For the first five years living in her 1,050-square-foot loft, Meghann Gibbons, an Atlanta-based publicist, came home from long days on the job to a drab master bedroom that looked more like a college rental than the home of a jet-setting PR pro. To create her dream bedroom, Meghann set a budget of $10,000 and a timeline of four weeks.
After: Trendy Traveler
In its new state, Meghann's bedroom has the look and feel of a four-star boutique hotel. The jet-setting publicist had the knockdown-textured walls skim-coated and hired a paperhanger to give the walls a graphic, patterned update. "I love how hotel designer Kelly Wearstler designs rooms for The Viceroy hotel chain," Meghann says. "When redesigning my bedroom, I definitely wanted that overall look, but with my own spin and flavor."
Similar to boutique hotel design, nearly every element in Meghann's master bedroom is custom-made. Since she selected a unique color scheme of magenta, black, white, plum and hot pink, she had custom bedding made. She decided to use hospitality-grade and indoor/outdoor fabrics in solids and prints.
Mirror, Mirror Accents
Four-star hotels such as The St. Regis often use mirrored elements in their design. Meghann incorporated mirrored elements into her space through nightstands. "I found out that hotel designers don't use mirror for high-traffic furniture pieces, such as nightstands or desks, simply because of how hard they are to keep clean due to fingerprints and smudges," Meghann notes. "But since my bedroom is just me, mirrored nightstands work just fine." To accessorize the room, Meghann stuck with trinkets picked up from her travels, including a hand-blown glass vase from Venice.
A Touch of Life
In addition to materials and furniture styles inspired by hotel design, Meghann also took a few cues in making her room more lively by incorporating details like a bedside betta fish. "Hotels sometimes add betta fish to rooms for a touch of life and/or color, plus they're low-maintenance and easy to care for," she says. "My girlfriends and I recently took a scuba diving trip to Fiji, which was one of the best and most relaxing trips I've ever taken. In order to help take me back to the time when I've never felt more rested and removed from the daily stresses of my fast-paced job, I named my new roomie Bula, which means hello, happiness and health in Fijian."
Since Atlanta winters are often cold, commercial-grade nylon carpet is a great choice for replacing dated linoleum flooring. A warmer alternative to wood or laminate, commercial-grade carpet is also stain-resistant and easy to maintain.
Instead of choosing wall covering made from paper, Meghann opted for vinyl wall covering, an extremely durable and easy-to-clean alternative that is often used in hotels, restaurants and nightclubs.
Many of the upscale hotels where Meghann stays when traveling appear to have furniture upholstered in luxurious textiles, such as leather or velvet, but they are actually made from high-end vinyl. Meghann stuck with contract-grade vinyl that looks and feels like ostrich, and treated with a glaze to give it a pearlescent sheen.
Prepping the Walls
To update knockdown-textured walls, a skim coat must first be applied with a trowel, then sanded and primed. This process can be very messy. It's best to cover any existing furniture, hallways or valuables with plastic and to keep the home well ventilated during and after the process. Once primed, a new coat of paint can be applied. In Meghann's case, a coat of wall-covering primer was applied before a paperhanger put up her new graphic vinyl wall covering from Graham & Brown.
After pricing out custom dressers for as much as $2,400, Meghann decided to instead look on Craigslist for pieces with great lines and not-so-great finishes. She found a nine-drawer Danish modern piece sporting a worn-in blonde wood finish for $40, and then invested $325 for a new finish of metallic magenta automotive paint.
Mementos On Display
While the majority of Meghann's boutique hotel-inspired master bedroom is minimal, she keeps an assortment of favorite mementos from her travels atop the dresser, including: a jewelry box brought back from a Cairo street market, a handmade alabaster vase picked up along the Nile River in Egypt, a sterling silver bowl molded in the shape of an agave plant from Guadalajara, and a blue-and-white ceramic vase bought in Spain.
To keep her budget in check while creating a lounging space, Meghann took an armless sofa once used in her living room and re-covered it in an indoor/outdoor velveteen. The sofa created an ideal space for lazy weekend mornings when Meghann buries herself in travel books over cereal and coffee.
Meghann's loft building recently underwent a renovation that included roof repair and skylight installation. The ample natural light, combined with the white background of the vinyl wall covering, has turned the previously dark bedroom into a light and airy place to relax and unwind.
Designer suitcases are often extremely expensive. A cost-saving alternative for travelers wanting a more one-of-a-kind, high-end look is to purchase vintage suitcases from antique markets or thrift stores. Meghann's range in price from $22 to $55 and include pieces from the 1950s and 1960s.