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A Design Plan for The Master Bedroom

    Master Bedrooms always seem to be the last to get attention. Mismatched furniture (or lack thereof!), artless walls, and lack of lighting seem to be more the norm than not. At least that has always been the case in our home.

    For this new house, one of my goals is to get the master bedroom put together first.

    Well, maybe not first since there are a million and a half other things to do, but putting it together is right up there at the top.

    Our old bedroom was on the main floor with all of the kids upstairs. We loved having our room downstairs, especially because it meant I didn’t have to see the kids’ messy rooms all the time!

    This new master bedroom is at the top of the stairs on the second floor and runs along the back of the house. But we’re actually really loving the idea of being up high and Audrey, especially, is happy to have our room so close to hers.

    The bedroom has great windows that look over the backyard and has the prettiest view of all of the changing leaves.  It feels a bit like being up in a treehouse and thankfully, the room gets good natural light. I was worried that everything would feel so dark since the property is surrounded by tall evergreens, but so far, that hasn’t seemed to be the case.

    masterwindowIt is a good-sized room, but not so big that it feels cavernous.  That is one of my favorite things about our new house; while the square footage is great for our big family, it still has the cozy feel of a smaller home.

    mastermastertobathThere are a few changes we’ll make to the bones of the room – new carpet, paint, remove the phone jacks and a cable outlet from the wall (there are so many!) and we’ll replace the ceiling fan with a light fixture. The ceilings are not super tall, which means ceiling mount lighting is a must. I’m still in the very early stages of figuring out what to do with all of the lighting in the house. I love a good feature light – I wish I could use this chandelier! – but the ceiling height just won’t allow for it.

    Our vision for this house is slightly different than how we decorated our previous one. While I will always gravitate toward white and neutrals, this home just feels like it needs to be cozy. Less fancy, less shiny metal, more warm textures and deep, muted color.

    You may remember the bed from our old master bedroom, which we have loved for a long time.


    We still do, actually. But it doesn’t feel like the right piece for this room.

    That’s one of the weird things we’re finding about moving; sometimes the furniture, colors and accessories from one home don’t quite fit in another. Most of our stuff will make its way into the new house, but some things (like our bed) will not.

    Here is what we’re thinking for our new room:


    Cozy. Slightly masculine. Lots of texture. Mixed metals. Warm neutrals with blues.

    And I definitely want to incorporate as many of our travel photos as possible. The one above is from our time at the Grand Tetons and has a moodiness quality that I hope to achieve in our home.

    I’m on the hunt for an upholstered bed, those wall sconces feel like an obvious choice and I love the idea of a patterned rug (although the one shown is now out of stock. boo).

    When I showed it all to Ryan the only thing he wasn’t crazy about was the scribble art (which I happen to think is fun and modern, but if that’s the only change then I feel like it is a win!).

    So that is the tentative plan. There is much to be done before the actual decorating stage and still many decisions to be made (carpet, paint color, lighting), but it is so helpful to have a clear design plan with colors, mood and furniture options right from the start.

    Now off to create design boards for every other room in the house …

    66 thoughts on “A Design Plan for The Master Bedroom”

    1. I love the scribble art….it adds just the touch you need to keep the room from being too boring…I’d keep it in…..

      What color will the walls be?

      1. We haven’t decided on a wall color yet. I’m leaning toward a warm gray tone (perhaps revere pewter by BM). Before we paint the walls, we’ll choose a few of the items that will go in there, like the bed and carpet. Hopefully those decisions will come soon!

    2. Love the navy accents! Quick question — what program do you use to create your mood boards? Would love to play around with some for my own home.
      Thanks, Emily!
      xo Heidi

      1. Thanks!

        I use a combination of Photoshop (to remove backgrounds) and either Illustrator or – in this case – Google presentations where I layer in the items. There is a section in my new online class, Simplified Decorating, all about creating design boards!

    3. Hey Emily! We’re building, and I’m currently entrenched in research-all-the-things mode (current category: lighting) and am ordering several white sconces that are almost identical to the black ones on your board.

      They have them in black too, and they are $50 (!!!) with Prime shipping…just in case you’re interested in something similar for about 1/4 of the price.

      Here’s the link:

    4. Looks great! I love the design board idea and am wondering if you could create a short tutorial on how to make one, for those of us who are technically challenged. I love Pinterest for capturing ideas and recipes, etc. but it would be great to be able to create my own design boards!

      Thanks so much!

    5. Congratulations on your new home. I am looking forward to following along as you transform it into your own space. It has great bones. I was tickled to see your mood board. My bedroom is almost exactly what your board is. I have a few more things to get before it is complete, but love the progress! I adore the addition of the photography from your trip. Who will you use to get it printed on such a large scale? I was wondering what program or app you use to design your mood boards?

      1. I may try to send the photo to costco and see how the quality turns out. As for Design Boards, I use photoshop to remove the background and I just add it to a Google Presentation blank board. It works like a charm! In my newest online class, Simplified Decorating, there is a whole lesson on design boards and I go more into how I create them.

    6. Hi Emily!
      I’d love to hear if you’ve already chosen carpet? We’re looking and need to make a decision ASAP and I’m so overwhelmed! Lots of choices — I want to go light but not sure how light because of all my kiddos (3 with number 4 on the way). Would love to know what you’re going with!

    7. Beautiful mood board! That chandelier made my heart flutter! Kind of makes me want a huge chandelier over my bed! Can’t wait to see what you do!

    8. I’m originally from Eastern Idaho and the Tetons hold a special place in my heart. I love your photo, it really captures the moodiness of those mountains. Would you ever be willing to share it? I would love to hang this in my house!! I’m happy to pay for the file!

      1. We’re thinking about offering a few of our photos for sale in our shop. I need to have them printed professionally to see how the quality turns out and then we will go from there!

    9. Love your plans; the colors, textures, art (well, still thinking on the scribble print) and the lighting are all gorgeous!! I can’t wait to see the finished room!
      When my neighbor moved into her new and much larger new home, she wondered to me several times what she was going to do about all the new furniture she was going to need. A month after she and her family had moved into their home, she called me. “I figured out what to do!” she exclaimed. She told me she was forgetting about the rest of her house and focusing only on her and Rick’s master bedroom and bath. All of her life, she and Rick had focused on their 5 daughters; they came first for anything and everything, whether it was new bedroom furniture or a basement remodeled into a kid rec room instead of a cozy family, TV room.
      She reminded me of me! My husband and I had kept our master bedroom door closed for years! We only entered into the room to shower or sleep, it was unfinished and ugly…REALLY ugly. I cheered her on. Within weeks, she had created the most beautiful, serene, relaxing bedroom/reading room and luxurious master bath!
      She said the rest of the house would come along as needed. That was two years ago. Her home has come along and it is gorgeous. Through all of the new/vintage decorating and refinishing, she said the best part was retreating to her lovely bedroom each evening and waking up there the next morning.
      Thanks for a fun post!

    10. Emily, your new home is beautiful and the land is breathtaking!! I wanted to share the link below if you are looking for an inexpensive upholstered bed that is made well. I recently ordered this bed for my sister who was on a tight budget and I was surprised how well it was made. It is inexpensive and has free shipping. Good luck with your home!

      Tammy Culpepper
      Tammy Culpepper Design

    11. Hi Emily –
      I just LOVE your new home! When I first saw the title of the post that you were moving, I
      couldn’t believe it because I really liked your old house. But this one is so much better on
      so many levels! Your bedroom inspiration is great too, but I’m sure you’ll be tweaking it
      along the way. One question (which is probably pretty naive on my part) but how do you
      create a mood board? I have a room that needs decorating and would love to get all
      my ideas together. Thank you in advance for responding!

      1. I created this mood board grabbing images from the internet and removing the background in Photoshop. Next I bring it in to Google Presentation (in this case – usually I use Illustrator) to layer. In my newest online class, Simplified Decorating, there is a whole lesson on Design Boards. I also show how to create it in Illustrator in my Simplified Graphic Design: Projects + Techniques class.

    12. Our house is a few years older and we have a similar color molding. Are you planning on painting the molding or leaving it as is? I need some inspiration!

    13. Hi Emily,

      I love the mood board and can’t wait to see the progress pics! I’m sure you’ve already been asked, but I was wondering if you will be selling prints of your travel photography? You have some beautiful images!

    14. I love this concept of making your sacred space beautiful and reflective of the design of the home. I have a beautiful bedroom set and really need to make time to declutter so that the space is more welcoming and comfortable. I also need to think about artwork and the pretty details and lighting.
      Have fun and I look forward to seeing the end result.

    15. Yeah I totally get the new house different vibe thing! It’s true! We are thinking of doing some dark blue and wood in our master. We are set to move in to our new build on the 28th! Eee! What program do you use or how do you create your design boards? I’d really love to do these as well to help plan our new house. Thanks!

      1. Design boards are so important in figuring out what to do with a space! I use photoshop to remove backgrounds and either layer in Adobe Illustrator or, in this case, Google Presentation. I created this board for my new class, Simplified Decorating, where I teach a lesson on creating Design Boards. Class opens Monday!

    16. Love the plan. Surprisingly, Walmart has the type of bed you’re looking for, keep them on the search list. LOVE that wood bead chandelier, but I thought of it for a dining area. How’s that mood board coming along? :) I’ve been playing with Mood for creating my own design boards, do you have a favorite app?

    17. First time responder, but have enjoyed your blog for the past 9 months or so. Loved reading, and seeing pics, from your family trip. I dream of doing this type of trip across Canada first (I’m from Calgary, Alberta) then the States.

      The reason for my response today though is I was wondering if you considered making your own headboard? I actually made an upholstered king sized headboard, with button tufting, for just under $100 Canadian. With my husband’s help it was a day long project (which I broke up over a few days – around family schedule). I found really helpful instructions on Pinterest. It wasn’t that hard to do and obviously cost wise it can’t be beat.

      Thank you for sharing yourself, your ideas, your family, and faith through your blog.

    18. After moving many times, we finally made our master bedroom the priority in our current house when we moved it. It was hard because I knew hardly anyone would see it. But every time I walk in there I’m so thankful we did it that way. Projects are always going on in other parts of the house, but when I walk in the bedroom it feels like a happy, welcoming retreat.

    19. christy @theharperhouse

      your new house is so beautiful Emily! Can’t wait to see what you do with it. We just moved this past summer as well, and while I am itching to do something with our master – we decided to work on the kids’ rooms first. Love your mood board – my problem is I am so indecisive and can never settle on what I want. Looks like you have a great start!

    20. Love this! I’m so happy for you and your new home. I can’t wait to see it decorated. I love the blue pillow on your idea board. Can you share where its’ from?

      1. I’m not sure where the pillow is from … I just pulled items from the internet to get a sense of style – not as much exact products. I wish I would have marked down sources, though!

    21. Question Emily, Are you going to put wall to wall carpet in your master or are you looking to put an area rug over wood flooring? I am asking because we plan to replace our carpeting upstairs and will continue with carpeting in the 3 “kids” bedrooms, but am thinking about laminate in the master (over carpet because of the cost) with an area rug. Wondering about the design sense of this choice. Any ideas? I would so appreciate your take on this. What a fun project for your family. I hope you will be very happy in your new home…

      1. We are going to stick with wall to wall carpet all upstairs. I’m not opposed to putting a rug over carpet – ryan is not quite as into it. We’ll see what we end up doing :)

    22. Emily….we are living a parallel existence. My family just moved into a lovely, older home we are beautifying one room at a time, as well. We are also attempting to focus on the Master Bedroom with a very similar design plan as yours. I love your blog and your sweet spirit. We would be great friends, I think! ;)Blessings to you and yours! I look forward to watching your new home evolve.

      1. Thank you for your reply! I have always read that you shouldn’t put rugs over carpet, but I added an area rug in our home office that I am redecorating and since the rug is kind of old I decided it didn’t matter if it faded weird etc. I love it! It added so much and even my husband said it really cozied up the space…. Can’t wait to see all you do to your new home…

    23. So so excited to watch you go through this process. The new home is so charming (and I very much wish I could find a similar style here in Tahoe).

      I would love to know the source of your rug too, if you’re willing to share.

      We are currently updating our room in navy’s and blues and I’ve been stalking rugs for weeks (possibly months).


    24. Every time that we’ve moved, used to be every 4 years, I have done new accent colors, and slightly different style. I always have a classic element, but still like to keep up with changing styles. I’m so excited to see everything that you’re doing, in your new home! It’s a lot of pressure, but so much fun!!!

    25. It’s so fun to see the process! I couldn’t agree more about how homes have their own style. We moved from a traditional looking home to a more clean lines home and had to completely change up our decorating. Can’t wait to see the other design boards!

    26. I forgot to say that I love those black wall sconces, and I’m with YOU on the scribble art! I think it’s very cool and modern :) Why do husbands never see the beauty in abstract art? ;)

    27. I loved your old metal bed. My husband refuses to try a metal bed, so I admire them in other people’s bedrooms ;) obviously living on the coast in seattle, a ceiling fan is probably not a necessity like it is for me in sweltering Texas, but I love a ceiling fan in my bedroom even in winter to keep the air flowing. My hubby recently installed a sleek modern fan in our room for me. It’s not a chandelier, but still a nice architectural piece.
      Your new house is simply beautiful! Tears sprang to my eyes when I saw pictures of the outdoor spaces! And with my own four kids in a small house, I know you will not regret the extra square footage :) I can’t wait to watch you turn it into a home :)

    28. Love everything about the direction you’re going! Where the black dresser from? That would look perfect in our guest room.

    29. I live somewhat locally. I’d be interested in buying the bed. Love that bed – we have one that’s almost identical but in brass. You can contact me directly if interested. Thanks!

    30. I love this! I wonder if you should go through a summer before taking down the fan in case it gets hot up there. I also think that a house will definitely tell you how it should be decorated if you listen closely. Can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

    31. We just bought a new house, too, and are feeling like the master needs to be a top priority (or else it will never get done!). I think I still feel like a dresser and side tables need to match if they’re both wooden, but this was such a helpful graphic to see that nope! mixing woods even in a smaller room like a bedroom can look beautiful.


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