before and afterDIY

Before & After: A Guest Room Gets A Quick Makeover on A Tiny Budget

by Maxwell Tielman

Design*Sponge | Before & After: Guest Bedroom


In addition to large closets and luxurious master bathrooms, guest rooms are one of the biggest draws to potential home buyers. But let’s be real—even though we’d all love to imagine ourselves getting our Domestic Divas on with fancy digs for our weekend guests, more often than not the term “guest bedroom” translates to “place to store all of the crap I can’t find a place for.” It’s an understandable problem; after spending time and possibly gobs of money on your own sleeping space, devoting any more on a room for the hypothetical overnight drop-in can seem needlessly daunting. That said, if and when guests do decide to stay over, it’s nice to have a little something to make them feel at home—you know, aside from a reject collapsible bed and some moth-eaten blankets. This is what Lindsay Rector, one half of the blogging duo behind Ladybird & Fellow seemed to be thinking when she and her husband decided to tackle their underutilized guest bedroom. In need of a nice guest space that could be made on a limited budget, Lindsay decided to go the minimal route, opting for a striking DIY headboard focal point and a few choice pieces. The final result is a simple guest bedroom that is low on maintenance but high on style! Check out all of the photos and Lindsay’s design notes after the jump. —Max


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“We knew our guest room needed attention so we cleaned out the room and decided on a few things,” Lindsay writes.  “What purpose should it serve?  Guest room.  What furniture could/should we have: A nightstand and a queen-sized bed. That’s it. Then we placed the bed on the center of the wall and determined that we wanted some kind of statement piece like a headboard, and after weeks of searching for the right one we decided to build one ourselves.”



“I had seen plank walls everywhere on blogs and Pinterest, so we decided to make a bump-out headboard version.  We put tape on the walls to decide the size (77 inches wide and 5 feet tall) and then we did some brainstorming and decided to use MDF since it could have a sharp edge/cut to help give it a modern look.  We also determined that we desperately needed some light and I found the light sconces at IKEA for $19.99 each + $8 for the bulbs.  They can swing in all directions and the fact that they came with all the hardware to install it is what sold us.”


Design*Sponge | Before & After: Guest Bedroom

“We had the MDF cut to 6 inch x 77 inch lengths and then laid it all out.  We used spacers to ensure that we got the tailored look and it was quite easy once we got it started.  We used ‘Liquid Nails’ to secure the ends and about 3 nails on both ends and 1 in the middle (there is a 2×4 in the middle that you cannot see). 

“We let it dry overnight and then primed and painted it.  I had 3 frames that we painted the same as the wall color for a uniformed look and added funky art (that everyone loves!) from Etsy.  We leaned them up on the headboard vs. hanging them.  I specifically picked pieces that had a little bit of green or blue in them and then one portrait facing right, one that faces left, and one that looks straight.”

Design*Sponge | Before & After: Guest Bedroom Design*Sponge | Before & After: Guest Bedroom Design*Sponge | Before & After: Guest Bedroom

“We had the swiss dot bedding from West Elm, and the coral blanket came from the Threshold Collection at Target.

“All together, the room came in at under $300 and we are happy with it!”


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  • a fellow portlander! the room is great…i’d be very happy to stay in it. the artwork is perfect, too. can i ask where the rug is from (in the picture showing the construction of the plank wall headboard)? i love it.

  • I love how it looks, the it functions as a shelf for art and that you can attach a couple of lamps to it too. It makes a great focal point and sets up what looks like a cozy, relaxing spot. Nice work!

  • Malisams, the rug is actually flor tiles from FLOR. They have held up great to kids and dogs. Couldn’t be any happier with them!!!

  • pretty redo…looks like such a simple place to relax at the end of a day. it makes me re-think my guest room…it needs an edit!

  • Doesn’t some of the best work start with the cleaning? The headboard looks great and a nicely made bed is always a treat.

  • Berkley Illustration – easily one of my favourite Etsy stores – the animals have such priceless stories with them

  • Lovely calm room.It’s a good idea to spend a night or two in your spare room to see how it works and what it might still need.

  • This is beautiful, it’s really got a personality now, I love the way the bed is dressed. And I love those pictures – but I would fear they would fall on me in the night! Maybe they could be hung on / fixed to the wall at a height that makes them visually look like they are sitting on top of the headboard while actually they are securely fixed to the wall?

  • That headboard is EPIC! and looks so easy to make. I am having one of those “I think I can actually make that” moments. Thanks for sharing!

  • This is a fantastic idea for creating a chic place for guests, especially in vacation rentals where presentation lures more bookings! Thank you so much for sharing these ideas!

  • As a regular guest in this room, I have to say, “viva la difference!!” Lights and shelves for our stuff. Love the new color. Thanks Linz for our updo! Lindsay’s mom

  • Wow! The “after” shot is such a phenomenal change. You can work wonders in tight spaces! The headboard is ingenious and this has cemented my decision to hang sconces on either side of my bed. We have some great modern prints at http://www.loomdecor.com that would work swimmingly in the room – perhaps on additional throw pillows. You can always play around on the site and design your own pillows in the fabrics of your choice. Can’t wait to read the next piece. Always so inspiring!

    Blair | Stylist | loomdecor.com

  • Love the re-do! I would only say- having lived most of my life in Portland I’d have gone with a lighter wall color. Awfully dark on cloudy days….

  • This DIY is my favorite I have seen on this website. Most likely because I need to do something like this too to a room in my apartment. Will favorite this until I get it finished.

  • I have been looking for ideas to change my son’s room into a cozy “guest” room or a more grown up room for him when he comes home for leave. This is easy, perfect and exactly what i was looking for. thank you for sharing.

  • This is exactly what I was looking for to transform my son’s room into a cozy, guest room. I wish I had found this years ago when I was at a loss to make my son’s room feel more cozy and transition it to an adult room. But, he will enjoy it when he comes home from leave, I’m sure. Perfect fit.