A Simple, Inexpensive Makeover at Orlando’s Apartment

Welcome to a special guest post by my dear friend Orlando Soria of Hommemaker blog and now the creative director of the L.A. Homepolish team. We don’t work together every day anymore but our addiction to each other hasn’t waned. So, every now and again we simply must collaborate even if its just a guest post by him here on the blog. Take it away, Landy.


Dear Emily,

Remember when we met each other and we were, like, not yet fully formed adults? Like I always accidentally called Brian your boyfriend because I forgot sometimes grownup people get married and you lived in a cute little apartment instead of a giant glamourhouse? Well strangely over the past few years we’ve grown from playful party animals to people who are starting to look more and more like actual grown humans. Which is scary and BORING but fun because HAY NEW GROWN UP SPACES.

Recently, I awoke abruptly from a terrifying nightmare (about a terribly styled coffee table) and realized my bedroom needed some tweaking. First of all, the slightly blue hue of the wall was was a bit colder than I wanted (it was Pale Smoke by Benjamin Moore) and it was making me depressed and annoyed. Second, because I move my art on a daily basis my walls looked like swiss cheese. Finally, I felt the space could do with a bit more structure, a bit more sophistication. So before my bedroom was like Kesha, I wanted it to be more like Taylor Swift, freshly emerging from the gym, perfectly coiffed.

My bedroom was still pretty much the way I had it with my ex and not very different from when I moved in so this was the first time I’d really tried to reconfigure everything to make it my own. Now that I’m dating someone new I thought it was definitely time for a change. As the old adage goes, NEW BOYFRIEND, NEW BEDROOM! I actually don’t think that’s an old adage. But it should be. Which means that I would have decorated my bedroom like two times because I am virgin who can’t drive.


So here’s my new bedspace. I know, I know! You’re probably like “WHY DID YOU GET RID OF THAT AWESOME SEASCAPE?” And I get it, it was really fun to have it. But, I found it kind of busy for a bedroom and wanted my updated space to be much calmer and more relaxing because I tend to wiggle around in my bed instead of sleeping in it. So I was all “SHHHH PAINTING YOUR WAVES CRASHING IS KEEPING ME AWAKE IF I DON’T SLEEP I’M GOING TO DIE!”




One of my favorite additions are these ticking stripe and shibori quilted pillows my mom made. They give the room a little pop of navy while also being organic and nautical, which was kind of my goal for the whole room. (For full resources see Orlando’s how to/resource guide here).


I made myself a simple organic wash painting for above the bed. I wanted it to be an abstract version of a seascape that also looked a bit like a Rothko painting. I framed it in a super cheap DIY frame (check out my how-to post) which makes it look much more finished and considered. The headboard was also a DIY project and cost practically nothing. Check the Homepolish Magazine site for that step-by-step soon…




Pretty much everything in this picture came from a flea market, aside from the mirror from Ikea which is a total steal. Like it’s so cheap everyone should have one. I tell everyone. And so should you.


I’m obsessed with this little watercolor. I found it at Rose Bowl last time I ventured there and it makes me so happy to stare at it every day.



I had fun with my paint job, using oversized borders to help define the space and make it look a little more formal. Because my apartment lacks crown moulding and I didn’t feel like adding any, I added a 4″ border around the top of the wall and it thrills me in an irrational, almost scary way when I look at it every day. It’s a great solution for anyone who wants to paint their ceiling a different color than the wall but also wants to do something a little unique.



The best thing I did in the room is flip the orientation so the bed now faces the windows and looks out onto palm trees, power lines, and fancy Hollywood Hills houses. Speaking of Hollywood Hills houses, there’s an open air tour bus that passes by my apartment like 30 times a day. The guide is always screaming that Katy Perry lives across the street in a spanish revival house with a giant picture window. Sometimes, when I’m home alone watching “Katy Perry: Part of Me” on Netflix, I look out the window hoping that Katy will look down and we will lock eyes. Then, she will fall in love with me and buy me, forcing me to live in the chicken barn behind her house.


Emily gave me this bench a long time ago, I’m don’t really remember where she found it but I love how it’s rustic and outdoorsy, just like I pretend to be!



My parents moved out of our house in Yosemite recently and they had an old manzanita branch that fell off a manzanita bush that was in our back yard. It’s old and aged and I love it so I decided to hang it from the ceiling above my dresser. It’s one of the more controversial elements of my makeover but I have to say I love it. Sometimes, with design, you have to allow yourself something super weird. Even if it terrifies all your neighbors as they pass by, looking in your window, gasping loudly as they clutch their pearls.


So yeah, that’s it. My whole goal with this makeover was to make it as elegant as possible without getting too fancy. I’d say I spent around $500 and now feel like my bedroom is a lot more grown up and elegant (like Emily and me). Finally!


PS: Wanna see more process shots and get the resources? Check out Orlando’s full DIY Write up on Homepolish Magazine!

Photos by Sean Gin, Courtesy Homepolish | Portrait of Emily and Orlando by Tessa Neustadt Courtesy Homepolish

  1. This is fabulous as always! I love Orlando’s space before and after the transformation.

    So, maybe I’m clueless, but I’d love to know where the large pottery is from. I checked the Homepolish site and couldn’t seem to find a source.

    I love plants in my home, but being stuck in Central PA, I have such a hard time finding beautiful pottery to display them in. Any additional info would be monumentally appreciated.

    Thanks SO much! :)

    • Sarah

      I’d love some pottery tips too…in fact my dream is to see an Etsy list here some day like you did with Etsy pillows back in the day…. I’ll keep my fingers and toes crossed!

  2. Molly

    It’s so crazy when you rearrange a room and are like “duh, this is so much better what took me so long!” It looks really super.

    Can you tell me more about the blue-scale portrait to the left of the bed? Is that a DIY-Blue photocopy trick? I’m intrigued.

    • Rena

      Yes, this would be also really interesting for me! Honestly I understand that you put those seaside landscape away as I also have the opinion it’s too busy for a bedroom and I like the newest result absolutely <3
      xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  3. Anna

    a virgin who can’t drive…hahahahahahahahahah xoxox

    • marisa

      I know — slayed me. I even added my own dramatic pause when I read it back, a la Tai/Brittany Murphy.

  4. Holy crap can we please talk about those awesome lamps? Love love love the scale with the new headboard. So, seriously, where did those lamps come from!

    • CynWaide

      I’m with you on the lamps. Gorgeous!

      Orlando, the room is amazing. That is how to move on from an old boyfriend.

  5. Sarah

    Design dream team…we love anything emily and Orlando!

  6. Sarah

    I know I can read his blog and all, but I’ve missed Orlando! So glad to see him back over here!

  7. randi

    I want and need the seascape you discarded.

  8. Michelle

    I absolutely love this makeover. I’m so glad your bedroom went from Kesha to Taylor Swift. I also really hope Katy Perry does lock eyes with you, good luck on that :)

  9. Mimi

    Can I get the name of the new wall paint color?

  10. mudslide cookie

    I like how the line of the branch in the water color extends to the real branch hanging from the ceiling…

  11. jan

    Ummmm, can we take a moment (sometime) and revisit that AH-MAZING huge spherical wire lamp thing you MADE by HAND on “Secrets”? Bananas crazy chic.

  12. Dwayne

    Emily, If Taylor Swift is Orlando’s idea of sophisticated, he still has some growing to do. Help him.

  13. Everything is gorgeous (as I would totally expect actually)! I just want to sneak in to your house and steal that pine branch lamp. If you ever get sick of it, let me know! :)

  14. Oh, I forgot to say how much I ABSOLUTELY ADORE your paint treatment (the border). Obsessed with it now!

  15. Sara

    I just want to know, does Katy Perry enjoy being awoken by your trumpet playing each morning?

    Love the transformation (especially the painting over the bed-love the extra wide scale of it!)

  16. laura

    Hi! what is the mirror by Ikea called? I want one!!! ;)

  17. Rachel S.

    I love reading Orlando’s posts, so funny! Also, that room is absolutely gorgeous! I love the idea of painting a thick border.

  18. Elise

    “it’s rustic and outdoorsy, just like I pretend to be.” Oh Orlando, I’ve missed your writing! It’s delightful. Just like you really really are.

  19. Oooooh the trumpet player in me is really stressed out by that precarious position on the nightstand. I love the way it looks, of course, and would love to incorporate instruments into our decor a bit (my husband is musically inclined as well), but every time i see a trumpet sitting on its bell, I’m haunted by the threats of my band director….”dent that horn, and I’ll dent you!”

  20. KathrynJ

    Love it

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  22. Jen

    The bedroom is great and all, but I’m bit obsessed with that warm gray paint color. I had to hunt through that Homepolish post until I found it (it’s in the mouseover text). Benjamin Moore’s Horizon. Y’all are welcome.

    • Emily

      Thank you! I’ve been searching for it!

  23. kelly

    Who knew a trumpet next to the bed would like so good…love things like that! That’s an accessory right? or do you play it? :-):-):-)

  24. Melissa

    Wow, Orlando, your bedroom looks amazing! I love it, especially the paint job and the big-ass branch above the dresser. Love it.

    I also laughed mightily at the mention of your neighbours clutching at their pearls.

  25. AliciaMontana

    serious snaps for the Clueless reference.

    also, this is gorgeous.

  26. KathrynJ

    Loving it

  27. Marie B

    I adore reading Orlando and this kind of post (loved the Homepolish post too). Both before and after are eye candy and Orlando’s writing style is just too good. I loved that quote “I wander in there just to look at the walls and think about how much more meaningful my life is now that there is definition between the walls and the ceiling. ” This is so true.

  28. katie

    Oh my gosh you two even couple dress!!

  29. Marie B

    ps : oh and if you are serious about your new relationship… REDO ALL OUR ROOMS (and share the pics).

  30. I’m only slightly concerned now that Orlando and I may be the same person because I want to live in this room all the time. So inspiring.

  31. Anna

    Great post – would love to know how you did the painting that replaced the seascape! Gorgeous and so calming.

  32. Meri

    I love that branch – I’ve never thought of doing something like that! And I love the sentimental aspect of it being from his family’s yard – such a solid/grounding energy for one’s bedroom….

  33. Marivi

    OMG, that is my parents’ dresser…

  34. amanda

    this makeover is great, but more importantly – this post is HA-larious! thanks for the great style + awesome laughs!

  35. Jenny

    This makeover is amazing & I am OBSESSED with the hanging branch. Most importantly, the writing made me laugh so hard that I choked on my wine

  36. Bek

    Oh man – you’re actually a genius Orlando!! Amazing and so inspiring!

  37. Ok. So I am now officially inspired now to clean up my bedroom and make it sing again. I love the calm of your room.
    I also need some serious tips on how to change a room with a miniscule budget. Ours is so overdue for a change.

  38. Sweet Dreams! I had a hanging branch in my former nest. I had it hanging on the exterior wall of the bedroom patio wall as my husband hated it. I adored it…after all my toddler had dragged it all the way home on one of our wilderness adventures. I miss my eucalyptus branch (or stick as my husband called it) but hope you and yours enjoy your treasure. Happy Nesting.

  39. patty blaettler

    I bought that mirror last week! I’ve admired it for years, and finally found a place for it.

  40. Jan

    I love the new color you used on the wall!! What is the name of it?

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  42. Liz H

    PERFECTION!!! More Orlando posts! You and Emily are too. much.

  43. Lauren

    If only I could write half as entertainingly as you and Emily! What a beautiful space! Not only was I “ooooo-ing and ahhhh-ing” over each and every design decision but I was giggling softly at my desk frightening my coworkers. Particularly at the pearl-clutching neighbors.

  44. erin marie

    i want to run away to a far off island with those planters.

  45. Naomi

    Hi. I would really love if you could share the chosen paint colors in your new space. Will you please share the wall/trim/ and ceiling colors? I’ve painted half my living room BM Revere Pewter, which I love, and is great in the East facing space that gets tons of light, but now that I’ve started using more subtle colors, I’m dying to find more! Also, the 4″ border along the tops of walls is brilliant, but to border the whole space (baseboards and windows) is genius! I’m totally doing this! BTW- I love love love Manzanita. It grows everywhere up north of LA passed Valencia in the pines. I wish I’d taken some when I had the chance. I now live in the middle of the country, and there is definitely no driftwood or manzanita in Missouri!

  46. lane

    I’m wondering about those black chairs and upholstery. if you updated them can you reveal the paint color and where I can get similar upholstery fabric. I have black chairs I want to update and can’t find the right fabric.

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  54. Can you tell me more about the portraits in this room?

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