See how this bedroom went from dark and dreary to light and airy on a budget

This uninviting beige and black bedroom initially had all the allure of dry toast.

The homeowners had prioritized decorating many of the other rooms in their Los Angeles home, but put off spiffing up the master bedroom when their daughter was born. They dreamed of a bright and airy retreat, so with a modest budget of $3,000 and a single request to upsize their bed to a king, the couple tapped designer Jen Pinkston to transform the space from dreary to cheery.

While addressing the ho-hum decor was on designer Jen Pinkston’s agenda, so was righting construction wrongs that had occurred prior to the couple’s 2012 purchase of the home.

Unfortunately, the builder had cut some corners — neglecting to install closet doors, for example. The couple compensated by covering them with drapes, but it weighed the space down.

Luckily the room had a few things going for it: a 12-foot-high vaulted ceiling with an attractive beam, French doors and dark-stained hardwood floors. Adding closet doors and painting the room a clean white unified the space and immediately made it appear bigger, brighter and finished.

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Crisp white drapery panels replaced the severe black ones and better framed the patio doors.

Pinkston stretched the couple’s $3,000 budget by “scouring for gems” at low-cost retailers. She designed the entire room with goods purchased online. She created mood boards for the clients’ approval but had to swap out a few pieces based on availability.

She also incorporated a few accessories the couple already had around the house. “This was a major update on a budget, so we tried to keep costs to a minimum,” she says.

Though they could pass as vintage finds, the nightstands and dresser are from Target, as are the simple white cotton bedding and cable-knit throw. Decorative pillows on the bed were found at a Pasadena flea market.

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“The bed is a total stunner,” Pinkston says. It’s upholstered in an inky linen finished with a handsome nailhead trim, for classic style. The wingback shape helps break up the severity of the extreme, geometric wall height, and it also offers some curves to counterbalance the more angular midcentury furniture in the room.

The copper and marble bedside table lamps complement the warmth of the nailheads.

An oversized mirror and underused chair on the opposite side of the bedroom took up precious floor space with little benefit.


Switching out the heavy, thick-framed mirror for a lighter alternative from West Elm helped lighten the room. For privacy, Pinkston added simple Venetian blinds to the window.

The jute rug was Pinkston’s jumping-off point. An abstract ikat pattern in purple, pinks and blues, it adds another layer of color and some pattern to the pared-down scheme.

The couple already had the green knit pouf, which offers a homey textural component to the bedroom. The couple collect vintage suitcases, and stacking a couple created some interesting additional storage. Paired with the antique lamp on the dresser, they fit into the whole ensemble.

Pinkston was able to squeeze in a small corner seating area near the far closet where the former dresser was located. The plush upholstered blue bench, another Target find, holds two patterned pillows, one in a bold nautical-hued stripe and the other in a sweet Indian print.

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To complete the laid-back vibe, Pinkston finished the transformed room with a framed photograph of surfers.

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Jeff Lewis of ‘Flipping Out’ shows dramatic room makeovers

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Jeff Lewis of ‘Flipping Out’ shows dramatic room makeovers

Play Video - 4:30
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