A Quick Transformation

Sometimes I get caught up in the idea that everything I post here needs to be perfectly photographed and styled, and if it’s not, it’s not even worth posting. But today I wanted to try to get past that by sharing a fast mini room makeover. There was no styling, and I took all of the photos with my phone really quickly just so I could share a bit of what I’ve been up to lately.
Mid-century modern dresser before and after
I felt like a designer on Trading Spaces, because I think they successfully demonstrate that a bit of paint and elbow grease can make a big difference in a space for not much money. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect all the time, but if it looks better than it started, then that’s a win!

This is a bedroom in my friend Eve’s house. It had been an AirBnB before she bought it, and she bought it partially furnished with the intent to rent out the furnished bedrooms long-term. She was out of town when the room needed sprucing up, so I helped get it ready for someone to live in. Maybe someday we’ll give it a full makeover, but in the meantime a few tweaks helped this room a lot.

The Problems

This trundle bed and “side table” situation needed work. The side table is actually an Ikea floating shelf badly hung on a piece of wood, propped up with a piece of closet rod. I wanted to slap whoever put that wood on the wall, because they couldn’t find a stud, and instead used like 20 random screws to try to secure it. bedroom before

There’s no dressser in the space, only a bench where a dresser should go. Fine for weekend visitors, not so great for long-term living.

bedroom before

In an ideal world that boob light would be outta here, and the art would be replaced, but this wasn’t the time to deal with that.

That curtain is hung way too low, there’s only one, and that pattern isn’t doing it for me.

 

The changes

The paint color in here is nice, so that’s staying. Luckily there was a can with a little bit left in the basement, because I needed it to patch over the million holes I filled. The color is “Requisite Gray.”

A proper curtain rod, and two white curtains, make the window look bigger and the ceiling look higher. Also, a real queen bed takes up more space in the room, but is a lot more practical and attractive.

curtains hung high

At first Eve thought her best bet would be a dresser from Ikea, but I convinced her that I could find a nicer vintage one for the same price. I scoured my favorite vintage and thrift shops, and came up with this one:

Mid-century modern dresser before

It looks pretty good already, but when you get closer, there’s some obvious wear-and-tear. I knew that with a little work, it could really shine.

Mid-century modern dresser before

And that’s where the magic of Howard Restor-A-Finish came in. I had some left over from my grandmother’s mid-century rocking chair, so I gave it a try on this dresser. I applied it with #0000 steel wool, and wiped it off with a cotton rag.

Mid-century modern dresser before

The transformation was miraculous! It hid the scratches and wear, and really made the walnut color glow. I suspect that if I had been using the Restor-A-Finish in walnut color, rather than the neutral, the wear might have become invisible, but it still brought out the best in the dresser.

Mid-century modern dresser after Mid-century modern dresser afterThe other piece I added to the room was a real nightstand for the bed. I had the best of intentions of buying one that didn’t need any work, but I couldn’t seem to find the right one. If it hadn’t been the weekend, with a Monday deadline for getting this done, I might have resorted to Ikea. But instead, I found this little nightstand at a vintage shop:

Nightstand before

Though I suspect it would have clashed with the walls by not QUITE matching, the gray paint might have been fine. But someone had gotten creative with turquoise splatters. A white paint job made it a much better fit for the room.

The room could definitely use more styling and accessories, but it’s a much better base, and the improvements didn’t take too much time or money. Getting creative with paint, polish, and thrift store finds is definitely the way to go when you need to spruce up a room on a budget!

Mid-century modern dresser after

DIY dresser before and after

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