Before + After: A Creative Studio

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When it comes to a creative space, this is a before and after that will make you marvel at the power of simple materials, smart sourcing, and the ability to pair the high and artisan with the low. Starting with cream walls and dated wood trim, this bedroom needed an overhaul and badly. As a renter, I knew I needed my improvements to be minor and things that I could detach and take with me. This was the last space I truly invested in in my townhome and I must admit, it’s something I wish I would have tackled much, much sooner.

Keep reading for the full makeover after the jump!

+ Before

bedroom makeover

Our before was an in-between state. The walls were a yellowish cream with tan carpet, minimally furnished and just looking plain tired.  I had midcentury dreams, but a baby budget. As a renter, I wanted everything to be inexpensive or to move with me. I wanted a big visual impact, so I decided to play with scale of material and clean lines.

You can find our inspiration for this makeover here. Our focus was simple. Inspiration that was clean, minimal, and elevated the mediums themselves due to scale. The most visually impactful parts of this makeover were the pieces we did ourselves or had commissioned.


+ After

It all began a simple thought.

What if plywood could feel sexy by the treatment of it? What if a humble (and much despised material) could look clean, modern, and dare we say- warm? By playing with scale and multiple planes, the plywood architectural lines are strong and stunning. With an ultra white coat of Behr paint (it is an approved neutral by our townhome), the space went from dingy to bright quickly. Then we added sheets of plywood cut at the store that were sealed with clear paste wax (preventing soils and stains, this is added periodically to take care of the wood.) Then the waterfall of the floating desk continues in the same thicker plywood and finish to wrap around to the other side of the room.

A Surprise of Color.
For other pops of color past neutrals and plants, we took a bold step with this vintage kilim inspired rug. This served as the springboard for the other pieces of color found in the artwork, planters, ceramics, and textiles.


This room is given visual interest simply by the variety of textures found within the space. Whether it’s the cozy nature of throws and faux lambskin, slick texture of wood, or the shiny metallics featured throughout, I love the combination. It’s smart, elevated, and cohesive.  Most important, it accomplished the peaceful and tranquil setting I desired. I immediately feel inspired when I come home to this space and am at rest.

The Commissions (supporting the makers)

I live in an area where big box stores are overpriced and rarely stocked with furniture. In light of this I decided to commision a few pieces for the space. My floating desk was commissioned from E.J. Wall. The desk was designed with a minimal aesthetic and floating nature in mind. With welded black brackets they hold the 8 foot thick plywood slab in place and this is reinforced by the 90 degree waterfall edge. To add a bit of height and highlight the tall nature of the ceiling, I wanted a blanket ladder for the room, holding colorful textiles for the winter months. This was created from a family behind Deserts Edge Co, a wood and gifts business in Redding. To hold a bit of life on the walls, a ceramic teal wall planter was created for us by Carter and Rose, a ceramics shop and studio in Portland. The finishing touches? A print from local artist, Suzie Burgess and an original abstract painting by yours truly.

Embracing and customizing IKEA pieces.

This makeover is a marrying of big box items and those that are beloved custom pieces. I love customizing the standard pieces from IKEA. This included a faux lambskin throw, two Rast dressers, Mast pine bed frame, and the Alex storage unit for under the desk. These staple pieces allowed me to purchase solid wood items from IKEA and customize them to my liking. For the dressers, I finished the front with a medium wood finish similar to the wood trim and doors in the room. Meanwhile the exterior and frame was painted with leftover white paint and a clear coat of polyurethane. The wooden knobs for the dresser were painting with copper paint and before completely dried were sprayed with a clear polyurethane as well. The effect is a cool hammered and brushed metal finish you’ll love. While they come from a big box store, when trying to stay on a budget I love the quality of solid wood without spending a fortune.

Sourcing (all the details to get the look!)

Entry Area

Woven Baskets (similar) | Blanket ladder Commission by Desert’s Edge Co.
Wooden Bench (similar) from | Vintage Rug from | Faux Lambskin from IKEA

The Bed
Pine Full Bed Frame from IKEALinenspa Mattress from | Brass Lamp from Target | Artificial Large Plant in Stand from TargetMustard Chenille Throw (similar linked) | Lumbar Pillow from local T.J. Maxx

Rast IKEA Dresser (2x) | Copper Paint from Krylon | Clear gloss spray polyurethane from Krylon
Project52 Round Mirror from Target |  Organic Cotton Sheets 300 Thread count in White from Target | Cotton Duvet Cover from Target | Abstract Painting by Glisten & Grace

The Desk
Apple Magic Mouse | Apple Wireless Keyboard | White Mid Back Desk Chair |
Wooden Monitor Stand |  Wall planter by Carter and Rose | Desk Commission by E.J. Wall | Alex Drawer Unit from IKEA

This post contains affiliate links. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that support Glisten and Grace.

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