Before and NOW: The Bonus Room

December 17, 2021

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I’ve been envisioning hanging out in a fully-finished bonus room over the holidays, and it’s official–the bonus room is complete! Well, for now. I still want to do a big gallery wall coming up the stairs, but I think that’s something that will happen over time. For now, I have to say–this room is everything I hoped it would be and then some. Check out all of the before and afters below!



Charly Sectional in Sisal Vintage Plush

Shortly after moving in, Chris and I made a list of 7 renovation projects we’re finishing this year. We put the bonus room on the list because we discovered we spend a lot of our free time as a family in there. It’s right upstairs from the kitchen, surrounded by windows and light and trees. It’s just the coziest space. And after a big, stressful move, we wanted to give our family a casual space to gather together that wasn’t too precious with a big focus on comfort. We also anticipated it being a pretty big project because of all of the paneling! Add in a pocket door, a transom, a hidden door, and a floating desk, and more! This room deserves a gold star, or maybe a blue star.



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I’m obsessed with how stunning this window nook area is. I’m having some window-seat cushions custom made–something really classic in a tonal stripe. I really wanted the room situated around the darling dormers so when it came to hanging the tv, this was the wall that made sense for us. We spent some time running all the wires behind the walls so it could double as art when not in use.

With the exception of the vintage chairs at the desk and the lockers, all of the other furniture from this room (and almost ALL the decor, besides the war photographs from my Pap Pap and plaid lamp from marketplace) came with us from our Idaho home! And is it weird that I love it even more here? It feels like it belongs in this house…and we do, too.

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This little nook might just be my favorite. The girls do computer work and play games all the time at the desk, and it’s so nice to have the extra storage for backpacks and papers in the lockers we built in here.

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A big part of designing this room was selecting lighting. I talked about it more in this post here, but I wanted the lighting to feel like a mix of modern and timeless. This wall going down the stairs is the one that will house a gallery wall of art someday. I’m still growing a collection for that, and honestly a bit scared to put so many holes in our newly paneled walls! But I have a strong feeling I’ll get over it.

I’d even love to put some art over the hidden door into the adjoining playroom, which is very hidden now.

Friday night movie nights are our family tradition, and now we are perfectly equipped. This set of stairs actually leads right down to the kitchen which is convenient for grabbing snacks. Seeing this room come together was completely worth the wait. We’re excited to cozy up with a Christmas movie tonight as a family and enjoy this space for years to come.

See more about the bonus room!

How to add planking to any room

All the lighting I chose for the bonus room

Progress in the bonus room

Installing a pocket door and transom

How we made a hidden door in the bonus room

The desk nook before and after


F&B Stiffkey Blue in Modern Emulsion | Charly Sectional in Vintage Plush Sisal (use code IDxCLJ20 for 20% off!) | Sling Chairs | Rug | Floor Lamp | Frame TV | Side Table | Table Lamp | Woven Throw | Sofa Blanket | Virginia Pillow | Sam Pillow | Andi PillowChristmas Tree | Tree Base | Train | Basket | Console Table | Lockers | Magazine Holders | Vase | Brass Brackets | Computers | Hanging Lantern | Lantern Sconce | Double Library Sconce | Single Library Sconce

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What do you think?

  1. Andrew Brown says:

    Hello! What’s an alternative to Farrow and Ball Stiffkey Blue? Or similar color to stiffkey blue?

    Thank you! I’m trying to get that exact color for me wall.

    • Chris Loves Julia says:

      Many paint stores will color match other paint colors which can get you pretty close, but just know that it likely won’t be exactly the same due to different under tones and formulas.

  2. Alecia says:

    Can you share what paint finishes are on what surfaces? Flat on ceiling? Satin or eggshell on walls? Trim? Doors? Beautiful room!!!

    • Chris Loves Julia says:

      I used Farrow & Ball’s Modern Emulsion finish on all of the surfaces, including the trim!

  3. Alle says:

    This is such a wonderful space! Can you share your paint color?

  4. amanda says:

    This is so gorgeous!!!! Did you paint the windows, or get new ones? They really look great!

  5. Alison says:

    How did you handle the stairs? I imagine the paneling goes all the way down the wall in the stairwell. So can you see that color in your kitchen?

  6. I really love how cozy this room is! I ESPN love the round ottoman. Would you mind sharing the source please?

  7. Lisa says:

    Love this so much! Are you able to share the ottoman sourcing? Many thanks.

  8. Dawn says:

    This is beautiful, and I feel like it invokes a little bit of the cabin.

  9. Megan says:

    It is SO cozy and homey!!! Perfect for snuggling up for movie night or, if I were the girls, I’d love doing schoolwork in there!! Is the red runner in front of the tree vintage/one of a kind?

  10. heather says:

    Amazing! what do you plan to put in the place where the Christmas tree is — when it is not Christmas?

  11. Kate says:

    Gorgeous! Thank you for sharing this stunning space! And thank you for sharing where to get Frame TV art & how to add it–your tutorial was so helpful! Wanted to ask what the little device on the left corner of the TV is. Thanks!

  12. Fernanda says:

    Hi! Where is the upholstered ottoman from?

  13. Carla says:

    Beautiful use of color and well done on prioritizing a hangout spot for your family!!!

    Maybe use a Command Hook type product to test run the gallery wall before committing to nail holes in your gorgeous paneling? Also, something I’ve struggled with, and wonder if you might have a solution, is framed art or prints on gallery walls that are parallel to a space (like a hallway or stairway), where you first and mostly see the pieces from the side when you are approaching or walking through the space, often don’t lay flat against the wall. Do you only choose pieces that lay flat against the wall or if they don’t does that not detract from the look for you?

    I would guess you guys mostly land on the sectional for movie night? I wonder if you might one day swap out those beautiful leather slingback chairs with a sofa/loveseat to create a spot for laying down in your comfy cozy space. :)

    Thanks for sharing your home and your process with all of your readers!

  14. Dana L says:

    Are the little wood chairs antique? Like those a lot!

  15. Darcie says:

    So moody and cozy! I love it! On painting all the trim the same color as the walls… do you think it can work with doors still being a lighter/different color? I’m trying to keep my interior doors the same color throughout but I’m loving the paint walls and trim the same idea more and more after seeing you guys do it.

  16. Katherine says:

    I love it! You’ve done an amazing job in a short amount of time!

  17. Alicia says:

    It look so cozy and beautiful! I have a question though. Did you paint the outlet covers to match the walls? We have a dark blue room and the white outlets and covers really stick out. So just curious what you did!

    • Kelly says:

      Alicia, You can also buy outlets and switches as well as plates are already colored so you don’t have to worry about the paint chipping. Leviton makes a navy blue that you can find on Amazon but even black from your local hardware store will blend in a lot better than white. They are super easy to change out if you have basic DIY skills, just don’t forget to turn off the breaker and double check that there is no power or, if you’re not comfortable working with electricity, hire someone who is. It will be a quick job!

  18. Andrea says:

    So beautiful and cozy! What sheen did you go with on the walls, ceiling, and trim?

  19. JL says:

    All of that panelling work paid off. You’ve created a warm, inviting space. The color is lovely, but even more so when punctuated by touches of black…the black lanterns, the balusters, the black-framed chairs. Black arched doors and windows would be stunning in this space and provide more contrast to the sea of blue…as will the photo gallery.

    • Gail Hunter says:

      What a beautiful room. Would love to see some photos with the lights on! I’m sure they add to the coziness you’ve established. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  20. Jamie Marabillas says:

    This room is gorgeous with all the deep color! It also shows how you don’t need a complete room for an office or mud room and can utilize the space you have! Love it!

  21. Renee says:

    I still can’t believe that hidden door! It was so meant to be!!

  22. Kate says:

    Amazing! I love that you’re using furniture you already had. Shows you can get a fresh look with existing pieces. So good!

  23. Anne says:

    You’ve worked your magic again – stunning! Looking forward to seeing the fabric you choose for the nook cushions.

  24. Christina says:

    Incredible. It is so good!!! I can’t stop scrolling up and down to keep looking at it over and over. It feels so cozy and collected – bravo!

  25. JP says:

    It’s perfect!!! So beautiful. I wish o could hire you. I couldn’t see lighting that well in photos but did you get rid of the hanging lights in the main seating area? Also I love the ottoman, do you have a source for that?

  26. Kara says:

    You turned it into such a beautiful cozy space! My favorite part has to be those red velvet matted pictures – what a perfect accent!

  27. Peggy S says:

    Truly spectacular! I especially like how the hidden door lets the arches get the attention they deserve.

  28. Sarah says:

    Beautiful! You all truly create magic! :)

  29. Megan says:

    I love it so much, Julia! I used a very similar shade of blue in my bedroom and agree that it just makes it so so cozy and welcoming.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  30. Erica Taupier says:

    Love everything!!! I am renovating my home now and I always feel like there’s so much more to do. I’m sure you feel this way too but WOW you’ve come so far in such a short time. Every time I see the shot of the desk I wonder where those stairs going up lead to??

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