Be our guest


Though the entire concept of “interior design” and, er, decorating is still a new one for me, I’m getting better at the whole visualization thing.

When we bought our house last year, I was most excited about the idea of a blank canvas I could design to my heart’s content. I spent weeks before move-in obsessing about paint colors, art work and color schemes . . . overlooking the fact that we had repairs to make before all the fun stuff could start.

Also, that I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing. At all.

It’s taken almost a year, but we’ve made major progress in our guest room! Our energy had to shift to Mr. Oliver’s room this past spring, but we have the nursery just about finished (and I’ll plan to give you a tour soon). With my mother- and father-in-law coming to visit next week, I’ve felt the urge to push and get our guest space looking nice for them.

We started out with a dusty, closed-off room with featuring walls where the previous owners had painted around furniture. That’s right, friends: furniture lines.

Guest room

Guest room2

Painting that room was our first order of business, actually, because it was just so hideous. The dark blue carpet was stained, quite possibly by coffee, and the shelving in the closet had been unceremoniously ripped out. Spencer patiently patched the holes, removed any lingering wood bolted to the walls (hunks of plywood, specifically), and we painted the entire space a cool, calm dark gray.

The antique white bed was a purchase from Overstock, and the tables were recent finds at Christmas Tree Shop. I spent months looking for cute, affordable end tables that would match the overall style of the room, then stumbled upon these when I least expected it. Isn’t that always the way? Bonus: they were the cheapest ones I’ve seen!

Finding yellow lamps to pop the bedspread, purchased at Target, became my recent mission. Every yellow lamp I could find was either a) super expensive; b) the wrong style; or c) both.

Enter Goodwill!

My husband is addicted to the thrifting experience. He adores the thrill of the hunt — the serendipitous way certain items will fall into your lap. We spent many Saturday mornings at a giant outdoor yard sale, combing through others’ trash and treasures looking for it. Whatever “it” might be.

I’ll admit that, in the beginning, these adventures held little appeal for me. I went because I know he loves it, and he does have a knack for finding awesome things quite cheaply. Because he’s so handy, items that are broken or old to others are just brimming with possibilities for Spence . . . he can envision something more. I love that about him.

On Sunday, we were running errands and taking Ollie on his first Goodwill/Lowe’s run when I spotted them: two perfect, vintage yellow lamps high on a top shelf. Dusty and missing their shades, they were nevertheless exactly what I was looking for . . . and I got both for $15.


We have a little more to do . . . mostly sprucing, like hanging the sheer curtains currently draped on the bed. And all the artwork I’ve found over the last year or so. But the bones are finally there, and I’m loving how tranquil the room is feeling! Especially by soft lamplight.


We’ve come a long way, baby.

And now I can’t wait to go back to Goodwill.

15 thoughts on “Be our guest

  1. It looks great! Much better than my guest room (which is a room barely bigger than a closet where I tend to store all my 2 years olds pulls ups and old clothes!) We are lucky if we can even fit a guest in there! 🙂


  2. Oooh, I LOVE it! Great job! The room seriously looks awesome. Yellow and gray is a great color combo… that’s what Caleb’s nursery is. 😉

    I love seeing before and afters of rooms like this because I’m kind of obsessed with renovating and decorating our house. Money becomes an issue a lot though, so like Spencer, I also love thrifting! It’s so exciting to find something cool for cheap.


  3. My husband and I just recently put hardwood floors in the living room, dining and hallway. (We did it ourselves, but my husband build homes for a living) and we painted the walls. I HAVE an empty canvas on my walls. I am enjoying having nothing on them at the moment. I hesitate what to put up there (the same ol’ or something different?) Puzzling….. Any suggestions?


  4. Beautiful job on that room!! I love the combination of muted colors and bright accent colors that pop. After years of apartment dwelling, it definitely feels good to put your mark on your own home 🙂


  5. How fun to thrift. I’ve gotta try that. It’s like buying from people on Craigslist or getting handmedowns from friends right?
    We just moved a month ago so I hear you on obsessing about paint. I spent so many hours on Sherwin Williams using its visualization tool. Our DIY list is still very full. I’ve taken a break and have been having a summer of PE, getting my duff off the couch and exercising my heart. As a mum whose family depends on her, I need to be as healthy as I can be.


  6. How cute! I love how the yellow vintage lamps make the room pop. I’m definitely not an interior designer and am tempted to use my more savvy friends to actually draw a blueprint for me to follow.


  7. It looks very inviting!! You’re lucky to have a guest room. We have the girls old room, which is still filled with teen girl stuff but the bed is now our old queen, not the former bunk beds. Someday it will be repainted and decorated.


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