Master bedroom makeover

It’s a master bedroom before and after, and it’s one of my favorites. We had finished their kids’ rooms and it was time to move on to working with mature adults, whom strangely didn’t want any One Direction posters in their room no matter how hard I tried to sell them. This was really a case of just decorating and styling — they already had a great bed and a great high boy dresser, but they needed some style, color, and a cohesive design plan. Luckily, they have good taste and had a budget; nothing too luxury, but they knew that if they were going to hire a designer it’s best to actually give them resources to do a good job — how very refreshing, indeed.

styled nightstand

But first, let’s start with the very first “before.” When we got the call from these new clients, the first request was paint colors, and FAST. We had just a couple days to choose, swatch, and make final decisions about the paint in all the rooms downstairs that were under construction without seeing what they already had or having a design plan.  So yes, we had to be a bit on the safe side.

master bedroom under construction

Luckily, after designing the 26 rooms on the show and 10 houses since, I have my go-to’s that everybody universally loves. So I chose my favorite gray, Benjamin Moore, Gray Owl for the room and they went for it. Phew.

master bedroom before

So that is really where we started. The bed is great but other than that they needed everything. Stylistically they wanted it to go a little Hollywood regency, but still have it feel calm and quiet; nothing too insane and no busy patterns. They were open to any colors although they LOVE peacock blue and teal — it’s like I’m a magnet for people who love blue. I swear that it’s not always my idea. It’s just style fate.

gold and teal bedroom

The biggest challenge was where to put the bed. There were only two wall options. The first would be the wall that you see when you walk in and it would have made the bed really hug one side of the room, and then the bed looks straight at the door when you walk in and it made walking tight, which is fine if you need to but it’s definitely not ideal. The other wall is the window wall, and the bed doesn’t fit in between the two windows as is, so we had to come up with a solution. We decided to put extra curtains behind the bed so it kinda becomes the focal headboard wall and you don’t notice how the windows are small. It made the windows look bigger, and added so much softness behind the bed. We just floated the bed out a few inches to allow for the curtains to hang properly.

Resources: Beautiful blue Chadna rug, Lulu and Georgia. White  shams with gray border, West Elm.  Gold silk curtains, Pottery Barn. White linen duvet, Eileen Fisher for Garnet Hill (and yes, they are my favorite bedding — I’ve bought it now for 4 different clients).  Blue king pillows , HD Buttercup.  Bench at the end of the bed, vintage.  Chandelier, West Elm.

master bedroom before

The nightstands and lamps were too small and just didn’t have much of a design point of view.

styled nightstand

So I found those blue lamps at the flea market and it was VERY hard to give them up, the hoarder in me was chanting, but, but, but, those are miiiiiine … , but we wanted them to take up more visual space since that king bed is big. So we added these larger scale rectangular shades that made them look more modern and were a better proportion to the bed. Also, if a lamp has a rectangular or base, I say go for a rectangular shade. It instantly makes it more modern and a little more masculine.

Nightstands, vintage $750 for the pair.  Vintage lamps, flea market $200/pair. Lampshades, custom from Replacement Shades, $70 each.  Blue pitcher/vase, Crate and Barrel.  Gold bowl, Tom Dixon set of three $90.

vintage dresser

Across from the bedroom is a high boy dresser that they already had, and I love. And we styled it up with a pretty white geode lamp from Lamps Plus and some of their books. The paintings were done by, I believe a mom or grandma of theirs, and we just had them framed/floated in simple walnut frames — something that felt traditional and modern at the same time (as opposed to like a modern white lacquer frames or ornate traditional frame).

Resources:  Dresser, vintage.  Lamp, LampsPlus $166.91, Vase, roost.  8 ball in dome, New Stone Age.  Brown leather jewerly box, Pottery Barn.  Huge bird Painting, Dwell Studios, $1195.  Antique paintings framed at Curve Line Space.

white geode lamp


vintage dresser

So there you have it. A master bedroom redo that makes me jealous all over.

Shoot was produced/designed and styled by me and Orlando, shot by David Tsay.  

  1. Elisabeth

    Beautiful room!! I was wondering where the curtain rods were from? I always feel like picking the right rod makes or breaks a window sometimes more than the curtain itself. So many of them end up looking cheap when they aren’t !! Thanks!!

    • Emily

      From Country Curtains! Sorry, i totally forgot to source those. xx

  2. Beautiful!! As always!!! xx

  3. Donna

    Great trick with the windows, they look a lot bigger. Beautiful room!

  4. Morgan

    Beautiful room! What do you consider to be a healthy budget for a bedroom such as this one?

    • Emily

      I think realistically like $3000, not including the bed (or design service fee). The curtains added up to like $500, the bedding was around $400, rug $1000 and then accessories. Does that help?

      • Brandy

        holy crap I’m poor.

        • Michelle

          Thanks Brandy, that made me laugh! (I’m poor too)

  5. kellyt

    LOVE all the blue accents paired with the Gray Owl. I have that paint color all over my house and always get asked about it. A few questions: also wondering where the curtain rods came from, as well as the blue quilt at the end of the bed. Thanks!

    • Emily

      Curtain rods from Country Curtains and that amazing blue throw was borrowed for the shoot from HD buttercup and its $495!!!! So we’ve now replaced it with a $35 Nate Berkus for Target throw which is honestly equally as awesome, but at the time before the shoot we just couldn’t find one so we had to settle for renting that crazy expensive one. xx

  6. Nicole

    Couldn’t love this more if I tried. YOU. ARE. THE. BEST!

  7. Bridget

    I would love to come to that every day! Gray owl looks different every time you use it. Shocked you used gold/yellow! Color combo Reminds me of that Lonny spread of ny apartment, cannot think of name of owner at the moment. Question: about Eileen fisher bedding, do you love the duvet or sheets or both? If sheets, aren’t they rough to sleep on and get ultra wrinkled?

    • Emily

      I LOVE the linen duvet. It gets softer and softer, and its just so cool to the touch and breathes so well. And the light reflects on it so well, it has pretty wrinkles, i could go on and on. Its a different feeling, for sure, than a slick cotton, but i love how it feels. Thanks so much. :)

      • Bridget

        Just pulled the trigger on the duvet based on your glowing rec. excited to get it. Thank you for taking the time to respond. It shows us that you read our comments and that you genuinely care about our contributions/feedback. Sweet, Emily.

      • Bridget

        Just wanted to share that Garnet Hill is having 25% off friends and family. Started today! I had ordered the eileen fisher linen duvet right before sale started and they honored the discount after the fact! Stock up Emily!

  8. I love that vintage eight ball! My husband LOVES pool so I am pinning this!

    • Emily

      I found a bunch at an antique store this weekend and i wanted to buy them all and put under domes and sell them. So cute and yes, a good ‘dude’ accessory. xx

  9. Marie H.

    Great post! I love how you make sure to denote the sources from everything that you used in the space. It’s VERY VERY helpful! A lot of designers don’t do this so it’s much appreciated. I love the trick with the curtains it enlarges the space and provides a lovely focal point behind the head board like you said.

  10. Emily, I love what you did with this room! But I have questions about the curtain hardware. I REALLY struggle with hardware, because I think most of the affordable stuff looks super cheap and tacky on the wall. I also struggle with curtains for corner windows. I wonder if you could elaborate on the hardware you used here, and how to tackle a corner window like this without losing too much light? Thank you!

  11. Diana

    Another HOME run! (Like the pun?!) I love seeing your progress and solutions to problems I could apply in my home. I would love to see a post of your go-to colors. Also, if you have any painting tips or favorite brands. We are about to paint several rooms in my house and need all the advice we can get!

      • You are my favorite. (!!!!!!!!!!)

        I naturally drawn to gray walls, but I’ve noticed that I’m naturally drawn to cooler colors (other than magenta, which I can’t live without). I’m starting to wonder if beige walls would naturally balance out my “cool tone” accessories. (We just moved in to a house with some beige walls, and I was kind of surprised how well it’s worked out… but they’re due for a paint job!

        Any favorite beiges?????

  12. emily

    Love! Where are the blue quilt and accent pillow from?

    • Emily

      blue quite came from HD buttercup but it was $495 so we returned it because the homeowners weren’t psyched about the price, understandably. And the accent pillow came from my inventory but i think i bought it from ABC carpet and home a few months ago. Thanks!

  13. Fantastic!. I can’t get over how much I LOVE the nightstands. You really inspired me on incorporating black and white furniture into a not-so-graphic space. Of course the lamps are on another level, glad thy found a good home. Picking paint colors fast suxxxxx but your decent budget makes up for it, beautiful beautiful job.

  14. Jenna

    I am loving the way you styled that high boy dresser! The geode lamp, paintings, and plant go so well together. And I love the way you put quirky items under domes. It reminds me of the tiny chair you had under a glass dome in that amazing living room you did. I am so impressed with how much I love every single room you have been doing this year!

  15. Really so beautiful. Just used Gray Owl in a home and so excited to see how great it looks with the blue accents. And those gold curtains are so beautiful in there. Thank you for reminding me of Country Curtains. And kudos to you as I don’t think I would have parted with the lamp. Beautiful room, Emily.

  16. This is beautiful!!! We have a blue spread in a similar shade as that throw blanket but I’ve never thought of pairing blue with the gold curtains – it looks fabulous. And I love the lamps!! You have such a good eye :)

  17. Kyle

    I love the nautical touches (like the framed prints behind the bed)!

  18. Melissa

    Everything looks nice but I wish the curtains were custom in a nice trade fabric with lining. They would have finished the room off nicely. Especially for a master bedroom. Maybe there wasn’t money in budget for them? The brass rods are cute.

  19. Oh, I adore those nightstands! It’s so hard to find one with an interesting shape. I would’ve tried to keep the lamps for myself, too!

  20. Holly

    I didn’t even notice that the bed was too wide for the window wall – the curtains made it look totally normal AND made the whole room look so put together. I think I might try that at home… And the styling on that chest – sooooo preeeetty!

  21. Wow, those gold curtains really make this room and tie it all together. What a great idea of adding them behind the headboard to give the illusion of space and larger windows. The color scheme is gorgeous and rich. And those nightstands are to die for! Fabulous job!

  22. Michelle H

    Such harmony! This design is inspired.

  23. Love, love, love what you’ve done. The curtains are a brilliant solution for where to put the bed, and look fantastic. My favs are the bedside tables – so divine with those little gold handles, and the lamps. x

  24. Alisa

    The GOLD… yum, the gold and peacock are so so very good together. It makes me want to redo my own space immediately. And that dresser they had is killer. Definite room envy.

  25. Sue

    The diameter of the rods are 1 1/4 from country curtains…do you have a good source for thinner diameters? Thank you.

  26. Laura

    Brilliant! I really love what you did in this room!
    It is really inspiring.

  27. Amanda R.

    This room is amazing! So great! Do you have a go to greige paint that you would please share?? I would love to see your full go to list.. It always takes me forever to find the right one!

  28. Lee

    This is dreamy, serene, lively, all at once! homerun!

    question — The gold silk panels. Are they what PB calls “wheat” as I don’t see the gold option on their website. Curious because I have this color scheme in our bedroom, only with gray panels and the room really needs more life and gold could do that!

    • Emma

      Yes, I would like to know the same thing. I have been looking for just the right gold curtains for the longest time in silk dupioni, no less. I checked out PH but initially thought that wheat was more beige. Can you please comment on this Emily? Thank you!

      • Lee

        I corresponded with PB on “live chat” to see if their beige is really this gold color. The associate said, “It does not look the same to me. The wheat is not as bold a color as is on her blog.”

        So I think I’ll hold off ordering until I hear from Emily on this query.

        • I was wondering the same thing, but thought I’d scroll through the comments for an answer before leaving my own. I’m redecorating my master bedroom with gray and blues. I’ve considered a graphic navy and white horizontal striped drape, but I’m loving this bold color with the blues.

  29. Katie G

    So, so lovely. Do you happen to know where their bed is from? I know you said they owned it already. Thanks!

  30. Catherine Soria

    Love the golden yellow drapes!

  31. Dana O.

    Ugh. How many children do I have to incubate in my womb for starlets before I can wake up in this heaven!!!???

  32. Kelly

    love the rug. love your blog. and in the humble interests of making you even more perfect than you already are (even if perfection is boring), not to mention because i simply can’t help myself this is a pet peeve, it is more properly ”your cool grandpa” WHO not that. That is for things. Who is for people. Good clear communication will save the world one day, as well as a lot of marriages.

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  35. Dar

    Lovely bedroom. Homeowners must be thrilled. When using grey owl do you have a go-to white trim color? i just used white dove on a door and it turned out terrible in my gray room. I must think the mixers made a mistake:)

    • Deb Johns

      Try White Diamond, also by Ben Moore. The White Dove is too warm for the Grey Owl. We used Grey Owl in our bedroom with White Diamond trim (cool white), and it looks great! Good luck!

  36. The lamps are my favorite parts … both the blue and the white. Loving their burlwood high boy too. Burlwood is awesome, but is pretty much nonexistent in Middle America where I live! Great choice with the windows too. The curtain treatment makes a huge difference in making the windows look substantial.

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  43. Jennifer

    Hi Emily!

    Well, after months of hemming and hawing (because I’m OCD about undertones, not because there is anything wrong with this gorgeous color), I’ve decided to go with Grey Owl for my living room. Interestingly, my husband called it first, right off the paint chip. I really should listen to him more often. ;-)
    I too would love to know which trim color you most like to pair with Grey Owl.

    Also, I have been thinking of using gold curtains as well because I love the contrast with the cooler blues and grays that I already have. I’ve been searching for just the right ones, and these are gorgeous! I also like these from Anthro, but whoo-wee, the price for the length I need (108″)! :

    I just love you work. Thank you so much for sharing your process and sources.

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