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Easy DIY Boring to Bold Guest Room Update

Adding Color + Style to a Guest Room

Before & After: Easy Boring to Bold Guest Room Update

I’m finally finding time to slowly start posting again. I have been so busy with design work, my real job, and Mom’ing that this sweet little blog has been neglected. Thanks for bearing with me. After Mac’s birthday party and a family vacation, we finally had some time to get back into a routine and I have found some time to finally start updating one of our boring guest rooms. I have included affiliate links to help you update the look in your own guest rooms but all of them are based on what we actually used and my own personal opinion!


We’ve been in our house for a little over a year now and I’ve started my vision on almost all of the downstairs  (except for our master bedroom which I am still 100% undecided on, it’ll do for now), so it was time to start upstairs. I need to win the lottery so we can do everything I want downstairs! It’s a slow process, yall. Anyway, the guest room was BORING- huge, but boring. The walls were a light ivory beige… the trim was ALL a light ivory beige, the doors were light ivory beige and the carpet was beige. Beige is not my color. When we moved in, we knew we’d need a guest room for people to stay so we just moved our furniture in and knew we’d get to the designing part later. The only cute thing about this photo is our sweet pup. I’m actually embarrassed I let anyone even sleep in here!

In this room, we put my bedroom suite from college. It’s a comfortable queen sized bed and the suite is all in great condition, black wood furniture from my favorite furniture store – no reason to get rid of it, replace it, or paint it. If you’re local and don’t buy your furniture from Biggerstaff, you’re missing out on a great selection with even better pricing. Here is a selection of their bedroom furniture brands.

Anyway, this pretty bedroom suite with beige walls and no color for accents or bedding was making me lose my mind. (When I used this suite in college and even this black/white bedding pictured, my walls were a very pretty green and everything coordinated. It was not unstylish at all and was perfect for my first ‘big girl’ house in the real world.) But this was not working in this space with these Ikea lamps from college! All lamps, bedding, etc. were donated to our local Salvation Army Store.

  • Color

The carpet is all new upstairs so we knew we were sticking with the beige. I originally wanted to paint all of the walls, trim/doors bright glossy white and use lots of fun brass and chinoiserie accents (I know, go figure, my favorites) with a bright white wall. I even did an Instagram poll and it was super close on whether I should do white or color. (White ultimately lost, but barely & i was convinced white would look better)…I went to buy my “Decorator’s White” paint for the walls and when the guy saw my vision board, he informed me that my vision was far too stylish for a white wall and I need to make all the brass pop. He was probably right. We decided on Georgian Bay. It’s a very dark, moody almost teal/navy. I love the way it looks with the brass and while it’s not the same exact shade as the bedding, I think it pulls out all of the blue from the chinoiserie pottery I’m using and I love it!

Anyway, I changed my vision from white… to a moody blue with bright white trim. I knew the brass sconces I wanted would really work with the contrasting wall color. I’m so glad I changed my mind, about 2 weeks after I painted this room, I got the new Ballard Designs catalog and the cover was almost identical to what I had done in here. I felt really good about my choice after I saw it because it was the perfect mix of style and pattern. (and no, I don’t use painter’s tape except on the base molding so paint doesn’t get on the carpet – I use an angled trim brush so it’s usually not very difficult to keep it straight and away from the trim!)


  • Bedding

I have been eyeing the pagoda inspired blue bedding for a while and was hoping it wouldn’t be too dark against the black furniture because I really wanted to use it. To lighten it up, I wanted to layer it with some white bedding so I added a white duvet and pillows. Still working on throw pillow ideas but I’m loving the pagoda monogram on the little one, this Etsy shop is awesome! For the time being, I used one of my Serengeti pillows from Ballard Designs and I’m actually loving it!

  • Lights

When I found these sconces for this price, I knew I had to have them! I’m really happy with how they turned out and love that they are dimmable and move side to side for the perfect reading lamp. We used cord covers to hide the messy cords. I also considered these (and these!) but I ended up going with the movable arms and shaded lamp and so glad I did. I may end up buying some others for other rooms as I make my way into more updates! Would love them in a bathroom too! (It was also important for me to be able to plug them in instead of hard-wiring because I didn’t want to have to wait around on my husband to help wire them or call someone, it would have taken months!)


  • Other Updates + Accents

The mirror between the sconces was something we had from Target in a different room and I’d recently replaced it in with some beautiful artwork so needed to find a place to hang it, I thought it fit perfectly between the sconces. If I wouldn’t have had this mirror laying around, I would’ve used a more vintage looking sunburst (like this) or something with more detail. But I do love the modern lines of the quatrefoil.

The furniture suite has one matching night stand and the little brass side table is one we just added (my old one in college was a hand-me-down I painted black and decoupaged with houndstooth fabric to go with all the black/white)…but I wanted a simple brass side table here for a phone to charge for guests, etc. and this is the perfect fit! I love the size and height, it was super cheap & took 10 minutes to assemble.

We added pretty blinds (we always go with cordless when we can) and an average white fan. I wish I would’ve gone with this one or in black instead, definitely using that in the next guest room we re-do. I love this fan too if you like all white. (We put the fan in right when we moved in, I wish I would’ve gone with something more stylish but it’s functional)

While we were brightening up the beige trim, we noticed all of our sockets/face plates were the outdated almond shade so my husband cut the power to the room and updated all of those to a bright white, too. This is a super easy fix if you know what you’re doing and really makes a space look so much more updated for very little money – especially against a dark, bold wall!

I found the awesome brass fans on Etsy for a steal, check out this shop if you’re in the market for some truly unique vintage pieces, so impressed with my find and love the way they look against these dark walls. This is kind of similar from Amazon if you want something on a stand.

I am using a lamp I found locally on the dresser but here is a similar gold geometric lamp. I love lamp lighting!

And I really love these for a more chinoiserie vibe!

On the brass side table, I used a blue and white stripe vase with some greenery and love the simplicity! These vases are similar.

And just like the rest of my house, I’ve thrown some blue and white chinoiserie themed pieces throughout the room and some other gold doo-dads. Here are some similar:

On the black night stand, I added a framed photo of our family & then my recent favorite reads. I may start adding a book review to the blog because I’m a huge reader and have recently become obsessed with Reese’s Book Club. While at the beach a few weeks ago, I finished “The Last Mrs. Parrish“, “The Perfect Couple” & “Something In the Water” so those are stacked in case one of our guests need a great easy read!


(I’m using a lot of my own framed artwork in here as well, if you see something you like, I do have prints and originals available. Some of it is still being framed so I will update this post once I add more to the walls! You can email me anytime at and I’ll be happy to talk with you about any of it or commission something custom!)

  • Curtains

I did the curtains a while ago trying to add some quick/easy personality to the beige and black/white situation by gluing on some black pom pom trim to white grommet curtains. Yes, mine are home made and you can easily do the same – here is an example of curtains with trim I’ve done with a tutorial but you can easily do the same thing with a boring curtain panel (I suggest for pompoms gluing the trim on the inside of the panel hem so you cannot see if from the outside, unless you like the way it looks). If you don’t feel like making yours, here are some similar to mine, all for a great price on Amazon! The curtain rod was white (yuck) so I upgraded to this brass rod that would extend a little off the wall to cover the new blinds and I’m so glad I did!

FINALLY, the AFTER & how we pulled all of these ideas together:

black and blue guest room

navy and brass guest room chinoiserie

navy and leopard bedding

blue and white with gold guest room

Favorite books on night stand


Dark blue guest room

Blue and white and leopard bed

Japanese Brass Vintage Fans Wall decor

black and blue guest room Navy walls with brass lamp

I’m sure I will think of lots more I want to do in this room and all of our other guest rooms, but for now, this is the “after.” It feels about 10 degrees cooler in here just because of the color, and while I wouldn’t want my master bedroom this dark, I am loving it for a guest retreat. It feels so calm in the room now, like it was made for a weekend of sleeping in and relaxing with family! What do you think, are you brave enough to add a bold color to your guest room? I’m trying to find the energy to work on the next guest room now that I’m finishing up this one!


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  • Reply spiffyspools

    These are lovely ideas! I loved the simplicity of white blinds. I’ll definitely try this one. Thanks for the inspirations.

    October 8, 2018 at 6:16 am
  • Reply Suhana Morgan

    Hello Sarah,
    I get a total home improvement tips from you. Here are you share some good point and effective tips for home remodeling.

    March 31, 2019 at 2:24 am
  • Reply Nikka Ekka

    Your guest room idea is awesome. It’s very helpful to me. Thanks

    June 21, 2019 at 2:40 am
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