Guest Bedroom: A Cozy Space for Guests


Last week we finished our quick guest bedroom “redo”, and I’m pretty smitten with the results.

The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom 4 copy The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom nightstand

We spent two weeks transforming this 77sf room from an awkward white left-over space into a comfortable bedroom for guests.  It’s still small (obviously we couldn’t change that…), but it feels a whole lot cozier.  Here’s what the room looked like before the wainscot and paint and brass hanging light and framed photos and retrofitted antique bed.

Dexter House - Guest Bedroom

And after…

The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom 5




The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom foot of bed

Sooooo much better, right?!

I went with a simple black and white color scheme for this room and added hints of natural wood and brass.  The simple color palette keeps this small room from feeling cluttered and really works with the vibe of the rest of the house.  The end result is a cozy and simple space that feels nostalgic and sophisticated and maybe just a bit sultry.  For the walls, I selected historic photos from Costco’s image gallery and mounted them in Ikea frames.  Simple white drapes cover the window and closet and a blackout roman blind helps guests sleep in (or it would if our toddler wasn’t running down the hallway by 6am every morning!).  The hanging brass light was a DIY project by yours truly.

The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom nightstand 2The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom suitcase

We bought the 1800s rope bed from a very sweet lady name Mary via Craigslist.  She actually sold us two antique frames for $120 (more on that here), but I selected this one for the guest bedroom.  Because the frame is narrower and shorter than a modern full (it turns out there weren’t standard mattress sizes in the 1800s…), we did a little reworking to extend the side rails, push them out a few inches, and then slipped a new 2×4 and plywood frame in between the rails.

The Grit and Polish - DIY Brass Hanging Light 2The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom rope bedThe Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom bed frame

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I love this bed frame.  It’s my kind of antique: pretty and sturdy and interesting.  I keep joking that our guests will always have to sleep on a full-sized bed, because I envision carting this frame from house to house with us until it finally lands in our forever house’s giant and bright guest bedroom. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?!

I did a little research on rope beds, and found out that people used to string rope around those small wood nobs in a cross-hatch pattern.  They topped the rope base with a homemade mattress, usually filled with feathers or hay.  The ropes needed tightening often, which makes me think the phrase “sleep tight” used to be mean something a whole lot different than it does now.

The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom 9

The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom Window 2

The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom Bed and MirrorThe Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom mirror

We’ve had this antique mirror sitting in the basement since we moved into the Dexter House.  I bought it off of Craigslist for $20 or so.  But I never liked the color much so was happy to spray-paint it glossy black.  I hung it from the ceiling using brass plumber’s safety chain, which I found (and fell in love with!) at the hardware store.

The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom 15

The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom suitcase 2

Well that’s it for our guest space!  At just 77sf, it gives a whole new meaning to cozy.  But I’m really happy with how it turned out and super glad we took the plunge and painted the walls black.  Speaking of the paint, I’ve gotten some mixed comments from readers about the black walls.  So I’m curious…what do you think?  Would you ever go dark in such a small room?

Read more about the guest bedroom redo: inspiration/getting started, bedframes, and progress.

Resources: bed frame, vintage | suitcase, Filson | bedspread, gift | white curtains, Ikea | roman blind, West Elm (on sale!) | mirror, vintage | black and white blanket, Anthropologie | side chair, Industry West | frames, Ikea | photographs, Costco image gallery | brass double picture frame, vintage | brass hanging light, DIY (post to follow) | lace throw, vintage | paint colors, listed here



p.s. let’s talk dark and sultry interiors for a minute.  This whole house tour on design*sponge is so so so lovely and such a breath of fresh (dark) air.  This entry is kinda spot on too.

p.p.s. Well this mansion is lovely, isn’t it?  And can’t we talk about that fireplace?!

p.p.p.s. Check out this cozy and eclectic family home tour on One Kings Lane…it’s a stunner.

p.p.p.p.s. I just couldn’t resist…If toddlers had Facebook.  Yes, I laughed out loud.

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  1. Where is the ceiling light fixture from? I’ve been looking for something similar.

  2. Alison G says:

    You didn’t paint much black. I am curious why did you choose gloss?

    • We used left over floor paint, which happened to have a slight shine to it. Strangely is looks almost mat on the floors but like gloss on the walls.

      • Alison G says:

        My bad I did not even notice the floors were painted and your right it looks different on the floor, that is strange indeed. Lots of work accomplished, and lots of painting. And it sounds low budget. The best kind. I think with that much white it makes a difference with the black. Are you happy with the sheen of the black? Maybe it bounces the light around better.

        • Yes this room was very low budget, which is always good! I actually love the sheen of the walls. There’s a lot of texture on them and the gloss kind of accentuates it, which just works in this room! I think the sheen makes the room a little brighter and it gives the black a little interest.

  3. hi there- can you elaborate on how you made the bed frame wider to accommodate a modern full size mattress? I just bought an antique spindle bed from craiglist for my guest room and I’m in the same boat as you, but I’m stumped on how to widen the frame without getting rid of the side rails all together and just attaching the foot and headboard. Any suggestions would be great! Love your blog btw. 🙂 -Jill

    • Thanks Jill! An antique spindle bed…sounds right up my alley! Actually I’ve been looking for one for a good year plus but haven’t found the right one. So…to widen our bed frame, we shifted the side rails to the outside the headboard and footboard using metal ‘L’ brackets. We simply cut off the old connection (not sure what you’re looks like, but we had a wood piece protruding from the side rails that went into holes in the headboard and footboard and that’s what we cut off) and then screwed the brackets to the rails and boards. Since there were no existing slats, we made our own base for the mattress with a 2×4 frame plus 2×4’s ever foot or so and laid plywood over it and ‘hung’ it from the side rails using more metal ‘L’ brackets. Did that make sense?

      • I found a vintage spool bed for $40 on craigslist last Friday and was considering getting it and replacing the blond waterfall guest suite of furniture that we currently have. Of course I didn’t jump on it right away and it was gone by Sunday. Only $40!

        We did luck out and get a vintage 1930s kitchen cabinet that we’ll be using for bathroom storage. I’ve been looking for over 5 years for a shallow cabinet (~12″) and haven’t had much luck until now (especially when I didn’t want to spend over $200).

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