Last year I redid my main bedroom and after living with it awhile, I hated it. It was dark and heavy and felt oppressive. The truth is that I get depressed sometimes and this room didn’t lift me up. So, even though it was wasteful to remove the wallpaper, it had to come down. This isn’t just a main bedroom reveal, it’s how I designed a room to help with my mental health.
the problem with my dark room
I know that sounds like a lot, but I think that by being more open about the things I struggle with, it might help someone else too.
Isn’t it a beautiful idea that depression can have lots of therapies? Exercise, having a good routine, eating healthy, talking to a therapist, spending time in nature, helping others, getting enough sleep, practicing gratitude AND creating a house that makes you smile.
One thing I mentioned that I didn’t like was how dark the wallpaper was. Because it was a deeper color than I normally use, when I had a day where I felt sad, the room felt like a cave and it felt easier to give into the darkness.
Side note, I know this is deeply personal. Thank you in advance for letting me talk about something so scary to me to share about.
light reflective value
Did you know that wall colors have a light reflective value (also known as LRV)? This blog post on LRV goes over it well, but here’s a summary-
Paint colors all have an LVR rating- it is how light or dark a paint will look on a scale- 0 is the lowest and represents pure black. While 100 is the highest and represents pure white. The higher the LRV number, the lighter the color is and the more light will reflect off the walls. You can look up that number for each paint company.
My dark pink wallpaper wasn’t reflecting enough light for me. It had to come down so I could have a light filled room. For me, light helps chase out the darkness.
All the time, people see pictures of my house and tell me that it makes them happy. Do you know why? Because it’s designed that way. So if you’ve ever wondered why my spaces are light and bright and have silly and whimsical touches. It’s because I need to live in a home that elevates my mood. It helps me.
One last thing that I want to note is that my home designs have been helpful to my guests who rent my houses out when they are an Air BNB. I’ve had a few people tell me that staying in the house was healing for them. I can’t tell you how meaningful this is to me!
Let’s move on to how the room has transitioned-
When we first bought the house, it had beige walls and black windows. It was boring to me. To remedy that, the lower walls were painted white and we installed picture molding below a chair rail. The windows were upgraded to hurricane windows that came in white.
After living with the dark wallpaper for a year and hating it (which is so sad because the pattern is adorable), we removed it. And yes, I know that’s wasteful and I felt awful about it. But I think my mental health is more important than living with a decision that I felt was a mistake. So I ripped off the band aid and the wallpaper ;).
Sadly, the wallpaper removed the old paint with it and so the walls had to be patched and painted. For the ceiling, we added crown molding and installed a shiplap ceiling.
After the walls were primed, I installed a large chinoiserie wallpaper mural on the bed wall only! I loooove the addition! It’s lighter in color than the last wallpaper and the pattern is fun and interesting.
Then I dyed my drapes pink. They used to be white, but were too boring with the white walls. After a few more small improvements, I was ready for after pictures and to reveal the space to you!
light and bright main bedroom reveal
After- Bed Wall
I might cry, but here is the after photo of the bedroom. Isn’t she pretty and light filled?! Note, I’ll link all sources in one spot below.
For the duvet cover, I choose a pure white option from Crane and Canopy. called the Nora that has a zippered cover. It looks like the sheets are folded over, but it’s really just the zipper covered with an accent strip of fabric!
I took this bedroom refresh as an option to change out the lamps for light sconces. The old lamps were beautiful, but took up most of the nightstand. Now these still let me read in bed, are a beautiful brass accent, and take up no space at all!
I bought my first ever orchid for this room. Having live plants gives life to the room. Plus it goes perfectly with the wallpaper and the palm beach chic look I was going for. You can see my inspiration for this room here.
This view is now one of my favorites in the whole house! The pink wallpaper with the textured headboard and all the pretty trim- it just does it for me!
After- dresser Wall
On the wall next to the bed, I have my dresser with my vintage hanging bird. On top of it are dried flowers, pretty books, and some art I painted. The antique easel holds 5-6 pieces of art I’ve done and it’s easy to change which one is showing.
The parrot hangs in front of a silk vintage scarf that I framed. The flower background make the bird stand out and coordinates with the wallpaper.
Here’s an up close image of the dresser decor. You can see another fun touch- vintage opera glasses! We have lots of birds here and I thought it’d be fun to have a pretty to look at them.
The closet next to the dresser was always tricky trim wise because the right side is the next wall so I couldn’t add uniform trim to both sides. Instead, we added a header with a pretty shell piece of molding.
After- bookcase Wall
On the wall next to the closet, I have my vintage pagoda bookshelf that I found for $50. If you’ve shopped for anything pagoda shape, you know it’s a great deal! It’s from the 50’s and was stored outside so it’s warped and was pretty damaged before I fixed her up.
This wall also has my vanity where I get ready each day. Which is helpful since we only have one bathroom. The chair is vintage and is the first thing I thrifted for the house!
One of my favorite things in the room is this needle point parrot. I found a vintage kit on Etsy and it was my quarantine project. This thing took me probably 10 months to finish. So you better believe I framed it for in here!
I have a love of birds- especially tropical ones so you’ll see them in the room. Our neighborhood has wild parrots and it thrills me to see them on our walks!
Right outside these windows are palm trees that move so beautifully in the wind. Sitting in here with the windows open on a sunny day is one of my favorite things!
After- Wall 4
The bedroom has a little entry. I painted the door mint blue, but forgot to write down the name. Sorry!
I do love the modern art hanging in the entry and how it plays well with the center onlay (the piece of molding) above the door.
Vintage- bird (more details), brass easel, opera glasses, pagoda, desk chair, bow candle holders.
Here’s the rest of the sources. The headboard, nightstand, throw blanket, and flamingo are similar to what I have since the original is no longer available. Click on the photo to shop.
If you’d like to see some more pretty bedroom refreshes, I’ve teamed up with some friends to share their main bedrooms today too! Click below for more bedroom inspiration-
Camila from Effortless Style
Kate from Kate Decorates
Chelsea from Two Twenty One
Carmel from Our Fifth House
Tiffany from My Eclectic Nest
Jenna from Rain on a Tin Roof
Tasha from Kaleidoscope Living
Yuni from Love Your Abode
Katrina from Katrina Blair
Well, there you have it. My happy tropical escape. One of my most loved rooms now. Which is even more special since I hated this room for so long. What do you think? What’s your favorite part?
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy. Thank you to Crane and Canopy for gifting bedding for this post.
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dear precious Ashley 🙂 You are sensitive & sweet & you have pure light in your heart xo! That’s why your designs are so light airy & joyful for the heart. 🙂 Highly sensitive people feel things more deeply then others may ~ & you are sensitive environmentally & need bright uplifting happy things to surround you ~ as it is nurturing to your sweet dear soul. The eyes are the windows to the soul & yours are filled with love & deep beauty & deep feelings. You have a deep & sweet appreciation & gratitude for the most precious simplest things 🙂 ~ which bring great joy to your dear heart. 🙂 & You are also extremely gifted & your art work is precious! 🙂 Sensitive people feel so deeply that their hearts can become down. It is a gift actually although painful ~ it makes you more special! Your heart is kind & loves children & animals & whimsy & cute happy things ~ & that is a gift you shall have forever & so special! 🙂 So being sensitive makes you more precious & loved! Always stay in touch with that precious childlike magical wonder ~ & it will sustain your heart for always. xo 🙂 I am an HSP ~ highly sensitive person & also empathic ~ which goes beyond empathy. I feel others feelings as if they are my own since a lil girl. It is a gift with knowingness but exhausting. But being born with joy is a precious thing & you are precious! I so related to your heart & not many people mention how their surroundings affect their spirit. This was sooo special & I thank you so from the bottom of my heart! 🙂 It touched my heart so deeply as I sooo understand with all my heart & have always been sensitive to my surroundings. The bedroom is adorable & light & cheerful & delightful!! & The whole house is a lil doll house for you 3 dolls! It’s all adorable ~ & I love lil doll houses so! We cherish ours & am so childlike ~ my precious Howie xo 🙂 says i’m still growing up! I sure do hope it was ok to write this ~ it just felt like me too! Sweet happy travels to you all to other precious doll house ~ where you’ll all work your precious magic! & Congratulations on your gorgeous kitchen in HGTV magazine~ it’s wonderful! xo ~ Pam 🙂 Howie xo 🙂 & precious lil Coco Joy xo 🙂 !
This is so so good! I love it. In fact I love all your spaces. And it’s a great “Old Florida” look as well.
You’re brave to decide to not stay married to a decision and take it down if it’s hindering your healing.
I’m glad you mentioned what I should have already known, that darker colors can lead to more depression. It takes courage to say that and I also get depressed and am decorating my home.
Your post here has reminded me of that, to lighten up, literally, decor wise. I too am very influenced by me surroundings and this last year that has been even note important.
Ironically although I live in FL now, too, we get next to no light. So no real plants, which also add a healing touch. But I’m glad I read this before I make another dark decision.
Thanks again for a great post full of authenticity.