Small House Decorating – Dressing Room

I’m late posting, I know. I’m way behind on a lot of my reading and writing, I have no idea what to catch up with first. But I have an excuse, I’ve been very busy transforming my dressing room from an ugly kid’s room into a glamorous adult refuge.

I’m pretty damn good at decorating. I get it from my dad. Nobody seems to know this, but he has a fantastic sense of style in all things, and he’s awesome. We enjoy discussions about warm vs cool colors, refinishing old furniture, and how much we hate wallpaper borders. Even so I was a bit nervous about this, because I was going bold. But a small room that you’re the only real user of is a pretty good excuse to be experimental.

Before: I forgot to take any official before photos, so this is one of the dresser that I took for the purpose of telling Facebook it was up for grabs.

Before: I forgot to take any official before photos, so this is one of the dresser that I took for the purpose of telling Facebook it was up for grabs.

The previous owners of our house were using this room as a nursery. It was pastel purple with white trim, and during the showing had a white crib and changing table. I have to admit that even for a baby this room was tiny, being only twice the size of our bathroom, so I’m pretty sure this is why they moved out. Of course I have no use whatsoever for a nursery, so what’s a girl to do? Dressing room!

Before: I had started moving things out of the room, and in my moment of color-anxiety I took this so I could try out different shades in good old photoshop.

Before: I had started moving things out of the room, and in my moment of color-anxiety I took this so I could try out different shades in good old photoshop.

For the last year or so though, this room still looked like it belonged to a little kid, just one that had no need to sleep. I was still using the dresser my dad had bought me when I was 12, supplemented for storage by a ghetto, sagging bookshelf that belonged to my father in law in the 60s. It had one of those big old pencil sharpeners on it that you’d see in classrooms. I’d always wanted to upgrade my dresser to a glamorous vanity and couldn’t afford one, so when my mom and step dad were downsizing from their condo into a smaller house, I got crazy lucky in that I got to take the vanity and cabinet set that had been in my family for many years. I remember these things being in the spare bedroom of our house when I was 7 or 8, but of course back then I didn’t appreciate the beauty of them. To a kid who grew up in the 90s, everything wood, old, or even just brown is often assumed to be “70s” and not worth paying much attention to. Kids are stupid.

After. That is one hell of a transformation. These hat boxes are decorative that I bought from Homesense. I use them for lingerie, which is brilliant. The dresser itself is also jam packed with lingerie.

After. That is one hell of a transformation. These hat boxes are decorative that I bought from Homesense. I use them for lingerie, which is brilliant. The dresser itself is also jam packed with lingerie.

When my step dad and brother brought these over to my house unexpectedly one recent afternoon before their move, I was stunned. These were just TOO gorgeous, how did I get so lucky? Of course it makes sense to paint a room before you get the furniture in, so I decided that was what would be happening this weekend. FINALLY.

This bench that my mom gave me out of her foyer with bolster pillows is a necessary soft place to sit, because there's absolutely no room for a bed. The space just wouldn't be complete without it. I'm aware some spots in the painting were missed. I'll have to get to that later.

This bench that my mom gave me out of her foyer with bolster pillows is a necessary soft place to sit, because there’s absolutely no room for a bed. The space just wouldn’t be complete without it. I’m aware some spots in the painting were missed. I’ll have to get to that later.

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At first I was going to go with a bright classic teal, the kind you see in 50s style decor and graphics. I figured it was still kid-friendly enough that it would keep the room “sellable” when we decided to move again. At that last minute though, I changed my mind. I wanted to distance myself from that look as much as possible. So I took the shade much, much deeper.

This is the vanity, and pictures just don't do it justice. The grain of the wood, the detailed craftsmanship, this thing is stunning. Because it's so small, a regular chair is enormous, so I'm using a small fold out ottoman/seat that I got for Christmas. It was probably pretty cheap and the top comes off for even more storage, and after using this three different ways in my house already, I totally recommend them. I think I should get a couple more.

This is the vanity, and pictures just don’t do it justice. The grain of the wood, the detailed craftsmanship, this thing is stunning. Because it’s so small, a regular chair is enormous, so I’m using a small fold out ottoman/seat that I got for Christmas. It was probably pretty cheap and the top comes off for even more storage, and after using this three different ways in my house already, I totally recommend them. I think I should get a couple more.

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I love those colors that are in between two or three things so they seem to change with the light. That’s what this is. I would consider it more or less straight up blue, but in the golden glow of artificial light, it turns teal green. It looks like the sky moments before full darkness, and that reminded me of New Orleans. Suddenly I had a theme in mind. I’ve always loved decorating with Mardi Gras beads, even our Christmas tree looks more like something off a Mardi Gras parade float, so why not run with that?

This is the matching cabinet, and it screams art deco. It holds plenty of stuff, but I won't be putting anything very heavy in it. It's very light and feels a bit delicate so I'm going to be very careful.

This is the matching cabinet, and it screams art deco. It holds plenty of stuff, but I won’t be putting anything very heavy in it. It’s very light and feels a bit delicate so I’m going to be very careful.

It’s not finished yet, but the big stuff is done. I still need to get a non-modern area rug to cover the multiple stains on that nasty grey carpet. One day we’ll pull it up and bring it back to its former hardwood glory. I’m going to decorate the walls with wrought iron and jazz album covers. I plan on making a shelf above the vanity that looks like a mini New Orleans balcony complete with wrought iron railing, ferns, a Bourbon Street sign, and with a MAD curtain of beads hanging from hooks underneath. But so far this looks like an entirely different room, and I’m finally not disgusted by it.

And now for more pics!

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When you just don't have much space, go vertical. These wall shelves are great for keeping all my bottles of perfume, jewelry, and some other things out of the way, and are decorative too. Attaching shelves directly to the wall is also great for nightstands in small bedrooms (which we've also done) or console tables above the couch when you just can't squeeze in an end table.

When you just don’t have much space, go vertical. These wall shelves are great for keeping all my bottles of perfume, jewelry, and some other things out of the way, and are decorative too. Attaching shelves directly to the wall is also great for nightstands in small bedrooms (which we’ve also done) or as console tables above the couch when you just can’t squeeze in an end table.

Goth Rosary and Britney Spears perfume, a winning combination.

Goth Rosary and Britney Spears perfume, a winning combination.

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If you're the type that loves flower and feather hair clips, keep them on a ribbon. They're easier to access, look great, and it fits as many as you'll ever want.

If you’re the type that loves flower and feather hair clips, keep them on a ribbon. They’re easier to access, look great, and it fits as many as you’ll ever want.

Shot glasses can be a cool way to store small items like bobby pins and earrings.

Shot glasses can be a cool way to store small items like bobby pins and earrings.

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Well, I guess that’s it for now! What do you think?

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