before and afterInteriors

Before & After: Bedroom Updates Before Baby Comes

by Lauren Chorpening Day

It’s been a year since my husband Austin and I first toured our fixer-upper and it’s been nine months since we moved in. A lot of major changes have happened with our home and our household since January. In a little less than a month, we’re expecting our first child. That news accelerated some giant ideas we were going to wait on (like fully gutting the kitchen), minimized the importance of projects we had planned to do earlier (like resurfacing the family room walls), and some low-priority things (like decorating our bedroom) have gotten tackled between larger renovations when we probably would have put them off for a while longer.

Our bedroom was celery green when we moved in. It was one of the first rooms we painted before our furniture arrived, knowing it would be easy to live in that space without much effort. As bad as some of the other rooms were, this room didn’t require much attention to make it livable. Other than painting, the only thing that had been done to the bedroom between January and July was the removal of small ceiling molding in February. We didn’t have the motivation or time to replace the molding or to fix up the rest of the space. After we demoed the kitchen in August, we found out there was an almost monthlong delay with our cabinets. We had planned to go full-force on a tight schedule but were at a standstill until the cabinets arrived. We blocked off three days that had originally been meant for kitchen projects and refocused on cost-effective changes in our bedroom that would make the space feel finished before the baby arrives.

We repurposed, repainted, and reworked the elements in the bedroom to make them feel more polished without having to rely on new items. Other than a new rug, two bedside lamps and a few plants, the items we decorated with were things we already owned or refinished to work in the space. It’s not the most dramatic reveal, but it definitely has changed the way I feel when I wake up in this space and will be a comfortable, cohesive place to hibernate this winter with our little babe. This project reminds me that the small projects we put off or just live with can be improved with a little dedicated time and some effort. Lauren

Photography by Austin Day

Design*Sponge | Bedroom Updates Before Baby
Our bed is a platform metal frame. We didn't realize when we bought the frame that it was a platform and already had a new box spring. We had an incredibly tall bed. We purchased a simple upholstered headboard a few years ago to go with it and make the bed feel more like a piece of furniture. When we redesigned the room, the first thing to go was the box spring and I reupholstered the headboard with something a little lighter.
Design*Sponge | Bedroom Updates Before Baby
I got three yards of fabric on sale at the craft store and used a staple gun to secure it to the back. Because the top of the mattress lowered once the box spring was gone, we cut the wooden legs of the headboard down as well.
Design*Sponge | Bedroom Updates Before Baby
Austin and his dad got to work installing the new crown molding. This was the third room Austin had done with crown so he felt much more confident this time around with the angles and math of it all.
Design*Sponge | Bedroom Updates Before Baby
We kept the walls white since they had been painted so recently but it was feeling pretty bland. Austin had the idea to paint the ceiling a darker color. I was much more timid about painting it a contrasting color. Now the dark grey ceiling is my favorite part of the entire room. Without it, the space would feel too "floaty."
Design*Sponge | Bedroom Updates Before Baby
When we bought this house, we were both excited to get our hands dirty with renovation work. Since I found out we were expecting pretty early on in the process, there have been plenty of things I haven't been able to help with. Thankfully, with supervision and a mask, Austin let me paint the trim and cut in the ceiling paint.
Design*Sponge | Bedroom Updates Before Baby
To get a cleaner looking edge, I went back over the trim with white after the grey had dried. A little white on the ceiling looked much cleaner than a little grey on the trim.
Design*Sponge | Bedroom Updates Before Baby
The nursery off of the bedroom gives an extra (and needed) peek of color to the space.
Design*Sponge | Bedroom Updates Before Baby
We got a larger rug since the room is so much wider than we had in our apartment. I chose a beige rug with a light grey pattern thinking it would be a better option than the heavier charcoal color of our old rug, but after getting it in the room, I realized that between the white bedding, white furniture and white walls, having a more substantial hue would probably have been better for the space.
Design*Sponge | Bedroom Updates Before Baby
The ceilings in our bedroom are much lower than they were in our apartment so the curtains had been piled on the floor for months - along with all of our wall decor. One of my projects was hemming the curtains to an appropriate length.
Design*Sponge | Bedroom Updates Before Baby
I got this dresser at a garage sale a few weeks before the bedroom projects were underway. Had I known we were going to go lighter with the headboard and rug, I may have opted to refinish the dresser in a color or at least a darker shade. The little wood knobs helped me tie in the new bamboo lamps while the rest of the wood tones in the room are much deeper.
Design*Sponge | Bedroom Updates Before Baby
The size of the room dwarfed the tiny lamps we used to have on our nightstands. Adding large table lamps and hanging art on the walls made the room feel more balanced with scale.
Design*Sponge | Bedroom Updates Before Baby
I used the throw blanket we already had in the bedroom to pull the color palette of beige, grey, light blue, terra-cotta and mauve. We already had the framed photograph that had a lot of the blues and warm tones from the blanket. I picked up the pillow covers on super sale.
Design*Sponge | Bedroom Updates Before Baby
We refinished the cabinet around Austin's dresser a few years ago. Because it wasn't prepped correctly, the surface had started to chip and show the veneer underneath. Had we had a lot more time to strip the paint and refinish it the right way, we would have. Instead we sanded down where the paint had pulled up, put a few light coats over the top and finished with a protective clear coat. It won't be a forever fix but it improved the piece for a few more years.
Design*Sponge | Bedroom Updates Before Baby
The room is fairly light and bright and while that isn't always the most interesting, having a peaceful, clutter-free space is exactly what I've been craving while nesting and getting ready to spend a lot of time in bed once the baby arrives.
Design*Sponge | Bedroom Updates Before Baby

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  • I really like the changes you made. I love that darker ceiling! I have 3 kids of my own, and I know that nesting feeling can be oh so powerful. Glad you have your serene space ready. Congratulations on your impending bundle of joy!

    • From the Lowe’s outdoor section! I was so surprised when I found it. Love that it doesn’t have a lip like most.

  • Lovely!! I especially like the darker ceiling. I am always trying to convince my husband that a slightly darker (than walls) ceiling would look wonderful. He just gives me a funny look and says ‘no’ :(

    • Thank you! I needed some convincing and my husband was definitely right. Feel free to show him this for a little nudge in the right direction. :)

  • I really like the space! Especially the overall lightness of the space. I don’t think the darker ceiling would have worked as well if the rest of the room weren’t so bright.

    • I think you’re right, it wouldn’t have worked the same if we had heavier looking pieces. Thank you Alyce!

    • You’re so right. The rug was one of the most impactful changes — the size and color rug makes such a difference.

  • Love this room. It’s simple yet so put together and from the pictures, the rug goes great!

    • Thanks so much Alma. It’s amazing how much easier it is to keep it looking nice now.

  • Love it! The darker ceiling looks amazing, I would never have thought it would look that good until I saw it. I really like what you did with the color schemes as well, makes all the difference. I’ve shared this with my clients who are looking for their first “fixer upper” and they are so excited to find the perfect one and get started creating their own vision. Thanks for sharing and also, congratulations!

    • Jesse, that’s so kind. Thank you! I hope your clients find a great home they can put their mark on!

  • Looking good. We did a cosleeper cot attached to our bed in the beginning. Sleep is such a priority in the early months. A spot to doze in the nursery is good too. It is a marathon!

    • I’ve never seen an attachable one! That’s actually something I still need to get. I’ll look into that. Thanks Lisa!