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Last time I shared pictures of our master bedroom I had just conquered the problem of how to deal with the burgundy carpet and had settled on a paint color that both myself and the Chief were happy with.  You got a sneak peak of the finished closet but last saw the room looking like this:


As it turns out, the secret to dealing with burgundy carpeting is to completely stuff the room with furniture as this will cover almost every square foot of the offending carpet and you will barely notice it’s there because what’s visible is so dark it just recedes into space.  (I’m only partly kidding.)

This to say, there is a lot of stuff in our bedroom.

Here’s what we managed to fit onto the floor of our 11×10 master bedroom and nursery, not including anything hanging on walls or stashed on shelves:

  • California King platform bed
  • mini crib
  • medium sized dresser
  • large dresser
  • small nightstand
  • diapering basket
  • 2 laundry baskets

Besides figuring out a workable floorplan, the other big challenge was to come up with a color scheme that made the burgundy carpet seem intentional.  For a while my plan was to use cream, white, yellow, and brown for a neutral look with perhaps a touch of green for color, but I was not entirely happy about ignoring the carpet color in that plan.  It’s not what professionals do.  One day I had a brainstorm.  One of my favorite shirts is a striped tee in… burgundy and orange!  I decided to make those my accent colors for the room.  I could pull in the carpet color and still have the serenity of warm neutrals – something like this.

master bedroom color palette

The room still has plenty of tweaking to be done, but here are some in-progress shots.

This is the crib corner.

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Although you can’t see it super well, I got the idea for a crib skirt from View Along The Way but I was even lazier more creative than Kelly.  Instead of sewing three panels and thumbtacking them to the crib’s mattress base at the correct height, I used a shawl I already owned and upholstery-stapled it to the mattress platform.  The three bins on the wall shelf hold cloth diapering stuff, onesies, and other clothes.  The awesome pink-to-orange ombre box is from Target and has random small baby items in it.  I just couldn’t turn the whole top of my dresser into a changing table.  I need someplace for my perfumes and pretty boxes, you know?  Changing shall happen on the nearest flat surface.

To the left of that spot is the big dresser with the Chief’s clothes.  He’s had this dresser since childhood if I recall, and it’s been repainted a lot and acquired handles made out of bolts at some point.  Maybe some day we’ll find a nice antique to replace it but for now, hey, at least it’s brown and that works for me.

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I put my brass and black lamp on it and made a nice wall collage of two moody prints (free art from books) and my corkboard jewelry organizer.  I’ve kept my jewelry like this for years and I love it –  I mostly wear earrings and it’s really ideal.  It’s just a bunch of clear pushpins in an off the shelf corkboard.  Also, please note the white noise machine below the art.  Keeping it real!  I think this thing will be a lifesaver for sharing a room with Baby S.

Under the long side of the bed I have three large bins that are easy to access: one for my most frequently worn shoes, and two for baby clothes in bigger sizes and baby blankets/bibs/whatnot.  The Chief keeps his shoes lined up in a row under the end of the bed.

Here’s our bed with the closet, nightstand, and laundry baskets beyond.

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You can see the pillow on the bed and the flowerpot with ivy are bringing in some more of that orange accent color.  The pillow has burgundy in it as well – you can see it better in the next photos.  The throw at the end of the bed is the highly textured Ofelia throw from Ikea.  Texture is important to me for this room and I’m trying to include as much as possible to add interest to a mostly neutral color scheme and to create that nest-y, cozy, inviting feel in this low-sunlight bedroom.

The cat loves that textured throw.

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In fact all the cats do.

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How considerate of them to match the color scheme ;-)

Here’s a shot from a little farther back to give you the context for everything.

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My next plans for the bedroom are to keep bringing in color and texture. I’ve got a great orange and burgundy polka dot print that I’ll make a mobile out of and hang over the crib.  I have a piece of cream-and-gold cloth to make an upholstered headboard, probably tufted, and I’d like to add some wall sconces around the bed.  Here’s a quick mockup.

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The closet may get curtains hung over it at some point, and there definitely needs to be some more wall art.  The plain white curtains will get some colored ribbon trim.  I’m sure I’ll think of other tweaks as I move forward!

I’m so happy with the foundations of our bedroom.  It is a great relief to have an idea about colors that I can move forward with, and I’m looking forward to lots of fun bringing in the details.  How do you like the progress so far?


As I explained recently, we’re converting our old bedroom into a granny flat and are moving into a front bedroom… which we will be sharing with our newborn in about six weeks.   This room is the same size as our old one but with a smaller closet, a much bigger (new! cal king! memory foam!) bed, and of course adding in Baby’s mini crib.   Yikes.  Anyone up for a decorating/organizing challenge?

Let’s get going!  First challenge: the perimeter.   In this room the walls had been painted a semi-gloss yellowy brown, and the carpet… well, you could spill a full glass of wine on it and no one could tell.  Up till now it’s been called the PBJ Room, as in Peanut Butter & Jelly.

pbj room

In our old bedroom I painted three times in the space of a week before I was happy with the color.  Between then and now, I’ve learned so much about identifying undertones in complex neutrals and was stoked to get the chance to try out my color skills on this new bedroom with the difficult carpet color.  How’d I do?  Read on!

Issues to Live With:

  • That carpet is a very bossy color and not one I love, but it’s staying because it’s in great shape, cushy and stain resistant, plus we only plan to be in this room for about a year.  I can’t cover it with a large rug because the door has absolutely zero clearance and I can’t justify the expense anyway.
  • The orangey stained wood trim at the windowsill and closet will stay despite my fervent wishes to paint it white, because the Chief won’t let me.  It’s that guy thing about not painting wood, especially trim he put in himself.  Gentlemen, hear us: not all wood is good.  Sigh.  He didn’t hear me. Maybe I can photoshop it and convince him.  Maybe I can stain it walnut?

But I did get to repaint the walls.  I already gave you the end of my story by posting about how I was looking to gold-and-burgundy rooms for inspiration, but it took some time to arrive there.  After at least five trips to the hardware store over the last month to try out chips and paint samples, I settled on a green-gray that didn”t fight with the carpeting, looked nice yet not chilly in the cool northern light, and would be a good neutral background for the bedding and decor I have in mind.   Whites and off-whites were too pale in this room – there is not enough light for them to look anything but dirty and sad.  Did you know that’s what happens to light colored paint in dim lighting conditions?

Behr Basic Khaki was the first paint color I used to repaint, this time in an eggshell sheen. On the chip without anything to compare it appears tan-khaki like a pair of pants, but in this room, with this light, next to this carpet, it definitely looked olive gray.

I bet you would like to see the tranformative value of $30 worth of paint right about now.

paint change


pbj room


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So much better, huh?  Yeah, the carpet is burgundy, but it looks fine with the gray walls.

I used Behr Ultra (Paint & Primer In One) to avoid having to do a coat of primer.  That paint is sticky and kinda hard to work with, but my one coat plan worked.  It looked great.  I was happy.

Then disaster struck. 

My hubby, who had been noticeably quiet as I worked, finally confessed that he hated the color and that it reminded him of the face of someone who was about to throw up.  WHAT.

I have strong opinions about design, but I can’t live with decor choices that I know he hates.  A few tears and few hours of thinking later, I decided yellow-beige was the next best paint option.  (FYI there are three undertones to beige or tan paints – yellow-, pink-, and green-beige.)   To keep the room from looking like a library or hunting lodge, hopefully I could find a shade that wasn’t too deep or yellowy, and could I could do the bed in white, brown, and straw and it would all be harmonious and subtle.  I held up a vanilla candle and a shooting target printed on manila paper next to the bedroom walls and asked the Chief if something like that would be a better color, and he gave a decided “yes!”

I brought the candle and paper to the Depot and grabbed all the color chips that were similar.  After several comparisons in the room with different light during the day, I narrowed it down to three and got samples to paint on the wall.  As I came in throughout the weekend to check them again in different light, I’d go, Ahhh, what a nice color on the wall, why are we changing it?  Oh yes, he hates it.

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You get the best idea of a paint color when you surround it by pure white and put it next to what is in context, in this case the carpet – leaving it bleeding into the old wall color really does throw your impression of the color.  The clear winner to me was on the far left, though I suspected the Chief would prefer the golden tones of the middle sample which was indeed the case.  He was okay with my choice, which is more tan and goes a bit gold when the sun hits it, so that’s what we finally went with – Martha Stewart Toasted Marshmallow, color matched in Behr’s paint & primer in one.

Here is the same color on the other side of the room.  Whenever I buy a sample of paint nowadays, I make myself a large color sample on a piece of posterboard.  It is SO much more accurate than a tiny, printed paint chip.  I can pull out my growing stash of large samples and see if anything I’ve previously tried would work in a new space, without having to re-buy a sample or actually put paint on the wall.

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We repainted this weekend, and here is the After!


I decided to do stripes in the closet for the heck of it and left the gray paint in there, then taped off stripes to paint the new Toasted Marshmallow color.  It will just be a sneak glimpse when we get into the closet for clothes – a fun surprise.  We BOTH love this new toasty shade of tan and feel warmly welcome in our new bedroom. 

Do you know, this is the darkest I’ve ever painted a room before?  I gotta get out more.  I’ve never used beige or tan or teal or whatnot.  Off-white, pale vanilla custard, and pale gray-brown are the colors I’ve chosen so far in other rooms of the house.  I’m thinking our north-facing living room needs a shot of that gold that is the middle paint sample on the wall in the earlier picture.  Its current vanilla-custard is too wimpy.  Hey, our bathroom is deep red with gray tile and looks awesome but it was done by the Chief before we met. 


Whew!  That was way too hard.  But we got it done, so now let’s get some furniture in here!!

What do you think of the changes?   And is the gray trend replacing the beiges of yore in your home?

Can I just say that working with burgundy carpet is hard?!  I was planning to post about our repainted bedroom this week, but that didn’t work out like I thought.  Instead, I decided I’d share some of the inspiration images I’ve been using to try to get enthusiastic about our future room with all its challenges.

As far as wall color, it looks like we are going with some shade of goldy-beige.  I hope to get that settled this weekend so I can paint!  Now burgundy and gold traditionally makes for a heavy, opulent look, and opulence… I do not haz it.  You see the difficulty?  Our current bedroom is light and bright with pale squirrel gray walls and a white, navy, and seaglass color scheme with hits of espresso and brass.   I love it.  I’m a morning person and need lightness in my bedroom, whereas the Chief would be very happy sleeping in a dark, cavelike room and was hoping I’d paint our future bedroom chocolate brown.  I like dark, cavelike rooms for reading and sipping tea with a cat at night, but it is not something I want to wake up in.

In case you didn’t pick that up, this room is DARK in terms of natural light, and the carpet adds to that, so for the bedding I”m planning on a white, cream, and golden-brown ensemble.  I want to keep an element of lightness going on the biggest piece of furniture in the room.  Also I better add lots of lamps.

Ready for the inspiration shots?  These all have the feel I’m going for in our little dark room.  I’m hoping I can pull off a simplified-traditional vibe and keep things from looking too heavy.


Wish me luck, and if you have any tips for working with carpet that you don’t like (other than covering it with a rug – no door clearance & cost prohibitive, unfortunately), please comment!