Are you the type of person who gets married to a plan?

I’ve definitely been guilty of that, particularly when it comes to designing a space. I get something in my head and hold onto it like a dog with a bone—sometimes to the detriment of the project. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to be focused and persistent, but you also need to be able to let things go and admit when they aren’t working for you. I’ve been trying to be better about that (hence the midstream dining room changes—and I’ll have photos for you soon!), taking a step back and rethinking when things just aren’t going the way I’d planned.

My bedroom is a pretty good illustration of this. For years now—we’re talking maybe 4, 5 years—I’ve had my heart set on a navy blue bedroom. While aspects of what I wanted have changed, the wall color hasn’t, which is virtually unheard of for me. When we moved in to the Des Moines house, our bedroom was baby blue with white trim. This was Not My Thing. It’s really hard to overstate how much I disliked the baby blue. It was like living in a small child’s bedroom. I’m sure in the right setting and with the right décor it could be lovely, but it just wasn’t for me. So, after receiving a birthday Ace Hardware gift card from the in-laws, off we went to buy paint samples. I even knew in advance what color I wanted: River Blue by (obviously) Benjamin Moore. Just for good measure, we also picked up Stunning, but I didn’t think there was much chance my mind would change.


Except it did.

It’s hard to tell from that photo, but River Blue was so green on the wall. It’s a gorgeous color and I’d love to use it somewhere, but as soon as I started slapping it up there I knew it wasn’t right for this space. It took me a full 24 hours to agree with Jimmy and accept the conclusion I’d already come to, which was that Stunning was the better color for this room and light. At last I did agree, we bought the paint, and about five hours later the room was painted in two coats of Stunning. (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—Ben is great paint. We did this whole room in a very dark color with just one gallon and some change! Benjamin Moore is not paying me to say that, though they could start anytime they want to.)


I was pretty enamored with it from right off the bat. Stunning is a beautiful color, rich with just slightly purply undertones. We painted the entire room including the ceiling. I know painted ceilings are a hotly contested topic on Apartment Therapy and elsewhere, but it really made sense here. For one thing, the house is 83 years old and has settled, so stopping at the ceiling made it really apparent just how uneven the top edge of the wall was. For another thing, the room is a dormer, and the other half of the ceiling slopes down toward the wall. It looked awkward to have just a five-foot section of white ceiling, so we did it all, and I’m so happy with the choice. In person, the room looks larger and much cozier. I’m really looking forward to huddling up under the blankets in here this winter.

The change of wall color did cause me some trouble, though. I’d had a plan for the bedroom for quite some time, mostly sampling colors from that adorable Modest Mouse screenprint over the low dresser—lots of yellows and oranges, bright accents:


I liked it, but had never quite loved it, and standing in the newly Stunning room, I knew it wasn’t going to work. The yellow accents really depended on the greenish undertones of the original navy, and without them, it just clashed. In addition, it was nothing that groundbreaking; I’d used a lot of yellow and orange in our previous house, and I wanted something different. After endlessly tweaking the board, trying to figure out what I could do to salvage it, I stripped out everything but the furniture and started over. I even removed my lovely print, reasoning that I could move it out into the hallway, and I should at least give it a try.

It worked.


A few days prior, I’d stumbled onto this hilarious print on Threadless. I loved the style and colors, and knew I wanted to incorporate it into our house somewhere. As it turned out, it worked great as a stand-in for Modest Mouse. From there everything came together much more easily; I realized I’d actually been wanting something richer and more masculine, less “pop art” and more “old-school.” Once I got rid of the elements I’d been the most hung up on—the greeny-blue walls, the Modest Mouse print, the yellow headboard—I could really see what would work, and not just on a screen. I’ll run you through it, from the top:

  • The lights are bronze eyeball sconces from Urban Outfitters. At $34, they’re among the cheapest sconces I’ve found, and the color was just right. You can see I loved them so much, they made it through to the second round of planning. I haven’t bought them yet, but plan to in the next few weeks.
  • The headboard is a planned DIY. Originally I had thought about something tufted, but now I’m thinking sleek and simple with camel-colored velvet bronze nailhead trim. I’ve been ordering fabric samples and haven’t found just the right one yet, but I think I’m on the right track!
  • You should be familiar with the nightstands, which we talked about here. Not much has changed there—I got my plants a while back, and they’re doing really well, shockingly! I’ll talk about those in another post.
  • Bedding and pillows: I want simple white bedding, but with a little “something” to it. Jimmy isn’t a fan of textured or ruffled bedding, so I thought this white sateen striped set from Overstock would fit the bill—more interesting than plain white, but still tailored and masculine. It comes with two matching shams, leaving me free to pile up colorful throw pillows. Which brings us to…
  • Five planned throw pillows: two from my own line on Society6, None Moore Black (they’re the Simone III); two in a bright cobalt velvet for a tonal effect against the walls; and one silly one, a Union Jack. Jimmy and I went to the UK and Paris on our honeymoon and are dying to go back, so it’s a nice little reference. Plus, it’s just generally a pretty and well-designed flag 🙂
  • Do you remember the ottoman/coffee table from my old living room? It’s being repurposed as a little reading bench in our bedroom. The old gray-and-yellow color scheme isn’t doing much for me in the new space, so I’m about to revamp it. The base will be painted white, and the legs gold-dipped. The old gray tweed will be swapped out for Waverly Seeing Spots Noir, one of my current favorite patterns. I’m excited to see it in its new wardrobe! The folded throw is an IKEA EIVOR, which I’ve loved for a long time and am looking forward to snagging on our next trip to Minneapolis. The pillow in back will be the same camel velvet as the headboard to bring it out into the room, and the pillow in front I’ve already made, from a Nate Berkus for Jo-Ann fabric. (I keep trying not to like Nate Berkus. It isn’t working.)
  • On the wall over the dresser is the print, which you’re already familiar with; it’ll be framed in a large, simple white frame (similar to what Modest Mouse is already in). The lamp in the real photos was a midcentury score I got for $5 at Salvation Army. I’d been eyeing a similar one for $80 at a vintage shop in town, so I was super-excited to find this one, with a shade and everything! The spiky things are brass wall urchins, which I plan to DIY in a similar way to this tutorial. Jimmy is endlessly entertained by this.
  • Our current rug is an orange-and-yellow shag from our old bedroom, which doesn’t really work. The rug situation is awkward in our room, because the house is old and there is a vent smack in the middle of the floor—right under where a large rug would be. Because of that, we can’t use a big one. I found a 3.5×5″ rug at Tuesday Morning for $30 (not this exact one, but similar) and am going back to see if it’s still there—wish me luck.
  • Finally, we have a very dark corner that could use some light, so I’m planning to DIY a tripod floor lamp with weathered wooden legs from this tutorial. Seems simple enough (famous last words).
  • Not pictured are the giant poppy painting over our taller dresser, or the picture ledges we plan to install in one corner to hold various knickknacks and framed prints. Inspired by Charm made it look so easy, I thought we’d give it a try; I have a lot of sentimental objects I’m hoping to arrange in a more cohesive way. I’ve bought about a dozen brass thrift store frames in various shapes and sizes, and now I’m just working on filling them.

So! What do you think? Do you have trouble letting go of plans once you’ve committed to something? Or do you not plan out your rooms years in advance, you weirdo?