Master Bedroom Makeover #5: Pillows, Pillows and More Pillows!

When designing our new space, I originally thought that if we got the painting, feature wall and lighting finished, we could putter away at the rest over time. Initially, our thought was to replace our queen sized bed with a king which would also lead to new bedding. We weren’t really ready to buy a mattress yet, so this was really all about getting the room ready for the new bed. I had already picked out a beautiful navy and white duvet cover, so the entire design was based on the new bedding I would purchase down the road.

Luckily, my current bedding was white, so my new navy and white colour scheme would still work even though we had yet to purchase our new King sized mattress and bedding. Because I didn’t actually have the new bedding, I decided that for the time being, I would just take all of my old throw cushions and make new covers for them. I’m no seamstress, but I’ve done quite a bit of sewing over the years. I made a combination of simple covers….some with an envelope style closure and some with zippers. I’m not sure, but I don’t think there is such a thing as too many pillows…is there?

The surprising part was that through the process, two unexpected things happened. The first being that when we first dismantled our queen sized bed for painting, we discovered that the frame was not only bent, but also had two broken wheels. As a temporary sleep solution while painting the room, we just set the mattress and box spring directly on the floor. To our complete amazement the tossing and turning and disrupted sleeps greatly diminished. In fact, we are sleeping so much better that we are not even sure if we are going to purchase a new bed at all! The second surprise was that my “we’ll make this old bedding do for now” has evolved into…I actually love the new look and colour scheme and am not even sure if I am going to purchase new bedding. Let’s just say that these two discoveries may have just saved us a few thousand dollars…yay!!!

Life Hacks I Love~ Picture Perfect Pillows:

I recently saw this blog post on how to Keep Your Bed Pillows Looking Like New and thought it was genius! Basically, you purchase cheap pillows that are placed inside the shams you use on your made bed. I already did this, but what I didn’t do was actually remove my sleeping pillows from my bed! She suggested removing them completely from your made bed and storing them….I loved that idea! It just so happens that a friend had given me a lovely oversized basket that I hadn’t quite found a home for yet. It makes the perfect nest for our “sleeping pillows”. So now, when I make my bed each day, our sleeping pillows are stored in the basket and the pillows that are placed on our “made” bed are all fluffy and perfect because they’ve never been used! (I also love the splash of yellow on the basket and how it works with the navy and white colour scheme.)

Planning Your Pillows:

When you see the pictures of my “made” bed, you’ll immediately see that I didn’t actually follow any of these pictures to a tee, but there are great pillow decor guides available, like this one I found on Construction2Style. The guides are really great for helping you plan and figure out what to make/buy. This is especially good if you feel like you don’t know how to pull things together.

I decided to use two sets of standard pillows as a backdrop for my decorative throw cushions. (Since then I’ve decided to purchase 3 large Euro throws in navy, to separate the white bedding/pillows from the white shiplap wall. I haven’t found any yet, but it’s on my “to do” list.) The set that’s currently at the back are simple white shams that match my duvet cover.

BEFORE: Vintage Chenille Bedspread

I made the second set of shams from this vintage chenille bedspread that I found when cleaning out my dad’s apartment for his upcoming move. When you look closely, the fabric is a bit worn/thin and certainly not the pure white it once was, but I really wanted to incorporate it into the design. The bedspread was not in good enough condition to be used as intended, but I was able to make a few shams from what was salvageable. I must say they were a bit of a nightmare to make. The fabric had some stretch to it and my sewing machine wasn’t really cooperating. I feel like those shams might win the prize for my worst sewing project ever! In fact, I made so many mistakes on the first one that the design had to change several times to accommodate for the medley of errors. By the time I was ready to make the second one, I was dreading it for so many reasons…but mostly because I had no idea how to duplicate what I did on the first one!🤪 In the end, the shams turned out okay.

AFTER: Vintage Chenille Pillow Shams

Next in line was the navy blue furry pillow. I loved the texture and when I saw it at Home Sense, I just had to get it. One of the things that you always want to think about in your bed/pillow design is texture. As you plan, consider incorporating various different fabrics and textures.

When I decided to re-do the bedroom colour scheme, it was obvious that the coffee table bench I had previously upcycled would need a facelift, as well. Not only would the colour no longer work, but there were some stains/marks on the fabric, so it was replacement time anyway. (First photo on the left.) At first I thought I would give it a fresh coat of white paint as well, but in the end I decided to sand it back to distress it further. Once the fabric was purchased, it was a simple task to remove the old cover and staple gun on the new one. I used left over fabric to make the next throw cushion on the bed.

The last cushion is one of my favourites. I made a plain white cover for an old throw cushion from an old tab top curtain panel that had a hole in it. (I’m not quite sure why they hadn’t been tossed yet, but the fabric from those old curtains came in handy this summer.) This fabric was used to make several interior pillow slips as well as cushion covers. This shortcut ended up saving me time and money, so I’m glad I’d kept them. I made a plain zipper-close cover and then used the following tutorial as a guide to make my own “quote” pillow. Basically, I used the freezer paper technique to make a stencil that could be ironed onto the pillow. What a brilliant idea! I have a Cricut machine, so I didn’t have to do the laborious task of cutting out the stencil, as it cuts out the design for me. I will definitely being making more of these!

It is amazing how well this technique works. The stencil comes out so crisp and clean!

I also used this tutorial to guide the design of another cushion cover made from the tab top curtain panel. To add a bit on interest to the otherwise plain white pillow, I used this sunburst technique. This pillow is sitting on the Ikea Poang chair and ottoman we purchased on Kijiji for $45. It is a bit of a creamier white than the rest of the room, but I actually love mixing whites!

The navy chair cushion came from a set of napkins/placemats I purchased at a garage sale for a dollar. The set included 6 napkins and 2 placemats all of which were used to make cushion covers. I used most of them in my front porch makeover.

Although throw cushions can be super expensive running from $25 each to well over $100, it is possible to achieve the look you want by making your own, upcycling old cushions or even adding/changing inexpensive covers you’ve purchased (like adding a quote). Sometimes it’s just a matter of patience and determination. I was able to purchase the chair and ottoman, pillows for inside my shams, fabric (thread, zippers, etc.), fabric paint and the new navy cushion for well under $150 (maybe just over $100). The key is knowing the look you want and then having the patience to find ideas that you can manage and then setting aside the time to do the projects. Don’t rush through to finish, but rather embrace it as a process.

Although I’ll soon be revealing the entire master bedroom makeover…. it is not actually done and may not be for another year! I have no art or pictures on the walls yet and am still trying to figure out exactly what I want. I’m okay with letting it evolve overtime. If I rush to finish the room, I know I won’t be happy with it. I’d rather ponder ideas and come up with a plan that I’ll be happy with long term. You can’t rush creativity!!!

Master Bedroom Makeover Part 3: Ceiling Fan Upcycle ~ Farmhouse Style

I’ve watched my fair share of HGTV shows and I can honestly say that ceiling fans are generally not in their bag of design tricks. I probably wouldn’t opt for a ceiling fan in my master bedroom either, but the reality is that we live in a 1921 home with no central air. We get by with a few portable air conditioners, but I literally could not survive without the added air movement created by our ceiling fan. Bottom line…it was a non-negotiable. So the only other option was to figure out a way to make it look like it belongs in our farmhouse style design. There are actually some decent options available in new fans, but our fan worked fine and there really was no reason to replace it other than the dated style.

As mentioned in my last post, this isn’t actually my fan, but a picture that I found online that closely resembles what ours looked like pre-upcycling. By the time I thought of taking a picture, mine already looked like this.

Tim dismantled the entire fan and then taped off the parts that needed to be protected from the spray paint. You can see the blue painter’s tape over the light sockets. This upcycle projects was relatively easy to do. I spray painted all of the silver pieces a matte black. I did need to do a few coats to ensure even coverage, but it was quick to paint and the dry time was short as well. I gave the blades a coat of regular white house paint and let them dry. I then used a dry brush technique to distress the blades using a combination of grey and dark brown paint. (Dry brushing is a technique that uses very little paint on a dry brush.) When dry brushing, it is important to add the paint very sparingly, work it in with the dry brush and then repeat until you get the desired look. I didn’t have brown paint on hand, so I just picked up a small bottle of all purpose crafter’s paint and it worked fine. To distress the blades even further, I used a light sandpaper to blend the colours and sand back some of the paint I had applied. Seems a bit counterproductive, but it’s how you achieve the look.

Tim reassembled the fan and replaced the old glass shades with these cool light bulb cages we found on Amazon. We added amber coloured light bulbs that I bought on clearance at Michael’s for $3 (regular $12). I honestly can’t believe how awesome it turned out!

Stay tuned for Part 4 and find out how we solved the issue of “no bedside tables”.

Master Bedroom Makeover: Part 2 Custom Wall Sconces

Initially when we were considering lighting in the alcove, I was set on pot lights. These would eliminate the need for the lamp that rested on the headboard (sometimes…when it wasn’t falling over). The issue with the room layout was that the closets banking both sides of the bed made it impossible for a nightstand of any kind. Years ago, I made bedside pocket storage for both sides of the bed to help solve this issue, but it still wasn’t ideal, as you really can’t fit a lamp in a pocket!!

It was actually Tim’s idea to mount sconces instead of pot lights. Originally, I was like “no” I really want pot lights, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. Of course, the issue with me is that I don’t just want normal store bought sconces….I wanted something original that would fit with the overall design I had in mind. Lucky for me, this wasn’t a hard sale. I found a few DIY sconces on Pinterest that I liked and Tim set to work. Although he didn’t follow this plan to a tee, this is the style he modelled ours after. We had seen some really awesome fixtures with pulleys and decided to incorporate that into the design as well.

Custom Farmhouse Style Light Sconces:

Tim constructed the sconces out of…you guessed it…scrap wood we already had. I decided on a dark stain to contrast the very white walls. We also just happened to have two old clothesline pulleys in the basement. We had removed the previous owners clothesline (from the basement rafters) when we moved in, but luckily Tim kept them. We ordered the wire and light kit from Amazon. The light sockets came in a set of four for $22.99. The cord was a bit pricey at $25.99, but there was enough for both sconces, a new fixture in the kitchen and still extra for another project. This was a relatively simple project for Tim to build, but the wiring made it a bigger project. I am honestly so lucky…my man can do anything!!

I found some amber vintage style light bulbs on clearance at Michaels. The original price was $12 each, but they were clearing them for $3, so needless to say I bought several. We tossed around several ideas and even sampled a few different “shades” for the sconces, but in the end we settled on upcycled lamp shade frames. I picked up this set of shades for $3 at the thrift store, removed all the beads and then rigged up some wire across the top to hold the “shade” in place. I must admit removing the beads was a brutal job. There must have been a million of those little suckers and all were individually beaded onto fine wire. Not only did it take me a couple of hours to remove the beads and wires, but my fingers were filthy and super sore from the tedious work and wire pokes😣. The final step was to spray paint the completed shade a matte black.

I love the way they turned out! Tim did such an amazing job with the building, staining and installation of the sconces. The amber light isn’t as bright, but is still fine for reading. I love that he put them on a dimmer switch, so that we can adjust the light depending on our needs.

Keep an eye out for my next Master Bedroom Makeover post where I’ll share how we transformed our old ceiling fan, so it would work with our new farmhouse bedroom design.

(Disclaimer: I never took a picture of my old fan before we took it all apart, but this one is very close to the original design of ours.)