Simple Master Bedroom Makeover

Years ago, I went on a mission for my church to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Among the wonderful things I learned as I served was an interesting piece of advice given to me by the President of the mission. During a conference with a large group of missionaries he said the secret to a happy marriage was to “learn to love your spouse, and then love him/her, and then re-learn to love your spouse, and love him/her. Your spouse is ever changing, and if you don’t continue to learn how to love him/her, after time you might not be doing it right.”

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Fast forward to about a month ago. I was brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed. I looked around Dave and my bedroom and realized that it wasn’t quite right anymore. When we first moved into this apartment back in 2009, I painted and decorated everything just as I wanted it, but guess what? I changed. Not only did my style change a bit, but I learned a lot about what characteristics I value about a room: light, organization, and space, all while feeling cozy. Also, over the last four years, our bedroom had become sort of the dumping ground for things that didn’t have a place anywhere else in the house. Boxes and stacks of random stuff that needed to be “out of sight” made their way into our bedroom because it’s the one room in our tiny 2-bedroom apartment that visitors don’t visit. It was time for a little attention, and some intentional changes.

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Our cozy, comfortable, yet slightly outdated and sometimes “out of sight” bedroom was the perfect metaphor for what my Mission President had been talking about. When Dave and I were first married, we talked about, planned for, and worked on our relationship all the time. We learned to love each other, and did! Similarly, I had originally painted and decorated our room with intention.

Over the years (really wonderful years) of moving, attending to school, work, and most recently raising our two bundles of energy, our relationship has remained really great, but in some ways taken a back-seat to more pressing matters.

Marriage in general tends to be somewhat “out of sight,” which is healthy. Part of the closeness of a marital relationship is gained in those conversations and moments that are only shared between husband and wife. However, because of the hidden nature of the relationship, it can be easily overlooked, especially if things are rolling along great. Regardless of how well a marriage works, it is important to check in on occasion and “re-learn to love your spouse, and love him/her.”

With all of this in mind, I decided that I would re-do our bedroom as a Valentine’s Day gift for Dave. I wanted to create an intentionally light, airy, organized, and cozy space that would reflect the openness and comfort of our marriage. The bulk of the work was in de-junking and organizing, and that work will be ongoing because we still live in a small apartment and inevitably there will be things that need a place. However, the bedroom will no longer be the dumping ground for the house. It will be a relaxing and intentional room that invites calm into Dave and my life and relationship. The bedroom is still  hidden from visitors, but as Dave put it “It will be hidden because it is special, instead of hidden because it is unorganized.” What a perfect continuation of the metaphor. Our relationship should likewise be held close because of it’s sacred nature, rather than because there is something to hide.

So, now that you know where I’m coming from, do you want to see what I did?

This housing isn’t permanent, so I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, or buy anything fit specifically for this space. In addition to several hours of work, the whole re-do consisted of: 1 can of Behr Pure Ultra White paint, 1 new duvet cover, 2 new shams, 2 new throw pillows, and 1 huge black frame for my hand-cut fabric poster. I spent around $150 total. I think you’ll agree it was worth every penny!

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The effect of the re-do can be seen even before entering the room. Where the room was dark and somewhat cave-like before, now it almost looks like the light at the end of the tunnel because of all the light bouncing around on those white walls!

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I remember thinking that putting those shelves for our family photo books above our bed were such a great idea! The covers of the books looked like framed photos, so it felt like a double gallery-wall + bookshelf. Genius, right? Well, the problem was that we hardly ever took them down to look through, and so they just got dusty and cluttered. I much prefer having them down in the actual bookshelf and freeing up the wall over our bed to feel really open.

As far as the brown walls with racing stripes, I really can’t remember what I was thinking except for that I thought the technique of creating the stripes would be fun to try! I must have chosen the chocolate color to coordinate with our floral bedding…? I have painted a lot of walls and never once done those test patches (so sometimes I’m surprised a bit by the color) but I feel like I’ll just go with it. And honestly, I know I at one point I really loved the brown. Now, I really love the new, crisp, white walls. Hey, people change!
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I had to do some mirror shuffling because I love our big mirror, and use it daily. However, it fit much better on this side wall, replacing the starburst Ikea mirror (that I found by the side of the dumpster while taking out the garbage a few months ago…if that gives you some insight into my decorating style!)

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Dave and I have called this huge bookshelf the “qi-suck” ever since we put it in our bedroom. We needed storage space and spotted this shelf on craigslist for free! While it does provide wonderful storage, it also so easily became a black hole for all of that unidentified stuff that needed a home. This is where the most amount of organizing and de-junking took place, and I’m so happy to have freed it up to once again be a great, organized storage space. I made space for most of the boxed goods by de-junking and totally reorganizing our walk-in closet.

The corner behind the shelf was another pile-zone, and I wanted it to be open space. After the re-do, the only thing in the room that has a true home on the floor is my guitar. Neither of us are very good at playing, but both of us want to be someday. My dad, who is an amazing guitarist, took me to a pawn shop years and years ago to buy this guitar, and the vintage case that it now live in once held one of my dad’s first guitars (if not his very first?) So, either as hope for future talent, or as a sentimental treasure, the guitar gets a place in the room.
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I am still completely smitten by our custom Steele Canvas laundry bin. The white board above it needed some attention, though. I wrote some goals on, maybe in October, and never had erased (or accomplished) them. We had also begun sliding documents into the frame (undoubtedly because of the state of the bookcase). The important docs are now back in their files, and the white can go back to being a tool for inspiration and progress. (Dave scrawled a quote referenced in this talk up there, and I love it.)

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The only art that hangs in the space is my fabric poster. The phrase is so meaningful to me because of all of the introspection that it invites. Until I posted a before/after of the room on Instagram it hadn’t even crossed my mind that it would read as a sexual quote, but I think hanging it above the bed invites that connotation. I actually think it works though, right? In life, in marriage, and in the bedroom, “DO more of what you LIKE!!”

Even though I joked with Dave that this Valentines Day gift was for “him/us (but mostly me),” as I talked to him about how I really wanted to create a space that we would love; that would no longer be set aside as the dumping ground, but would be maintained as special, he understood that the real gift was not only refreshing our bedroom, but committing to re-learn how to love him, and doing it.


  1. Stephanie
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I discovered your blog during the “Stretch Yourself” series, and I have LOVED it! You sew the cutest clothes and I’m excited to learn from you! I also appreciated the insights from your experience at Alt.

    Anyhow, love the bedroom makeover! Sometimes a room just needs a fresh new look, and I like the way you’re making it meaningful to your marriage, too! How inspiring.

    Thanks for an amazing blog!

    • Miranda
      Posted February 15, 2013 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

      Stephanie, I’m so happy you commented! I love that you’ve enjoyed my blog. I agree that a little freshening up in a room goes a long way. Sort of makes me want to “refresh” every room! 🙂 I hope you continue reading along! xo

  2. Ashleigh
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I love this post! I’ve been wanting to do my bedroom for awhile but haven’t felt like the money or time are worth it while renting, but I can see that it is. So inspiring!

    • Miranda
      Posted February 15, 2013 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      You know, I painted my whole apartment (yep, that unsightly brown included) within a few months of moving into this apartment. At that point, we knew we’d be here for two years, no longer, and it was TOTALLY worth the $100 in paint to make my space feel like my own. Several friends living in the same complex told me that they had lived here for over a year, all the while thinking about whether it was worth it to paint, and here I just came in and whirlwinded my space. Needless to say there was a lot of painting happening soon after! Paint is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to really makeover a room. I give you the thumbs up to grab a roller!

      (I even have to paint everything back to the original color when I move, and I still feel like it’s worth it!

  3. Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    love the all white! super chic! great job!

    • Miranda
      Posted February 15, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

      Thanks! I’ve always been a color girl, but I’m totally digging the white. Maybe I’m growing up? 🙂 Do you have white walls, or more hues? You’re so creative, I’d be interested to hear!

  4. Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    I love it! I love the light airy feeling and that it is a space that suits you as well as your husband. We too live in a tight space and it’s so hard to not let our bedroom become a catch all as well. I didn’t read that poster as sexual at all either until you said something. ha ha ha…and well. What’s wrong with that anyway. 😉

    • Miranda
      Posted February 15, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

      Those Master bedrooms tend to be the junk drawer of the house, right? I’ve talked with a few of my friends about it and they agree it’s the same at their houses! It has already made a big difference in how I feel, having cleaned up and organized in my own room, and I hope we’re able to keep it up! And funny about the poster, right? Get your mind out of the gutter, people!! haha

  5. Sophie
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Miranda! I’ve just recently discovered your blog and I love seeing all your projects! Your bedroom looks so refreshing – a lovely place to start and finish the day. And while I’m not a member of your church I actually really liked the talk about your home reflecting the values of the temple (well I’m paraphrasing but what the talk said!). Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Miranda
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Hi there Sophie! I’m so happy to have you here, and love that you found some inspiration from that talk! Isn’t it true that no matter what the configuration, we can and should make our home a place where the happiness of true principles is lived and remembered? I love doing that virtual tour exercise once in a while to make sure that my home, is indeed, a “house of the Lord.” Thank you for your comment! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!


  6. Posted February 17, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    The re-do looks great, and I really love the motivation behind it. I’m definitely guilty of the bedroom that’s “hidden because it’s unorganized”, and it’s really been bothering me for a while. I’m not a great decorator, but it’s been really important to me to make our apartment a warm, inviting space to the friends, family, and strangers that stay with us while they visit NYC. I’m revamping my workspace now, but the bedroom tends to get neglected since we don’t work or host in it. Thanks for the reminder that homes and marriages need to be freshened up every so often!

    • Miranda
      Posted February 17, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Sonya! Now that the bedroom is done, my workspace (closet) needs a little de-stashing/organizing, too! I’ll send you good bedroom re-do vibes, and you send me good workspace re-do vibes, okay?! And next time I’m in NYC I’d love to get together!


  7. Mea
    Posted February 17, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I love this post. Thank you for inviting your readers to have a glimpse into your personal life. As a single young woman who has witnessed the breakup of several friends’/relatives/my parents’ marriages, I find advice like this invaluable. I have been following your blog through an rss feed for quite a while & have never commented but this post just touched me.
    And the way you transformed your space is amazing! Thank you for the inspiration!!

    • Miranda
      Posted February 17, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      Mea (what a cool name!) I’m so glad that you related to my post! We’ve only been married for six years and have already seen some of our best friends break up…I know everyone’s situations are so different, but I wonder what little things may have made a difference, you know? Those are the little things I want to ensure we continue doing forever:) I’m loving the new room, too, and it’s cool and a little funny how now that we’ve related it to our marriage, we’re both SUPER conscious of putting everything away neatly. It’s pretty great!

  8. Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    did you notice in your pictures the cross that your wondows make with the sun is shining in behind them? that was the first thing i noticed. room looks great and relaxing! came over from me sew crazy. i saw that super cute bag you made and i wanted to see if you had more pics of it:) have a great day!

    • Miranda
      Posted February 19, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t, but now that you mention it, I can totall see that cross! Gorgeous. It’s really been incredible what a huge difference this little makeover made. I really do feel relaxed and calm in my room, which is a great way to start and end each day!

      I’m so happy you hopped over! I love Jessica, and was honored to participate in her great series. xo

    • Miranda
      Posted February 19, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t, but now that you mention it, I can totally see that cross! Gorgeous. It’s really been incredible what a huge difference this little makeover made. I really do feel relaxed and calm in my room, which is a great way to start and end each day!

      I’m so happy you hopped over! I love Jessica, and was honored to participate in her great series. xo

  9. Posted February 19, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I LOVE it! Great job, lady! Hmm… I think I want to get that duvet for our bed. We’ve had the same one for almost 5 years!

    • Miranda
      Posted February 19, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Sarah! That floral duvet was one of my first “married” purchases about six years ago, so yes, it might be time for you to get a new one:) I think this particular duvet is unavailable these days, but West Elm has some great options right now!

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