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Let Sara Show You How She Refreshed Her Parent’s Bedroom And Bath (With Almost NO BUDGET)

It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog post, but you know what they say about riding a bike…it might be a little wobbly.

Today, for your viewing eyeballs, I have the quaint little makeover of my mom and dad’s primary bedroom and bathroom. It’s really more of a refresh since we had an almost non-existent budget to work with and very strong attachments to many of the existing pieces. Let’s start with the befores, shall we?

Please, ignore the clean laundry all over the bed. I took these photos for my own reference, not realizing it would be the last time I saw the bedroom before my dad emptied it all out to refinish the floors on a whim. He did the refinishing himself, and it turned out beautifully.

The room is on the second floor of their Spanish Colonial home, facing northeast – which means it gets beautiful morning light, and then progressively darker through the day. It was painted three different colors (peach walls, green trim, white ceiling, and closet doors), and had a bit of a hodgepodge of styles going on.

It was a little cottage, a little Spanish, and a little Craftsman. So going into this refresh, I wanted the space to feel more cohesive. I also wanted the space to feel warm, relaxing, and very much like my parents. I didn’t want to make the same mistakes I made with their living room, so from the start, they were very involved with every decision. And I took a few design L’s in order to stay true to their wishes. 

“You really want to keep the fan instead of adding a beautiful light fixture?”

You got it.

“Dad already installed the bedside sconces, and they’re extremely high and close together?”

I will cringe every time I see them, but as long as y’all are happy.

“You want to use the white Ikea shades that you already bought and installed without consulting me?”

…*deep heavy breathing*

All of that being said, I’ll still find the finished result pretty darn charming. 

Warm, relaxing, and still filled with “Ana and Eric” personality. My parents were pretty hyped on the idea of painting the room green when we first started chatting about big impact-low budget ways to really make the room feel new. They’ve never been ones to shy away from color. The design WIN here was convincing my dad that the green paint color needed to go all the way up the ceiling, rather than keeping the ceiling white. The room just has so many angles and lines, I felt that separating the walls and ceiling would make the room feel more chaotic. The color is Sherwin William’s Cucuzza Verde in eggshell, and we accented it with Sherwin William’s Classical White on the closet doors and window trim. It’s a warm creamy white, that doesn’t feel stark against the yellow-green of the walls.


My parents were adamant about keeping all the art and furniture they previously had in the room but were open to reinterpreting where it went. I’ve seen these pieces on their walls since I was a kid, and each one is super special to them. This is my mom’s side of the bed, and where she used to have a bookshelf that wasn’t quite full enough, she now has her heirloom quilts (including the one currently on their bed!) and one of her favorite paintings of a “Madonna and Child”.

My dad’s side of the bed also used to be filled with a bookcase, only his was overflowing and had recently become a favorite scratching post of their adopted-during-quarantine cat siblings. It didn’t take much convincing to have him move all those books to the office, and instead fill his wall with family-created art. A super personal gallery wall consisting of embroidery by his sister, a painting by his niece, and other pieces by me and my brother. 

I also want to call out that beautiful stained glass window behind the bed – my dad made it! Just like the big glass tree triptych in their living room (and their front door, which I need to get a good pic of just in case). I had originally thought that we would install a window treatment either over or around it, but my parents insisted that they like waking up to the natural light every morning. That and the fact that my dad installed the sconces we picked out together very high and close to the window. They are very well-installed sconces and are not moving again. 

Table Lamp | Vintage Clear Glass Jewelry Box Organizer

I’m actually in love with these matching vintage tallboy and lowboy(?) dressers they own. My mom had always had this gray, plastic jewelry organizer sitting on the tallboy for as long as I could remember. I decided it was time for an update, and got her a gold and glass one instead. We decided to put this cute art piece over the dresser, instead of the large printed canvas portrait that used to be there, and it really brought together the whimsy cottage vibes that my mom likes. It was a gift from my aunt, who hand-colored the hair to match my brother’s and my hair color so that it looked like a watercolor of us.

The vintage mirror over the low dresser used to just lean against the wall, so we decided it was finally time it got hung. Which gave us room to display some more picture frames on the surface instead. And that vintage lamp had been living in a corner of the guest bedroom downstairs for years. They’ve always had it and always wanted to put it somewhere more prominent. Right next to the dresser felt like the perfect display spot, while also being practical.

Animal Knobs

If you looked carefully, you may have noticed that the knobs on my parent’s nightstands were little birds on branches. These are the kinds of whimsical things that my parents adore, so I decided to keep that theme going with their closet. I found these beautiful brass knobs from a seller on Etsy, and ordered a different forest animal for each closet door. We ended up going for a kind of woodsy theme in the bedroom, which tied in really beautifully with the vintage rug we brought in. It was something I had bought years ago with the hopes of using it in my bedroom, only to discover it was too large. I couldn’t bring myself to cut it down, and just hoarded it knowing one day it would find the perfect home. Now it has.

Curtains | Curtain Rod | Roman Shades | Floor Mirror | Flushmount

Continuing with that woodland theme, I found on-theme drapes covered in little taupe birds on branches. My parents had already installed stark white IKEA roman shades recently, and really loved them. I couldn’t convince them otherwise. But they were still open to keeping drapery on either side of the windows. So we installed a brass curtain rod over the window and added these mainly for aesthetic reasons. They already had a wall mirror in the original room layout, but it was unframed and unattractive. So I sourced this wood arched floor mirror to put there instead, which tied in with the darker wood tones throughout the rest of the room. And a simple linen and brass ceiling light brings that whole corner together.

It was my mom’s suggestion to hang that tiny painting over the mirror and I could not have been more excited/proud. I must truly be her daughter, and she must truly love small paintings in weird places as much as I do. And from here you can peek into the next room we’re going to visit – the primary bath. Shall we?

The primary bath was renovated originally by my dad several years back (they’ve lived in this home since 2000), and mostly without input from my mom while she was away over the summer. This isn’t to say it was BAD, just not quite what she had envisioned. And while we weren’t going to be getting to start from scratch, we were definitely going to take it in a direction that tied it in with the primary a bit more.

Here’s where we started – kind of a 50s meets Craftsman style, with bright teal walls that almost, but not quite, matched the glass tiles my dad installed. The vanity was fairly new, an amazing Reformation Home piece they found used on Craigslist. So the things we could change were the paint, lighting, and accessories.

Welcome to their new-ish bathroom. A lighter, brighter, and cleaner version of its former self. We carefully selected a paint color that truly complemented the floor tiles – Sherwin William’s Topiary Tint, which brought a really beautiful calm to the space. The trim is the same Sherwin William’s Classical White as the bedroom, so that the door and trim that touched between the two spaces seamlessly flowed into one another. 

Dragonfly Wall Hooks | Shower Curtain

To keep that woodland theme going between the two rooms, I found these silver dragonfly wall hooks, which we installed as towel hooks next to the shower. And the floral and bird shower curtains tie in both with the bathroom color scheme and the birds sprinkled throughout both rooms.

Makeup Organizer

“MORE BIRDS” my mother screamed, in a fit of bird-fueled hysteria. She didn’t, that would have been terrifying. But there are more birds. This piece fits perfectly in their bathroom and is really where I took a lot of inspiration for both rooms from. It’s a vintage piece my late aunt whitewashed and decoupaged while she was living with my parents. When she passed away, my mom kept it and moved it in here. Please note the bird knobs. It’s a really sentimental piece, and also very kitsch in the best way. I organized my mom’s make-up into this glass and gold organizer, which matches the one on her tall boy (directly opposite this piece, in the bedroom). 

First person to spot the litter box wins a cat! Actually, if you spotted it that probably means you already have at least two of your own. Yes, the litter box lives in their bathroom. This is reality. But it’s nicely hidden in the corner! We swapped out the previously installed wall sconces with these more elegant ones, and added another dragonfly towel hook next to the sink. Small changes for big impact.

And there you have it folks – a quick bedroom and bathroom refresh that make all the difference. Some new wall paint, some new light fixtures, and a reorganizing of art are really the three biggest changes we made. But of course, it’s all about the details – the heirloom quilts, the family art, the vintage pieces sourced over years. My parents are really wonderful collectors, and I think these two rooms truly represent that. They just needed a little help bringing it all together in a cohesive way.

*Design and Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp


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90 thoughts on “Let Sara Show You How She Refreshed Her Parent’s Bedroom And Bath (With Almost NO BUDGET)

  1. What a change with a bit of paint and a few lights! Impressive. If only your parents let you raise the height of the shower curtain rail too it would have made such a difference. But it looks gorgeous regardless.

  2. I never comment, but came here to say this is my fav post on the site in a long time!! I love so much about this makeover. Thanks for sharing!

  3. The shade of green on the walls beautifully complements the wood furniture! Your love for your parents really shines throughout this post, it was a joy to read!

  4. Sara thank you for this! The rooms turned out beautifully and I love that they reflect your parents truly. This is the very best type of sustainable design – work with what you have and design for the person, not the trend. More of this please!

  5. Love what you have achieved, it’s inspiring for all of us that don’t have big budgets to see posts like this. Great that all their furniture was kept, the rooms have personality.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree! I appreciate posts like this and enjoy seeing how someone can change a room with a smaller budget, creativity and thoughtful choices. Can this somehow become a monthly feature?

  6. Nicely done! In addition to doing traditional design work for clients, I often help people *refresh* with extremely limited budgets. You’ve illustrated this process so perfectly here! Wonderfully practical advice that followers can apply in their own homes TODAY! This is why we all come here to read. Absolutely loving the depth and personality of EH content these days. More! More!

  7. Shocking how much a color change made that room feel so much more cohesive! Wow!

  8. Thank you for your very down-to-earth post Sara. I love both rooms! It’s so generous of your parents to share their home (with your added touches) with us in this way, and seeing a space filled with their personality and things that they cherish makes me feel better about having sentimental pieces in my own home. ❤️

  9. That bathroom is so absolutely soothing. Anyone would love getting ready there each morning.

    1. Yes! The colors look so clean and refreshing. I covet that window that looks into the trees

  10. Love this Sara! It looks so cozy and homey and real!! Thank you to you and your parents for sharing.

  11. It’s refreshing to see a personal space updated in a realistic way, using what was already there. I always enjoy seeing spaces the EHD team designs but they often feel out of reach. THIS makeover seems doable. Nice job! Do your parents love it now?

  12. This is beautiful, Sara! I love seeing posts like this, because we all have rooms at our house and or at family members!

  13. And suddenly the teal tile is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen! This is by far my favorite type if design, simple work with what you have. More please! I never comment!!! 🙂

  14. I love this kind of real-life, non-influencer home style content! Well done, Sara!

  15. Really nice job respecting their wishes and making it more beautiful. I love that you didn’t replace everything with new and that you had to be creative!
    I am curious why the louvered doors weren’t painted the same color as the walls, but it isn’t a big deal. Just would have thought it would hide them a bit more.
    Nice work, Sara. I would love to see more real-life situations like this where budgets force creativity!

    1. Possibly because it would have been too much of a sea of green. I prefer them white.

  16. This is so lovely! It’s wonderful how you managed to do an update that looks so good, honors your parents’ wishes, and mostly uses stuff you already had. I think the new wall color is the big win: it is such a beautiful complement to all of the wood furniture, and painting the walls and ceiling all one color really does make the room feel a lot more cohesive. (Your other moves in the room help a lot too 🙂 ) How do your parents feel about the update?

  17. Love this! It really highlights the huge impact styling can have. I’d love to see more content like this.

  18. I love this! Budget friendly, inspiration for anyone, and so true to your parents’ beautiful and unique style 🙂. One question for the EHD team – when you paint the ceiling the same color as the walls, it looks like you’re using the same finish – is there a reason you aren’t getting the same color in a ceiling paint super flat finish? Thanks!

      1. I think it’s so lighting doesn’t reflect and create a shine on the painted surface?

    1. Ceilings don’t have to be painted flat, just most builders prefer that because it more easily hides imperfections in the plaster or drywall and it’s easier to touch up should you move a light fixture, etc.
      I’ve seen a lot of designers paint the walls and ceiling in an eggshell/satin finish when going for a tonal color scheme. Personally, I quite like a little sheen on the ceilings to bounce more light around, but I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule about what to do, mostly personal preference.
      In this case, I’m guessing it was also a time and cost saver — being able to use the same paint and sheen everywhere and not having to cut in.

  19. I love this! I really enjoy the mix of content on this blog and makeovers like this are so inspiring and attainable. The rooms were charming before but they are so much more cohesive now and really highlight all of their special pieces. Great job!!!

  20. Sara! Our moms are sisters!! She did their whole house in a northern woodland theme, it was everywhere including lots of birds. So. Love love love this mini makeover (more? more? more?) — so many personal touches, meaningful choices and pls tell your dad, the sconces are PERFECT. PS #GoodDaughter

  21. I almost never comment, but I’m here to say thank you for this post. This is a design project I can relate to! Seems like many of the projects featured by my favorite designers lately are so unrealistic for people who share space with others and don’t have tons of money and design resources. I love that this refresh didn’t purge the space of all of the personal and sentimental items.

  22. LOVE! I feel like their room is a treehouse, with the stairs going to it and all the light. I also have those Ikea roman shades and LOVE them. Inexpensive, easy to put up, MAGNETIC – it’s a win. I do wish they had more colors and sizes, missed opportunity Ikea!

  23. So refreshing to see a beautiful refresh that’s not all #gifted: Article, Rejuvenation, Schoolhouse, Decorview, C&B. I know those partnerships pay the bills but god it’s so nice to see an old-school makeover!

    1. YES! This is my favorite kind of makeover — incorporating the unique special pieces you already have.

  24. Be still my beating heart, for the gorgeous green had me at the start
    So fresh, so nice and full of you weilding your art

    Aah, to sleep in the bedroom, too
    So full of loving touches by you

    Both rooms were turned into full blooms
    Perfect places for your parents to joyfully use

    It’s the little things, the tiny touches
    Like a painting above a mirror, it does so much-ness

    Sara, your love for your family is obvious
    Your desire to care turned rooms into pure bliss!


  25. The room looks so much better after the refresh!!! I would love to look at the animal knobs but both links in the post go to the glass jewelry box instead. Could those links be fixed? Thank you!

  26. What a sweet makeover. Amazing what a little paint and a great design eye can accomplish!

  27. So sweet! I love this. So realistic, love that it’s for your family, and love that it’s for THEM and not just for the eyes on the internet.
    I was surprised by how much changing the paint in the bathroom made a difference too. Great example of working with what’s already there =)

  28. This is so sweetly beautiful! Love the sconce placement and incredible window and art and quilts and old furniture. The Ikea shades work! Perfect paint choice. What a dream.

  29. Wow. This is so real, and so, so, special. It just looks right, not “done”. It really is not all about an unlimited budget and everything new!

  30. This is so great! Totally charming rooms before AND after; you’ve just made the most of them. LOVE. Great job, Sara! 🙂

  31. Uuuugh this room is so beautiful!!! I think one of my very favourite makeovers we had over here in a while 🙂 I think the colour choice is so unique – I never would have picked it and I don’t think I really have seen a shade quite like this one used pretty much in any interior ever, but it looks so SOOOOO GOOOOOD in here!!! I want it all over my eyeballs!! And putting it an all of the walls including the ceiling was absolutely the right choice! The preexisting furniture just absolutely sings in front of the wallcolour (also that rug?!?!?? I want that so bad!!) your parents just have such good taste and you did so good in bringing it on point! But I think what I love most is that this room feels so personal and so full of personality – you can tell that people actually live here and that this is a room full of their memories and treasures and it is set up just how they like to live in it – ceiling fan and all – and that just makes it shine <3 Incredebly good job, Sara and family – I'll be coming back to this many more times for sure!!

  32. I love this because it’s so real – most of us have tiny shoestring budgets if we want to redo a room and lots of furniture we’re keeping and other things we need to work around. Truly inspirational 🙂 Thanks!

  33. Sara, I remember when I wanted to push my parents to something more current or, what I thought followed the “design rules” better. Now that I am older, I realize that they had the confidence and sense of self that allowed them to keep their home in a way that functioned for them, honored their life values, and brought them joy. You understood this so much more quickly than I did. I think that today’s truly talented designers now seek to elevate who we are instead of just insisting on some mainstream look. These rooms are lovely, layered, and personal. Such a great job!

  34. I love this post and makeover! I really appreciate Sara pivoting over the years and realizing her parents’ love of color and patterns. I feel like this room really reflects that. Plus, it is the amount of makeover that is aspirational to my own life! I too have almost no budget and painting a room is not just phase one but phase forever for me. Their room and bathroom look so good and I even like how the sconces look, and how the stained glass window looks without any window coverings. I also love how Sara brought in a light woodland theme to the rooms for cohesiveness without it feeling too “themed.”

  35. Love it love it love it. Beautiful room, such a unique and fun paint color, and painting the ceilings changed everything for the better. I love that you let them lead and just helped to curate and place things to make them shine. So nice to see a refresh on a smaller budget. And the bathroom is GORGEOUS. What a lovely paint color. And also I think the sconces are just the right height with that bed. Beautiful work! Thank you for sharing it.

  36. I love the floor lamp in your parent’s bedroom. Great job with all of it but especially the bathroom–toning down the wall color and adding that shower curtain really transform the room.

  37. Sara’s incredible design talent shines through in her effortlessly cozy and inviting bedroom. Her sophisticated approach to color, texture, and pattern is truly remarkable. She has created a space that she can be truly proud of.

  38. I love it! Both spaces are so serene and personal. The paint color in the bathroom is perfect. You guys nailed it.

    I, too, am slowly revamping my new house with very little budget (the monthly mortgage payments eats up the fun money–uuugh), and it’s been a really interesting design challenge to just work with what’s already there. Thank you for this beautiful inspiration!

  39. And the calico kitty coordinates remarkably well with all the new colors too! Such an inspirational example of a thoughtful refresh/renovation!

  40. I love this! Not everyone here has trendy magazine style (or budget), so this is so realistic for many of us. I love that you repurposed so many existing pieces and made high-impact changes with smaller things like the rug, curtains, and especially paint. Now to check out that living room again.

  41. “MORE BIRDS” my mother screamed, in a fit of bird-fueled hysteria.


  42. I was reading this during a video call and got asked why I was “so smiley.” Whoops! But this is absolutely charming and I love it so much, Sara!

  43. You know how any low-budget decorating article says that paint is the biggest impact you can make for your money? This refresh exactly illustrates that! I love both rooms.

  44. LOVE LOVE LOVE this. The love, creativity, and kindness infused in this refresh is just beautiful. What you have accomplished here is inspiring, Sara… don’t mind me while I go off to paint my bedroom this exact color!!

  45. Couldn’t love this more! Thank you, thank you for sharing more of your parents’ beautiful home with us & your insights into how to refresh the spaces while honoring them. This is such a gorgeous, personal, joyful place. Also: your post about your reflections on your parents’ living room makeover remains my favorite post ever on this blog. So perceptive, insightful, & well-articulated. Thank you to your loving parents for sharing their home with us. If you all are willing to share more of the home, we’d all love it so much–so lovely & inspiring. Thank you so much, Sara!

  46. I love this so much! I did low budget refreshes on several of the rooms in my parents’ new builder-grade home (previous homes were historic and had great details). You really can do soooo much on a budget, just takes some creativity and time. Love balancing parental desires with design-y desires!
    Thanks for sharing this. Beautiful design that feels really authentic. < 3

  47. Look what you can do while working with parents with firm opinions and on a budget! I can imagine you gritting your teeth (but with love) at several points during this project.
    Excellent job!

  48. I love this so much. It’s how “real people” redecorate their rooms… using mostly the same furniture pieces, but changing the paint and smaller accessories/occasional furniture. It’s a fresh vibe but still homey and I bet your parents love it. Good job Sara <3

  49. Sara, this made me so happy. The post with your mom’s changes to her living room was one of my favorites – that light blue ceiling with the stained glass and yellow couch!! But also your reflections on how white your first take was, both color-wise and culturally. We have such a narrow and homogenized view of what good design is in the States…one that often feels soulless to me as the child of an immigrant who married into another immigrant family. It was beautiful to hear how and why your process changed. This refresh so clearly lines up with your parents’ taste and uses so many of their treasures while still feeling like it took their space to the next level xo

  50. Love this type of content.
    It’s great for those of us who are not willing to part with treasured furniture just because it’s not the latest trend or those who love their mismatched knick-knacks that might not be very stylish but mean more to us than some random objects bought just because they match the decor…

  51. This is such a charming space! I love how it turned out. And, I am relating so hard to the process of designing for one’s parents… it’s both a struggle and super rewarding

  52. Just came here to say how much I loved this post. It’s GORGEOUS and so inspiring to see just how much difference you can make on no budget. Yay!

  53. such smart ideas! And really transformed both the room and bathroom. I would love more of these kinds of posts where someone uses what is already available or purchasing very few things on a teeny budget.

  54. I love posts like these – thank you for sharing. It’s amazing the difference the paint made in your parent’s bedroom, and I love all the sweet personal touches. Your love and respect for your parents is evident – the room and bathroom totally captures them. Well done Sara. Oh and “More Birds” – that cracked me up.

  55. Really love this makeover, I too adore whimsy and woodsy details! Also just get a lot of ideas from this type of article: some design tidbits, great photos, scrappy budget. Thank you!

  56. I love this so much. I love that you just worked with their style, what they had, and made only small changes but it made such a huge difference. This is such great inspiration because most of my “makeovers” in my home are just smaller changes like this! Great job!

  57. Sara I love this! And also, I kind of like where your dad installed the sconces?? Definitely don’t meet any “rules” we’ve written about, but pish posh. And wow, the slight adjustments to their bathroom made a world of difference (and styling…always styling). I’ve only met your mom once quickly at the Rosebowl like four years ago, but from everything I’ve heard, this seems like you made them VERY happy keeping to their style but elevated it. Love it all.

  58. Thank you for this post! I love how real it is. It feels both classic and fun, a place that is comfortable and homey. It’s something that I could actually do. Most of the refreshes in rooms, while beautiful, are not possible for my budget.

    Also, side note on keeping the fan over the bed, it is indispensable on summer nights.

  59. I just wanted to say – this is my favourite post on here in a long time! Love this. It’s all so charming and personal and warm and cosy, and reading it I could really picture the loving but entertaining interactions between you and your parents, bringing this together (it made me miss my parents – we don’t live near another at the moment). You and they have made a really sweet place together – and love the tiny painting!

  60. Love love LOVE rooms that aren’t scared of color! Every room in my house is painted a different color and I find white walls sooooooooo boring. More from Sara’s parents’ house, please!

  61. These are wonderful changes (and wonderfully realistic)! Love the green bedroom now. Losing those bookshelves by the bed really made a huge difference, and on the other side I love the mirror/curtains/flush mount nook.

  62. I really wish you would include more posts like this. This is something that is attainable for everyone. While I appreciate the high end design posts, I usually don’t give much weight to them because I know most of the products are gifted/sponsored (I just see them as adverts, which get tedious). This type of post is directed at real people on real budgets. Great job!

  63. As long as you write stories like this, Chat whatever it’s called has no chance! The warmth of your family is so lovely to share and the personality of their design choices is delightful and motivating. They have a beautiful house filled with their personal stories and unique touches and you guys did a great job together. I love it but most of all, I felt warm and somehow reassured all over after reading this. Thank you Sara!

  64. Sara, this is so wonderful. Is it my taste? Not remotely. Is it a beautiful, careful, committed redesign that shows family respect and love without losing design discipline/quality? IMO, yes, yes it is. Brava!

  65. Wow, this is absolutely lovely! I’m amazed at how you were able to create such a beautiful update that not only honors your parents’ wishes but also makes great use of the items you already had. The new wall color is definitely a big win as it complements the wood furniture so well, and painting the walls and ceiling the same color really brings a sense of unity to the room.

  66. Wow, I am absolutely in awe of how lovely everything looks! The way the sconces are positioned is just perfect, and the window is truly stunning. The artwork on the walls, the cozy quilts, and the vintage furniture all come together to create such a beautiful atmosphere. It’s incredible how well the Ikea shades complement the overall design. And let’s not forget about the paint choice – it’s absolutely spot-on! Being in this space feels like a dream come true.

  67. These are my favorite kind of projects!! We don’t need to go out an buy a bunch of stuff to make our spaces feel and work better for us! Thanks for showing us how it’s done!

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