ONE ROOM CHALLENGE (tips + advice)

With the Spring 2019 One Room Challenge quickly approaching, I thought I’d put together a post of tips I learned from my first challenge last fall. If you’re not familiar with the One Room Challenge, it is a bi-annual design event that takes place every April + October. Over the course of six weeks, 20 featured designers along with a ton of guest participants work to makeover one room in their home. Every Thursday, everyone involved posts an update of any progress that’s been made. The last day is the big reveal. One of my favorite aspects of this event is that it’s not looked at as a competition- it’s definitely a supportive community where everyone cheers each other on!

I participated for the first time last Fall, and it was a lot of fun. Before starting, I was worried that the restrictions on my budget, time, and resources would prevent me from creating a design that people would find interesting enough to post about. I decided to just go for it anyway, and I’m so glad I did! I made over our master bedroom, and it didn’t take me long to realize that you don’t need a ton of money to create something beautiful! As long you as you plan ahead and get creative - you can totally do this challenge! Keep reading for some tips I put together!



1. PLAN AHEAD. If you’re anything like me and like to change up your design about 10 times before you actually settle on it, then definitely start planning this ahead of time. Start putting your design boards together at least a month before the challenge actually starts. The One Room Challenge website also lists out the dates of when each blog post is due (here). I really recommend jotting those dates down and thinking about the possible blog post topic you can cover on those days.

For example…
WEEK 1: APRIL 4th - Post before photos + design plans
WEEK 2: APRIL 11th - Post any progress photos (paint? furniture moved out?)
WEEK 3: APRIL 18th - Post any products I’ve bought + any DIY projects
WEEK 4: APRIL 25th - Post any progress shots, possible styling ideas
WEEK 5: MAY 2nd - Post about differences between original design plan + actual design/ unexpected problems
WEEK 6: MAY 9th - REVEAL POST! Post after shots + sources
Obviously you won’t stick to what you plan exactly because you can’t predict the future, but it definitely helps to have some sort of an idea of what you can write about. Also remember that not every post has to be a novel- if not a lot has changed from one week to the next, then write that! You can add in what you hope to accomplish by the following week.

2. SCHEDULE YOUR BLOG POSTS. I usually scheduled my blog posts a few days in advance, even if I didn’t have all the photos taken yet- I’d still save the written portion as a draft and go back to add photos later. This makes life a lot easier. I also recommend having the post go live on your personal blog on the Wednesday before (link up to the ORC site is every Thursday). When you link up to the ORC site, you need to have the URL ready… you also need to think of a title/caption for when you upload to the ORC site. I suggest putting your blog/Instagram name in every title so it’s easy for people to follow along with you. Also make sure you select a good photo for your thumbnail (it will automatically default to the first photo that appears in your blog post). I know that when I’m scrolling through the hundreds of guest participants, the ones with good quality photos always make me click first!

3. ALWAYS HAVE BACK UP OPTIONS FOR PRODUCTS. This sort of goes hand in hand with the planning ahead point - when you’re putting your design board together, have back up options in mind just in case something sells out, or ends up not looking right in your room, etc. You don’t want to have your heart set on something that doesn’t end up working out and then have to scramble to think of a replacement!

4. TAKE BEFORE PHOTOS FROM EVERY ANGLE. This is something I didn’t do and wish I did! Having the exact same view in a before and an after will help people see the extent of your transformation. You don’t have to use all your before photos in your first post, save some for the reveal.

5. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE QUALITY AFTER SHOTS. In my opinion, the reveal photos of your room are incredibly important! It would be such a shame to spend so much time creating a beautiful design, only to have the photos not do it justice. Allow yourself enough time to get the right shots- and definitely plan for a couple of days just in case one of the days doesn’t have sufficient natural light.

6. HAVE FUN + SUPPORT THE OTHER GUESTS AND DESIGNERS. I discovered so many amazing people throughout my first season! I tried to spend an hour on Sunday or Monday going through the other guest participant posts and commenting on their blogs or Instagram. It’s great having a little “tribe” of people who understand you and have the same interests!

Those are all the tips I can think of! If you have any of your own, let me know!! Hope to see you all in the Spring 2019 One Room Challenge!!

One Room Challenge Week 6: THE REVEAL!

Week 6 of the One Room Challenge is here! I’m so excited to show the final product of our master bedroom makeover. I’ll let this post be mostly photos (because that’s what people really care about)! But be sure to check back for a second post where I’ll show some more before/afters + progress photos— I’m also planning to go into more detail about why I made certain decisions (and then sometimes changes to those decisions).

Just in case you need to catch up on my previous posts-
(Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, & Week 5)

And now.. here are the pictures:


I really wanted to turn our room into a calm and cozy space. I’m so happy with how it turned out- the pictures really don’t do it justice! I also did my best to keep the cost down- shopping at thrift stores whenever possible (including that brown leather chair for $15!!). Most of the pieces I got were from Goodwill, IKEA, Target, and HomeGoods. That gorgeous print above the chair was provided to me from Sarah Nightingale- the quality of the print is amazing! You can see every brush stroke perfectly!


We already had this dresser, I just replaced the knobs with some simple matte black ones I found on Amazon. I love this sleek & modern lamp I found at Target- it’s dimmable and has USB ports!


I debated on what to put over our bed for a while, and then I came across this round wall decor I got at Target a couple years ago! I’ll probably replace it once I find the perfect piece of art, but for now I think it works pretty well in this space! I also LOVE that colorful, vintage painting I found at a local thrift store! It adds some fun into the room without being too crazy.


We literally JUST added these shelves today and I love them!! Something about how it looked before just didn’t feel right to me. I could have just let it go and it still would have looked fine, but I knew that it could be better! I’m definitely going to paint over the white brackets with the same paint color as the wall so that they blend in more. In this area, I also decided to paint the closet doors this dark gray/black color (Cyberspace by Sherwin Williams).


And just in case you forgot, here are the BEFORE photos of our room…


ANDDD I have to put the listing photo in for good measure!


There you have it! Thank you so much for following along with my first (but definitely not last) One Room Challenge! Be sure to check out the featured designers + other guest participants, there are SO many awesome designs out there! HUGE thank you to Linda Weinstein & the One Room Challenge team for organizing this event! It’s been so fun and full of supportive people! Looking forward to next season’s challenge!

One Room Challenge Week 5: LAST Post Before The Reveal!!

It’s Wednesday, so that means another progress post on my One Room Challenge master bedroom makeover! It’s also week 5, so the next post will be the reveal… and since I need to take the “reveal” photos this weekend, I really only have the next few days to finish!

(If you need to catch up: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4)

I honestly didn’t get as much accomplished last weekend as I had hoped. I didn’t finish painting our walls - but I’ll be able to do that pretty quickly. I also didn’t decide on what I want to hang above our bed- I have a couple ideas, but I need to try them out! I did find that black metal plant stand in the photo above at Goodwill. It didn’t have a top to it though, so I had to come up with a creative solution. I had a spool of macrame cord leftover from an older project, so I used that and started wrapping it around the top - I had no clue what I was doing so I didn’t bother to take any tutorial type photos!

Kind of an awkward angle here- but I wanted to show what the top looks like!

Kind of an awkward angle here- but I wanted to show what the top looks like!

I love how it turned out! It ended up being the perfect little side table to this chair, and can’t beat only spending $6! I also started using hemp cord to weave a bottom shelf on my nightstand. I was inspired a table that Amber Lewis sells in her shoppe. I don’t have any photos of my progress on that, so you’ll have to wait until next week!

Here is a good view of our new rug. It ended up being absolutely perfect, and it was under $100! I’m still playing around the styling and placement of art, so this view could be a lot different next week! Let me remind you of the “before” view of this angle…


I’m so glad I signed up for this challenge - it was the push I needed to tackle this space! I’ll be working super hard the next couple days to get all the last minute details taken care of. Can’t wait to show off the finished design, and even more excited to have a master bedroom that we love! Don’t forget to check back next week for the final post of the challenge!! You can also head over to the official One Room Challenge site to check on everyone else’s progress!

One Room Challenge Week 4: Paint Can Fix Anything

It’s week 4 of the One Room Challenge! That means after this post, there is only one more progress post and then the big reveal! (Catch up with my posts here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3)

I guess I’ll start out with a good progress photo, followed by a before shot!


One of the main things I did this past week was decide to paint our current nightstands. I was having such a hard time finding nightstands that I liked that were the right height. I guess our mattress is abnormally tall?? I know that in the past, I would try and rush the process and that’s when I end up with pieces that I want to replace like 3 months later. I really didn’t want to waste my time or money making that mistake, so I tried to think of a interim solution that still looks good and wouldn’t ruin my design.

I remembered that we still had a ton of leftover paint from when I painted our downstairs interior doors “Cyberspace” by Sherwin Williams. The color is the perfect dark gray/ almost black in certain light! I painted both of our nightstands this color and I really like them! I can’t even tell you how many times paint has come to my rescue!! I’m still going to keep searching vintage stores for the perfect nightstands, but this way I can actually wait for the right ones!


I replaced the knobs on our dresser with these simple black ones from Amazon. Such an easy update, but they look SO much better!

Those are swatches on our wall - before i decided to paint our room white, i thought about doing the whole room either  repose gray  or  agreeable gray .

Those are swatches on our wall - before i decided to paint our room white, i thought about doing the whole room either repose gray or agreeable gray.

I also found this amazing painting at local vintage shop! I love the colors in it, and I’m trying to brainstorm a way to use those colors in other areas of the room!

Other things I got done in the past week:
- Almost finished painting our walls Pure White by Sherwin Williams
- Rolled out our new rug, with help from my husband (I don’t have a photo of that yet, sorry!!)

What I have left to do:
- Finish painting walls
- Decide what to hang over bed (DIY abstract art??)
- Decide where to hang other art/ plants
- Style nightstands

I also feel like something is missing from my design but I can’t put my finger on it. I’ve been thinking about possibly painting the window trim to be the same color as the closet area (repose gray)?? Or painting the closet doors that cyberspace color? Change the light/plug switch covers to matte black? I don’t know - but hoping I figure it out soon!

Check back next week for my last progress post!! And as always, scroll through the amazing progress of the featured designers + the other guest participants!

One Room Challenge Week 3: HALFWAY THERE!

Hello!  Another week, another progress post!  Since my last update, I’ve finished caulking and painting the baseboards and I’m almost finished painting all the walls!  I was able to get so much done by doing a little bit here and there- on my lunch breaks, after Nathan went to bed, and pretty much any other free moment I could find!  I’m so soooo thankful for my husband, who has picked up my slack these past couple weeks.  We usually split house cleaning duties pretty evenly but with all of my spare time focused on our bedroom, he’s stepped in and been doing all of the kitchen work!

(P.s. Catch up on my previous posts here: Week 1, Week 2)

Everything on this dresser (except the  lamp , books, +  plant ) was thrifted!  (Still need to take the old blinds down)

Everything on this dresser (except the lamp, books, + plant) was thrifted! (Still need to take the old blinds down)

And just a little reminder of the “before” view…


Aside from painting and caulking, I’ve also done the following:
-Moved our dresser to under the window
-Picked up a brown side chair from Goodwill for $15
-Bought new hardware for our dresser (not installed yet)
-Bought + hung curtains (ended up being about $120 cheaper than bamboo shades)
-Went to about 4 different thrift/vintage stores to (unsuccessfully) find nightstands
-Bought an area rug (not rolled out yet when I took the progress photos)

Speaking of area rugs…. I posted a few rug options in my stories on Instagram last week. They were all very similar, with varying shades of gray and white. Then as I was scrolling through Instagram, I came across this photo (on the left)…

I fell in love with the warm, neutral color palette immediately! I went and scrolled through the rest of this account and found an older photo of this room with a different rug. It was a gray and white rug and made the room feel totally different. This made me realize that I needed to pick a rug with more beige tones in it to get the look that I want. Can’t wait to show you all what I ended up choosing!

Here’s what I still need to do:
-Finish painting walls white
-Hang art/ hanging plants
-DIY abstract black + white art for above bed
-Bring tons of clothes to giveaway

AND if there is still room in the budget after everything:
-New black ceiling fan
-End of bed bench
-Small side table/ plant stand next to chair

That’s all for this week’s update! As always, be sure to check out the progress from both the featured designers + the other guest participants! So much talent out there!!