Bland Bedroom Turned Scandi Sleep Sanctuary

Mandi Gubler
Written by Mandi Gubler
Updated July 16, 2016
before and after bedroom makeover

"The Sleep Revolution" Bedroom Makeover: Mandi Gubler

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I’m so excited to show everyone how I took this master bedroom and turned it into a stylin’ sleep sanctuary. Before we started, Tyler and Sarah’s master bedroom was a little bland and not what you’d expect from such a hip couple. When they reached out about a room design, I jumped at the chance to change up their space and make it gorgeously functional. With a couple of little kiddies running around, they deserve all of the sleep they can get.

Going into it, there were a few design dilemmas we needed to address. First, the space is fairly small and their king-sized bed with the large platform took up the majority of it. The bed base was intended for storage, though it wasn’t used much, so it was the first to go. The bed extended about 15 inches on three sides. It was massive, to say the least.

before and after bedroom makeover
before and after bedroom makeover

The only place that had a wall large enough to fit the bed was the wall with the window, which made drapes frustrating. They didn’t have a headboard and the mattress was pushed right against the wall, so the drapes caught on it every time they went to close them. 

before and after bedroom makeover

The couple never used the small seating area at the foot of the bed, so taking it out and putting in something more functional made perfect sense. Sarah’s one request for the room makeover was a vanity where she could sit down and do her hair and makeup.

Their style is neutral and rustic but they felt like the space was lackluster and boring. Tyler made it very clear that he didn’t want any colored walls (and if you’ve seen my style you’ll understand his concern). So we set out to make it rustic and not boring. Luckily, not boring is my specialty!

After talking with them, I decided to take the direction a little less “distressed wood farmhouse” and a little more “moody Icelandic” …  which just so happens to be a perfect way to bring in Arianna Huffington’s first tip.

Guideline No. 1: Make the room a calming, dark space

Adding the black-washed cedar shiplap wall instantly upped this room’s design cred. It’s dark and cozy but still offers loads of style. The best part is that the entire wall treatment cost less than $150!

before and after bedroom makeover
before and after bedroom makeover

I used basic, inexpensive cedar fencing and after running it through my planer, stained it with watered-down black paint. You can find the full step-by-step tutorial on Vintage Revivals if you’re inspired and want to know how to create your own. I love that you can still see the wood grain, too.

Guideline No. 2: Kill the blue light!

Tyler and Sarah fell into the trap most of us find ourselves in — the dreaded TV in the bedroom. When I walked in and saw it, I was super worried ‘cause that sucker wasn’t staying, even if they loved it. 

before and after bedroom makeover

Thankfully, they didn’t (phew!) They’d only used it a handful of times over the last two years and it wasn’t something that they were passionate about keeping. According to “The Sleep Revolution,” blue light is one of the worst disruptors of our sleep, so if you’ve got a TV in your room, consider giving it the boot. 

before and after bedroom makeover

Removing the TV opened up that wall and I was able to add the vanity for Sarah.

Guideline No. 3: Give your devices their own space

The biggest culprit for sleep disruption is our devices. When you are always plugged in, your mind doesn’t get a chance to shut down. It's critical to find a designated space outside of your bedroom to put your phone at night. I put up a large clock so even without their phones, they’ll be able to see what time it is.

Guideline No. 4: Keep the room cool

Keeping the room cool can be hard when you live in Southern Utah; it hit 115 degrees today! The master bedroom is on the second floor, so heat naturally rises to the space. 

To help fight this inevitable phenomenon, I installed light-blocking curtains (Target) they can close during the day to keep the temps as low as possible. I didn’t want the drapes to look heavy though, so I doubled up to get the light-blocking protection without killing the style. I used white canvas in the front, and beige blackout curtains behind them. 

To make the wall and window seem bigger, I raised the curtain rod and made the curtains two feet longer. I also built a headboard and pulled the bed off the wall so that the curtains can shut behind it without causing potential drapery suffocation.

Guideline No. 5: Decorate the room with items of joy!

This was my favorite part of recreating this room. There is nothing like settling into a place that is full of the things you love, treasures that remind you of your fondest memories. 

before and after bedroom makeover

Tyler is an amazing photographer and last year he and Sarah went on a trip to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. The picture that hangs over the dresser was one he took there. So much better than generic art from a box store. The jackalope mount, made by Tyler’s grandfather, brings a weirdness to the space.

before and after bedroom makeover
before and after bedroom makeover

I love the vintage cloche ring holder that holds Sarah’s wedding rings. And Sarah loves the vintage cast-iron mirror, which was already in the room, but that got repositioned over the vanity. 

before and after bedroom makeover
before and after bedroom makeover

I spent about $5,000 on this bedroom project. This room is the perfect mix of bright and dark. I think that we knocked it out of the park in creating an amazing sleep sanctuary. Don’t you just want to curl up on the bed, shut the curtains and snuggle in?

Materials List:

Box springsBed framePaint DresserDuvetCurtainsPrintFrameWoodCurtain RodShelvingVarious decor

Total Cost: $5,000.

Mandi Gubler writes Vintage Revivals, a blog all about fearless DIY (because that is way more fun). Vintage Revivals has been featured in numerous print and online publications including being named Best DIY/Decorating Blog by Better Homes and Gardens and Apartment Therapy.

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