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how things change


 When I have trouble with decorating a room, I don’t ignore it.  I don’t shut the door and focus on rooms I do like.  Instead, I decorate and redecorate and redecorate to the point of  ridiculousness until I get it right.  The best example of that is my bedroom.  Since I’m walking you through the current makeover, I thought I would share how it’s changed over the 6+ years we’ve lived in this house.  (My husband says I need a picture of him pulling his hair out somewhere in this post, but I never took one of those…)

This is what it looked like when we moved in… 



The mauve walls and border were there when we bought the place and the red and yellow fabric was a carryover from my last house.  The furniture pieces were mostly freebies and yard sale finds.  To help you with the orientation of the room – in the picture above, the closet is to the left, the bathroom through the door in the middle and the door to the right goes through to my office.  That doorway is now sealed.

In my pre-blogging days, I painted the room with some leftover red paint (from my last house) to coordinate with the bedding and fabric I already had.  After about a year, I was ready for a change, so I painted the room in a greenish/gold color that I picked on a whim to match some fabric remnants I had.  I didn’t have much of a budget to work with…none really, so I had to make do with what I already had.  I lived with the greenish/gold for about a year as well, but never loved it.

So, I moved to what I always love and never get tired of…blue.   


I picked a blue I liked out of the paint deck, bought the paint and plowed ahead.  I also started painting some of my hand-me down furniture at that point.




The problem with the blue is that I couldn’t find fabric to match it.  Lesson learned.  Pick out your fabric first, then your paint color.   After about a year of walking around with a paint chip in my purse, trying to find a match, I gave up and painted the walls again.

This time, I went with something neutral that I would never get sick of and could easily find a fabric to match…cream.  This is also when I saved my birthday and Christmas money to buy some bedding.  Sigh.  Lesson number two…don’t buy cheap bedding.  The duvet cover got pilly within a month.  The brown bedspread faded after the first wash.




There’s a good shot of the door that connects to the office.



I realized that the room would work much better if that doorway wasn’t there, so I devised a plan to cover the doorway with a half canopy.  I saved my pennies again and found some fabric at Hobby Lobby for 40% off to use for the project.  This is where I learned another lesson…don’t buy large amounts of fabric if you’re not absolutely and totally in love with it.  I knew, even at the cutting counter, that I didn’t love this fabric.  I liked it more than any other fabric in that store at that moment.  I thought it was really pretty, but what I felt for this fabric was just a passing infatuation.



I did love the half canopy, though.  I would totally do that again with a fabric I truly and deeply loved.



After about a year, the infatuation faded and I wanted that fabric out of my room.  I was also getting ready to work on my book and wanted to finally get this room right.  I knew I wanted blue and white, because I never, ever get tired of blue and white.  I found this gorgeous pale blue fabric and bought it.  When I got it home and started looking at paint chips, I realized it wasn’t a pale blue, but an aqua!!  How in the world did I do that?!  Now I was stuck with this pretty, but not blue fabric and book deadlines on the horizon, so I moved forward with it.  Lesson learned…don’t keep plowing ahead with decorating choices that you know aren’t right!   


I made the headboard for a tutorial in the book and made a hurried skirt to match.  This stage of my bedroom was all about making the room look the best I could for the book in the time frame I had to work with.  At this time, we put drywall over the doorway to the office and I planked the wall on the other side.



This brings us to the current makeover.   This time, I’m getting it right.  I’ve learned from my past mistakes.

It all started with a $1000 HomeGoods gift card and back pain.  Both my husband and I were waking up with sore backs and our 10+ year old cheap, now slouchy mattress was the culprit, so we went mattress shopping.  We were also having issues with the covers sliding off the end of the bed every night, so we included a new bed frame with a foot board in the upgrade and I got my dream bed.  I used the HomeGoods gift card to shop for a rug and pieces to achieve the farmhouse glam look I wanted.  We were also finally able to install hardwood floors in our bedroom and family room.  That made a huge difference in both rooms.  We took the opportunity rearranged the furniture again at this point while we were at it.




I sold my beautiful, curvy craiglist dresser to a very excited local blog reader.  It has always been too big for the room and we’re going to make our little closet super functional by building some custom cabinetry.  We’ll get rid of the curvy highboy (to the far right in the picture above) when the closet is done.  The rug was the first rug I bought at HomeGoods, but I started to realize it wasn’t going to work with the direction I wanted to go.  I was going to get it right this time!!

I found this fabric online and fell in love with it and how it worked with the bed.  This is the direction I wanted to go.


I took the rug back and found this neutral tufted wool rug that worked with the direction.


…and here we are today.  Finally.  After seven paint colors, five furniture arrangements, three headboards, six dressers, five fabric schemes, one very patient husband, and a lot of lessons learned along the way, it’s all coming together.



 I hope this walk down memory lane and display of my decorating antics is an encouragement to you if you’re currently spinning your wheels in a room (or your entire house!)

At the very least, you can show this post to your husband to make him thankful that you only repainted your room five times.

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  1. Yep, I can relate. Painted my dining room strawberry creme and should have painted it Merlot! Got my bedroom the right colors but having a problem finding the right quilt pattern, ah well, live and learn!

  2. So much fun to look back and see where you have been and what progress you have made to where you are today. Looking better all the time. We learn by doing.
    Audrey Z.
    Timeless Treasures

  3. Love, love, love the honesty! I also hate to stop with a room that I am not happy with. Thanks for sharing – love the new room – and the floors – and the fabric!

  4. Laurie says:

    Absolutely wonderful. Just beautiful! You should be so proud of yourself for not giving up. We finally bought our dream bed as well from RH. Just have a cheap set of sheets and blanket until we can find bedding we love. Curious what bedding you have? Can’t wait to see your room completed!

  5. I’d say you got it right this time – Practice makes perfect!
    Not every husband has as much patience as yours – he’s a keeper! You are a very lucky lady!

  6. Thanks for sharing your journey in decorating with us, Marion. You are so inspiring to me and I appreciate your honesty in the “mistakes” you made along the way. I am glad to know that I am in good company as I have done the same things. I love the fabric you have chosen. Can’t wait to see the whole room.

  7. Teresa Nelson says:

    Love the evolution. One question: have you written a tutorial on how to make the half-canopy? I have had the fabric to do that for years (and a ton of pictures clipped and filed), but my extreme left-brain tendencies make me want specific step-by-step instructions as opposed to winging it. That, and I don’t want to waste my fabric making a mistake. :( I only have a limited amount and I won’t be able to purchase more of the same colorway or pattern. I have searched the web and haven’t found what I am looking for in regard to a how-to. Do I see the writing of a new tutorial in your future, or can you direct me to a good link that can help this girl out? I have an ugly, odd window I need to block. Thanks!

  8. Jacquie says:

    You’re so brave! Sometimes my biggest problem is getting started, actually having to make a decision practically stops me in my tracks. This year is the year though and I’m starting with the bathroom!! Call me crazy … and much thanks for sharing your ideas alway.

  9. I can feel your pain… we just purchased this house last summer and I’ve painted the living room and 1 wall in the dining room twice, and master bath twice (and hate it). I’m on the second set of curtains in the master bedroom and 3rd quilt. I’ve had two sets of drapes for the living and dining rooms and getting ready to order a third… and I’ve still got an entire floor of the house I haven’t even started on! I think I need help…

  10. Deborah Lemmer says:

    Smiled all the way through reading this blog post – both with you and at myself! My husband is a keeper and has come to expect me to paint and repaint a room at least three times before I get the ‘shade’ I’m after. He says the first go around is just the primer!
    It is incredibly difficult when you have some vision in your head, but you can’t quite get the reality in sync with the vision. It all seems so perfect as you start to build it, and then you step back and have to admit to yourself that it’s not quite right.
    Creativity is full of failures. I love that the creative process is always evolving. I love that I can come home from a long day of work and log on to your blog to tap into my own creativity and feel soothed to be grounded in something that has so much energy and passion.

  11. LOVE it!!! I still haven’t gotten my bedroom figured out. I love alot about it…the paint color and the way I am going, but it’s just too much furniture in it. Such a small space. Not sure what to get rid of or how to make it all work in there. I’m thinking about painting the floor with ASCP, too. I painted it a peachy yellow (oops paint) when we first moved in, and it just doesn’t really go. Maybe summer, if I can EVER get the nerve to move that furniture out!
    LOVE the wall paper. I had my dad wallpaper my half bath and absolutely LOVE it. It is colonial/victorian looking and just REALLY made that room come alive. Good paper is so worth it in the right places!!
    Love what you do and how you encourage. Love your advice, too. So helpful!!!

  12. Kathleen says:

    I think it is only natural for a room to go through many experimental decor phases,
    And more than a few coats of paint!
    Because I believe through our paint trials and errors
    we truly learn exactly what we like and what we don’t like!
    Our tastes and needs change over time too.
    I love the evolution of your bedroom!
    Looking forward to seeing more….

  13. Brenda says:

    I just love where this has led you. I too seem to have hit a few speed bumps along the way to exactly what we want. I do have a question in relation to the shutters that you have on display. I currently have cedar shutters in our bedroom and would love to change them to looking old maybe with a little scrap of paint here and there. Do you have any suggestions on how I could achieve that look. I don’t want to start with the possibility that I could wreck them. Any help will be gratefully received.

  14. I will have to tell my husband about this post. He would sympathize with your husband about the changes. Your bedroom is beautiful and it is so you, it goes along with the rest of the changes you have made in your home. Our house has gone through many color changes, our bedroom has at least 7 different coats of paint on it. When I thought I had our bedroom just the perfect shade of glaze, we put the room back in order. BUT, I told my husband the next morning that the walls were keeping me up, I could not keep it that way. So back into the middle of the room went the furniture, three coats of paint later and I love it and 10 years later I still love it.

  15. Thank you so much for this post, Marian! I’ve been reading your blog for a while and am so drawn to your style. I’ve never really cared about decor until about a year ago, though, and the more I read your blog (and a few others) the more I realize my bedroom especially does not reflect who I am at all! But I’m a priest’s wife with six children so any progress I make will be very slow due to financial limitations and limits on the amount of time I can spend tweaking things. It helped so much to see your bedroom transition and know that I don’t have to gut the room and start over. I’ve seen the “before” shot but thought maybe that was the picture you had of the house when it was on the market and it was someone else’s furniture and style. :)

  16. Peggie Mitchell says:

    Finally, someone who admits things don’t always come about right the first time (second, third, or fourth!)…tell your husband he must pass his patience on to other men. I have been working on my dining room for over a year, now! How hard could that be? Well, to get it just the way I want it may take several more tries. Hope my hubby is up for it!

  17. Your bedroom looks great! I’m pretty sure my Hubs would have lost his mind!

  18. My bedroom has been going through a similar journey over the past 12 years. This is the year that I am going to get it right! Thanks for the encouragement! Life to the full, Melissa

  19. LeAnne says:

    Wow! Love the transformation. It inspires me to keep plugging away at getting my bedroom just the way I want it. :)

  20. Fantastic post! I love seeing the transformation of your bedroom from when you first bought your home til now. I’m loving how this final makeover is coming out.

  21. Janice says:

    You just posted my life!!!! With everything in my house. Why is it that I have no problem decorating other people’s houses, but mine is nearly impossible. Not to mention that my house is so weird that I cannot move furniture. How frustrating is that!!!!

  22. Alice says:

    Love the vintage chenille, use it all summer long in my home. Thanks for being so honest, makes me feel more secure about the “process”. It is so intimidating to see the finished project and to know how many steps, false and otherwise, you took is so encouraging. Your room is lovely.

  23. SERIOUSLY!!! I am now changing my bedroom paint colors because I HATE the pale mint green that looks more like baby nasty on the walls. UGH!!! I have a tendency to go with something because it’s cheap and I have no money and an out of work husband. I’ve decided I’m better off leaving things alone until I can literally save my pennies and find something I can’t live without. Even if that something is a goodwill item that needs paint.

  24. Oh Marion, thank you so very much for showing us the transition of your room. I can honestly say that I LOVE what it is becoming. I have to admit our home is a work in progress right now. I know the direction I want to take (am taking) but it is all a matter of time and finances. So we are doing things slowly… and saving up. Do I like the area rug in the living room? Nope but it was a quick fix (new rug at goodwill…. seriously inexpensive… lasted 3 years so far…) for a problem area. Right now we are using paint… between the walls and the furniture, well it is coming along. Now to figure out how to reupholster a partially upholstered headboard. I LOVE the headboard but not the dark leather so much. It reminds me of yours…. :)

    Once again thank you for sharing! Have a wonderful week! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  25. Shilah says:

    What a comforting post!!!!! I’ve made so many decorating mistakes over the 27+ years we’ve been here. I’ll keep working at it.

  26. I always love it when you take us down memory lane of where you started and where you are now! It is always so inspiring. I have made SOOOOO many mistakes and wrong turns in our almost 5 year decorating adventure!!
    I still remember your mirrored side table project on your blog- whatever happened to those??

    Thanks for sharing- it’s nice to know that you share the same dilemmas a lot of us do! 😉

  27. Thanks so much for the post and for sharing how your bedroom evolve. I was just thinking I should repaint and then buy bedding. Now I know I should do the other way around. You save me future headache. Thanks!!!

  28. I loved your blog post. It is so fun to see the progression, even if it did take years. That’s how real people do it. We try, try and try again until we finally get it right. Thanks for sharing!

  29. I love this post!! It gives me the hope that I too will one day get my bedroom right!!

  30. Marian, I too love this most. It reminded me of me! and made me laugh.

  31. I must say wow that room has co e a long way! Love the ceiling and everything in there- only suggestion I’d say is add some Crown Molding and it’s set!

  32. One of my favorite posts Marian!!!! You know I’ve looong admired your talents and home, but this behind the scenes expo lets me feel a bit better about my own struggles as well. Thank you for being so open and sharing all your skills and lessons learned. That is truly inspirational and makes me want to keep at my own bedroom and living room. If only my hubby was half as patient as yours! Still hoping you’ll squeeze out some time for a visit w/your family this spring (between all your tour dates). Congrats again on ALL you’ve created and prayers sent for safe travels!

  33. Chantel says:

    This is the most amazing Bedroom. It is everything I like!!!

  34. Natasha Glassman says:

    I love the lamps just the way they are…I agree with you that they don’t pop anymore against the blue print; however, you could put a mirror behind each of them and then they would pop & would give off a beautiful romantic glow.

    I am constantly making mistakes…but I will get there someday. Thank you so much for sharing!

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