Best Design Ideas to Steal From This Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation

A master bathroom should feel spacious and relaxing while also being functional and beautiful. And Sarah Vandiver’s 1980s master bathroom was anything but those things.

Sarah, the blogger behind Little Vintage Nest, was on a mission to make her bathroom fit in with the rest of her farmhouse’s airy, rustic, and quaint aesthetic. And it was quite the undertaking considering this was what it looked like before she got to work:

But now, it’s a calming and sophisticated space filled with vintage treasures and charming details. Here are a few of our favorite design ideas from Sarah’s bathroom makeover:

1. Give new life to old pieces with chalkboard paint.

Sarah upcycled dressers and transformed them into vanities with a little white chalkboard paint. These unique pieces make the bathroom feel like a one-of-a-kind space, while the chalkboard paint gives them a distressed quality, which is perfect for the style of the room.

2. Don’t think you can’t change new items.

When Sarah purchased the mirrors above the vanities, they had gold borders, a detail that doesn’t suit the space. Instead of using a less-than-perfect piece—or passing them up completely—she customized them. In order to make them fit into the look of the room, Sarah also gave them some love with white paint.

3. Make your towel racks work harder.

Most towel racks come with a single bar to hang towels from, but the ones Sarah used throughout the space have additional storage above the rack. Perfect for fresh flowers, candles, bathroom products, and more.

4. Choose elements with texture.

The wood racks, shelves, and foot stool all add some eye-catching texture and warmth to the space. That—and the fact that Sarah specifically choose tile for the floor and shower that resembles wood—gives this space some rustic appeal.

5. Accessorize your bathroom.

Most people fill their bathroom with bathroom products—soaps, scrubs, toothbrushes, towels, etc. But just a few charming accessories can make any bathroom feel special. Use the room as an opportunity to display photographs, fresh flowers, greenery, vintage pieces, or even family heirlooms.

Tips to Test for Lead Paint in Your Home

When left undisturbed, lead paint is mostly a dormant hazard, but during a remodel it can become a serious health issue. Any contractor dealing with it should know how to properly handle lead paint demolition and you should take steps to protect yourself and your family from contamination. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to check for lead paint so you can rest easy knowing what you’ve got on your walls.

Before 1978, lead was added to paint to provide durability. The higher the lead content the more durable the paint–and some paint contained up to 50 percent lead. The government started cracking down on lead in 1972 but didn’t completely ban it until 1978.

When dry, lead paint isn’t very dangerous unless it chips off and is ingested, making it particularly hazardous to toddlers. High lead content in children can quickly lead to health and neurological issues as their bodies absorb it much faster than adults do.

You can hire a pro to test for lead, which can be a great solution if you suspect lead contamination not only in your paint but in the soil around your home. Otherwise, if you buy a lead testing kit, you can DIY. These kits run $20-$40 and the two main EPA-approved kits include the Klean Strip D-Lead Paint testing kit and the 3M Lead Check Swabs.

Both kits work indicate lead by changing colors, which makes results instantaneous and easy-to-read.

How to Test Your Paint

The Klean-Strip kit is easy to use and includes six tests in each kit, so you can confirm the results if you’d like or test a number of different places.

Start by using the included wipes to clean the surface test area as well as the testing tools. Pick an area where you won’t notice a small paint chip is missing from your wall, like in a closet, and use the scoring tool to begin cutting out a piece of paint.

Use a razor to cut the paint off the wall and keep the paint chip from falling by using the catch card. Dig deep so you catch every layer of paint.

Cut the paint chip into four small pieces and drop them into the first solution. Then add the second solution and shake for 10 seconds. Once the solution changes color, check it against the color viewer to determine if you’ve got lead in your paint.
The 3M swab test for lead is even easier to do, but follow the included instructions to get the best results.

What Next

If tests conclude you are lead free, then you can continue on with your remodeling plans, but if you’ve got lead on your walls, make sure your contractors and builders are certified to work in homes with lead paint.

Informations About This Dollhouse is Getting a Fixer Upper

Back in 2010, Thoughts From Alice blogger Alice Wingerden and her husband renovated their home, but this year she’s been tackling something a bit…smaller. It all started when Wingerden’s husband brought a dollhouse home from a yard sale. Made of plywood and minimally painted, the house was in desperate need of a makeover. Alice began renovating the tiny abode as part of the Dollhouse Therapy Challenge, revealing a new room redo each month from April until June, but the house isn’t complete yet. She still has to work her magic on a several rooms, but check out the flawless taste and attention to detail in what she’s done so far:

Kitchen Detail

Wingerden Mod Podged blue floral scrapbook paper to the floor and made the jute rug out of twine. Hexagon tiles add texture to the wall behind the appliances, while the rest are painted a simple white (all are lined with wood trim). Some pieces were saved from Wingerden’s childhood and others were purchased from The level of decorative detail is impressive—even the bamboo blinds are cut from the real thing.

Full Kitchen

Wingerden describes the kitchen’s style as “modern farmhouse with a vintage vibe and eclectic details.”

Living Room Detail

The dollhouse’s living room features pine flooring, a pale gray ceiling, and walls lined with wood trim. Covered with patterned teal scrapbook paper, the back wall also has the same bamboo blinds as the remodeled kitchen.
Thoughts From Alice

Full Living Room

Wingerden calls this look “boho eclectic.” Some of the DIY pieces include the shag rug, couch, pillows, and coffee table (clearly there’s no craft challenge Wingerden can’t conquer). The antique miniatures, collected throughout the years, add a vintage feel.
Thoughts From Alice

Girl’s Room Detail

Wingerden went with a princess theme for this room, adorning the side walls and floor with patterned pink scrapbook paper. She primed and painted the back wall and ceiling with chalk paint.

Full Girl’s Room

This vignette features the same wood trim as the kitchen and living area, a vintage brass bed (note the canopy made of the same sheer material used for the curtains), and even has its own dollhouse. With five rooms to go, we can’t wait to see what she designs next.

Important Things the Property Always Do Before Hiring a Contractor

Tackling a renovation can be daunting, but there’s one simple way to set yourself up for success: Surround yourself with the best experts out there, including a committed and talented contractor.

Jonathan and Drew Scott, authors of Dream Home and the stars of HGTV’s Property Brothers, know a thing or two about home improvement work. The two pros shared their best tips for hiring a contractor with Business Insider, and their insights are tremendously helpful, especially for first-time renovators.

“You can just turn over the keys and say, hey! Make my house pretty,” Jonathan says in the video above. But if you do that, you’re essentially setting yourself up for remodeling failure.

Here’s how to ensure you don’t get stuck with a contractor who will take advantage of you, according to the brothers.

1. Evaluate the contractor’s credibility.

Look for professional affiliations and check references, Jonathan advises. A little research can go a long way.

2. Look at previous projects.

Ask to see photos or samples of past work, Drew recommends. Don’t be shy or timid. You’re about to hand over thousands of dollars to this person, so make sure they’re worth the investment.

3. Put it in writing.

This includes quotes, the contract, payment terms and more. And if you don’t know the first thing about contracts, look at samples online. You can compare and contrast your contract with others, or use the samples to draft your own. This cheat sheet will ensure your contract has everything it needs.

4. Make sure the contractor is licensed.

This simple step is an easy way to judge his or her skill set and credibility. However, Jonathan pointed out that this is not a foolproof way to make sure they will do quality work, so check references before proceeding.

Tips Before Installing Shiplap

You don’t have to hire Joanna Gaines, move to an expensive property, or even spend a ton of money to give your home some farmhouse flair. In fact, there’s one particularly easy way to achieve the look and make a statement: installing shiplap in your home. That might seem like quite the DIY challenge, but with some patience and precision, it’s definitely achievable.

Lacey Haskell, the blogger behind Feathering My Nest, created a shiplap wall in her home and (lucky for us!) created a tutorial explaining exactly how she did it. The entire project can be completed in a weekend, and cost her just $134.50. It’s simple and stunning.

For anyone who wants to recreate the look in their own home, Lacey revealed her best installation advice. “Ensure that the first row of planks at the ceiling are level,” she explained. This is essential in order to make sure the rest of the boards align properly. Make sure each plank has a square edge, she added.

She also said shared some more general DIY pointers: “Take your time. I know it can be exciting to have the finished product but if you take your time as you work through the project, you increase your chances of a great outcome. And don’t hesitate to walk away from a project for a small break so that you can come back to it with fresh eyes.”

Know More About Minor Design Tweaks That Make Your Kitchen Feel Remodeled

Want a new kitchen but don’t want to spend the money or time necessary on a major renovation? Forget the idea of the “right” kitchen and improve your space with some “right now” partial remodeling ideas. In her new e-book Kelly’s Kitchen Savvy: Solutions for Partial Kitchen Remodels (available for Kindle on, certified master kitchen and bath designer and certified interior designer Kelly Morisseau shares her advice for how to tackle what she calls a “20 percent kitchen remodel” for maximum impact and minimum frustration. “Take a hard look at your kitchen with all its pros and cons to decide what can be accomplished first, and what can be accomplished down the road,” Morisseau says. “Lifestyle, time spent in the home, and future resale are all factors that should be considered by any homeowner looking to make changes to his or her kitchen, while keeping budget in mind.”

Check out Morisseau’s tips to transform your kitchen right now.


While giving the walls, ceiling, and trim a fresh coat of paint will combat dinginess, new lighting is an even better way to brighten your kitchen, Morisseau says. “Good lighting has the psychological effect of making your kitchen feel brighter, more cheerful, less cavernous, and easier to work in,” she says.

Switching out small ceiling-mounted lights for larger or brighter, energy-efficient fixtures will make the room’s ambient lighting more luxurious, she says. Task lighting, such as undercabinet lighting, can add brightness to the counters. “While most homeowners don’t pay attention to undercabinet lighting, adding it to your kitchen can make it brighter and easier to work in,” Morisseau says. While some undercabinet lighting is hardwired behind the wall, for a quick fix use models that can be plugged into the nearest receptacle outlet.


“A contractor once said that he could make any home look more expensive simply by adding better-quality—and prettier—trim, such as baseboards, crown molding, and door and window casings,” Morisseau says. “This is true for almost all homes. If you’re a handy DIYer, consider adding these to customize your kitchen.” If you’re a novice, pass on this upgrade until you can hire a pro: your home is likely not perfectly square and it can require some expertise to make sure everything lines up, Morisseau says.


Splurging on a professional range won’t necessarily put lesser-quality appliances in the shade. “Today’s appliances have a sleek appearance in almost any price category,” Morisseau says. “While it’s nice to maintain the same quality throughout—and imperative if your home is in the high six- and seven-figure price range—the same is not necessarily true for low- to mid-range homes. A nice stainless-steel professional range can be paired with a lower-priced stainless-steel refrigerator.” Pro tip: Consider buying last year’s models or buying in the fall for the best deals, Morisseau suggests. “Manufacturers may also offer deals if you buy all their appliances,” she says.

Those easily removed, such as the dishwasher, range, and refrigerator, are the simplest appliances to replace. Make sure the new appliances will fit in the existing cabinet openings and line up with the existing countertop depth before purchasing. “If they won’t, hire a carpenter or cabinetmaker to retrofit the openings, especially for refrigerators, cooktops and wall ovens,” Morisseau says. “Alternatively, if you’re planning on replacing the cabinets soon and your current cabinets aren’t large enough to accommodate the new appliances you want, wait until you’re ready to order the new cabinets.


“In luxury design, textured glass in a feature cabinet are popular,” Morisseau says. Insert plain glass into a couple of cabinet door fronts as a focal point and display your decorative servingware. Or, opt for frosted or etched glass inserts to hide shelves full of non-display-worthy dishes while still adding visual interest and a custom touch.


If your cabinets and drawers aren’t functional for your needs, Morisseau suggests considering purchasing after-market items, such as spice or cutlery trays, lazy Susans, roll-out shelving, smooth drawer glides, and pot and pan organizers, from home improvement stores to get custom interior fittings without replacing the cabinetry itself. “Luxury kitchens have great hardware,” she says.

Morisseau adds that the same can be true for appliances: If your appliances are old and you can’t afford to update them, consider replacing old or worn parts, such as burners on an electric range, knobs on a dishwasher, or shelves in a refrigerator.


“In a luxury kitchen, a tile backsplash usually extends from the counter to the underside of the wall cabinets and may even continue around the sink window and on other walls,” Morisseau says. “Custom kitchens usually have either a monochromatic or custom-designed backsplash made of tile, wood, or glass.”

Add a bit of luxury to your kitchen by using smaller patterned tiles mounted on a 12-inch by 12-inch mesh to make the installation easier. Or, mix tile shapes, such as a tile liner or dot, or add individual decorative pieces to a standard tile backsplash for an element of individuality, Morisseau suggests. “During installation, adjust the height of any border so it isn’t interrupted by switches or outlets, and make sure that all the tile you’re using is the same thickness,” she says. “Watch for very rough or textured surfaces, as they can be a challenge to clean behind a cooking area.”


Most of us have heard that replacing cabinet hardware is one of the easier and cheaper ways of updating a kitchen, but the knobs you choose are important. “Anything below $3 will have to be replaced in less than two years,” Morrisseau says. “What you’re looking for is heft and weight. How does the handle or knob feel in your hand? is it very light or is it weighty? If you can, select the heavier weight. A lighter knob may be hollow in the middle or it may have been made with cheap metal. There is also a significant weight difference between an acrylic knob and a glass one.”

To make installation easier, choose handles or knobs with slightly bigger screws than your existing knobs, if possible. “The existing screw hole will be worn over time and you’ll need a bigger screw to get a good grip in the wood,” Morisseau explains. If the new handles require new screw holes to be made in the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, use a decorative plate, called a back plate, to cover the existing holes, or fill them in with wood putty if you’re handy, she says.


“Staging is what a stylist for a magazine or photo shoot adds to the room: the glasses, stools, artfully arranged plates, decorative items, rugs, and flowers,” Morisseau says. Add items like those you see in a kitchen you covet in a magazine to update your space without lifting a hammer, she suggests.


If your flooring, cabinets, countertop, or appliances need to be replaced, or electrical or plumbing lines need professional help, it’s important to plan the order of action on each of these items, Morisseau says. Replacing some items may have a domino effect and require other repairs, leading you down a rabbit hole of renovations, or the money you spend now may be wasted when you have to rip it out to replace something later, she says. Replacing flooring requires removing and reinstalling appliances, for example, and countertops usually don’t survive relocation. “Each decision affects all the others and, if not made carefully, can result in extra costs, delays, and frustration,” Morisseau says. “Stepping back and focusing on the logical order of repairs and improvements will allow you to identify those you can tackle in the short term while saving up for bigger projects that require more investment and can be done later on.”

Tips to Took Glamping to a Whole New Level

When most people hear “rental,” they think beat-up walls and subpar appliances. But this house would put most people’s homes to shame!

JILL SHARP WEEKS: My husband, Ray Weeks, and I were lucky to find it. An architect had lived here before and did an incredible job with the place. It took us five minutes to say yes! Our goal when we moved to Charleston, South Carolina, from Atlanta was to use our car sparingly. Here, we’re in the heart of the city’s historic downtown, and we can take easy strolls to get coffee or lunch, or to the nearby farmers’ market. We’re also just a block away from the home we’re building, which makes managing that project so much easier.

What was it like going back to renting?

For most spaces I’ve lived in, I’ve been involved on an architectural level. I certainly would never have designed rooms as petite as what we have here — I haven’t lived in spaces this intimate since my 20s — but it’s actually been an unexpected gift. My husband and I are newlyweds, and it feels like we’re holding hands in every room! But I did make adjustments. For instance, there wasn’t enough lighting, so I installed additional fixtures. Kitchen islands are generally anathema to me, and this one is 10 feet long and takes up almost half of the first floor. I would have opted for a farm table or industrial cart on casters. But while I won’t necessarily borrow this concept for our next place, I’ve really had a lot of fun entertaining around this big ole island.

You’ve painted every room in the house the exact same shade of gray. Why?

When we moved in, the walls were peach and kind of dowdy. I painted everything in Pussy Willow by Sherwin-Williams. It’s this strange gray that I adore because the color shifts throughout the day. It was an easy design solution that unified the space. I also painted the ceiling, trim, and cabinetry the same color because it prevents your eye from focusing on things like big, heavy moldings, which are not my style. I left some natural wood exposed on chair rails, newel posts, and cabinet knobs — a respectful way of celebrating what was here before while establishing a modern, graphic motif.

Speaking of graphic, there are so many pops of black. Is this a trick you use on styling jobs, too?

The interiors in my previous homes were much more understated and soft, which felt appropriate in large rooms that sometimes had 20-foot ceilings. [See her former Atlanta cottage.] My styling work — branding, ad campaigns, catalogs — is largely tonal. But I wanted this home, and the one we’re building down the street, to feel different. The scale of this house is so much smaller than what I’m used to, and threading black throughout creates a sense of continuity. This gutsier, bolder look felt like the right way to express the modern lifestyle I’m living in Charleston. I’ve also always been good at trend forecasting, and I predict that black and white is about to come on with a vengeance!

Have you always leaned neutral?

When other designers use color, I enjoy looking at and learning from their work. In my own projects, I’ll use flowers or textiles for a pop of color, but I’d rather inform a room with texture — handmade baskets, the straw pendant light in the office, pewter bowls filled with the tribal beads I’ve collected over the years. That’s where I have my fun.

How much do you love relaxing and entertaining in this stunning garden?

What we really love is that the garden is accessible only through the house. There are no side gates, so it feels incredibly private. It also has an outdoor privy, which is the only bathroom on the ground floor! Since the garden is just outside of our dining area, we often leave the huge wooden French doors open so that the room feels 40 feet longer. When we first arrived, the garden had been neglected, but we’ve replanted the beds, brought in furniture and turned it into a total paradise.

In a home built in the 1740s, how did you avoid a formal period look?

I lived in Tokyo as a child, and I’ve traveled all over the world. My style derives from having been exposed to many kinds of global architecture — from humble mud houses to the most exquisite homes. These multicultural influences helped me create a look that is unexpected in a historic house. For instance, instead of a dresser or armoire in my bedroom, I chose a pair of smart cane stools from Palecek and a great mirror from Mecox, and I set up a cool vignette with sculptures and baskets sourced from around the world.

You’re in this home for a mere 16 months. Why bother unpacking boxes and decorating to perfection?

Why not bother? Every day matters! I can’t imagine living in a space that doesn’t give me great enjoyment. You have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow. Why not live with extreme beauty today?

Some Secrets to Decorating a Rental Just Right

John, why did you retire to San Francisco?

JOHN MAYBERRY: I was based in Hong Kong for most of my career, designing hotels and homes all over Asia. Later, I worked in Palm Beach. I collected art everywhere I went. I’m 71 now, and when I retired, I chose San Francisco because it has the urban appeal of a big city but is relatively small and easy to get around in, even without a car.

ANTONIO MARTINS: But before this, he lived in a 4,000-square-foot house in Georgia. He moved from there to this 900-square-foot apartment — and hung the same number of paintings!

Antonio, how did John end up becoming your client?

AM: A vice president at Hyatt introduced us when John first moved here. Then, whenever I had a photo shoot or showhouse room, I’d force him out of retirement to help me style things. So we were already friends.

To design John’s apartment, you thought two designers were better than one?

JM: When you’re an interior designer working on your own home, it’s easy to second-guess yourself. Another pair of eyes is invaluable. Antonio is younger, so he has different views on things and different references. Sometimes I agreed with his ideas, sometimes I didn’t. But it was always an interesting discussion.

What was the apartment like when you found it?

JM: It’s a rental on the Embarcadero in a typical late-1960s building. It has great views of San Francisco Bay. But it’s a simple box of an apartment. The ceilings are only eight feet six inches, the walls are off-white, the carpet is wall-to-wall oatmeal — and I can’t change any of that.

That doesn’t exactly sound like a designer’s dream project.

JM: The advantages were location, view, convenience and a well-managed building. I go to Europe several times a year. I wanted to be able to simply lock the door and know that everything would be safe and secure.

Back to your stuff — why did you mount your art from floor to ceiling?

JM: I had these boring blank walls — there’s no boiserie, no crown moldings, nothing of architectural interest. So I used my art almost as wallpaper, to give the eye something to look at. It also visually expands the space. After retirement, I started doing Japanese sumi-e ink drawings, which also hang on the walls. Other apartments in the building look smaller, even though mine has a hundred times more things in it.

How did you deal with the carpet?

JM: I went to Pottery Barn and bought sisal rugs with black cotton binding and put them down in every room.

AM: Instead of buying custom sisal — which would have cost thousands — he got standard sizes for a few hundred dollars and put them next to each other. It looks like a million bucks.

John, in what way does this home reflect your current stage of life?

JM: Just as I’ve had an accumulation of years, I’ve also had an accumulation of objects. When I moved here, a lot of furniture had to go, but I kept almost all the art, which I’ve been collecting for 45 years. There’s a story behind every piece — who I was with, where I bought it, and who the subject is. So these things are very comforting to look at and remember.

Best Essential Ingredients of “Jungalow” Style

JUSTINA BLAKENEY: I love pattern. It immediately creates a statement and relieves the need to add a lot of stuff. Look at the bedroom — besides the bed, we literally have no other furniture in there, but the patterned wallpaper and rug make it bold.

You do have that one tree.

Right, but plants fall into the same category as patterns. Adding a plant instantly breathes life into a space, especially a small room. When people ask my advice on decorating an awkward corner, I always say, “Why don’t you just put a humongous plant right there?”

You should have that printed on a T-shirt: “Put a plant on it!”

I’ve yet to find a design conundrum that can’t be solved with plants. That’s why they’re such a big part of the Jungalow look.

Back up — can you explain the Jungalow to the not yet initiated?

The Jungalow is the name of my daily blog and multidisciplinary studio. We design prints and products, like the wallpapers, rugs and pillows you see in my home, as well as an upcoming furniture collection with Selamat. The word comes from a combination of bungalow and jungle — it’s all about coziness and vivaciousness. If I had to boil it down, Jungalow style really consists of four ingredients: color, pattern, plants and global finds.

It also feels family-friendly.

Yes, and the compact size and layout of this particular house helps. The kitchen is right in the middle of everything — it’s the heart of our home. You’ll often find my husband in here cooking, me working at the nearby dining room table and my daughter playing in the adjacent living room. The proximity creates a triangle of conversation between the three of us. I’ve lived in bigger houses, but this one feels just right for our family.

The wall between the kitchen and dining area is painted in Breakfast Room Green by Farrow & Ball. The Silestone countertop is from Lowe’s.

What was most important to you in remodeling your kitchen?

When we moved in, the house had a galley kitchen, but we worked with our contractor to demolish and rebuild. We went bold with the tiles and added a window behind the sink, which makes the space feel airy and light. We love looking outside while washing dishes. And talk about bang for your buck: The window cost about the same as an expensive chair, and I’ll take a window over a chair any day.

The dining room is equally eye-catching.

We designed it around a set of iconic Verner Panton chairs I inherited from my grandparents. I grew up eating bagels and lox on those chairs! I have so many memories of them. Now, they’re part of the modern Jungalow vibe.

You seem fearless when it comes to mixing styles.

The secret is color. I use it to tie disparate things together that might not jell otherwise. For instance, in the dining room, the white chairs are balanced by the white console-slash-secretary desk. I work with white a lot because I love contrast — when it comes to layering textiles, it’s easy to go overboard. White helps a space feel relaxed.

What inspired the blue room?

You mean Bluhemia? That is our little lounge, where we watch TV and wind down. Since it’s on the other side of the house from my daughter’s room, we don’t have to worry about waking her up when we’re in there. It also doubles as a guest bedroom, thanks to the sectional sofa that comfortably sleeps two.

The Moroccan-inspired lounge, which Blakeney has dubbed Bluhemia, is wallpapered with Aja in Teal, one of her designs for Hygge & West. The sectional is from Jonathan Louis, and the faux sheepskin is from Target.

Was it challenging to find furniture that works in these petite rooms?

In small spaces, it helps to seek out furnishings that not only fit the space, but also maximize its function. If I can’t find the perfect piece, I’ll have it made — like our bed, which has built-in night tables and a headboard that rests seamlessly on the wall, so not an inch is wasted.

No wonder you didn’t need any other furniture!

The first night we slept in our new bedroom, between the sparkling glow of the pendant lights and the gold of the wallpaper, we felt like we were staying in a fancy hotel. Since there’s no stuff — no dresser with a ton of photos, and no tchotchkes, which I usually have — it’s a respite from the chaos of daily life.

But wait, where did all of your stuff go?

I took a deep breath and let it go. We sold a few things and stored the rest in the garage, where each item is waiting for its turn to be swapped into the house. Like our family, our home is continually changing. If you come back here in a month, it’s going to look different.

Best Bedroom Design Ideas From a Professional Stager

Between sleeping, reading and, quite simply, relaxing, it’s likely you spend a lot of time in your bedroom. It makes sense, then, that you’ve also spent a significant amount of time turning it into your own personal oasis.

Now that you have your (sweet) dream bedding, wall decor and furniture, it’s time to take a serious look at how it’s all arranged.

Meet home stager-trainer, interior designer and Emmy Award-winning television host Cathy Hobbs. Here, she offers four simple layouts (think of them as your cheat sheets) for organizing a comfortable retreat.

Whether your bedroom is small, large or shared, read on to learn the four go-to designs for a practical and well-styled room.

A conventional bedroom layout is anchored by a bed with a nightstand on either side. Across from the foot of the bed, a dresser should be situated below a mirror.

Resist the temptation to add more furniture. You don’t need it.

“Some people buy two nightstands, the chest, the dresser, the mirror and a low table, but that becomes too much,” says Hobbs.

For a simple, clean design, stick to the golden rule:

One bed + two nightstands + dresser + mirror = success.

If your room has ample space, however, consider creating a lounge-like atmosphere.

“A cavernous room ideally lends itself to an opportunity to have a sleep zone and a lounge zone,” says Hobbs. “A lot of people use the lounge zone for reading, morning tea and relaxation in general.”

To create a separate space for daytime relaxation in your bedroom, situate two lounge chairs across from the foot of the bed with a side table in between them. If you have a particularly large amount of space to work with, consider a small sofa with a coffee table in front of it.

Keep the rest of the bedroom as you would in a conventional space, anchored by a bed between two nightstands. Rather than situating the dresser across from the foot of the bed, however, arrange it on a side wall with a mirror above it.
In tiny bedrooms, perhaps a child’s room or a guest room, it’s especially important to make use of the side walls and mirrors to open up the space.

“One space-saving technique is to put the bed against the wall, with a single nightstand,” says Hobbs. “Some people even use built-ins to create a captain’s bed or Murphy bed.”

Mirrors are particularly crucial in small bedrooms.

“Mirrors can act as windows, so as a stager, I use them to widen the room, especially if it doesn’t have a lot of windows or light,” says Hobbs. “You’ll definitely want to use the opportunity to have that reflective surface above a dresser.”

One handy technique: Hang vertical mirrors in a series to resemble windows.

The goal with a shared space should be to create separate “zones” so your children — or whoever else is sharing the bedroom — can feel as though they have an area of their own.

To do this, arrange two beds with a single nightstand in between. Allow for space against the wall for a bookshelf or built-in that each child can decorate and personalize to make it their own.

“This arrangement is a little more private than the option of just, say, bunk beds,” says Hobbs. “Each child has their own private side of the room, a good configuration for sharing.”