Home Renovation: Our Guest Bedroom

At this point, our house is (mostly) livable, but few projects are completed—most are far from it. So it gives me great joy that we finally finished one room from start to finish. In fact, I love it so much, I can often be found just standing in the Lemon Room, gazing at it lovingly.

Guest Bedroom Renovation: Yellow and GrayBut first things first: We had to strip the carpet, scrape the ceilings, sand and paint the ceiling, cover the walls in Benjamin Moore’s Swiss Coffee and have a hardwood floor guy come and refinish the poplar that lay beneath (yes, this is the original 1800s floor). This was what it looked like when we moved in:

Guest Bedroom Renovation: Yellow and GrayThe inspiration for this room came from a lone chandelier. While visiting a friend down in Shelbyville for lunch one day last summer, I popped into an antiques mall. I’ve never overly wild about yellow—and I didn’t even own a house at that point—but I saw this beauty for $45 and had to own it.

Guest Bedroom Renovation: Yellow and GrayLittle did I know, a few months later, my collection of yellow home accents would be out of control.

Guest Bedroom Renovation: Yellow and GrayBut next, I found the gray (non-matching) bedside tables after I went and picked up our own his and her dressers from an antiques dealer I met via Craigslist. She sold (past tense, she no longer works there) out of La Vie en Rose Cottage in Nashville; I have since become pals with the owners and buy many of my antique pieces from their store. They ran for $50 and $65, I believe.

Guest Bedroom Renovation: Yellow and GrayThen I bought the curtains. We have a whole lot of windows—66 to be exact—and due to the hexagonal shape of them in many rooms, we can’t hang drapery. The Lemon Room was one of the few we could add a couple curtains for decorative effect, and so I snatched up these Z Gallerie Mimosa panels in charcoal when on sale last fall. (You’ll soon learn I don’t really believe in buying things full price.)

Guest Bedroom Renovation: Yellow and GrayNext up: the runner. I wanted something to lighten up the room more and give the open space some pizazz, so I found this zigzag wool rug from West Elm for $149, and waited until they were having a 30 percent off special to purchase it. I mean c’mon, like I was going to own my first house and not have a trace of chevron anywhere!

Chevron rugWe still had my beloved Vera Wang queen mattress from San Francisco and decided to put that in the guest room in favor of a king in ours (for the record: the Lemon Room bed is far more comfortable than ours, and I sleep across the hall often as a result!). I didn’t think we’d do a headboard, and then I found this scroll frame at Pier1 Imports on sale for $149, so I bought it and we spray painted silver to match the rest of the room.

Katy in the Lemon RoomSVV found the antique armoire from the 1920s via Craigslist in Brentwood for $265 and hauled it home in a huge storm, which was fun. I have been known to peruse sites like Fab and One’s King Lane regularly and found this mirror for $80 on Joss & Main.

Guest Bedroom Renovation: Yellow and GrayOver Christmas in Memphis, we went to my cousin’s favorite homes store, I.O. Metro, where I purchased both the geometric pillow ($70) and the umbrella stand ($80). The lamp stands and shades came from World Market (around $40 per lamp), and the mug ($8) and water glasses ($4 each) came from Anthropologie. The other little odds and ends like the vintage clock and the frame ($5 each) came from various nicknack and secondhand stores.

Lemon RoomI then put fake flowers from IKEA and Z Gallerie (around $8 a bunch) inside it in lieu of umbrellas, and this might be my favorite part of the room because the guest doesn’t know it’s there until they shut the door to go to bed, then bam! A colorful pop of sunshine greets them.

Guest Bedroom Renovation: Yellow and GrayIn January, you may recall that we finally tiled the ugly painted fireplace. It went from this:

Lemon Room, BeforeTo this:

Guest Bedroom Renovation: Yellow and GrayThe new sunflower hue added a lot of character to a formerly drab room. Finally, last week, we hung the three city prints I bought from BirdAve last fall (a bundle of three 16x20s for $120)—the three cities near and dear to my heart, San Francisco, New York and Nashville—in the silver IKEA frames I purchased in Atlanta ($15 each).

Guest Bedroom Renovation: Yellow and GrayJust when I thought the room was done, I was in Pier1 with my mom last week and found these turquoise pillows for $15 apiece. Originally, the whole room was going to be canary yellow and slate gray, until I added the city prints and really liked the shade of blue BirdAve offered.

Guest Bedroom Renovation: Yellow and GrayNow all that’s left to do is find some cute tie-backs for the curtains. I had thought I wanted to hang one of our photos in canvas form over the fireplace, but I think there’s enough going on in the room already. Besides, then it would distract from the lovely piece of artwork my cousin Kelly made.

Guest Bedroom Renovation: Yellow and GrayElla approves.

Ella in the Lemon Room

So…what do you think? More importantly, now that one guest room is all ready to welcome visitors, when are you coming to stay?

Guest Bedroom Renovation: Yellow and Gray


Where I Shopped:

Curtains, Z Gallerie | Dressers, La Vie en Rose | Headboard, Pier1 Imports | Comforter, West Elm| Bedskirt, Macy’s | Runner, West Elm | Fireplace tiles, Mission Stone and Tile | Fake flowers, IKEA and Z Gallerie | Umbrella stand, I.O. Metro | Geometric pillow,ย I.O. Metro | Turquoise pillows, Pier1 Imports | City skyline prints, BirdAve | Silver frames, IKEA | Mirror, Joss & Main | Yellow bird cage, Z Gallerie | Mug and Glasses, Anthropologie

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Comments ( 69 )

  1. Love it!!! you are amazing!

  2. For some reason when I saw this room on Instagram I didn’t realize it was at your house. I thought it was a cute little b&b somewhere. :) I love it!!! I love the colors and the curtains and the bedspread…everything! Nice job!

  3. I think it looks great! I love the prints over the bed and need one! Atlanta and Chattanooga!
    Andrea J. recently posted..Spring Fever!My Profile

  4. I absolutely LOVE this!! Looking at interior design and gorgeous rooms are absolutely my favourite thing, and I love what you did with all of this! The yellow is an amazing touch – who would’ve thought it would go so well?
    Cheryl Keit Ang recently posted..Swimming between continents in Silfra, รžingvellirMy Profile

  5. You are AMAZING!!! I love how this came out! Who knew lemon yellow could be made into such an incredibly chic statement!

  6. Love this!! So awesome! I am loving the yellow + teal, I am in the process of reworking my living room with mustard and peacock, so this post hits the spot EXACTLY!


    (Did I mention I love it? Oh. I love it.)

    heidikins recently posted..Cookery โ€“ March 2013My Profile

  7. Wow – what a beautiful home!!

    My husband and I ran away from home six years ago and we have been traveling full-time in an RV and a sailboat since then. We are now accustomed to living in very small quarters, so all those bedrooms and beautiful furnishings look like truly divine luxury to me!!

    Someday we’ll go back to sticks and bricks — I dream of a home like yours eventually — but for now our lives are on the road!!!

    Thanks for sharing!!!
    Emily recently posted..Shipwreck in Paradise โ€“ A unique ship hits the beach!My Profile

    • We can switch lives and homes at some point, k? Scott and I loved our RV lifestyle two years ago and dream about someday doing a longer trip (we only had two months last time).

  8. Man, I wish MY bedroom looked like that, never mind the guest room. Beautiful!

  9. Wow! The room looks so welcoming! Thank you so much for including our city prints. Very honoured to be on your blog again. Thank you :)

    • You are welcome! I’m so glad I found your site through Misadventures with Andi, as the three prints are my favorite part of our whole house =) I’m sure I’ll be buying more from you guys when we get to the home office reno!

  10. It looks really beautiful–I love the colors and how bright it is.
    Sarah at SeeEatRepeat recently posted..Franceโ€™s National Museum of the Middle Ages (a.k.a., the Cluny)My Profile

  11. I really like the Lemon room even though yellow is not usually one of my favored colors. I’ll stay, just don’t know when. Is it a working fireplace?
    Gaelyn recently posted..Gifts from the Earth, gathering for memoriesMy Profile

  12. 1. I love original hardwood flooring- it’s gorgeous!
    2. I second the chevron pattern. Can’t live without it.
    3. I hope you’ll save a night for me this summer when I swing through Nashville ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Awesome job Kristin! And I love the color scheme.
    Laura recently posted..Spring Yearnings for EuropeMy Profile

  13. I want to come and stay in your house!

  14. What a beautiful, stylish room! I love that you shared the shopping info. It’s enough to make me want to buy a house and start decorating (if not for that whole mortgage business.)

    PS – who would cover that gorgeous wood floor with carpet??
    cosmoHallitan recently posted..Literary Lunch at M on the Bund, ShanghaiMy Profile

    • Right? That’s what I want to know! We thought surely the floor must be damaged beneath for someone to put that terrible carper on it. But no, we just had to have a hardwood guy refinish it (we could have done this ourselves but were in a time crunch before moving it), and it turned out to be my favorite floor in the whole house.

      Re: the mortgage business, you just need to move to Tennessee…our mortgage is less than half what our rent for a one-bedroom apartment was in San Francisco! Inconceivable!

  15. It looks awesome! My latest project has been the guest bedroom, as well. I think it’s a great place to use some bright colors, since it isn’t necessarily a space you’ll be in all the time. I went with gray and coral (both more pink and more peach), with pops of turquoise and smokey purple, but I did consider a gray + yellow theme, too!

    And now that room is nicer than the master bedroom. Better get on that!
    Charise recently posted..Quick Peanut Butter Granola BarsMy Profile

    • Ha! Same with ours! We haven’t done much with the master yet, aside from the windows, hardwood floor and fireplace reno.

      I LOVE gray and coral—I wanted to do that color palette but ran out of rooms! Do you have pictures of it on your blog?

  16. gorgeous! (and I, for one, enever tire of hearng about the house — in fact, would love to hear/read more! I know you’re a travel writer, not a home blogger :) — but I wouldn’t mind reading an odd story here and there about the renovation….)

  17. So beautiful! I love it! You guys are amazing.
    Ris recently posted..Book Review: The End of the PointMy Profile

  18. The BirdAve prints are my favorite part too!! Do you accept permanent visitors?

  19. Gorgeous! Seriously–please help me decorate my house? If I ever get one? ๐Ÿ˜€
    Molly recently posted..lo! i actually finished something i started!My Profile

  20. the original url for ‘lemon room’ didnt work [dead link from home page], did you change it to ‘home renovation bedroom’? i had to dig through your archives to pull this one out since i totes wanted to see this room! –> it is stunning. you did an amazing job with SVV. esp the fireplace. wow. seriously. count me in w Ella’s approval. cant wait to see more rooms

  21. I love it! Can you come and decorate my apartment, please? Or wave a magic wand and give Santiago the kind of antique stores that you have and me the ability to find the treasures you’ve find in those stores?
    Emily in Chile recently posted..MockBaMy Profile

  22. Gorgeous! I’m not very good at decorating, so I never would’ve thought about gray and yellow together with a splash of blue, but I love it.

  23. After seeing those prints, I spent an hour exploring the site. I was surprised and impressed when I found a Pensacola print. I had to have it. Then I had to have Hawaii, where we spent our 10 year anniversary, and Denver, where we live now. I can’t wait for them to arrive. I already have the perfect place for them.
    Jen recently posted..Ski Loveland is an Affordable Option for FamiliesMy Profile

  24. What a lovely room. Guests would surely enjoy their stay here.
    Jeremy Norton recently posted..How to Start a Diner BusinessMy Profile

  25. Your guest room is simply perfection!

    I L-O-V-E that chandelier – it is so cute and I can’t believe it was only $45.

    Be careful what you wish for, should I ever find myself anywhere near your house, I will make this room mine.

    I can’t wait to see how the rest comes together.
    Tami (Teacher Goes Back to School) recently posted..Saturday SensesMy Profile

  26. I loved the way you renovated your guest bedroom. But the only one question aroused in my mind is about yellow color. Why so much focus of yellow color? BTW I loved the color amalgamation as well.

  27. Wow – that’s one talent right there. This room looks like something out of one of those home-thingy magazines!! If this is what the guest bedroom looks like, I’d love to see what you’ve done with the master bedroom :)
    jill recently posted..Looking Forward: The Next 6 MonthsMy Profile

    • The master is in a holding pattern now. We have some cool pieces of furniture and we redid the fireplace in that room (which I love) but the rest of it is undecorated. That will probably be one of the last rooms we tackle, oddly enough!

  28. I absolutely LOVE IT!! The pops of color are absolutely wonderful and those floors!! I love old houses – so much character!
    terra recently posted..Wisdom tooth removal, the Tooth Fairy & dentist hate.My Profile

  29. Love it!!!!!!!! We have our BirdAdv prints in our bathroom.
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Highlands, North Carolina: Day 1-2My Profile

  30. Wow that’s really amazing. :)
    travel and vacation recently posted..How to Choose a Travel Agency for Your VacationMy Profile

  31. Wow. Seriously, the room looks fabulous and the yellow accents are just gorgeous. Love the City prints but still getting over the fact you have 66 windows! Found you through the commentluv search engine :) Look forward to coming back!
    Jen recently posted..Would you Install a Home Spa? A Guide on Whatโ€™s AvailableMy Profile

  32. Beautiful! I love the yellow chandelier!

  33. WELL DONE!
    Wow, I am so impressed!
    I can’t wait to visit! (no, really)

  34. Kristin!! Can i be your guest?
    Your home is well decorated…
    I like it…I will also manage my room like you..
    Thanks for sharing…

  35. Love it! The bright pops of color are a fun touch.
    JoAnna recently posted..Drooling in the Long Room: Literary Tradition in Dublin, IrelandMy Profile

  36. Great renovation! Even your dog looks quite comfortable in the guest room. We are always redoing a room at our Florida house – we are trying to make the bedrooms look like our favorite Miami golf resort (a little bit anyway) since we are on a golf course. Thanks for the tips and especially the photos.

  37. Love your room! I’m in the process of redoing our guest room in yellow and gray with pops of coral and turquoise. Very similar to yours! What color did you order your Nashville print in? I can’t tell which of the colors available it is!

  38. Wow ! This all looks so classy and superb. You are simply amazing. It is very beautiful.

  39. Contractors should always consider the functionality of every part of the house. Not just because it looks good doesnโ€™t mean it has to be there. Never sacrifice it.
    Windows Ringwood NJ recently posted..Nam elit magna hendrerit sit amet tincidunt ac viverra sed nulla.My Profile

  40. Um, I want to live in this room. Like, seriously.
    Tawny of Captain and Clark recently posted..Instagram stories: Maui editionMy Profile

    • Remodeling can also take on the form of revamping or adding a bathroom, redoing a kitchen, overhauling your home’s exterior for improved curb appeal, or completing an addition to increase your home’s square footage and add valuable space. Big and small changes can both have an impact and will improve the way your home looks and functions, increasing its value and making it more enjoyable for you and your family.


  1. […] than finishing a room, we’ve been busy installing closets, cleaning out the attic and other small tasks. The yard […]

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