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Sylvia’s Makeover: Master Bedroom

Sylvia and Riccardo’s master bedroom was ripe for a makeover. In case you are wondering who these people are, jump back to this post to learn about this surprise home makeover. Their bedroom was crowded with big boxy dark furniture and empty of style or personality. Like many, many people they didn’t know what to do with it so they never really decorated it.

Sylvia Makeover Target Master Bedroom_Before 1

They had a serious storage issue and their curtains blocked out all natural light. Riccardo (being the gentleman he is) had all his clothes on a rolling rack because Sylvia took up all the closet space.

master bedroom before

I knew that we weren’t going to be able to accommodate all of his needs without having 2 dressers and and armoire so I advised them to do a big purge and they did.

Sylvia Makeover Target Master Bedroom_Before

Of all the furniture in their house their existing dresser and nightstands were pretty good quality and were new-ish. I wanted to keep at least one of them and while it could have looked good in here, we decided to repurpose the dresser as their TV stand in the living room. The furniture was simply too big and bulky for that room and we needed to lighten it up.

Onto the paneling. I wanted to take these rooms up a notch in style and character. They are fairly basic and I wanted them to look beautiful. I showed our contractor this photo (specifically the one on the right) and said ‘how inexpensive and fast can you make this happen:

Sylvia Makeover Target Master Bedroom_Before_Paneling Inspiration

He said it could happen and while I’d love to tell you the cost he lumped it in with everything – painting the whole house, ripping up the linoleum and carpet in the living/dining and putting down the new flooring – plus all the materials for that (a total of around $8k but who likes to think about things like that?) So it’s hard to say how much this particular paneling project cost, but the materials for it were fairly inexpensive. We used simple pre-primed (4″ I think) baseboard for the raised panels and 4′ x 8′ thin plywood sheeting for the base (which would not be necessary if you have a flat wall – theirs was textured) and then we topped the top off with a 1×2 trim. It was very simple and definitely could be recreated in your own room.

They glued the thin plywood to the wall (to create a flat surface), nail gunned the vertical pieces and the top trim then painted them all.

Sylvia Makeover Target Master Bedroom_Before_Installing Paneling_grid

We chose to make the hight of the paneling higher because it would make the room look bigger and because it felt like in a bedroom we could handle it. The only thing to think about is that if you have a lot of art, it’s tricky to hang it at typical eye height due to the paneling. We didn’t have any art, nor did we really want to put a bunch of art so for us the paneling was a really good way to make impact without cluttering the room with a lot of things.

Sylvia Makeover Target Master Bedroom_Before_Installing Paneling Finished

They had to add the plywood underneath because it was textured (as you can see below) and that would have looked pretty DIY/bad. But if you don’t have textured walls you can skip that step.

Sylvia Makeover Target Master Bedroom_Emily Henderson_Molding Empty Room 1

Just look how fresh this is. It was already a completely different room. I now want to do this in every single house. I particularly love how it’s a way that you can bring in color without having to commit to a big floor to ceiling, all four walls, type of thing. Just that band of color adds so much life, without being overwhelming.

Sylvia Makeover Target Master Bedroom_Emily Henderson_Molding Empty Room 2

We created a mood board for this room, too which i’m realizing we didn’t really stick that close to. This was created weeks before we actually shopped in store and Peter helped pull together the product boards. I felt like this wasn’t quite punchy enough, even though we did want it to stay really bright/airy. So we changed out the rug, lamps and added more color (pink) instead of blue.


Here is the finished master bedroom!

Master Bedroom Nanny Makeover Sylvia Emily Henderson Design-007

I love this room very much. It’s so pretty, airy and soft now (even though there is a metal headboard!).

Let’s start with the bed. Previously they had a big black solid wood headboard against that window. Now in a perfect world your bed isn’t against a window, but we didn’t have a choice here so we chose the wall that was the longest in order to be able to add more storage/furniture for them. Having a non-solid bed, letting all the light come through, made it feel so much bigger and airier. I haven’t done that before and have always struggled with the whole ‘bed in front of the window’ situation, but now I know what I’ll do. Then you float it out a bit so you can have curtains. Romans weren’t really an option for this room, budget-wise but I actually love how much softness the curtains bring in and romans wouldn’t have done that.

Also a note about footboards – you don’t have to use them. I think that this bed comes as a full bed as well as just a headboard, and sometimes in smaller rooms the footboard can really stop your eye and make it feel smaller. But I love this bed and have wanted to use it in a project for a while.

Emily Henderson_Target_Makeover_Nanny Suprise_Happy_Modern_Traditional_Eclectic_Makeover_Blue_Pink_Master Bedroom_4

The week of the shoot Sylvia told me she liked pink a lot so I was desperate to bring some in and I didn’t want to do it in a loud hot pink kind of way. That blanket, pillow and art did the job (plus the flowers, duh).

Master Bedroom Nanny Makeover Sylvia Emily Henderson Design-017

On the other side of the room was that vintage armoire that I absolutely want for myself. We got it for $350 at an antique mall and it fit PERFECTLY. The wood tones were fine with the dresser and nightstand. Which if you are needing a bit of “style school” in, we have put together this little video to help you style out your nightstands.

The dresser and nightstand are great but I want to warn you that it did take us 5 hours to put together so it tests your ikea-ability for sure :).

Master Bedroom Nanny Makeover Sylvia Emily Henderson Design-052

Emily Henderson_Target_Makeover_Nanny Suprise_Happy_Modern_Traditional_Eclectic_Makeover_Blue_Pink_Master Bedroom_2

We hung the mirror from the picture rail which totally worked. In my mind we were going to use a beautiful vintage chain and have it be a triangle shape but that mirror was HEAVY.

Emily Henderson_Target_Makeover_Nanny Suprise_Happy_Modern_Traditional_Eclectic_Makeover_Blue_Pink_Master Bedroom_3

The black of the handles worked so well with the black of the bed. Boom. Likewise the wood of the frame helped pull in the wood of the armoire. We mixed metals – silver and gold, happily in this room and I loved how they looked together.

Master Bedroom Nanny Makeover Sylvia Emily Henderson Design-029

All in all it was a pretty easy bedroom to design – we kept it light and airy with only small subtle pops of light color and utilized as much storage as possible.

Sylvia Makeover Target Master Bedroom_Emily Henderson_Before After 2

You know I love a good before and after shot! Had I had access to her pretty perfumes I would have put them on her tray (she had everything boxed up). And I told them they could put their TV back in thier bedroom if they wanted but we couldn’t bare to put it in there!

Sylvia Makeover Target Master Bedroom_Emily Henderson_Before After 1

They were really psyched about the bedroom as you can see 🙂  We were, too.

Sylvia Makeover Target Master Bedroom_Emily Henderson_Reveal 1

I love how happy they both look here:

Sylvia Makeover Target Master Bedroom_Emily Henderson_Reveal 2

But you can see it even better in the video:

Sylvia Makeover Target Master Bedroom_Emily Henderson_Reveal

So there you have it, Sylvia and Riccardo’s master bedroom. I would take that bedroom in a second. Thanks again, Target for all the beautiful furniture and accessories.

Sylvia's Makeover Master Bedroom Get The Look

1. Woven Roller Blinds | 2. Curtains | 3. White Vase | 4. Set of 3 Triangle Trays | 5. Porcelain Dish with Lid | 6. Mirror | 7. Dresser | 8. White Table Lamp | 9. Night Stand | 10. Horn Bowl | 11. Pedestal Frame | 12. Bedframe | 13. Area Rug | 14. Mercury Table Lamp | 15. Searsucker Duvet Cover | 16. Navy Tassel Pillow | 17. Macrame Pillow | 18. Knit Throw Blanket | 19. Wall Paint | 20. Art Print | 21. Framed Polaroid in White Frame | 22. Table Lamp

*Photography by Tessa Neustadt. Great design/styling help from Peter Dolkas, Video by Propeller Digital

For more from Sylvia’s Surprise Makeover: Ricky’s Bedroom | Dining Room | Bathroom | Living Room

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7 years ago

You did such a beautiful job on Sylvia’s home!

7 years ago

beautiful, emily! i didn’t comment yesterday, but this is such a great story and you did a great job with the living room, too. i love that rug…had never seen it in target before, but it’s now officially pinned on my rugs board! nosey question…who paid the $8,000 contractor fee? you certainly don’t owe us that information if you don’t want to share, but you’ve been so transparent about fees and sponsored posts recently (ahem, YHL podcast…and by the way, don’t ever feel bad for what you charge the sponsors!!! get it girl!), that i wondered if you’d share that information, too. did your company pay the contractor (so it was essentially a donation by your company), or was the money donated by another company, etc.? just always curious about the behind-the-scenes stuff. can’t wait to see the breakdown of the rest of their house!!

7 years ago

Knocked another one out of the park. It’s amazing how great the room looked just after paint, paneling and floors. Fabulous.

7 years ago

the tears continue to flow on this series!! so happy for their family! her joy is so apparent!

Sarah D.
7 years ago

Such a sweet video! I especially love the rug and art in the master.

7 years ago

Looks awesome!! What happened to the fly swatters??? LOL

7 years ago
Reply to  Jana

That’s what I keep thinking they are too, but it looks like they have a fringe at the bottom, so i’m stumped.

7 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

I am also very curious about this…

7 years ago

Wow. Never cried over a design makeover video before. How fun! Great job!

7 years ago

I was driving to work this morning, thinking that as soon as I get to the office, I need to check your blog for the next room transformation. Literally could not wait any longer! Now that I’ve re-watched the video six times, I’ve stopped crying and can say in complete seriousness what a huge inspiration you are, Emily. I had been looking for a way to shift my own home decor blog from focusing on me-me-me towards somehow helping others, and what you’ve done for Sylvia and her family was like a godsend answer. What you wrote yesterday – about how much our space has an effect on us – has been re-playing over and over in my mind, and at the risk of sounding totally cliche, it’s as if my eyes opened up to people’s needs around me and to the fact of just how much a little bit of decorating can transform a life.

7 years ago

Very nice

7 years ago

This is fantastic!

I would love to see a post about hanging art above wainscotting, pretty please!!! I have essentially this exact situation in my condo. I love the detail and character it brings to the room but I have really struggled with decorating. For years we had frames sitting on the top molding/leaning against the wall. That helped bring your eye level down but then we had a baby and the thought of a 20lb glass frame tumbling down scared us so that artwork got moved. Thanks!!

Julie P
7 years ago

This is such an awesome series. We think of our nanny almost like a family member, and I’m guessing you guys may feel the same, so it’s amazing you’ve been able to revolutionize their home life with your mega makeover!

I’m sad because I couldn’t make the rug link work. Also, I was wondering if they are OK with not having room darkening curtains. The original curtains seemed to be serving that purpose…

7 years ago

Hi Emily – I commented on the previous living room post but I am posting again. This may sound silly but I was commenter #175 (I think) and I am not sure if you read that far down. 🙂

You have done a fantastic thing for this family – you are using your connections and talent to better the lives of others – something many other bloggers could learn from. Thank you for recognizing your caregiver. They are so often overlooked in our society, yet they are the backbone of our economy enabling parents to go to work secure in the knowledge that our children are well cared for.

I have a personal request – could you please ask Sylvia (beautiful inside and out) where she got the cute wedge shoes she is wearing in the photo shoot?

7 years ago

YES YES YES to having a metal headboard against a window. We did the same thing in our bedroom (you can see on Instagram here: We originally retrofitted a 5-panel door as a headboard, which looked cool. However, in front a window? It was the OPPOSITE of cool. There was no airflow whatsoever and it got so hot. So we got the metal headboard and it is awesome now.

7 years ago

I absolutely love this post! I’ve been obsessed with your blog and would love it if you would check out mine! The web address is

7 years ago

Target, you are so smart to have Emily. How else wold I have seen this crazy awesome black and white rug that I will now buy?

7 years ago
Reply to  Lynn

The rug in Sylvia’s house looks one thousands times better than I’m buying it now too.

7 years ago
Reply to  S

Online the rug says it’s a 5’x7’…it looks so much larger in her space. I wonder if they used two?

7 years ago
Reply to  kim

I wondered the same….

7 years ago
Reply to  kel

I also wondered that. could it be two rugs together?

7 years ago

I.AM.SPEECHLESS! What an amazing thing to do – and you did it beautifully! This transformation was genius!

7 years ago

Open metal headboard in front of a window. Such an aha moment for me. Obviously a bed in front of a window is not ideal, but this is how to make it work when you have to.

This is the coziest room! From the paneling to that amazing blue and those soothing pinks it just looks like someplace you want to stay forever reading books and being lazy and indulgent!!!

Obsessed! I hope they enjoy!!!

7 years ago

I love this room! Aside from it being affordable. Aside from it making the world a better place. Aside from the joy on all the faces involved.
This is an amazingly beautiful room.

7 years ago

After seeing all of Target’s products used in your makeover, I’ve come to the conclusion that Target needs to improve their website. Their products look great in this space but I would never buy them just by viewing the pictures they show on the website.
Good job, Emily. And kudos to Brian for putting together the tear producing video.

7 years ago
Reply to  Mary

I totally agree. I love Target and many of their home products, but their website does them no favors, and drives me crazy for a lot of reasons. For such a huge successful retailer you’d think they could do better!

7 years ago

Makeovers aren’t suppose to make you cry!!??! This was so sweet and joyful. You’re an angel Emily! What a beautiful family! Thanks for sharing.

Veronica D
7 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

Ditto this comment!! Beautiful transformations!!! I was crying too. All of your reactions are so honest. Awesome job Emily!! I’m enjoying these posts a lot.

7 years ago

Hi: Such a great job! So calm and pretty. Can you share where you purchased the ceiling fan? I need to replace an old one and I love how simple and clean the fan you used is. Thx.

7 years ago

Emily!!! Emily!!! Words escape me. When she says “she changed our lives”, you really did. This family will be paying it forward for generations. I’ve seen this video over and over and I still get all teary eyed and choked up. Everything is GORGEOUS!!!!

Emily P.
7 years ago

I need to be able to buy EmilyHenderson stock…

7 years ago

omg, you are amazing! and that rug is gorgeous – just ordered it for our bedroom! i would have never bought it based on the target website picture but it looks perfect in your pictures.

7 years ago

emily! this room is gorgeous! do you mind sharing where you got the wooden decorative beads?

thank you!

7 years ago

emily – this room is GORGEOUS! do you mind sharing where those amazing decorative wood beads are from?

7 years ago

IF I want to feel good, need some sweetness after an sour puss day, I’ll come here to your blog and feel instantly better. You’re a “Mensch”!

7 years ago

This is the most stunning makeover! I also love that the design is so do-able for the average person (me!). I plan to use this as inspiration for our neglected guest bedroom.

Is the area rug navy and ivory in color?

7 years ago

What a lovely family 🙂 The room looks so relaxing! Where is the jewelry stand/bracelet display from?

7 years ago
Reply to  Cat

I saw the bracelet one at target

7 years ago
Reply to  S

Love, love, love the room, and that bracelet tree is FABULOUS. Here’s a link:

7 years ago

Beautiful room! Could you please tell me where the rug in the first mood board is from. Thanks!

7 years ago

Hi Emily, would you tell us the height of the room? I love the pannelled look so much and would like to incorporate it into our bedroom but we have low ceilings – barley 8 feet – and I’m wondering if panelling would still work, or if high ceilings are needed.

By the way… I came across your IG (no longer remember how), and I adore your style…then I read some of your blog entries and fell in love with your humour and outlook on life. What you’re creating here on this blog is one-of-a kind! I can’t wait until the next blog!!

7 years ago

What a sweet way to honor such a clearly wonderful family!! You did an incredible job!

7 years ago

These are wonderful.

Nice blog… Please keep us informed like this…

7 years ago

I can’t believe it’s all target!!!! Wow! It’s so nice when you can use your talents and skills to make people happy. They seem like a very wonderful family. You are so lucky to have her in your life. She makes it possible for you to give so much to your employees, readers, and clients.

Lavi khan
7 years ago

Great blog with fantastic advice

Muslim Black Magic Love Solution

7 years ago

Nice article. Think so new form of features have included in your article. Waiting for your next article. keep posting

7 years ago

Great post !! It’s full of insightful information and entertaining descriptions. Your point of view is the best among many. keep posting ..

7 years ago

Well girl, you outdid yourself on this one! I was tearing up right along with them. And when Ricardo cried, oh my! You made their home so light, bright, and happy. You could feel the love they all had for each other. You gave them a beautiful gift: a lovely space to dwell in. So cozy, warm , and inviting. Something that was well-deserved. It was so cool that Target was on board!! God bless you!

7 years ago

I have been in tears over all of these. So incredibly moving. I was trying to explain this to my husband over breakfast but I don’t think inaccurately conveyed how meaningful what you’ve done is. This really will change their lives. Thank you for sharing these!

7 years ago

Emily, I have loved so many of your posts, but I think that this on is the best ever. 🙂

7 years ago

Your work is very good and I appreciate you and hoping for some more new informative posts.

7 years ago

I would like to refer to one important thing that we like how you will create the post to the point.

7 years ago

Love the post. Minor quibble about your grammar though:

We couldn’t BEAR not BARE.

Think, “The bear couldn’t bear to bare is bare bear behind.”

I love your site to pieces but these little editorial gaffes really chafe.

7 years ago
Reply to  MLRH

MLRH, minor quibble — I think you meant to say “HIS bare bear behind”… 🙂

7 years ago

Beautiful makeover, Emily!! I was so happy to see the metal bed frame in front of the window with the curtains behind it. I’m in the middle of re-doing our guest room and had been planning on doing the same, but wasn’t sure if it was going to look ok. But after seeing you do it I feel like I can be confident in how it will look! Thank you!!

7 years ago

What a way to share your gifts with one another. Beautiful work! My eyes got a little extra hydrated watching that video!

7 years ago

Wow, what a beautiful transformation! Where did the armoire come from?

7 years ago

This is very nice one and gives depth information. Thanks and keep posting! Thanks again for the blog article . Much thanks again. Great.

7 years ago

Looking forward to reading more. Great article . Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool

7 years ago

I appreciate everything you have added to my knowledge base.. great post .