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 4: Bedside Built-ins

Bedside Pocket
Bedside Pockets

If you’ve been following my blog and specifically the series on our master bedroom makeover, you already know that the layout of our master bedroom does not allow for any sort of bedside table or night stand. To compensate for this, we previously used little pockets on the sides of the bed for storage of glasses, lip balm, books, etc. I made the pockets several years ago and although they served the purpose for the most part, what I always desired was built-in cubbies on either side of the bed. I was so excited when my husband agreed to build them! It seemed like the perfect timing because he had already committed to installing sconces that required wiring and a light switch.

Basically, he built boxes that would be installed between the studs of the closets that bank both sides of the bed. The boxes were custom designed from scrap wood according to our individual needs. Mine was built a bit deeper than Tim’s to accommodate my alarm clock and my books. Although this meant that it impinged a bit further into my closet, I was totally okay with that because I only use this space for dresses. We painted the boxes and then added a frame around the edge after installation.

BEFORE:

You can see the wall banking the closet to the left of the bed. This is where the bedside built-in was installed. (You can also get a glimpse of my old ceiling fan before it was upcycled to more of a vintage farmhouse style.)

AFTER:

I love how Tim also incorporated outlets & a charging station into the design. I really didn’t want cords dangling all over the place and this completely solved the problem. I always charge my phone in the kitchen, but my husband keeps his beside the bed, so a USB port was needed. Tim doesn’t tend to use the full height of his cubby, but I like to put my water bottle in mine at night, so needed the extra space. We might install an additional shelf in his at some point. You can see the dimmer switch for the sconces on my side of the bed below my cubby. (We thought of putting one on each side of the bed, but decided that in our house I am almost always the first one to bed and am the only one that reads in bed, so it just made sense for me to have the switch on my side. )

I am so happy with how the bedside built-ins turned out!

Stay tuned for upcoming Master Bedroom Makeover posts on DIY throw cushions, DIY curtains and room reveals.

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Master Bedroom Makeover: Part 1

When we first moved into our home in 2008, my husband worked a night shift. Although I wanted our bedroom to look nice, I never saw it as a sanctuary. Our primary concern when painting was to create a space that allowed him to sleep during the day. At that time, a blue & brown colour combination was a thing. We opted to paint 3 walls chocolate brown and one a powder blue colour. The curtains we chose were room darkening to assist with his daytime sleep schedule. Neither of us ever spent time in our room. It was basically a sleep room. In fact, it often seemed like making the bed was a dumb idea. I would get up for work just as Tim was getting home and settling into bed and vice versa at the end of the day. And so, for 12 years, our room was a a dark dungeon-like room. Although it may not appear dark, you must keep in mind that the curtains were rarely opened because of Tim’s work schedule. I scoured my archives for before photos and this is all I could come up with. These shots show the powder blue wall, but only a glimpse of the chocolate brown walls. When Tim finally got a day shift in May of 2019, a bedroom makeover seemed appropriate.

I spent several months pondering what I wanted the new space to look like. I knew that I wanted our room to be super bright with an aura of “lightness”. In addition to wanting to paint and transform the space, we had both been complaining about restless sleeps for months. We thought that the solution might be a new king sized bed. We currently have a queen, but in all honesty, it seems cramped, especially with our dog, Hershey, in bed with us every night! I am a hot sleeper and between the “heat” and the dog, I felt like I spent most of the night thrashing around and Tim felt like he spent most of the night responding to the after shocks of my thrashing. Neither of us were sleeping well! 🤪

I finally came up with a plan. Although we weren’t really ready to purchase a King size bed yet, we knew that we would need a custom platform bed to accommodate the space in our room. The head of the bed would need to fit in the alcove between the two existing closets and although a king mattress would fit, it would be tight and Tim would need to build the bed to make it work. We decided to go ahead with the room design and build the platform and then we could just place our queen on the new platform until we decided to purchase a king mattress. And so the transformation began to unfold….

Step 1: Feature Wall Installation

You can see that Tim has already done the wiring for our new sconces!!

For many years now, I longed to transform our little alcove at the head of the bed. I envisioned a feature wall and custom lighting. One of the cool things about our 1921 unfinished basement is that at some point many decades ago, some walls were put up and they were built using….wait for it…wait for it….shiplap!! Yay! I always knew that at some point we would either reclaim and use the wood elsewhere in the house or incorporate it into our someday finished basement design. It just so happened that we removed a wall a few years ago and of course, kept all of the old shiplap. Tim measured it all out and began to construct the “puzzle” of shiplap pieces. Here is the picture of the shiplap wall pre-painting. (I actually like the randomness of the pieces and finishes, but it wasn’t the look I was going for in this space.) This also gives you a peak at the new navy wall paint.

Step 2: Priming and Painting

Of course, we knew this would not be a quick and easy paint job because we were covering the 3 existing chocolate brown walls with white! The light blue wall was going to be a combination of white and navy blue. We ended up priming everything….including the ceiling which we had painted light blue as well…Why? I don’t know. That was sure a pain to prime and paint. So, with one coat of primer and 3 coats of paint….the room began to take on a whole new look!

Stay tuned for more master bedroom projects and photos!