Most parents quickly find out that the smallest members of the household often rule the roost. Chaos and noise, not to mention an excessive amount of toys, fill any home inhabited by infants and toddlers.
Brian and Jennie Shannon, parents of a toddler and a newborn, longed for a retreat that offered quiet comfort and grown-up style. Unfortunately, their bedroom was furnished with pieces from Jennie's childhood––the bed was the couple's only new purchase when they married five years ago--and storage space was limited.
Assistant Projects Editor Mary Leigh Fitts helped Jennie, Senior Designer for Southern Living, create a room that reflects Jennie's artistic nature and offers respite from the busy world beyond.
A Splash of Color
Mary Leigh and Jennie began with an inspiration piece: A set of throw pillows in a vibrant botanical pattern on a black background determined the room's color palette.
The walls are painted a subtle olive green that was pulled from the pillows. Rich red bedding, along with black accents, balances the cool green walls. The ceiling is painted two shades lighter than the walls. Matching paint on the ceiling fan blades helps the fixture blend in.
To add more storage to the room without breaking their budget, Brian and Jennie purchased two unfinished bookshelves. Each slender unit has three open shelves for display and a closed area for storage. Painted the same shade as the walls, the shelves provide the look of built-ins without the expense.
The two nightstands also add extra storage space in an inexpensive and innovative way. The skirted tables are actually new trash cans topped with 30-inch-rounds of plywood. The cans hold seasonal items, such as sweaters, that aren't needed year-round.
The shelves on either side of the window don't just offer storage; they create balance as well. The room's arched-top window does not have an equal amount of wallspace on either side. The creamy white draperies, edged in black, also foster the illusion that the window is set directly in the middle of the wall.
Old Furniture, New Style
A hand-me-down armchair from Jennie's mother was recovered in green linen to match the walls. Orange linen piping adds a pop of color; again the color was pulled from the floral print that inspired the room's decor.
While reupholstering a piece can sometimes be costly, it is a great way to hold on to an item that is still useful or has sentimental value.
To make a space uniquely yours, don't settle for ready-made items. In this case, Mary Leigh found tall red vases and had them wired to create matching bedside lamps. She then embellished simple white lampshades with black ribbon.
It's easier than it seems to make your own lamp. Just purchase a lamp kit that comes with a vase cap, pipe, socket, wire, harp, and base. Carefully drill a 3/8-inch-wide hole in the bottom or side of the vase. If you have a glass vase and are uncertain about drilling a hole into it, take it to a glass company or lamp shop for help.
The lamps aren't the only creative projects in the room. Artwork, done by Jennie in college, hangs above the bed. The six prints, grouped for impact, were inexpensively framed in black. For a similar look, consider framing photographs from an old calendar, or group several illustrations from one book.