before & after: melissa’s “dungeon bedroom” makeover

today’s final before & after is one of my favorite i’ve seen in a while. melissa from ISLY recently made over her “dungeon” bedroom using…less than $100! i’m so floored by her thrifty chic makeover that i had to give it its own post. here’s the background on melissa’s bedroom: while looking for rentals last year, melissa and her husband found this apt listed as a two bedroom. however, the second bedroom was this basement bedroom that was basically a mess (including a mysterious puddle in the middle of the room). they signed a lease agreeing that the owner would fix the room, but nothing happened (apparently the landlord’s grandson was accepted to dental school while refinishing the basement and left before the job was done). after living without a closet or dresser for nearly two months, melissa’s husband decided to install a metal rod into the ceiling studs of the closet using industrial chains (the closet was never finished or framed out) so they could have something to hang their clothes on. after 5 months of living downstairs melissa and her husband decided to make the changes themselves. those included: a total white paint start-over, new bedding, some additional storage, and lots of colorful accessories that would brighten up the space. i really love what they did with the ceiling- it looks like they’re sleeping under clouds. i’m so, so impressed with their determination, craftiness, and budget-conscious ways i can do nothing else but give them two very enthusiastic thumbs up and a huge “CONGRATS!”. click here to read more about melissa’s makeover at her blog. thanks, melissa!

[have a before & after you’d like to share? just shoot me an email with your images right here! (low res, under 500k per image, please)]

CLICK HERE for more images from melissa’s basement bedroom makeover after the jump!

  1. Insanely impressive! Especially for a hundred dollars…totally unrecognizable!

  2. h says:

    that. is. GLORIOUS.

  3. Wow, Melissa! Great new basement room, from the pictures it looks much much much nicer and brighter! I adore your rocking chair!

  4. A perfect example of turning lemons into lemonade. Wow! The pops of citrus inspired color are genius, they really make the space feel HAPPY.

  5. Justine says:

    Absolutely wonderful! It’s so bright and well lit- The ceiling is so whimsical! Great job!

  6. Emily says:

    I usually sort of glaze over these Before & Afters because I feel like many times they end up not being my style. But HOLY COW. This is beautiful. Absolutely inspirational. I wish I had wood paneling (almost), just so I could paint it white. Nice job.

  7. Stacey says:

    dungeon no more…beautiful transformation

  8. kiki says:

    melissa, i don’t even know you and i’m glowing with pride for you!! great makeover! :)

  9. SOOOOO awesome Melissa!!! Maybe we should play Settlers at YOUR house so I can see it! lol

  10. hena tayeb says:

    wow.. the white really opens up the space.. paint really is a miracle worker..

  11. liz stanley says:

    nice job, melissa! quite a transformation

  12. Stacey says:

    Hardwired lighting fixture pulled through drapey billowy fabric? HUGE no-no. Major fire hazard.

  13. Annie says:

    Wow that is so impressive!!! What a brilliant transformation – love it.

  14. Aimi says:

    Wow! This is absolutely incredible! I’m worried about a potential fire hazard with the drapey fabric on the ceiling though.

  15. Sarah says:

    The ceiling looks great, but all I can think of is: Fire Hazard. Did you use flame-resistant fabric/padding? (I’m sure it’s doable.)

    I hate to say it, but that could be a very pretty death trap. :(

    1. grace says:

      and the 2010 word(s) of the year is (are)….death trap. i can’t tell you how many times people seem to throw around that term these days…

  16. manchmal says:

    Lovely…but again….what a little good lighting will do….

  17. Anna says:

    Wow…I actually exclaimed out loud at that transformation! My sister wondered what was so amazing and came into the room to see what I was so excited about. She and I both agreed that the room is absolutely fantastic. GREAT job, Melissa and husband! This has given me great inspiration. Even more impressed that you guys did such a wonderful job for under $100!

  18. Chapin says:

    Where, oh where did those bins come from? The ones you can stack and still get into? Must have.

  19. Gretchen says:

    Response to Emilie R.: My husband and I are painting over similar (but maybe older) paneling in our kitchen. We have been sanding, priming with an oil-based primer, then using a latex paint. Working well for us so far! On her blog, she says she spent only $28 on paint so I’m also wondering what she did about sanding/priming.

  20. Melissa says:

    The bins are from ikea in the storage section. We bought a whole slew of them back in 2009 & don’t know what we’d do without them! They’re fabulous!

    here’s the link:

  21. Fay says:

    Such a difference, it’s gorgeous! I LOVE the chair and the ceiling.

    What did you use to do the ceiling? I’ve been wanting to do something similar (my bedroom ceiling is abysmal)

  22. What an amazing difference! It looks like she added windows with all of the extra light in the room and the white walls and ceiling make it beautiful!

  23. kathleen switzer says:

    would love to know how to do a ceiling like that……this room is awesome !

  24. Capella says:


  25. Missy says:

    I love this makeover…but the spider hater in me just KNOWS they are there lurking in all the folds of that fabric lol! This is beautiful though!!!!


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