HOUSE: New Mexico #1

The bedroom: Painted!

Bedroom makeover -

I finished painting my bedroom last night, and it is SO. MUCH. BETTER. Yes? YES. (If you want to toggle back and forth between the Tantown “before” photos and the current state, here you go. I tried to take my new photos from the same angles for comparison’s sake.)

If ever there were a perfect testimonial to the power of paint (and caulk, and wood filler, and sandpaper, and sleep deprivation), I think this is probably it. I changed nothing about this room other than the color of the walls, and it seriously feels like a whole new space.

Bedroom makeover -

Yeah, the carpet is still there, but LOOK AT THE REST OF IT! Glossy, Band-Aid tan walls begone! I’m convinced that white paint fixes pretty much everything. I used Valpsar Reserve in Swiss Coffee (flat) for the walls and ceiling, and Ultra White (satin) for the trim. I cannot say enough good things about Swiss Coffee—it’s such a soft, warm, pleasing off-white. I don’t like whites that go blue or look too cold/harsh, but I also stay away from off whites that run too yellow. Swiss Coffee hits that middle mark perfectly. The brightness it brings to this bedroom is unreal. The room looks twice as big, and all of the sad heaviness of that shiny tan is gone completely.

The door on the right is actually open in this picture—so the dark side (Valspar Royal Navy) faces the living room. The bedroom side is Ultra White.

Bedroom makeover -

I’m really feeling the bi-fold closet doors now, too. I didn’t plan to paint them since I suspected that painting the walls white would bring out the birch tones in a really nice way, and I was right. Instead of looking like an unfinished add-on, the closet now looks like it’s part of the room. It didn’t have a knob before, so I used one of the ULVSBO knobs from from my IKEA stockpile (the same kind I used in the mudroom). So perfect!

Bedroom makeover -

I have my new BJÖRNLOKA RUTA duvet cover and DVALA sheet set ready to go, but I’m forcing myself to wait until everything else in the bedroom is finished before I start using them. The rug and furniture are (hopefully) being delivered today, so if everything goes as planned, I should have the whole room put together by the end of the week. Wheeeee!

Bedroom makeover -

I cannot begin to tell you how deeply satisfying it was to take down the filthy, broken, improperly-installed plastic mini-blinds. Patching the dozens of nail and screw holes on and around the window casing was like therapy—I slept like a baby that night. I took a chance and ordered custom shades from, and I’m not disappointed! They’re exactly what I envisioned, and the price was about as low as it’s going to get for custom shades. I went with Timber SolarVue solar shade (M screen) with 5% openness for the wide window above the bed, and a Nulite Best Buy room-darkening roller shade for the side window to block out my next door neighbor’s motion-detecting porch light. They came to $98.10 and $38.96 respectively—really not a bad deal. It took exactly 7 days from my order date for the shades to arrive (free shipping!), and installation was totally straightforward and simple.

Bedroom makeover -

Ordinarily I’d probably go with 10% openness on solar shades, but since this is a ground-floor bedroom facing the street, I opted for greater privacy. At night, you can see vague shapes in a lit room from outside, but no detail. It does block most of the view from the inside during the day, of course, but a ton of daylight still filters through. I’m really, really happy with these shades, and I’m so grateful to everyone who suggested to me! THANK YOU.

Bedroom makeover -

Remember that weird framed vent on the ceiling? I took it down, spray-painted it white, caulked the frame (though not the center panel, since apparently it does lift for attic access), and now it’s totally non-offensive. White paint and caulk fix everything, man. Oh, and in case you were wondering, painting a mega-textured ceiling like this one does indeed SUCK. Using a roller-cover made for this purpose helps immensely, but the amount of pressure required to get paint into all of the nooks and crannies left my arms feeling like sharataki noodles after an hour. Worth it!

The blackout shade is totally working, by the way. A smidgen of light does get in around the sides and top because of the space the bracket takes up (to avoid that completely you’d have to mount the shade outside the window casing), but it’s a fraction of what I was dealing with before. I’ve had the shades up for about a week now, and I have yet to be awakened by the porch light coming on.

Bedroom makeover -

Hey! Even the circuit breaker door looks cute when it’s painted white! And how about that decorative object draped effortlessly over one corner! That’s a Door Blessing from Moorea Seal, and while I don’t feel like the circuit breaker door needs to be blessed, I do think it’ll make a really nice necklace. I also think I’m going to turn this weird little door into a place to hang jewelry above my dresser. A few nice nails in a row across the front…it’ll look good.

Bedroom makeover -

PROGRESS! Hopefully my next post will be about my new rug and dresser. It’s so great to see this room coming together. I’m already having more peaceful sleep because of the white paint. I know I’m going to love my bedroom when it’s all done.

Previous Post Next Post

Other Stuff You Might Be Into


  • Reply Waco February 22, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    This is truly coming together! What great inspiration for renters. I’m a new reader of your blog (thank you, Bloglovin’ suggestions). I know you’re going through a ton of dramatic life changes right now — bravo for your big, brave move & all that goes with it!

  • Reply Katrina February 22, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Holy moly! Such a huge difference! I love the therapeutic qualities of painting a room!
    Can’t wait to see the rest! And the word tantown made me laugh out loud. Twice!

  • Reply Jen February 22, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    Looks great Anna! Can’t wait to see the next progress report. You should use your triangular nails for the jewelry 🙂

    • Anna @ D16 February 23, 2016 at 10:48 am

      I had the same thought, Jen! 😉

  • Reply Melissa February 22, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    The power of paint is truly amazing! Can’t wait to see the rest. Do your blinds have a cord at all? or valance? They look great and I think they could be a great option for me. Thanks!

    • Anna @ D16 February 23, 2016 at 10:50 am

      Hi Melissa, yes, the blinds have a continuous loop chain on the right sides—if you look closely at the photos, you can see it. They do have a stainless steel chain option, but it’s a $30 upcharge so I decided that I’m just fine with plastic. 😉 I don’t like valances on shades so I opted to not add them to my order, but they do have several cassettes/valances available to choose from.

  • Reply CC February 23, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Oh Anna! Look at the light in that room now! I love how ultra flat white paint bounces such beautiful diffused light throughout a space. The carpet is truly awful but with a large rug and only the perimeter seen I think it will fade into the background like band-aid neutral should. Tan and white is hot right now (right?). I’m so excited to see all the changes you’re planning for the rest of the house. I’ve missed seeing a bit of reno-inspo on your site. And I do feel a bit awful that it comes at the cost of massive upheaval in your life. But just look at this fresh beginning! xx

    • Anna @ D16 February 23, 2016 at 10:51 am

      Thanks, CC! I’m enjoying myself. 🙂

  • Reply Valentina February 23, 2016 at 2:09 am

    It looks amazing already! I love seeing Scandinavian design installed in American homes, so I’m super excited to see the end result! We are leaving Copenhagen soon and moving back to the US, so I need all the inspiration I can GET! 🙂

  • Reply Amiechan February 23, 2016 at 3:36 am

    That looks so good now! Paint and hard work are a wonderful combination. And the closet door too!

  • Reply Ilse February 23, 2016 at 6:06 am

    Wow, that looks SO much better allready! Your bed actually looks tan in the before picture’s but that’s apparently just because of the wall color reflecting. I’m excited to see where this room will go from here!

  • Reply imogen February 23, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Realizing I’m not sure you’ve ever shown us the inside of your closets? Are you a clothing minimalist? And/Or do you work miracles in storing clothes? Love the simplicity (and yes, scale) of this room. Calm.

    • Anna @ D16 February 23, 2016 at 10:54 am

      I don’t photograph the insides of my closets or cabinets as a general rule—that’s private space for me. I don’t think I do anything special with storing clothes, anyway! Hangers for the stuff that needs hanging, and the rest goes in drawers. I don’t have a large wardrobe, so I don’t do anything seasonal or whatever…and there’s no need to color-coordinate black, black, black… 😉

      You can see some past posts of mine about clothing here if you’re curious about my dressing style:

  • Reply susan February 23, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Wow! You’re right. What a difference white paint makes. It’s a whole different room now! So looking forward to seeing you put your stamp on this place. I love your design style.

  • Reply Amy February 23, 2016 at 8:20 am

    This is an amazing transformation! So much nicer. I love the idea of making the circuit breaker into a jewelry display type thing – as if it was meant to be there. Maybe you can put a pretty fabric or wallpaper sample into the frame before you install the hooks. Or pegboard or something similar that lets you display earrings too.

    Truly inspiring work!

  • Reply Junedotbe February 23, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Oh wow ! What an amazing difference indeed. And I can’t wait to see the room fully decorated with all your new Ikea goodies.
    Btw – I’m amazed at how cheap custom blinds are in the US. I had some quoted here in Brussels, Belgium, from a basic high-street brand (sadly I don’t like the ones Ikea now sells :-(, and they came in at 200 euros… Crazy ! If you have any tips for online shops across the pond…

    • Anna @ D16 February 23, 2016 at 10:57 am

      That’s about how much typically they cost here too, June! (If not more…) This particular company was just a lucky find for me. Unfortunately I don’t know anything about overseas retailers, but perhaps someone else will chime in with some suggestions for you.

  • Reply Fritz February 23, 2016 at 9:16 am

    I see a beige door and I want it painted black no color anymore I want it to turn black

    The Do0r Sixteen Stones

  • Reply Ashlee February 23, 2016 at 9:28 am

    This post makes me want to run home and paint my whole bedroom white. I’m thoroughly convinced white paint can take even the most drab interiors and bring new life to them. I’m so enjoying these home updates!

  • Reply Ashley February 23, 2016 at 10:29 am

    I’ve been eyeing that lunar platform bed from Wayfair for awhile now – have you been liking it? I’ve never had a platform bed and am still using box springs, but would like to upgrade.

  • Reply mommy February 23, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Wow! It’s refreshing to see what can be done with an ordinary house for a change – one that doesn’t already have beautiful architectural features and great floors. The last time I painted our walls, I changed to Simply White from Moonlight White, but I sometimes feel that it’s a tad too yellow. How does Swiss Coffee compares to B.M. Simply White? I miss you.

  • Reply Lizzy February 23, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    It looks amazing. The only thing I would change are the actual plugs in the wall. Change them from beige to white. You did a great job!

    • Anna @ D16 February 23, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      The beige electricals don’t bother me—not in a rental. 🙂

  • Reply Tracey February 23, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    so much better! I feel like painting something now!

  • Reply Dagmag February 23, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    You work so hard Anna! All the satisfaction and loveliness you feel is hard won and sooooo deserved! Looks amazing 🙂

  • Reply Rachel February 23, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Paint is magical! Your room is looking great, and that plan to use the weird framed wall feature for jewelry storage sounds genius. I’m looking forward to seeing how amazing it looks when it’s all done.
    And thanks for the tips on the blinds–I’m in need of some, and will give that site a look.

  • Reply Lo February 23, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    So pretty! It looks like the Swiss Coffee color matches your blog background!

  • Reply Gwen February 23, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    I was just wondering how your progress was coming and then you popped up on my insta feed. It is looking worlds better, I couldn’t agree more about the power of paint and caulking! I have an almost hundred year old house that was left for dead. Loads of scrubbing, caulking, and white paint later and it is a haven. Always love seeing your projects, can’t wait to see the finished product!

  • Reply Ash February 23, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Is there anything better than a room with fresh white paint? It just makes natural light look so much nicer. We’re planning on painting our bedroom white, too. Progress is looking great! Can’t wait to see it with the rest of the furnishings and decor.

  • Reply Maria Flotta February 23, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Wow! White paint is a miracle…looks great already.

  • Reply Sandra February 23, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Well done! It’s kinda absurd how excited I am for this beige-be-gone project of yours! 🙂 Yay!

    Also – wanted to say thanks for all the inspiration! I’m in the process of buying my first apartment – and it has cherry wood – errm… everything. Doors. Kitchen cabinets (which is open concept – so – living room!). 3 bedroom closets. Foyer closet. Everywhere. Even the windowsills have a cherry wood trim. So I’ve been looking through your archive for ways to minimize the red-awful thing that it is – and it’s already been a big help! So – yeah – thanks! 🙂

  • Reply Nancy February 23, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Amazing difference! Sweet dreams! Are you putting the rug over the carpet? My husband once rented an apartment, when we were first dating, that had horrible carpet and I forced him to help me rip it up. I felt like I was doing the owner a favor… LOL.
    Incidentally, I happened to see a curtain rod at Target the other day that is designed for black-out shades. It allows you to pull shade all the way around both sides to block light coming in from the sides, but it was probably designed for drapes, now that I think about it…

  • Reply Christina W. February 23, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    I love the color, can’t wait to see the finished product! By the by, I am in need of a graphic designer. Do you take small projects?

  • Reply Noor February 23, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Wow, you really did make that look great. If anyone could do it, it was you.

  • Reply doorot February 24, 2016 at 6:14 am

    Amazing progress Anna, what a difference this is. I can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of the place (which we haven’t seen yet, hint hint, nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more, say no more 🙂 )

  • Reply cheryl rose February 24, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Question: Who has the actual bedroom and are they as dedicated to good design as you? If someone else lives there in the true bedroom it would be sad to think of them living in Tantown while you worked your ass off in Swiss Coffeeville. They could be growing weary of the water consumption of cleaning brushes and the industrious tinkering that invariably goes along with “fixing a rental”.. You are using that actual bedroom for an awesome office I bet…better light, etc..okay…off to my own rental redo

    • Anna @ D16 February 24, 2016 at 8:47 am

      Hi Cheryl, I’m not sure what you mean by “actual” bedroom, but this is the largest bedroom in the house. There are two other smaller bedrooms in the house, one of which is my office and the other which is my housemate’s. I’ll be painting all of the other rooms too, I just haven’t had time. I’ll get there.

  • Reply Matilda February 24, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Please clap. This woman knows how to paint a room white and a door blue. You must be a wizzard – i bow to you.

    • Anna @ D16 February 24, 2016 at 9:27 am

      Like I said in my last mudroom post, I’m a one-trick pony. I know what I like, and I’m totally OK with that.

  • Reply Taste of France February 24, 2016 at 11:30 am

    This is amazing. Bravo! We had those pebbly walls in our house and ended up spending a small fortune to have a pro come in and sand them off, retouch the walls and repaint. We left for three weeks while he worked. Very worth it in the end.
    You said you hated the ceiling fan, and I totally understand on an esthetic level, but as an A/C hater, it is sometimes necessary to have a breeze on hot nights. The only thing worse than a ceiling fan is a box window fan. Or a fan on the dresser that you’re hoping you’ve positioned so it hits you.
    Can’t wait to see the rug.

    • Anna @ D16 February 25, 2016 at 10:24 am

      I love box window fans!

  • Reply Christina W. February 24, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    I dunno, a fan on the dresser could be super cute if you splurge on an antique industrial looking one. I see them from time to time at pop up flea markets and I want one so bad but can’t justify the $1-200 they cost at the moment. 🙁

  • Reply Karen February 24, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Loved what you did. Boring beige to wondrous white. Sorry if I missed it but what white paint did you actually use? Too many whites out there!

    • Anna @ D16 February 25, 2016 at 10:22 am

      Hi Karen, the walls are Swiss Coffee and the trim is Ultra White. Finishes/brands/links are in the post. 😉

  • Reply Lorrie Whittington February 25, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Wow! What an improvement the white makes. So clean and refreshing. But…damn, the carpet. It’s other word for it!
    Onwards and upwards…

    Lorrie x

  • Reply LLBill$ February 26, 2016 at 10:55 am

    I’m now convinced there needs to be a show called “TANTOWN”. Who it would star and what it would be about I have no idea, but the name alone is priceless.

    Anna – when you paint the door navy on one side, and white on the other, what do you paint the inside of the door itself? I’m contemplating doing this in my Brooklyn pre-war and it somehow throws me! Also – do you use satin paint for doors (as you do with trim)?

    • Anna @ D16 February 26, 2016 at 11:47 am

      Do you mean the short sides of the door? I paint them according to how they’ll be seen when the door is ajar. On this particular door, the short side closest to the knob is white, and it’s navy on the hinge side. You kind of just need to think about what’s going to be the least noticeable—you don’t want to get a “stripe” effect when the door is open. Does that make sense?

    • b March 2, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      that’s brilliant! I would have never thought of that. it would also be fun to do a bright contrast stripe there too. now I wish I had a door that needs painting!

  • Reply jp February 28, 2016 at 2:33 am

    What an awesome change! I’m sure you’ve already thought of this, but in the last post you mentioned disliking the fan & I wondered if you’d considered changing out the light with a new light kit.

  • Reply Erin L March 8, 2016 at 2:40 am

    It’s amazing how a coat of paint can really change the feel of a room! It looks awesome so far!
    I have a set of those black Dvala sheets, and have been using them for three years. They’re really thin – handkerchief-weight, so you might want to be careful when removing them. I ripped one corner of the fitted sheet by accident, and had to stitch it up. But the texture they get after a few washes is amazing, almost like jersey sheets that aren’t stretchy. Great, breathable sheets, which are great for warmer climes like the American Southwest.

  • Reply Fiona March 15, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I love how you describe colour. “Sad heaviness.” Perfect.

  • Reply Jemma April 8, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Hi Anna, I just looked back to this post to see what colour the dark navy was as Valspar are available here in NZ now and I want to do a wall in my bedroom. I just have a question because the advice I got from the sales people seemed off. The smallest sample (I went for interstellar) I could get was 500ml and when I painted a large piece of paper with it it was so shiny and reflective! The guy said that the darker you go the more shiny it gets and its hard to get a matte finish. Also the sample pots always have a sheen. I asked how you are supposed to know what the finished result will actually look like if that’s the case, and he said you can’t. So you have to buy 500ml and then can’t use it towards actually painting your wall! Does this sound like rubbish to you?! Do you have any tips, like which finish to ask for etc? I will go back to the store today and look at the navy reserve.

    • Anna @ D16 April 15, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Jemma, I’m so sorry for not replying sooner! I missed your comment somehow. I don’t know anything about Valspar samples (sizes or finishes), but it is true that darker paints have the appearance of being slightly reflective. If you go with the flat finish, though, it’s going to be quite flat—not quite as flat as blackboard paint, but it’s definitely not going to be shiny.

  • Reply Becky February 21, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Did you opt for the reverse roll then on your blinds? I couldn’t quite tell in the picture. I don’t want to do a valance, but can’t figure out what makes the most sense. Thanks!

    • Anna @ D16 February 21, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      Yes, I did.

  • Reply frankie January 12, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Hello there! I’ve been following your blog for years and was hoping maybe i could pick your brain for paint suggestions? The house we are about to move into doesn’t get a ton of natural light but I really enjoy the “all white with pops of color’ asthetic. I admire your designs and the life you bring to your homes! Would you suggest Swiss Coffee and Simply White for a room that doesn’t get much sunlight? Best regards from (not so sunny) California! 🙂

  • Leave a Comment

    Door Sixteen is a hate-free, drama-free, spam-free zone. Open dialogue is welcome, but comments designed to harm or deceive will be removed.

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Get D16 in your mailbox

    Sign up to receive weekly digests and (occasional) other updates from Door Sixteen! I promise to not bombard your inbox.