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Ask The Audience: Caitlin “Purchased” The Dresser Of Her Actual Dreams But Now Needs To Pick A Bedroom Color Palette…HELP

I think that every single piece of interior design advice on the big, wide, infinite internet can be summed up as follows:

  1. Find a jumping-off point.
  2. Jump.

And sometimes, it is that easy. Maybe you’ll fall in love with some wallpaper, or an antique rug, or some textiles from a flea market, or a big piece of statement art. And then, maybe you’ll look at your room, and you’ll just know – a mirror here, a chair there, a gallery wall to the side, rug underfoot. Today’s post is NOT about one of those times.

Because, like, what happens when your so-called “jumping-off point” is more of, say, a pretty unintelligible map to an area with lots of bridges? WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE? That’s the situation I’m finding myself in right now as I attempt to design my bedroom (pictured above…kinda). Let’s actually get inside the room, yeah?

That’s better. (Is it really, though?) Here she is in all of her long, beige, freshly-rented glory. This room has it all: an inconveniently-placed wall A/C unit! The world’s tiniest original closet (pictured)! A second, slightly larger closet (not pictured) designed by someone who wanted to put as many gaping holes in the wall as humanly possible! But wait, there’s more: tough proportions. JACKPOT, BABY!

Here’s the thing: 16′ x 11′ is palatial. Opulent. Grandiose, even! IT IS ENORMOUS. Like, guys. I am a person who has slept pretty comfortably in a full bed (admittedly, my feet hang off the bottom which does bring up some latent monster fears, but still – mildly comfortably) for ~2 decades. And now, you expect me to fill out this ARENA-SIZED ROOM with my dinky, child-sized furniture? It felt like a pretty gargantuan task – especially when I had clear jumping-off points for every other room in this place – so the bedroom fell to the back burner, where it’s been set on a low simmer for ~3 years. THAT ENDS TODAY! (Hopefully.)

But first, a refresher. Back in August, I wrote about how this 1970s Sarreid dresser would be my first splurge if money were no object. Sarreid pieces aren’t impossible to find, but they are usually way out of my price range. (Case in point: $2,800 chest; $2,200 nightstand; $3,800 nightstands.) The full-size piece that I’d identified at the time and was saving up for was listed for $3,600, which actually seemed like a pretty great deal – I’ve seen these go for as much as $6,800!!!

The timing didn’t work out, though. First, someone grabbed it before I’d saved the full amount. Second, I also regained some of my sanity. (I almost put a four thousand dollar dresser on my credit with no planning, guys!!!! It wouldn’t have even been the best credit card for the purchase, rewards-wise!!! And it was four thousand dollars, most of which I did not have on hand to spend on DRESSERS!!!)

That’s the dichotomy of vintage: you can get it now and pay a premium, or you can get it later. (“Later,” in this case, could be any amount of measurable time, depending on how your budget changes. Next month? Next year? At some point in your human existence? Who knows?)

In my case, “later” meant six months and three days. (This was far preferable to the “at some point in your human existence” option.) When this near-mint condition dresser showed up at LA’s premier multi-story vintage destination, I was the first person in line to bring it home. List price: $2,495. Price after I employed my favorite vintage-swapping tactic? VERY, VERY AFFORDABLE.

I still can’t believe it. Like, I have acquired my dream dresser for a beyond-reasonable price AND in exchange, some dudes are going to come to my house, carry it upstairs, drop it off, and then haul all the other furniture that I couldn’t sell online. (“NO, I CANNOT HELP YOU CARRY THIS 300 POUND CREDENZA,” – me, ad nauseam, trying to find one single buyer on Marketplace with a friend.) IS THIS REAL LIFE?

But that brings me to my conundrum: how do you design a room around a brass piece of furniture? Everything goes. Nothing goes. It’s so versatile that it’s paralyzing. Which brings us to…

The bed. I started hunting for an extra-wide bed (we’re talkin’ 8′ headboards here!) back in March of 2020 – it was my lockdown hobby. I found a few frontrunners that were ultra-modern (Arlyn ended up getting this one) or SUPER traditional (this has been pinned for a while), but I still couldn’t find my Goldilocks.

Until last week, that is, when Mal walked us through Lulu & Georgia’s new Sarah Sherman Samuel collection. The brand shots featured the above bed in an ivory boucle – a fabric that you could not pay me to have in my house!!! I would destroy it SO QUICKLY!!! One bottle of Gatorade could ruin your room!!! – but I yawped (literally) when I saw that the bed came in velvet options, too. It’s an 8′ wide, saturated, modern take on a classic wingback bed. SOLD. I will be getting one of these…but which one? Paired with the brass dresser, they could all go in pretty disparate directions. Let me show you where my heads’ at – PLEASE ADVISE.

Option One: Loden + Brick


The Pros: This feels like a pretty no-fail option. Like, a dusty green with wood, brass, white walls, hits of black, soft lighting, and some warm hits of color? (Maybe even some leopard, if I’m feeling adventurous.) WRAP IT UP. Let’s go home. I feel like I could have this room finished in a few days if I go this route (well, not including shipping times for the bed, but you get it).

The Cons: Green, wood, brass, white walls, and hits of black feels like the “florals, for spring?” formula for interiors. Seeing as I am a regular left-ish brained person and not some, like, creative mastermind (*cough* Brady’s famous headboard *cough*), I don’t know if I can make anything that feels really special and unique to me.

design by india mahdavi | via vogue

I am kind of interested in this color mix – it feels a little fresher and kind of discordant (in a good way!), but I’m torn when I try to picture it in my own home. My dining room’s at the opposite end of the hallway and it’s rockin’ a pretty bold pink, green, and orange wallpaper – maybe this would be a nice balance?

Option Two: Goldenrod + Bold Blues

“Beata Heuman photos in a post by Caitlin? Groundbreaking,” – you, now as Miranda Priestly, mocking me. But OMG, THESE DO IT FOR ME.

The Pros: The yellow bed is probably my favorite. I think this room would make me the cheeriest, which I like (the green bed would be more neutral and calming, I think).

The Cons: Is there such thing as TOO much yellow and gold? I keep trying to imagine my dresser replacing that chair and table in the space on the left, but it’s not cute in my mind. I don’t want to feel like I’m living in that all-gold apartment in Trump Tower, you know? It’s just a big commitment to have two anchor pieces that are like, “HEY I’M YELLOW!!!”

design by commune | photo by spencer lowell | via dezeen

I’m in love with these draperies – I’m planning something similar to cover up that wall with my A/C unit. It does feel so happy in here, right? And if I went blue and yellow, my kitchen would have a friend! That’s nice, isn’t it?

Option Three: Cognac + Desaturated Blues

I dropped like, 10 pages on my love of blue and red bedrooms, so I’ll spare you here (you’re welcome). The cognac in question leans a little more orange/rust in person – Jess has the same velvet on her sofa and it’s a total stunner – but I’d still like to pair it with some smoky, desaturated blues.

The Pros: This one actually looks best in the little mockup I did. I also like that it can read as leather from a distance – it feels like a pretty responsible, flexible choice.

The Cons: Do I trust myself enough to believe that my mockup is ACTUALLY what this room will look like in person??? Am I the type of person to own a cognac-colored bed? (In my mind, people with cognac-colored beds are like, eating a nutritious breakfast in bed – off of one of those trays with legs, you know? – while wearing a really luxe robe.)

design by emilie bonaventure | via martyn white

SEE WHAT I MEAN? All this is is missing is a bougie person in a fancy robe with a fancy breakfast. Anyway – this one’s a little more mustard-y, but I love these rosewood nightstands and am probably going to shoot for something similar (mid-century inspired, though maybe a little more regency. Maybe a campaign nightstand to tie in some brass?).

So there we have it – I don’t have a jumping-off point, so now I’m trying to make my own. Forge my own path, choose my own destiny, ALL THAT JAZZ. This all brings me to my final question: LODEN, GOLDENROD, OR COGNAC? Annnnnnd a few subsequent follow-up questions (if you have time):

  1. What colors do you have in your room? How do they make you feel?
  2. If you’re workin’ a classic, more-timeless color palette in your house, do you enjoy it? (Remember, you’re talking to the “creamed corn and melon” bathroom tile owner over here, so standard color palettes don’t really exist in this apartment.)
  3. Is putting ~64′ cubic feet of yellow velvet next to a 6′ brass dresser a recipe for feeling like I’m inside a Big Bird costume?
  4. Is Cognac the secret responsible choice?
  5. Does anyone else have any Sarreid inspo pinned? I have found a whopping 2 (two) photos on Pinterest and am always interested to see how other people styled their space. It’s nice to have some bumpers up, you know?
  6. Is it weird that I am wholly torn and will fully be relying on your feedback to make my final choice? I have velvet samples en route but once they’re here…we’re off to the races, guys.

As always, thanks for your help. Wouldn’t want to externally process and overanalyze with anyone else! Have the best weekend. But first, LET’S CHAT?? xx

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Caitlin’s Long, Dark Hallway Makeover

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1 year ago

oooh I love the gold+blue inspo!

1 year ago

I DON’T KNOW. But I can’t wait to see what you do!!!

1 year ago

Cognac! The yellow is too much with the gold dresser, and green has been done to death now.

1 year ago
Reply to  Elle

Cognac-Agree with comments above. I also would have loved if you added a vibe or style to the colors for me to get a better idea…I’m thinking like a moroccan feel. Lots of texture, sort of a jungalow, boho casualness when accessorizing. Not sure if I’m describing that well but it looks great in my head;)

1 year ago
Reply to  Kristi

I can see it and I love it Kristi!

1 year ago
Reply to  Kristi

I can see it too! Love this idea. “Casual cognac”…

1 year ago
Reply to  Elle

I totally agree! I think that would look so great!

1 year ago
Reply to  Elle

Took the words right out of my mouth about the yellow and green.
The cognac isn’t just a fallback, in my opinion. It’s elegant and sophisticated. Caitlin, you could easily be the woman in a luxe robe eating breakfast on a tray in bed!

Sara M
1 year ago
Reply to  Irene

Caitlin, you already ARE the woman in the luxe robe — what’s that one you’ve been raving about???!!

1 year ago

I love the third option paired with that dresser in particular!

1 year ago

I am not a fan of neutrals/earth tones, so I like mixes of like loden or rust with something springy (e.g., pink or blue). Otherwise it feels too heavy for me. But I love both rust and loden with pink! I love the ochre color for the bed, but it is hard to imagine how it would work with the dresser unless the placement in the room puts them in separate vignettes and if there is a good strong wall color (e.g., wallpaper) that works as a counterpoint.

1 year ago
Reply to  wally

I feel the same way about the yellow bed. It’s definitely my favorite option and yellow just makes me so happy. I also LOVE the dresser but unless it’s really broken up, I think it’s too much yellow. I just bought some deep teal velvet curtains for my bedroom and I’m loving the moodiness with the brass accents throughout my bedroom, so I keep imagining those tones incorporated… My vote would probably be cognac because you can take it in a lot of different directions. I agree with Wally that cognac and pink can be pretty great.

1 year ago

I think you should do the green or cognac bed. They will give you the deeper color that you need to ground the space. Although yellow is my favorite color, it won’t give you that with the dresser that you chose (which I love, btw).

1 year ago

Ouuuuh!!!! What a lovely conundrum 😀 I say go with what makes you happy! And I feel like that is definitely the yellow bed!! I do think that is probably the most difficult to pull off because it feels like the most unconventional combination out of all the options, but that is also SO YOU!! A bed is such a big piece, so don’t get one you feel meh about just because it is the safe option, get the one you love and MAKE IT SING!! Have you considered some kind of wallpaper yet? Because I feel like in that one blue-and-yellow inspo pic, what makes it work is that insane wallpaper it just hogs so much attention, that the contrast between the yellow and blue suddenly matters a lot less, or at least to me 😀 also I like how they used the pink wallhanging to soften it up…. My bedroom(/main-hang-out-room bc I live in a flat share) currently features mustard sheets, peachy curtains, a cognac sofa and a very-rust-y oranga armchair plus a huge gallery wall with mainly blues, oranges, greens, which might be a lot of kind of odd colour combinations for some, so maybe I can’t… Read more »

  1. that brass dresser is AMAZING!
  2. your old pink 80s dresser is so cool though.
  3. i think you’re my long lost twin.
  4. i love everything in that new SSS +L&G collection
1 year ago

I’m feeling the cognac one. It seems more luxurious to me.

1 year ago


1 year ago

Hi Caitlin, super fun post as always!! We NEED to see the mock-up! Is this coming soon?
If it were me I’d go cognac but it feels like you really want the yellow! If you do go for your favourite, if possible put the bed and dresser at opposite ends of the room – they will balance each other well.
To avoid the Big Bird effect, I would do:
– Duvet: white
– Art, textiles, accessories: Lots of different blues, and some rust, terra cotta, peach, sage, olive, mustard, caramel, cognac, black. And animal print!
– Lots of happy green plants
– A multicolour item to tie it all (rug, curtains, huge art, or wallpaper)
– Walls: warm white OR wallpaper
Then again take all this with a grain of salt because I am allergic to primary colours haha!
BUT I have LOVED every one of your designs so maybe we do have some tastes in common! 🙂

Erin Dae
1 year ago

Even though yellow sounds like your fave, I think the Loden or Cognac would give you more versatility for now and for the future. I remember you once posted on your self-care routine – think about how you feel after that and how you want your room to feel as you enter it following your shower etc. Seems like you could still lean more maximalist even without the yellow. Heck, maybe yellow as a random pop on a throw pillow or piece of art could tie to the dresser without having yellow be dominant? Dresser is gorgeous and should be the star. Whatever you do, I am HERE FOR IT. Your style is very different than what I would put in my spaces, but I absolutely LOVE it. Cohesion and personality = perfection.

1 year ago

I would get the bed that makes my heart sing like you did with the dresser and MAKE it work. The yellow and blue is my fav option. I don’t care that the dresser is also yellow. I have full confidence you could make it look amazing. Of the three green feels over done and safe, cognac looks too similar to wood, I can see it being difficult to find wood undertones in furniture that play nicely. For sure your options would be more limited there IMO. Yellow for the win!

1 year ago
Reply to  Susan

Agree about green being overdone! It is EVERYWHERE.

1 year ago

You love red and blue bedrooms and the cognac with desaturated blue will look fantastic with the brass. I agree with the others that the yellow bed + brass dresser will be too much yellow in a room that is for resting. It’s important to remember you want to actually sleep in a bedroom and a ton of color can work against that relaxation vibe. I also love color and our bedroom is a deep peacock blue with peachy rose linens and curtains and lots of art. Our headboard is a cream linen and the furniture is a satin black. It’s a very calming effect with just enough color to keep me happy. (Plus I have a ton of art which helps infuse color as well without overwhelming a restful space.)

1 year ago

But don’t you want to wear florals in spring? Are things bad just because they are popular? Does it have to be original to be good?

One thing I love about your posts in particular is that you seem to just love what you love.

Since it’s your bedroom and you sleep in there, I’d pick whichever combination makes you feel the most relaxed and happiest. Personally for me, that would not be the yellow.

If the loden feels the most comfortable for you, go with that. Will the cognac make you feel like a fancy person? Or will you feel like you are letting it down when you eat a Pop-Tart for breakfast? I really like the suggestions above to do loden and pink or cognac and pink.

Vicki Williams
1 year ago

Oh please the YELLOW! With the wallpaper you will find it won’t be too much with the dresser, I promise. Loden and cognac are too heavy. Plus getting cognac is so “in” now that really bothers me. Your bathroom is one of the best rooms I have ever seen. You are to talented, I love everything that you have done. So go with that beautiful Golden Velvet Bed!

1 year ago

Cognac or Loden! (Some of my wariness probably comes from the fact that I live in Ann Arbor, MI, home to UofM, and thus am bombarded with variations on “maize” and blue from every angle. BUT I do have mustard velvet drapes in my living room, so I don’t just have an irrational prejudice against all forms of yellow.) I think the gold dress will shine against either of those color palettes, whereas it would get fight with or get lost with the goldenrod.

1 year ago

Oh, to wake up on a Friday to Caitlin’s writing. Such a fab burst of cheer. Anyway! I’m drawn to what I call “muddier” colors, and I do love my bedroom color combo. It’s a mid-tone dusty, blue on the walls, and I do lots of pink and green in there too. It’s sounds like a child’s room, but I don’t think (?) it looks that way. And what I like about my room is that I really just went for colors that brought me BOTH joy and calmness. So maybe that should be the goal? With that said, I do like that green bed, but I could be biased because pink and green will always and forever be a fave color combo of mine. I’m picturing that brass dresser with the deep green bed and some big ol’ hits of pink. BUT like everyone else, I’d say go for what you love, and what you want to be cocooned in when you take a deep breath and tuck in for the night, and what you want to wake up to in the morning.

1 year ago
Reply to  Anne

I’d be interested to know the color of the blue on your walls? I too prefer muddy colors and a lot of the mid-tone blues I’ve seen are too cool for me.

1 year ago
Reply to  VM

hi! It’s Oxford Grey, Benjamin Moore, but doesn’t really read “grey” at all to me. Our painters commented it felt like a really warm blue. I love it! Cozy but not tooo dark for me.

1 year ago
Reply to  Anne


Erin G
1 year ago

Option #3 for sure!

1 year ago

I love the cognac. I think brass and velvet are deliciously decadent; what a combination and furniture to treasure for your life time!

1 year ago

I am obsessed with the colors in this pillow.

1 year ago

I vote cognac and blue!!

1 year ago

I usually love yellow and I hate red, but I think that yellow bed just doesn’t work right with that dresser. My favorite is surprisingly the cognac, and then second is the loden one.

1 year ago

Cognac, cognac, cognac!

1 year ago

I think we need to know if you are planning on a rug. You really seem to want the yellow, but the yellow bed, brass dresser and what looks like yellow-ish wood floors is a lot. I think you could balance the dresser and the bed since they are such different materials but they need something else on the floor to break up the yellow-ness.

1 year ago

It’ll be the hardest to pull off but I think you should do the yellow! It’s not exactly the same balance but India Mahdavi mixes tons of brass, bold blue and shots of yellow here and I totally think it works:

1 year ago
Reply to  Sophia

These shots look so good! Assuming the yellow velvet sample looks good in person with the brass, I would go with yellow. Ideally everything (but especially brand new items of furniture that cost more) should make your heart sing, and pretty goes with pretty, after all. You have done such bold pairings in other rooms (which I love seeing your style!) and with plenty of blue and other colors even I don’t think it will be overwhelming at all, but just nice and happy. And not every bedroom needs to be a certain color formula to be a good place for sleeping. Since I go to sleep in the dark, I pick my bedroom colors more off of what I want to wake up to in the morning.

1 year ago

Congac all the way

1 year ago

My first thought was that the yellow was too much but as long as you restrict it mostly to those 2 pieces, the room is big enough to handle it, it seems to make you happiest and actually gives you maximum flexibility for the rest of the room. Light and airy gold & white? Dark and moody gold & black? Sprinkle in a little blue, red or green or lean in hard with one of them. I’d even OK a gold leaf ceiling as I think you could pull it off!
For similar reasons, I’d pick the laden for myself because I can imagine going the springtime floral or moody jungle botanical.
I went with a boring neutral for my own bed cause I needed one when I first moved in. Would love to reupholster it and maybe paint the walls a deep aubergine pulled from the mural I put up behind the bed.
Can’t wait to see what you do!

bedroom mural.jpg
1 year ago

I would go for the cognac and desaturated blues. I also love a red and blue room.

1 year ago

Blue! And a more contemporary paint color on walls that you can change!

🥰 Rusty
1 year ago

K… I know this wasn’t a choice you gave us, buuuuuuut, I’d personally go with a TEAL bed!!!💗
Teal and yellow metals (brass, gold, etc.) truly are a match made in heaven!!!!
You can add the cognac-y in smaller details to add the earthiness in.
I can imagine a rug with the same mix of maybe muted colours as well.

Add to the possibilities: TEAL!!!🤗

💥 I wanna remind you to think about HOT LA SUMMERS when thinking about the colour of bed you choose.
Living in hot Australia, no way would I have a mustard or cognac bed.
Nope, no way, nay, nine, nup!

1 year ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Oh, Rusty! I love a teal bed, too!

1 year ago

As a right-brained person who is still ridiculously affected by visuals, I’d mock up three designs for every combo. I’d do each with different walls/bedding/styling, just to make sure that when I got tired of the first iteration of that yellow velvet bed I could make enough easy changes to switch it up. Because if you want a yellow bed, you’re not going to be happy with safer choices. All you can do is flesh out the actual risk of yellow.

1 year ago

What if you did the goldenrod wallpaper, hits of blue, and then JUST the cognac bed? I think it would read as a wood tone against the brighter tones, and then it wouldn’t limit you from going bright in other areas. I worry if you had yellow bed, gold dresser AND yellow background it would be way too much

Louise P-G
1 year ago

Team Cognac – it’s sumptuous and less overdone than the green. Agree that brass + yellow bed = Big Bird Fever Dream

1 year ago

I love the yellow bed, but agree with the above that it’s hard to see it work with the dresser. The cognac is beautiful too though. The green seems too staid fir you somehow- maybe not the way you would do it, but in my imagination. Looking forward to seeing your design!

1 year ago

I vote cognac, but with a pops of royal blue to keep it from getting too serious… v. beata…

1 year ago

Another amazing Caitlin post – I vote cognac! 🙂
Also cannot wait for a Caitlin gone international update when you are ready!

1 year ago

I love the rust and smokey blues and deep reds. But I want to recommend you check out the show Better Things if you haven’t see it already. The main character Sam has such wonderful colors in her house – deep greens and hippie pinks- I don’t know, some of your inspiration photos reminded me of her house which is so cool and deep. Just a thought!
Love where you’re going with this!

Paula Carr
1 year ago
Reply to  Liz

The thing I love most about that show (other than Celia Imrie) is that house. I want it. Now.

1 year ago

I’d find a patterned rug that I love, and jump off from there! It seems like it’s easiest to choose a rug first, rather than try and find a rug that fits exactly into a pre-planned color scheme.

1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy

Had the same thought!!!!

1 year ago

Well, I’m definitely in the minority here, but I love the Loden option. Having grown up in Germany, that combination feels clean but complicated (in the best way), especially with the brick in various levels of saturation. Yeah, green has been a big hit of the design world the last few years but it will move on to something else anyway, so I don’t think that’s an issue. Can’t wait to see what you decide!

1 year ago

Cognac with mid century nightstands sounds nice. Maybe furniture layout and thinking about the energy you want the room to have will help. And the light the room gets.

1 year ago

Cognac or Loden – I would bring in wood nightstands and is there art or a rug that could sway the bed decision?? If not I think only time could help me decide. Sometimes I’m very decisive and sometimes the opposite LOL

1 year ago

Yellow is my favorite color, so 99% of the time I’d say go yellow. But this time I say cognac!

1 year ago

So I used to own the two-drawer credenza version of this and have a whole bunch of terrible photos of how it looked in my (desaturated blue walls & gold curtains) living room as it evolved over several years many moons ago. This pic is when I first moved in in the early aughts.

1 year ago
Reply to  Jessica

And this is what it evolved into …

1 year ago
  1. Lilac and peach (I moved out of my blue-and-white bedroom into my daughter’s when she graduated college. It looks airy and relaxing to me, which is why I’ve never bothered to change it.
  2. Most of my house is decorated in blues, and it’s fine. If I redecorate, I’d go for less color: ivory, beige, brown. I’m always late to trends.
  3. Yes!! I’ve impulsively bought two small accent pieces in yellow, and oh, how I regret it.
  4. Yes!! Not only responsible, but beautiful. Do you have cognac in your wardrobe? Seems it would look good on you.
  5. No, but please share what you find.
  6. It might be “weird”, but it made for an enjoyable post. I hope the samples help you come to a decision, too.
1 year ago

Cognac is a slam dunk, stunning and timeless.

1 year ago

Maybe think what outfits you have to match with the various color schemes. Like if you were doing a photoshoot with your new bedroom, which color scheme would give you the most options?

1 year ago

You don’t have this as an option, but with the gold dresser, I’d have gone with jewel tones, like an emerald green with pale pink.

1 year ago

Gold and blue will be beautiful, cognac for runner up. My bedroom is light grey furniture, dark blue storm walls and pattered taupe curtains – pretty much just those colors, fairly tone on tone. I love it but have always wanted to add one contrasting color to it… haven’t been able to figure out one for years. I’d do pink if I wasn’t sharing it but though I could probably talk my husband into tolerating it that’s not really his color.

Paula Carr
1 year ago

I like the denatured blues — the complementary (almost) color will make both colors sing.
You talkin’ ’bout Wertz Brothers?