before and afterInteriors

Before & After: A Bedroom Gets Some Color & A Touch Of Prep

by Rebekah Carey

Ariel, Dan, Bruce (the dog), and Boots and Toby (the cats) live in a PMQ, or “Private Military Quarter,” in New Brunswick, Canada. Dan is in the military and Ariel is a full-time blogger — her blog is aptly named, “PMQ for two.” Ariel fills the pages of her blog with her bright and colorful interiors and DIYs. The couple has been in this particular PMQ for about a year; they had the choice between three different homes, and thanks to location and an updated unit that includes an extra bathroom upstairs (practically unheard of for a PMQ), they chose this one. This is the third PMQ they’ve lived in, each one totally opposite of Ariel’s bold style — meaning she gets a (very) blank slate to infuse with her colorful touch each time they move in, to create a proper home out of the somewhat dull spaces.

She recently revamped the home’s master bedroom and is sharing her before and after transformation of the room as well as the incredible makeover of an IKEA dresser (that now has a faux bone inlay thanks to Ariel’s DIY prowess). Ariel admits that, “There’s nothing special about our PMQ or our bedroom when you compare it to normal homes, but when you compare it to military housing we really lucked out with the renovation. We have more floor space on the main floor, and that extra powder room upstairs has made the world of difference.” We love how she made her small space work for her family while feeling eclectic — but not at all overcrowded — and how she added subtle details to a once architecturally plain bedroom. While Ariel knows they’ll be moving again in a few years, it’s such a great exercise in creativity and a shining example of Ariel’s ability to take a less-than-inspirational space and infuse it with personality and style! Rebekah

Photography by PMQ for two

Image above: “The most challenging part of this bedroom is the layout. It’s a long and narrow room, so there are really only two options for placing the bed. The closet takes up one wall, the window takes up another, and the door opens in such a way that I have very few options for placing anything else in the room. There’s no room for cute benches or chairs in here, it’s the essentials in a very small space,” Ariel explains.

A Colorful Bedroom For Couple And Their Furry Friends On Design*Sponge

Ariel graciously sharing their bed with their pup, “Bruce believes that the bed is also his, so he can usually be found nestled between our pillows or under the duvet. I have no idea how he gets under the duvet, but he’s a pro at this point.”

A Blah To Beautiful Master Bedroom Before And After On Design*Sponge

“This shot shows Dan’s side of the bed. When I rearranged the room I was able to center the bed over the rug, so now we get the beautiful pattern peeking out from both sides and then at the foot of the bed,” Ariel explains.

A Shock Of Kelly Green Brightens The Master Bedroom Bed On Design*Sponge

“If you were sitting in my closet this is what you would see. The difference in shape and form between the pattern on the rug and the linear lines of the bedding, the trim on the curtains and the painting on the wall makes for an interesting visual. The green of the throw helps cut the warm tones in the rug and blinds, while anchoring the blue on the walls,” Ariel informs. “Toby the cat also likes our bedroom. He spends most of his days lounging on the bed and hiding under the table skirts. The green throw is as much to trap the cat hair as it is for color.”

Side Tables That Remain Simple Before And After On Design*Sponge

After living in the space for nearly a year Ariel was ready for a change, brought on by some inherited pieces of furniture. “My grandmother passed away this spring and I got to pick through some of her furniture, and came home with the round skirted side tables (in addition to an amazing chair currently in my office). Once I had the new-to-me side tables in the space, I knew I needed a revamp and to switch things up to make it all work. My side of the bed also has the floor vent, so in the summer I get to be a bit cooler than Dan who’s on the other side of the bed. I kept the skirts on the side tables white but had originally planned on a bold pink clamshell pattern. I think the white flows beautifully with the curtains behind,” Ariel shares.


Ariel’s bedside table details add further pops of color.

A Bedroom Before And After Gains Color And Details On Design*Sponge

“I am most thankful for the large (if short?) closet because my husband (who wears a uniform five days a week) somehow has more clothing than me, so we need all the space we can get! I am also thankful for a large window that lets in tons of natural light,” Ariel explains.

An Ikea Dresser Gets An Updated Look On Design*Sponge

“This is an IKEA Hemnes dresser that has been painted with milk paint, and then had a bone inlay stencil applied to it with chalk paint. The whole thing is standing up beautifully considering it’s been through four moves, and with each move I add a new layer of paint. The tiger print is actually a tea towel I found at a thrift store, and framed for the kitchen but I feel it looks better in the bedroom,” Ariel shares.


“In this space I wanted to feel relaxed. I also wanted it to look more mature than some of my previous work, which is why I went for the blue that I did. We don’t have kids so I don’t have to consider them, but I did want the space to feel like it had a dash of playfulness to it (enter the zebra laundry basket). I love color and pattern so I had to find a way to bring those into the space without overwhelming everything else, and I think by keeping them corralled on the dresser I did a good job,” Ariel admits.


“I like a lot of color and pattern, but in our bedroom I thought I should maybe tone it down a smidge (yes, this is toned down). I combed [through] Architectural Digest looking for inspiration and found it when I came across a room with black painted trim framing each wall. I knew it would look great in our space and add something fresh to an otherwise simple room. We don’t have any fancy windows or alcoves, or even trim for that matter, so adding architectural details where I could was key, even if they are trompe-l’oeil [forced perspective].”


“From there everything else just fell into place; the bedding chose itself, the headboard got reupholstered, I pared down our art and added a bone inlay stencil detail to our bedroom dresser. We also stumbled across an [awesome] laundry basket in the form of a wicker zebra and knew I needed to have it.”

Details Of The Formerly Standard Ikea Dresser Before And After On Design*Sponge

“This detail shot really shows how well the colors and patterns play together. The fact that I can see the black trim in the corner is just icing on the cake for me visually,” Ariel admits.


Paint- Behr Marquee in Rainy Season MQ5-27m & Limousine LeatherMQ5-05
Duvet Cover- Wayfair, Garrick Duvet Set
Bed Sheets- Wayfair, Superior Microfiber Sheet Set
Bed Skirt- Wayfair, Knollcrest Embroidered Cotton Sateen 400 Thread Count Bed Skirt
Blinds- Home Depot
Custom Framing- Framebridge custom framing, in Burlwood frames
Zebra Laundry Hamper- Mackenzie Childs
Rug- Rugs USA, Beeda DN01 Tribal Octagon Medallion Rug
Table Skirt Fabric- Fabric.com
Headboard Fabric- Fabric.com, Genevieve Gorder Puff Dotty Onyx
Side Table Lights & Decor- HomeSense
Items on Dresser- thrifted & Rifle Paper Co. Wrapping Paper
Curtains- IKEA with Black Grosgrain Ribbon.

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