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Travel-Inspired Bedroom

A bland basement bedroom becomes a colorful retreat with an international look.

Inspiration Room: $50,000

The Inspiration Room
Host Susan Blake introduces designer Paula McChesney, who created the vivid bedroom for a well-traveled college-aged woman with global sensibilities. The multinational approach to furnishings include fabulous imported textiles, antique furniture and exotic artwork. The result is a visually stimulating room that pops with color.

Makeover Room, before

Transforming the Makeover Room

Below are steps designer Paula McChesney took to transform a bland basement bedroom with no design scheme into a colorful retreat with interesting textiles and an international look:

  • Painted the walls a golden semolina tone that had red undertones for warmth (Benjamin Moore, #2155-40 — Semolina).
  • Made striped curtains using turquoise and gold coat lining and iridescent rust-colored taffeta attached with iron-on tape. Glass globe finials finish the look.
  • Made rust-colored wall panels and hung them on glass and jewel-colored finials. They warm and soften the space.
  • Transformed a metal garden trellis into a headboard.
  • Used rust sheets and a coverlet with a gold embroidered elephant design on the bed, and finished with elephant motif throw pillows.
  • Hung a colorful watercolor in a shiny gold frame on the headboard.
  • Placed a brightly colored handpainted chest by the bed.
  • Accessorized the chest with a lamp, votive holder and potted plant.
  • Used a two-drawer Chinese cabinet with lacquer finish on the other side of the bed and added a plant, two golden Buddhas, some books and paperweights for accessories.
  • Used an ivory canvas chair in the corner and draped it with Indian textiles.
  • Hung two watercolors above the chair.
  • Draped the original desk with a green cotton Indian textile with elephant motif to make a distinctive dressing table.
  • Accessorized the vanity with a black iron scroll base lamp and beaded shade, black iron mirror, silverplated tray and footstool draped with colorful textiles.

The Bottom Line

To see where the savings are, take a look at this direct cost comparison of some Inspiration Room items and the creatively comparable ones used in the Makeover Room:

Italian sheets and antique textiles, $13,300 / Coverlet and pillows, $420

Handpainted side table, $3,500 / Bright painted table, $150

Antique Chinese chest and accessories, $4,000 / Lacquer chest and accessories, $430

Vanity area, $ 5,300 / Covered desk and accessories $150

The $500 Challenge

If you have only $500 to create the look of the global bedroom, McChesney suggests reproducing three key elements. The most important element in the room is the warm paint color. Next, select handcrafted, handpainted pieces of furniture for a global feeling. Imported textiles for the bed, often quite inexpensive, add to the rich, layered look. The greatest savings in the Makeover Room came from using inexpensive fabrics and shopping at local import stores for unusual furniture pieces.

lamp, roller shades — Wal-Mart
shade, pillows with gold embroidery, clear glass with bubbles, silver frame — Marshalls
votive holder, vanity mirror, sandelwood incense and holder — Pier 1 Imports
tailored ivory bedskirt, ivory shams, portiere curtains — Linens 'n Things
rust-colored sheets (Wamsutta) — Bed, Bath and Beyond
ivory canvas (Tullsta) — IKEA
Christmas ornament, silver potpourri ball, pewter frame — Cost Plus World Market
iron scroll lamp with shade — Target
silver tray — Macy's
painted side table — Via Diva

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