Lively layers of dynamic color, vintage finds, and space-stretching strategies reanimate a sleepy guest room without breaking the budget.


Neither warm nor inviting, this guest bedroom needed a serious wake-up call. Too much white accented with muddy hues made for a monotonous palette that begged for an injection of vivacious color.


Since changing the blue-green carpet wasn’t in the cards, we worked with it and the existing wallpaper pattern on one wall. Painting the other walls a soft aqua took some of the focus off the vivid flooring. To give the room some zest, we contrasted the blue with its color complement, orange, and added in high-energy hues such as gold and lime green.

Pallet headboard

A wood shipping pallet becomes an inexpensive (free, in fact!) headboard that adds rustic texture. A coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Provence gives the mismatched woods uniformity and polish.


We chose a lively focal-point fabric for the bed sporting a vibrant print. It serves as our muse for pumped-up motifs and spicy colors in patterns and solids set off by cool but spirited hues. We selected other patterns in varying scales that pick up on colors in our core fabric.


This silky soft kantha quilt, fashioned from stitched-together sari remnants, makes a sensational lightweight throw for curled-up reading on the bed.


A vintage painted bench adds yet another aged patina and supplies a sturdy spot for putting on shoes, resting a suitcase, or setting out extra blankets, pillows, and towels.


Rescued from a previous room makeover, the formerly ugly brass chandelier creates a fetching foundation for a spray-painted fixture that sports a drum shade and casts a lovely light on the room.


Weathered and paint-spattered stepladders find new life as nifty nightstands that hold reading materials, vintage alarm clocks, and candlestick lamps near the bed and reading corner.


Bring comfort to your reading nook with colorful cushions and plush throws. We created a reading shelf from a cast-off shipping pallet to match the headboard. To make your own, cut a section from a wood pallet using our image as a guide. Cut a slat to size and screw it to the bottom of the pocket. Paint the piece to match the headboard or wall and let dry. Secure to the wall with mounting hardware using molly bolts or by screwing into wall studs.


The art of arranging relies on thoughtful placement. Old shutters support a textural trio of framed objects set in a triangle shape that directs attention to the crowning glory of the grouping: a vintage fedora.


Family heirlooms don’t need to be expensive, just meaningful. Here, inherited costume jewelry and a father’s favorite hat personalize a display created from old frames and architectural salvage.


The bed faced a blank closet wall and a less-than-intriguing display of dolls (which, frankly, creep me out at the best of times) on a lightweight wicker shelf unit. By common consent, the dolls and their wee rocker were packed away.


On its own, the latticework hutch and cabinet combo provides an engaging display and storage space. Color-coordinated collectibles add character.


Give your guests a restful message. Spell it out with found metal, wood, and plastic letters in varying colors, sizes, and type styles.


The closet needs little more than a clean-out and a reorganization.


With the doors open (or better yet, removed), the closet becomes an extension of the bedroom. Moving the dresser into the closet left us with enough floor space to add our cushy reading nook. Keep open storage tidy with containers for loose items. We used a few vintage locker baskets and suitcases to stash linens and seasonal items.


This study and capacious chest of drawers had a tired look that begged for a makeover of its own.


We updated the chest with paint (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Provence, again) and simple embellishments, then moved it into the closet where it performs its function admirably while also adding a splash of color and character to the wall opposite the bed.

Wood appliqués bring instant dimension to flat drawer fronts. Tulip-shape feet lift the heavy piece off the floor and glass knobs offer a bit of sparkle. To give the chest a vintage patina we applied torn pieces of patterned paper on top, sides and drawer fronts with decoupage medium and rubbed some dark wax into trim crevices.


Artistic arrangements of a favorite photo and print in ornate and gilded frames shine next to a grouping of vintage silver trophies.

Photography by Chris Hennessey

© Caruth Studio

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