You know what is incredibly satisfying in the midst of dealing with a messy house due to a water leak needing repair? Redoing a room that is completely under your own control. We recently finished getting our bedroom in order (it took us, um, a long time). And know what? I think I finally understand what people mean when they refer to a room as a sanctuary. I keep wandering into the bedroom to take one last peek. Yay for new and more organized things.
While the room might be my sanctuary now it’s a very small sanctuary. The room barely fits our king sized bed (which I refuse to give up, don’t even suggest it) and because the window faces a neighbor’s house which sits higher on the hill above us it can also feel very dark even when the sun is shining brightly.
And before you say it let me say it, I know we need art above the bed. But we are struggling to find something big that we like and that won’t potentially fall on our heads. Did you know we have earthquakes here? We have earthquakes here. I’m afraid of earthquakes. Or, rather, big heavy things falling on my head while I’m sleeping because of earthquakes.
Because the room is so small I thought it was very important to avoid filling the room with unnatural materials whenever possible to keep the air quality in the space as good as I could. When we moved into our house we painted all the walls and ceilings with zero-VOC paint. We we decided our all white walls were good for keeping the room bright, but we really needed some color to make the room seem more intentional? Grown up? Yolo Colorhouse to the rescue. They make great colors.
Know what I’m not so good at? Making decisions. Going through the colors of Yolo Colorhouse paint options was so much fun I kept hanging more and more swatches on the wall, as you can see above. Scott and I went back and forth on what color to paint the wall. I originally wanted something dark and dramatic but he pointed out that the winters here are so dark that a dark wall might appear darker than I intended. Then we thought maybe a bright blue? But we just aren’t blue people. We wove our way through yellows, back to red for a moment, then Scott suggested we go with a gray that we could easily accent with different colors as we wished. Good thinking, sir. The paint is a cool gray and it looks richer than you might think of when you envision “gray”. We used Water .03 which is actually a blue but in our room it appears gray. I was so glad to get a few of Yolo’s painted posters that we hung on the wall, it showed us exactly how the paint color was going to act under the different light conditions throughout the day.
We tried to be conscious of the environment when we were painting. We bravely decided to skip the plastic tarp and use a canvas one instead, though we did put down a layer of cardboard underneath and used another bit of cardboard to hold the can of paint because, well, I’m clumsy. We gathered rollers from previous paint jobs, my favorite short handled edging brush and a smaller craft paint brush that I use to neaten up my atrociously crooked edges.
We managed not to spill anything! We also used a paint roller tray made from recycled plastic and bought some waste paint hardener. Waist paint hardener is like magic, it soaks up your leftover paint making it into solid so when you dispose of it it won’t leak. Just a note, Yolo paint is available at some Lowe’s stores. They offer all the colors that Yolo makes, we bought ours at the Renton store here in the Seattle area.
When we were ready to open the can of paint we found we didn’t have a stir stick, so we ended up using this old wooden fork we had in the kitchen.
I was all ready to buy the lowest profile bed frame I could find and DIY a headboard and some floating bedside tables in the little space that remained on either side of the bed. We have about 16 inches on either side of the bed and even the bedside tables I could find that are meant for tiny spaces were about 20 inches wide. Even if we could have found one I felt like it would have taken up a bit more visual space than I wanted to give up. That and I’m awfully clumsy so avoiding having yet one more thing I could stub my toe on made sense. I had plans for installing picture ledges on either side of the bed that would be just enough to hold a glass of water, a book and an iPhone and charger. I was pretty excited about it. But then we found a bed frame that has a built in shelf behind the headboard. Problem solved! Additionally it sits fairly low to the ground meaning that the room doesn’t feel filled with a tall bed.
I put these soft woven felt baskets next to the bed to hold extra pillows and iPhone cords. I cannot stub my toe on these no matter how hard I try. It’s basket love.
We have this Muppet-like shag rug at the foot of the bed. It makes my toes warm in the morning as well as reminding me to take my shoes off before I enter the room (a bad habit of mine). I find wool itchy (sad!) so I was happy to find this one made of cotton jersey strips. I’m honestly surprised at how well the rug seems to anchor the room and make it seem more welcoming. I see many more area rugs in my future.
To make this yellow and gray pillow that is out of focus in the photo above (sorry, apparently I didn’t take a better shot) I used silhouettes of our profiles cut out of wool felt. I was hoping it would look like that faces/vase optical illusion but instead it looks like we are about to kiss. This wasn’t my intention but I think it’s sort of cute.
The room is too small to hold a dresser with a top so I had to find some way to store my jewelry where it was organized and I could find it. I used these large cork tiles and t-pins from an office supply store to separate and hold everything. If I get more I can simply add some pins.
It’s great to be able to grab a pair of earrings and not have to spent a few moments untangling them. It’s also great to have a spot where I can put my wedding ring and do a quick check to make sure it’s there. Did I mention I lose things easily? I lose things easily.
What else? We have simple white cotton bedding and curtains to keep the space bright and calm and easy to accessorize should I find myself getting tired of yellow. We added a larger mirror and it makes a huge difference when I’m heading out and need to get a glance at my outfit. I’ve noticed that the sound in the room is softer, I think with the addition of longer curtains, a very dense rug and maybe even the yarn around the lamp sound is deadened a bit. It makes for a very “ahh” sort of feeling when you enter the room.
And last, the overhead light. I really want one of those Random string lamps but cannot afford one. I’ve seen them DIYed and figured this was the perfect time to try it out. And let’s just say I learned some lessons in the course of not getting this one right at all. It mostly fell apart when I deflated the small yoga ball I used as a form, there wasn’t nearly as much yarn in the skein I bought as I thought there would be, and I think my idea of setting it over a light fixture that is set in the ceiling is entirely the wrong way to go. You can’t tell from the photos but this ball is seriously lopsided. But, I did learn that as long as the light fixture is airy like this it doesn’t crowd the room as much as I’d feared, and it softens the room a bit, distracting you from the boxy shape that it is.
You will be hearing more about the string light fixture, at least once I have conquered it.
Huge thanks to Yolo Colorhouse for helping to transform my bedroom!