Venice bedroom, before and after

I love a bright and airy bedroom. Mine isn’t — it’s more like a big warm cave that I love sleeping in — but there is nothing more inviting than a bedroom that feels like you are sleeping up in the clouds. This room is wall to wall, floor to ceiling, east facing windows. They had just moved in, although they had all these pieces of furniture to work with. They wanted it to feel really fresh and clean, but with a “modern traditional” bent. They like things that are traditional but with an updated feel, less granny.

Here we are before:

It’s one of those cases where they had the major pieces, but wanted me to bring the “style.” The “pizazz,” may I never use that word again. Do you think that “pizazz” and “funky” are best friends? Because if so, shall I never be invited to that party. Although word on the street is that I’m “preternaturally perky,” so that pretty much means I’m going to be the host of that funky party. Perhaps I’ll even be bubbly, if you are unlucky.

On the other side of the room, opposite the bed, there was a dresser with a TV above it and an unaddressed window nook next to that. It’s dying for one to read a romantic novel involving vampires and paranormal teens on it. But instead it’s full of random things. Clearly a need for storage.

So I made this mood-board:

We wanted to keep it quiet, so not a lot of color, instead using more textural contrast and some pattern mixing. I obviously kept their headboard, two nightstands, two lamps, the bench at the end of the bed, and the dresser. Basically all we needed was wallpaper, a rug, some pillows, a window seat, and curtains to add softness, and dare I say, “romance.”

I figured a metallic wallpaper on the headboard wall would be the perfect way to bring interest and texture and pattern, but SHHHHH, be very quiet. That’s the thing about metallics — they are actually just neutrals. They aren’t really a color. Instead, they warm things up (gold/brass) or cool things down (silver/chrome). We decided to bring in a wallpaper that was more gold than silver, but it wasn’t crazy gold — much quieter. 

Ahhh. It’s crazy relaxing. Every time I walk into this bedroom I just want to get rid of every beloved tchocke and knick knack I have and just relax in the sunlight that is California.

Yes, it’s pretty different than the mood-board, but that happens sometimes just based on taste and budget. In general it still “feels” the same, but even quieter.


– nightstands, already owned by homeowner, from West Elm

– lamps, already owned by homeowner, from West Elm

– bed, sadly I don’t remember.

– bench at end of bed,  Room and Board, custom color.

– Rug, Rugsusa, sisal. We loved the fringe on this, and the bleached out color was still so light and beachy (since we were near the beach).

– metallic pillow, West Elm

– linen sheers, West Elm.  And don’t worry, we kept the blackout shades, just added the sheers for softness and a light/privacy filter during the day.

Yes, that is a lot of West Elm. And while I love West Elm, it’s better to mix it up. But I know what happens when you move into an old space; you get rid of all the furniture you don’t like so you kinda have nothing to actually sit on when you move in. So you go to West Elm and buy everything. I totally get it. All of these pieces were easy to work with, but in a perfect world those lamps would be large table lamps that were really unique, to kinda shake things up a bit.

photo by Bethany Nauert

Wallpaper: I got it from Astek, but sadly it is only to the trade and I couldn’t figure out where else one can buy it. If you are a designer, you can order from them and it’s item #ET30003. It was very affordable at $60 a roll, which came to $300 total. This picture simply doesn’t do it justice:


I really wanted to do the wallpaper in this silver peacock wallpaper by Genevieve Carter, but it was a bit feminine for him, which I totally understood. But, man it’s beautiful:


This side of the room turned out so pretty and quiet, as well:

photo by bethany nauert

We had the window seat custom made for around $1000 (including labor) and it has hidden storage so it lifts up and you can shove all of your unsightlies in it. The cushion was custom made for $200. We gave my upholsterer the dimensions of the seat, three yards of linen and he sewed it right up. It’s simple grey linen with piping. We chose a light color because, yes, it’s going to fade over time. Then the homeowner went to Room and Board and got a pillow made of the same fabric as the bench to tie everything together.

That pretty footed candle with the gold polka dots is from Illume. They sent it to me and normally I’m anti-scented candles, but this one is just so pretty and smells so good that I’m addicted to it.

photo by bethany nauert

They bought the chandelier on their trip to Venice (yes, they live in Venice CA, and they only vacation to Venice, Italy) and we decided to swag it instead of installing it to take the seriousness away. Just as a general note, men don’t like swags, women do. It’s hilarious. Every time I propose it or a woman proposes it, the husband quickly responds as if we just said that she’ll forever wear a muumuu to bed. It’s not that big of a deal, it’s just a swag, gentlemen. It created such a pretty reading nook.

I’ll have more on that entrance shot next week.

All those lovely “after” photos are by the lovely Bethany Nauert.

Well, what do you think? Are you more “simple, white, hotel style bedroom” or “eclectic, interesting, dramatic bedroom?”

Sadly, I think I’m both …



  1. Emily,
    What a lovely result!!! Very relaxing, just enough texture and color. Great job.

  2. EmilyHS

    I'd like to think I'm both, but really I'm incapable of decorating in a "simple, white hotel-style bedroom" way. However, I do appreciate the clean simplicity of the bedroom above. It must be a nice place to wake up when the sunrises. Well done; I only wish there was more art on the walls!

  3. Melanie

    You are my favorite. Please never stop blogging! I love the room and am really envious of all that light.

  4. Angela

    Love it, love it, love it!!!! I liked your mood board but I identify with having a budget (and a guy with opinions). Thank you for sharing.

  5. GPS

    Wow!!! Lots of inspiration here. I'm redoing my bedroom and will use this as a guide. I love how you break everything down for everyone – it's super helpful. I think the bed may be the Wyatt from Room and Board (which I think I'm buying). Beautiful work, Emily. Thanks for all your insight and expertise.

  6. Julie

    AHHH! I'm both too… It's sad. I so want to be calm and serene, but let's face it there is a maniac living inside me!!! The only time I've ever worn all white was my wedding day. When I buy clothes I'm drawn to bright colors (I blame it on my Latina grandmother who calls herself "a Latin from Manhattan") so it's no wonder I can't keep any room truly peaceful like this. I laughed out loud when I read your "swag" comment. I have TOTALLY had this conversation with my husband. Too hilarious! He is refusing to settle on the brass oval chain and wants me to look for a gold fabric covered cord to replace it. I'm unsure… What are your thoughts on the swag with chain vs. fabric-covered cord? Also, side note- where the heck do you buy your brass curtain rods from? You're the best! Your blog makes me :-)

  7. sue donaldson

    Great job, Emily – now, for the art – hope you are free this weekend – or Orlando, as well – go to Dana Pt – a great place for a rainy weekend – free art show – to die for art — and you're invited – (and you thought Bonnie was talented!!)
    :Thanksgiving Studio Show and Sale
    Giving thanks for our friends
    and sharing new works in paint and ink, on canvas and paper, representative and abstract, by
    Hyatt and Anne Moore
    November 17-18, 2012 Saturday, 1:00—9:00 pm Sunday, 1:00—5:00 pm
    At the Moore home
    33752 Big Sur, Dana Point, California 949-240-4642

    Thanks for everything!

  8. Annio

    I'm female and I don't like swags. To me they look cheap, like you couldn't do it the right way. Sorry, just sayin' but I like the rest of the room very much.

  9. I'd like to think I'm simple, clean/white dare say it even calm. It just sounds/looks so peaceful and well, serene. However I'm colorful and dramatic and emotional (yet fairly minimal) and my decor matches. Ah, learning to embrace who I am versus who I think I should be. All wrapped up in my decorating dilemma.

  10. marie b

    Oh my! Thanks for the inspiration! you saved me! I messed up with our bedroom until now, but now I know exactly want it want! never though about metal as a "neutral color".

  11. Kay

    Emily, this room is FAR OUT. Does anybody still say FAR OUT? Maybe I should stop, but I digress. I super love the room, especially the muted wallpaper. It's just me, but that peacock paper's a little too crazy. Love your blog, love your humor!
    RedBird Vintage Home

  12. So beautiful! I'm a total white – cloud-style beedroom and I love this!

    I like the texture wallpaper brings to the room and I would definitely do it if I wasn't renting… :(

    And I don't mind west elm, it looks great! I love it!

  13. I have that damask metallic wallpaper in my craft room! I was so excited to scroll down and see it in someone else's space…darn it! The one you used is more serene and safe. Oh well, maybe you'll find another client to use it for and I can get all excited again.

  14. patty blaettler

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'. 'scented' not 'sented'. love, the spelling police…. (sorry, but this stuff just jumps out at me.)

  15. Debbie k

    Sadly I like the before. I really dont like the wallpaper it makes it look more cheap hotel and makes the soffitt standout. It's too feminine for me. And I really don't like the bottom paneling of the bench or chandelier. But it's not my home and some people are just a lot more girly.

  16. Julia R

    agreed, the peacock wallpaper would have been dope!

  17. Quynh N

    I have the trellis rug from in the mood board! Now I know of some things I can pair with it — thanks, Em! :)

  18. I LOVE what you've done with their bedroom! I can't help but imagine it with an organic walnut sunburst mirror, whitewashed and with metallic accents, hung over the bed! :-) I'm so inspired to make just the perfect showpiece at my Etsy shop. . . Fallen Walnut!

  19. Jen Adam

    This room is the opposite of what I love, but I think you did an awesome job.

  20. Pingback: 15 bedrooms – You Choose | Emily Henderson