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When You’re Stumped by a Room


Does this ever happen to you? Do you have that ONE ROOM that you just CAN’T get a vision for?

This was my challenge. The master bedroom. Often times we leave this room to the very last in our decorating process. All of the leftovers are in the master. I mean, when you invite people over, they probably don’t see this room. So we focus all of our attention on the main living areas, and call it good.

One problem. Other people might not see your room on a daily basis, but YOU do. YOU need a place to rest and recharge. YOU need a place free of clutter. And subconsciously, a little attention to detail in this place can do wonders.

So how do you get inspired? Ask yourself some simple questions. What kind of feeling do you want in your room? What style feels like YOU? What can you repurpose and remix to create the look you want?

I must admit, even these questions were not enough to get me motivated. This spring our home was scheduled to be photographed for a magazine (Prairie Style  Magazine, coming out in November!). I was given a list of rooms the editor wanted for the shoot…and ummm, I had a sick feeling in my stomach when I read the bottom of the list. Master bedroom. Yikes. And to add to the pressure, she wanted some quick iPhone shots within a week so she could preview the room. I had a quick pep talk with myself, and blocked out my schedule for a “rush” client. Me.

Walking through the aisles of HomeGoods, I didn’t have the normally happy feeling I have when I’m there. I felt burdened. I felt hopeless. Dumb, I know. But I had no idea where the inspiration was going to come from. And then, I walked around the corner and saw the most darling little metal table. It was 100% me. This one little find started the whole thing. I realized I was making it so much harder than it had to be.

The look I wanted was restful, tone-on-tone, cozy, and farmhouse, in a fresh modern way. Our nightstands were fine, but they were black. I had plans to paint them with chalk paint, but when I saw a couple cans of spray paint in my garage cabinet, I thought, “Why not?” Those babies were painted in about 15 minutes. Now that’s my kind of project. After painting them, I slightly distressed the edges with medium grit sand paper and did a light wash of super diluted white chalk paint, just so they didn’t look so “freshly painted.” Can I tell you something? Just making this one little change did WONDERS for the room.

Next up, curtains. I wanted something simple, to go with my restful look. I remembered some curtain panels I had from our last house, and thought I’d give them a try. These were plain white panels I purchased from Ikea and then painted 18″ stripes with latex wall paint, in a shade darker than our wall color. Lucky for me our last house had the same wall color (I’m obsessed with it, Valspar “Coconut Milk”) so these would work perfectly. One problemo. These panels were previously in our living room, which had much higher ceilings. Darn it, they were too long. And since I had painted them, I couldn’t hem them. Uhh, Hello Janna, there’s this new invention called SCISSORS.  I just carefully cut through the bottom (which was a painted section) and the paint actually prevented it from fraying! Perfect!


Thankfully, our master bedroom was pulled together in a week and I was able to send some photos off to the editor. “No problem,” I said. “Here are those photos you wanted!” If she only knew!

Ok, your turn! What room has been giving you fits? Make a little time in your schedule this week to give it some attention. Even if it’s only 5 minutes. Dream a little. Brainstorm about what you want it to feel like. But don’t overthink it. Work with what you have, and watch it come together. You might be surprised!

  • August 31, 2015 - 8:32 pm

    Ashley - Glad I’m not the only one! My bedroom is always the room that is neglected and hard to get excited about decorating. Yours turned out lovely and gives me motivation to get in gear 🙂ReplyCancel

  • August 31, 2015 - 10:05 pm

    Donna Pizzi - And what an enormous joy it was to photograph your bedroom, and entire house. You do beautiful work. Congratulations on your growing business. Can’t wait to see our photos of your home in “Prairie Style,” with the accompanying article. Bravissima!ReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2015 - 10:59 pm

    Angie - Love your style and your new blog!ReplyCancel

  • September 13, 2015 - 3:47 pm

    Mandy DeTurk-Campbell - Our master bedroom has been giving me fits also. It’s a mod podge of hand me downs and different colored woods. I just can’t find the right feel. Thanks for the motivation to give it another go!ReplyCancel

  • October 4, 2015 - 4:05 am

    Laura - Where is your bedding from? I’ve been looking for something new and I love this!ReplyCancel

    • October 4, 2015 - 3:13 pm

      yellowprairieint - Hi Laura, the bedding is from Crate & Barrel. This print is no longer available, but they have some beautiful options in their current collection! 🙂ReplyCancel