Small room makeover: From drab nursery to Mardi Gras dressing room

Updated Oct 12 2015
Guest post by Ava Strange

small room makeover from nursery to dressing roomThe 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!

I was a bit nervous about this small room redecoration, 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.

I use the hat boxes for my lingerie.
I use the hat boxes for my lingerie.
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.

I love those colors that are in between two or three shades 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?

Because it's so small, a regular chair is enormous, so I'm using a small ottoman as a seat.
Because it's so small, a regular chair is enormous, so I'm using a small ottoman as a seat.

I'd always wanted to upgrade my dresser to a glamorous vanity. So when my mom and step dad were downsizing from their condo into a smaller house, I got lucky in that I got to take the vanity and cabinet set that had been in my family for many years.

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.

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.

Goth Rosary and Britney Spears perfume, a winning combination.
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. Goth Rosary and Britney Spears perfume — a winning combination.
This bench with bolster pillows is a necessary soft place to sit, because there's absolutely no room for a bed.
This bench with bolster pillows is a necessary soft place to sit, because there's absolutely no room for a bed.

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.

  1. Oh I LOVE!! My husband and I just moved into a "two bedroom" apartment, but the second bedroom was laughably small.. So guess who else got a walk in closet?? Me!! πŸ˜€ sadly I can't paint here but he built a custom closet for me against one wall and we added my grandmas old armoire as a coat closet. Then we put this little white cabinet I'd had in my old bathroom as a vanity.. It's looking cute! Not done yet either but cute!

  2. Get out of my head! I'm considering redoing one of the rooms in our house with vivid blue paint and I even considered painting the trim brown (after a lifetime of being firmly in the "white trim only" camp). It's going to be my office, though.

    • There's two reasons I went with brown. It's a neutral color that fits nicely in a peacock palette, and while most of our house has the original wood trim, it's been painted in the bedrooms and would be a lot of work to restore. We plan on getting that done one day but this is the simplest way to get vaguely the same effect in the meantime. I'm really glad I chose it.

  3. Oh my god, DAT COLOR. DAT COLOR IS THE COLOR OF MY DREAMS OF HEAVEN. And also of your very cute house which I would covet were I not totally in love with my own. πŸ˜€

    Please tell me what dat color is? That is the color I have been searching for for my tiny office. Pretty please?

    • As more rooms get complete I'll definitely share πŸ™‚ All the painting is done, now it's just about art, shelves, and plants, little things like that.

  4. Looks great!

    Pretty sure that room's about the size of the one I lived in as a teenager, I'm convinced the bathroom was bigger than my room, and it wasn't a large bathroom.

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