedroom used to be a living room, so it took some work to transform it into a comfortable, functional, and beautiful sleeping space (it’s actually one of our favorite rooms!). So today we’re outlining the 6 most impressive improvements we made to our bedroom, along with some updated pictures.

Our bedroom, first

you can check All previous photos of our home are here, but as you can see below, it was mostly a blank canvas. Well, except for the crumbling drywall, sagging curtains, and wide doors to the adjacent kitchen – that’s all we had to take care of. But we loved the fireplace and the wall of French doors and knew immediately it would make an amazing bedroom (since the house was only listed as a one bedroom when we bought it!).


Before photo of bedroom with fireplace and curtains on the windows





After closing one of the openings and adding a lot of storage, it’s difficult to match the exact angles of our previous photos, but this shot of our fireplace is a good example of how far the room has come in the last 3.5 years .

This is a lot different than how it looked right after we officially moved in. We swear there was a fireplace back there somewhere!


The mess of moving boxes in the bedroom on the first day.



A video tour of our finished bedroom

Before we get into the list of the six main tasks we did to transform our bedroom, let’s take a quick look around the finished room on video. We don’t want to kid ourselves by calling this room 100% complete (every room evolves over time), but now we’ve added closets, built-in cabinetry, a custom mantle, floating shelves, etc. – well, it’s that way. Only “finished” feels like we think it ever will. So here’s how far it’s come:

Note: You can also Watch this video on YouTube,

1. Adding a wall of built-in closets

The biggest functional improvement was in this room Adding a Wall of Ikea Pax Wardrobe To create that proper (and plentiful!) closet space. going from a The large walk-in closet in our old house Not having a closet at all in this room was quite an experiment in patience. But thanks to the addition of these cells, we were able to create same amount of storage Just like it was in our old house!

This would not have been possible without closing one of the openings between the old living room and the kitchen, as well as closing one of the doors to the outside, which you can see on the right side of the photo below (which is the wall On which our bed is now situated) against). It may seem strange to eliminate one French door, but this room still has three more sets of them!


Before picture of the living room The bedroom with the open wall was converted into a kitchen



Six doors remain, including three windows! So thankfully there is no dearth of light or beautiful views here.

As a reminder, here’s how the room looked when we bought it from this angle:


Before photo of wall of French doors in bedroom



But back to the cells. We love Pax wardrobes because of how customizable they are and how easy they are to incorporate into a room. We wrote a whole tutorial for it How to make Ikea closets built-in,

We also shared how we configured them inside, so you can See how we arranged them Here, We also included space for our holiday decorations. One of them has an entire Christmas tree in it! see all this Here,


Sherry and John standing in the open Ikea Pax wardrobe



These closets are probably the best decision we made in this room. None of us expected there to be so much closet space in this house, let alone so many functional closets. Honestly, I’ve never felt more organized. Downsizing for the win + thoughtful built-in storage.


Ikea Pax Wardrobe Closet Jewelry Organizer Tray



2. Making room for a king-size bed

Speaking of things we never expected for this room: We have the biggest bed ever! Thanks for some careful space planning This easy DIY nightstandwe finally Upgraded to king size bed After sharing a queen for almost two decades. Not only is this a more spacious and comfortable way to sleep (especially with the dog who likes to sleep horizontally between us), but it really helps make the room feel larger.

It seems counterintuitive, but small spaces often look more spacious with fewer large items than with a cluster of smaller items, which can appear more cluttered and “busy” to the eye. So making room for a larger piece of furniture can help make the space feel bigger!


White king bed with pink pillows and bright colorful painting



Having a big bed also makes it feel like it stays bigger. We have more space to spread out and it’s a place where the kids can relax with us even on lazy weekends.

And just for fun, here’s a picture of this wall from when we bought the house. We didn’t know right away that this would be the best spot for the bed (so we moved the bed around for a while), but now that we have it we love it! meant to be.


Before photo of living room turned bedroom with French doors on two walls



3. Fixing a Non-Working fireplace

An architectural “holdover” from this room’s living room days is the fireplace. It was no longer functional, so we focused on making it a beautiful feature that we could enjoy looking at – just like our wall of glass doors.


Bedroom became before photo of the fireplace in the living room



There were certain phases of this change, the primary parts of which were We made a modern DIY mantel for all around and A beach spin on fireplace logs,

A recent update has included this large sculptural mirror that I’ve had my eye on for years (it’s no longer sold but this is also the same, I knew the irregular textured border would play beautifully with our plaster sconces – and it helps spread even more light around the room.

So the slow and steady aesthetic improvements we’ve made to the fireplace over the last three years have created a nice focal point for us to enjoy from bed.

4: Adding Even More Built-In Storage

In addition to closet storage, we made our bedroom even more functional by incorporating an entire wall of cabinet storage around the fireplace. Not only did this help make sense of some empty corners on either side of the fireplace, but it also helped create more significant storage space for our formerly storage-challenged home.


Beach bedroom with fireplace and terrazzo table







I mean, look at all the hidden storage space this wall has gained compared to the previous photo below.


Before photo of the bedroom with fireplace and curtains on the windows





We created this bonus storage space Build in some Ikea Besta cabinets And butcher block counters were installed above them. Not only do they look good, but they keep everything from board games and books to our laundry basket out of sight.

You can check out the full tutorial on how to make them, including how we arranged themhis post,

5. Hanging Smart Window Coverings

We mean “smart” in both senses of the word: smart as in “thoughtful” and also smart as in “voice-controlled.” Instead of re-hanging the curtains on the wall of French doors, we opted for an almost wall-to-wall curtain rod. blackout curtains (are ours ivory color, Not only do they look much nicer than old blinds, but they also do an incredible job at keeping the room dark at night. After all, this is where we sleep!

On three windows of the room, we hung low-profile modern roller shades To maximize views during the day. But we spent the money for smart blackout shades so we can control them with our Alexa. we finished Smart Blinds FAQ Post Here’s a description of the cost, installation, and operation of these colors, if you’re curious. We’ve had them for almost 3 years and we still love them!

Together, this combination of blackout curtains and smart blinds has turned our otherwise bright room (which we love during the day!) into a cozy and private sleeping space at night.

6. Making room for beautiful things

One thing this room is lacking is wall space, as most of it is taken up by windows, doors and closets. So I was excited to claim this strange corner located near the door for purely decorative purposes. And it’s now one of my favorite corners in our entire house!


West Elm swivel chair in a seaside bedroom, with Ikea in the background



We also extended the built-in cabinets across this wall Added three tall floating cabinets, A lot of my favorite decor items never really felt like they had a place to shine — and as these shelves went up and I filled them with plants, books, art, vases, and crystals, my heart soared. The bar started throbbing.


White Ikea shelves lined with books and butcher block counters on the beach



Having a place to display beautiful things may seem a bit superficial, but I truly believe that seeing things you love in your home every day can really make it feel like your home. Especially in a beautiful arrangement that you can see from multiple rooms (these shelves have improved the view of our bedroom from the living area below us as well as from within the bedroom).


Ikea has shelves decorated with crystal



We love that shelves help our bedroom look completely separate from our sitting area (rather than having the bed or anything else in view through that door). And having a place to display personal favorite things, like some metal birds I made in a workshop with friends or a painting by one of my kids is great. Sidenote: If you’re looking for more shelving tutorials to upgrade your room, this post is here 16 Easy DIY Shelf Projects For you.

For good measure, I’ll show you one last before and after – which is a view of our kitchen as it was when we bought the house.


Before photo of kitchen with yellow walls in bedroom



We’ve really come a long way, and we’re so grateful that we took a chance on this vintage beach house that had been on the market for almost a year!


Kitchen seating area with two gray Pottery Barn loveseats



With this, we’ll end our list of the six things we did to transform this formerly empty box of a living room into a cool and functional bedroom. This is seriously our favorite bedroom ever!

As a reminder, this May will mark 4 years of living here – so by no means was this a quick bedroom change! But over time, a few thoughtful, functional, and downright beautiful changes can make such a big difference.

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