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Mid-Century Modern Coastal Bedroom Makeover | Before & After

Today I’m sharing the before & after of my recent(ish) mid-century modern coastal bedroom makeover.  I actually started this bedroom makeover last spring, but then ran into a few problems that ultimately proved demotivating – so I abandoned the project, lol.  Inspiration hit again, six months later, and then I slowly tackled DIY projects.  I inched my way toward a completed space over many months, sharing this makeover in stops and starts.  To be honest, it’s usually how I decorate, anyway!  Although I can make over a space in a finite amount of time (like when I did the turquoise powder room for the ORC), I’m all about slow design.  I waited to make sure I wasn’t going to tinker with this room anymore (I waffled about hanging art again, on either side of the bed), but now I think I can safely say that the bedroom is done.  If you haven’t seen it yet, here is the official “after”:

Mid-Century Modern Coastal Bedroom Makeover | Before & AfterVintage Bedroom FurnitureShane Norrie Pottery Bowls Striped Linen Bedding and DIY Linen ShamsMid-Century Modern Bedroom Makeover

I’m not even sure what to use as the “before” photo, because the bedroom has changed so much over the years.  Let’s start with the ORIGINAL BEFORE:

But this is what the bedroom looked like most recently, so it’s more fair to call this the actual “BEDROOM BEFORE”:

Coastal Bedroom DesignDecorating with Espresso Furniture

Bedroom Makeover Round 1 Setbacks:

  • the new linen duvet cover was too small (here’s my fix for that, but I ended up getting different bedding options anyway)
  • the mural I chose and installed had a face, and when the company replaced only two panels, the colors didn’t match and the noticeable seam eventually really bothered me (although I loved the mural itself)
  • the curtain rod I ordered (which wasn’t super cheap and took months to arrive), was so flimsy that it could not hold the weight of even sheers, so my heavy linen curtain plan was jettisoned

So I ended up stuck here.  I liked it, but…. it just didn’t feel exactly right.  It wasn’t what I had envisioned.  The vibe was wrong.

Beachy Bedroom Design

Bedroom Makeover Round 2:

Then I inherited a pair of vintage walnut dressers, when my grandmother passed away, and they changed the trajectory of the room.  I first stored them in the bunkie for a little while.  Although she was alive when she gave them to me, she passed away shortly after and looking at them made me too sad.  But I was really worried they would get damaged out there, so I brought them inside during the summer.  That meant that I finally displaced our big, espresso stained dressers (which I sold).  I loved the shape of those dressers, but not the dark finish, and I had waffled for YEARS on whether to sell them or paint them.  Mostly recently, I had decided to strip and bleach them.  But when the bedroom makeover stalled, I lost the motivation.

Colorful Abstract Art

Once I moved the special pair of dressers into the bedroom, my enthusiasm for redecorating the bedroom returned because I wanted to create the perfect backdrop for them.  I know it sounds silly, but it felt wrong to have them in a room I wasn’t happy with…  So here’s what I did!

Tie Dyed Wall Mural Removal

Bedroom Makeover Projects:

MCM Walnut Dressers

Here’s a closer look at these DIY projects – click the links to find the detailed tutorials.

DIY Euro Pleat Drapes:

DIY Linen CurtainsMid-Century Modern Coastal Bedroom Makeover

DIY Linen Euro Shams & DIY Icyed Dyed Lumbar Pillow:

Coastal Bedroom Design

DIY Nightstand with Drawers & DIY Upcycled Metal Knobs:

DIY Nightstand with DrawersDIY Walnut Bedroom Furniture

DIY Paste the Wall Wallpaper Installation:

Coastal Wallpaper Feature Wall in Bedroom

Why I Love the End Result!

This time, the new bedroom design came together so easily!  Although a lot of the elements were already in place, like the glass closet doors, DIY bed and headboard, lighting and rug, the new additions to the space add a lot of coziness and interest.  I love, love, love how the bedroom looks now – it’s the perfect blend of airy coastal meets mid-century vibes that has come to define my personal style.  It has a softness to it, with a lot of neutrals (white walls, white drapes, all white lighting, grey and white bedding) and natural textures (linen, wool, walnut, glass closet doors, pottery).  But there’s also a healthy heaping of layered colors: sometimes vibrant, like the overdyed teal rug, sometimes muted, like the wallpaper.

Coastal Closet Doors

I’ll be honest: seeing the dressers still makes me sad sometimes.  A year later, they still smell like my Grandmother’s house, although it’s fading a bit, every day.  But I’m happy I’ve created such a beautiful space for them.  I feel very at peace in the bedroom now, and having designed this soothing room feels like the proper homage.  I just wish that my Grandmother was still here with us, so she could come for a visit and see.

Vintage Meets Coastal Bedroom MakeoverDIY Bedroom Makeover

Mid-Century Modern Coastal Bedroom Makeover Sources:

P.S. Don’t Forget to Pin for Later!

Mid-Century Modern Coastal Bedroom Makeover | Before & AfterCoastal Bedroom Makeover



  1. Miss Boots
    March 14, 2022 / 4:00 pm

    Very fresh and pretty. I especially love your duvet cover.

    • March 14, 2022 / 5:16 pm

      Thank you! I’ve experimented a bit, adding patterns or using the plain white one I hacked. While I love having options, the stripes is currently my favorite as well. It’s the beachiest, haha.

  2. cathie
    March 15, 2022 / 9:29 pm

    I love everything except (haha)……. the two dressers side-by-side and the two paintings side-by-side. The dressers just look awkward – like they’re squished into a room that’s too small. The paintings I love (I love all your art), but being side by side takes away from the other. I’d try one painting centered over each dresser, maybe?? The new wallpaper looks so much nicer, very peaceful. As an aside, I have my grandparent’s buffet. The inside still smells like their house – 30 years later, believe it or not. Its very comforting to me. I hope that as the years go on your grandmother’s dressers will be the same for you.

    • March 16, 2022 / 5:12 pm

      Always appreciate the feedback! 🙂 I advocate for doing what works for us personally, design-wise, so your ideas are lovely – but here are my reasons for putting things the way they are.

      Personally, I’ve always loved the look of a low dresser and tall dresser side by side, which is why I very specifically chose that combination when we originally got the dark dressers. It’s just luck my grandparents had the same dresser combo (my Mom has this combo too).

      And I also prefer the art this way. We tried different combinations when we first got it and spread apart and staggered hurts my brain. I find this soothing. It’s also a matter of scale, for me. I like big art, or big art groupings, so separating them, the scale would be off (for me).

      But also, this IS a small home, with small rooms. So I don’t have the luxury of space and spreading things out, lol. Unless I get rid of hubby – or make him go naked – this room has to accommodate a dresser for each of us. Although I should be grateful: the way my grandparents had these dressers, they HAD to go on separate walls, because their bedroom was so small. And then they had no room for nightstands!

      These dressers are much smaller than the dark ones we had – in every dimension – so I’m actually feeling like it’s quite spacious now. It took me awhile to get used to them – they felt TOO small at first. But I get to see the real life show of this space, which always looks different than photos.

      I’m glad to hear the inside of your buffet still smells like your grandparents’ place – I will find that very comforting if mine keeps that smell too.

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