Before & After: A Mid-Century Bedroom Makeover with Lowe’s!

March 5, 2020

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This post is sponsored by Lowe’s Home Improvement.

*Whew* What a makeover! What a room! What wonderful people! What a great team! But, I’m getting ahead of myself :)

In January, we put the call out: Win a bedroom makeover with CLJ and The Makerista! I have been a fan of Gwen’s for years, and even though we have different styles and tastes, I knew it would be a fun collaboration (and probably teach us a little more about mixing and matching designs as well as compromise). Lowe’s jumped on board to sponsor, and we were off!

We asked you to send in photos of your bedrooms — especially those of you with rooms that could really use some love, and boy did you! Hundreds of you used #CLJxMakerista to tell us your stories and show us your rooms. Some of you even nominated friends and family members who could use a little R&R as much as their bedrooms could use a reno. We were overwhelmed! We wanted to roll our sleeves up and tackle them all!

In the end, after much deliberation, we chose Cori and Chris Hutchinson from Scottsdale, Arizona. There bedroom was very outdated, but had a lot of character. We knew the transformation would be dramatic, but also a project that we could FINISH in a weekend. We had a healthy budget from Lowe’s ($7,500 — enough to include furnishings, decor and even a mattress in this makeover! PS … Lowe’s sells mattresses!), and Gwen and I each put together our own mood board of ideas. Before you go playing “I Spy” to see how we combined our ideas, check out this dramatic Before & After:

Shocking — isn’t it?! Not only was this the most rewarding Before & After we’ve ever done, it was also the most doable. And here’s how we did it…

1. We emptied the room :)

I know — this is the no-brainer. But it’s tough when you don’t have a team (Micah, Gwen’s husband, joined us as well as her assistant, Laura. My sisters, Victoria and Andrea — who work full-time on the CLJ team, were all-hands-on-deck.) helping to carry things out, and you’re not sure where to put things. I hear you! Before starting a reno like this, designate a room that can handle a little overflow and get everyone on board that things are going to get a little crowded in other parts of the house.

2. We tore up the carpet.

It was dingy and brown, and the homeowners were guessing it was about 60 years old. Underneath was a disintegrated green rug pad that came apart when we tried to pick it up. (Yuck) We got down to the concrete, and swept it good, pulling up tack strips all along the exterior of the room. It already felt so much better.

3. Next it was time to pick a paint color.

I was loving a neutral beige, and Gwen brought some beautiful blues to the table. We sampled four or five on the wall — and, I can’t stress this enough: Look at the paint in the room where it’s going. The beautiful Arizona sun was changing every color we knew and loved! Blues were going green! Beige was looking purple! Sample, and sample again. We decided on Farrow & Ball’s Oval Room Blue for the paneled walls and Revere Pewter for the adjacent walls — accenting the paneled walls with the blue. Both colors were expertly matched at Lowe’s with HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams Infinity line, which goes on like a dream, by the way.

4. But not before we primed everything!

The paneling, especially, was old, and in the words of Chris Marcum, “It’s not about how the paint will go on; it’s about how it will stay on.” There were two paneled walls in this bedroom, one in the hallway entry and one on the bed wall and a quick coat of primer would ensure the paint stayed in place and didn’t scratch off. Even if a paint has a primer built in, if you are painting wood paneling — it’s a great idea to prime it first.

5. We’d laid flooring.

We went with an easy-locking (“no glue, staples, or nails required) natural cork floor from Lowe’s. Gwen thought it would be a great nod to the home’s mid-century bones! I’ll be honest: It took longer than we thought. Even with Micah and Victoria laying the pieces and snapping them into place, and Chris cutting the edge pieces, corner pieces, and other unusual pieces, it took more than six hours over two days. (We had anticipated three hours.) This is a product you really have to get the hang of! And because this bedroom had a hallway, a bathroom, and a closet, there were a lot of quirky corners to work around. The end result was beautiful and soft underfoot, so we’re definitely recommending that you stick with it. The homeowners have big plans to extend it to other areas of their home, too!

6. We made a custom headboard.

We wanted something soft and tonal that would extend beyond the bed and really give the wall behind a focal point of texture. In both of our initial designs, Gwen and I envisioned a sectioned headboard to frame the bed and nightstands. We actually used the same curtain fabric that we used for the windows for the headboard and the textural contrast between the velvet and smooth, lined, paneling is so stunning in person.

To make the headboard, Chris used 1/2″ plywood to make the shape. We decided on rounded corners to make it feel a little more elevated. Cutting wood for the headboard is legitimately the hardest part of this easy DIY.

Then you just wrap the wood with batting. We used a double layer and this staple gun (your hand will thank you!). And do the same for the fabric.

When Gwen and I were finished upholstering each board, we attached two flush mount hangers to the back of each one to hang on the wall directly.

Repeat! Repeat! One trick is with this velvet, after they were all hung, we steamed it in one direction so there were no more crazy directional patterns in the fabric — HOORAY!

7. We installed furnishings.

One of my favorite parts of this project were the hours I was able to spend with Gwen assembling furniture and chatting away. It was our first time meeting but we have been online friends FOREVER so we had so much to catch up on and talk about. She’s such a delightful person! We ordered all of the furnishings from Lowe’s and spent a few hours together putting it all together while the floors were finishing up. A dresser! Chairs! Bed frame! Bench! Console table! A mattress! Almost every piece we unboxed, our team ooo’d and aaaaaaa’d and asked where it was from. Always Lowe’s!

8. We hung curtains.

As I mentioned above, we used the same curtain panels for the headboard as we did on the window wall. We ended up using three on each side of the window (for a total of six) to make sure they were nice a thick and could easily extend over the entire wall and cover the window if they wanted. They actually had the track system in place so we just re-used it and added a 1×4 in front to disguise the track system. If there was one thing I could change in this room, I probably would have used a slightly larger piece of wood (maybe a 1×6) and painted in the blue color. We thought that since the window wall was the neutral paint color, the trim should be the neutral color, but I think it probably should have blended with the curtains seeing these photos.

9. We installed lighting.

Their before bedroom had one singular lamp, so we knew we wanted to bring in more lighting so the bedroom could feel just as cozy when the sun went down. We hung pendants over the nightstands and instead of hard-wiring, we used a puck light inside (it comes with a remote and everything!) that makes the pendants instantly usable.

We also added a pretty lamp to the dresser and one to the console table, across from the bed, too.

Diversifying the type of lamps — pendants, task lamp and one that doubles as a sculpture on the console table — really keeps things interesting and not stale in this room. I always shoot for two to three light sources in EVERY room, and I haven’t met one that hasn’t benefited from it.

10. We loaded up the room with decor and accessories!

Cori and Chris had a lot of special pieces in their home that we pulled out of storage and put to use, mixing with pieces from Lowe’s. Vintage bowls and vases we filled with fresh flowers (that thoughtful Jenny Komenda brought by!).

Cori and Chris lost their two-year-old son last year, and we commissioned my sister, Victoria, to do a simple pencil sketch of William to hang.

And Jenny also brought by a large print of her Juniper Print Shop CANYON print to bring the Arizona landscape indoors.

The white abstract art above the console table is from Lindsay Letters, and everything else is from Lowe’s or vintage treasures the family owned.

In my DMs, I got a lot of questions about where the pack n’ play and bike went — very valid questions because design is only as good as it functions! We actually helped them move the bike into a spare office in their home that they eventually want to turn into a home gym and the pack n’ play is actually no longer in use on a daily basis so we were able to fold it up!

With so many wonderful helping hands, we were able to work quickly and keep the entire process and reveal a surprise for the family. It was emotional and wonderful. They were so incredibly grateful and we felt grateful to give them a fresh start and stretch our creative muscles.

We took a video of the reaction and throughout the process that we’ll be sharing next week!! So a little bit more to come on this bedroom! All the Lowe’s Sources below!

Paint Colors: Oval Room Blue, Revere Pewter
Bed Frame

Headboard DIY with these curtains
Quilt Set
Puck Light Kit
Entry Hall Rug
Task Lamp
Wicker Chair
Console Table
Laundry Basket
Accent Chair
Magazine Rack


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What do you think?

  1. Kellie says:

    I love this room so much and keep coming back to it as inspiration for my own- not sure if you know but a lot if not most of the source links just go back to the post :(. Just wanted to let you know!

  2. Bailey says:

    What kind of batting did you use for that amazing DIY headboard? Attempting to mimic your work in my own bedroom, but I’ve never ordered batting before (and have to online now, as our stores are closed!), which is making it much more challenging. What do you recommend? Thank you!

  3. Heather says:

    I live in Canada and wanted these nightstands so badly!! The USA site has them for $260 – totally reasonable!! The Canadian site has them for $817!!! High-way robbery… :(
    I will have to keep an eye on them to see if they go on sale! I’m so in love!!

  4. Jenni H says:

    I keep coming back to this post. So beautiful! Did you purposely pick a paint color to match the curtains perfectly or was that a happy accident?

  5. Juliette Sherwin says:

    Hi Julia – I’ve been following you for a couple years now – love your style! In this bedroom makeover for this special couple in Scottsdale, the links to the quilt set and blanket are not working. I am very interested in both – could you post the links again? Thanks and keep up the great work!

  6. HH says:

    can you please provide specifics about the bedframe? Dimensions, how high you put it on the wall, etc. Many thanks.

  7. HH says:

    Love this!!! Could you please provide the dimensions for the different panels of the headboard. Also how high does it sit off the floor? Again, fantastic work.

  8. Autumn says:

    The makeover was so great and inspiring because I have some old panelling just like this I’ve been hesitant to paint. Could I ask what type of primer you used? Did you use something oil based or would a normal latex primer hold up as well? Thanks so much!

  9. Sarah says:

    Beautiful! Quick question about the dresser: the legs and hardware of the dresser in the photos are very different from the dresser linked to in the post. Did you guys swap out the legs and hardware or is the link just leading to the wrong dresser?

  10. Kate says:

    Heads-up that in the link list at the bottom of the post, the links for the bed frame, quilt set, & blanket don’t work. Also the link in the list for the curtains where you write “Headboard DIY with these curtains” doesn’t work, but further down in the list, the link for just “Curtains” works. Thanks!

  11. Erin says:

    The room turned out so well, but holy cats, the pendant with the puck light is brilliant!!! I have a pendant that this would be a perfect solution for, and I’m so excited.

    Thanks for all you do!

  12. Patricia says:

    My favorite part was Jenny Komenda delivering her print. She jumped into help. Loved that. And several other design bloggers who commented they wished they were there too. Q. How many design bloggers does it take to make-over a bedroom? A. The more, the merrier.

    My wish? To see this happen again on a larger scale with some of the other bloggers who wanted in. Like a giant slumber party with design…

    • Julia says:

      That would be so fun!!!

      • Danielle says:

        I love this makeover so much. The color. All of it! I’m wanting to do 1 pendant lights for my nightstands but am concerned I’d have to get up to a light switch to turn them off at night. Is there a trick here on there? Or just having to wire to your phone?

  13. RC says:

    This turned out so beautifully. It was so fun to see you two and Jenny on Instagram stories.

    It would have been fun to see both your and Gwen’s mood boards in this post or at least linked right here so we could easily see both of your visions and compare how it turned into this final combined room design.

  14. Claire Wood says:

    Oh my, so clever those pendant lights! How did you fit the puck lights inside?? I need this in my bedroom which has incredibly poor lighting!
    The whole room is beautiful and just shows how easy it is to vamp up with a little imagination from just one store.

  15. Suzy says:

    Did you paint the light switches and outlets or is that an optical illusion?

  16. Lily says:

    Same! It doesn’t even show up on the main page.

  17. Mary E says:

    I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child. I’m so glad you were able to do this makeover for them.
    The drapes are beautiful. Did you have to hem them to get them to that perfect length?

  18. AP Correia says:

    It’s a beautiful room, but what did you do their Peloton?! As an owner myself, I consider it a work of art and essential piece of furniture.

  19. Mallory Stewart says:

    Can you use normal curtains on a track system? I have a track system in my house, and wondering if it would be easier to just take it down and replace with a curtain rod to use normal curtains?

  20. Shelby says:

    Julia!! Y’all knocked it out of the park! I love everything about this room and I am pulling so much inspiration for my own master bedroom. I love how you used really affordable pieces to create a custom, luxury look!

    I don’t know if it is just me, but the link for the quilt is not working. It just links me back to this blog post.

  21. Shery says:

    I can’t see the post, only the comments.

  22. This is so beautiful. That rug with the wall color is having me rethink every design decision I have planned for the Two Flat! Slow. Clap.

  23. Teri says:

    Pretty sure you meant “Their” bedroom…otherwise job well done!

  24. Libby says:

    Do the puck lights give off the same warmth as if they are hardwired? Would love to do something similar in our bedroom..

    • Julia says:

      They are so cool because there’s multiple settings! A warm white, cool white, red! There’s a remote. The only thing is, you can’t choose the brightness like you can with a bulb.

  25. Kate says:

    Beautiful job. My favorite part is how the light and shadows on the headboard make it look like a watercolor print. What a touching gesture to have that portrait commissioned. That is above and beyond a makeover element and such a special gift. You guys are amazing.

  26. Vanessa says:

    Bravo! What a wonderful transformation! Do the puck lights put out a decent amount of light in the evening for a reading light or is it more ambient lighting? I’ve been wanting to do the same in an area of our family room/ dining room that does not have any overhead lighting. Floor lamps are great, but would love to see a post on CLJ’s picks for other pendant lights that would work with a puck light, also plug in pendant lighting options as well (other than Ikea).

    • Julia says:

      Yes! They are great for ambient light. There’s multiple settings–A warm white, cool white, red! There’s a remote. The only thing is, you can’t choose the brightness like you can with a bulb.

  27. Rebekah says:

    Gorgeous!! Really really lovely collaboration.

    How do y’all paint light switches and outlets so the paint doesn’t chip off with use? I’d love to do something similar but I’m hesitant!

  28. Christina says:

    You continue to amaze me! Often times in the before picture I think, wow, I can’t do anything nice with that space. But you’re able to make things beautiful and homey! Thank you for teaching us :)
    I don’t know if this is on purpose or not, but my ad-block in Chrome removes this entire blog entry and not just the little side ads. I didn’t realize you had a new post until I saw on Instagram.

  29. Lindsay Manly says:

    What an incredible transformation!! Absolutely loved following along this makeover journey on stories and love love the reveal! What a deserving family and room. Love all that you and The Makerista do, and well done Lowe’s! I’m now converted to Lowe’s from all the work you guys have done with them.

  30. Julia — and Gwen!! — this reno was SO wonderful and so inspiring! How beautiful it turned out — and I’m loving seeing you guys tackle a midcentury home, because our 1957 ranch keeps us pretty firmly in that category to stay true to the home. ;) One question — did you worry at all about the bed frame separating from the headboard with movement/time? I’ve always wanted to try a DIY headboard but my least favorite thing is losing my phone down the head of the bed, and I’m curious if there’s some like “industry secret” where you bolt the bed frame underneath the headboard to the wall somehow.

  31. Tristan says:

    How did you hang the pendant lights? Did you screw holes in the ceiling and add a plate like normal pendant lights? Would love to do this in my house! Love the idea of puck lights instead of hardwiring.

  32. DD says:

    Did you select the paint colors before or after you primed the panelled wall? I can imagine the brown throwing other colors off in the room. Beautiful results, brava!

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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