This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Valspar.


Internet, welcome to the fourth and final week of my month-long makeover, wherein I’m painting the walls of our bland and boring bedroom in our very first home and transforming it—if all goes according to plan---into a room that’s sophisticated, comfortable, and just a little bit rock n’roll.

With a white bed, white linens, and white bedside tables, I wanted our bedroom walls to be a little---no, a lot---more dramatic, and I’m not talking Real Housewives kind of drama here, I mean more Six Feet Under or The Wire. Wait, that came out wrong, I don’t mean I wanted my bedroom to look like a coffin or a post-apocalyptic drug-fueled urban landscape: more just that I wanted the drama on the walls to be subtle and nuanced and…..yeah, okay, this isn’t working. I just wanted my bedroom to look awesome. 

And you were with me every step of the way: first, you consulted Valspar's Color Chart and suggested a wealth of excellent options. Then, you helped me narrow down those options until we had a handful to decide from. After that, when I announced our decision to paint the walls High-Speed Steel you (mostly) voiced your support, and now finally here we are at the end of the project and I’m about to show you how it all turned out.

First, however, a big congratulations to SAWK (comment #180 here), this week’s winner of the $100 Lowe’s gift card, courtesy of Valspar and BlogHer. At the end of this post, I’ll be giving away the grand prize, a Lowe’s gift card for a whopping $500, so you should stick around for that if you’ve got some home improvement projects looming on the horizon. For now, though, let’s have a look at my own home improvement projects, the first of which has been painting the main bedroom of this little 1943 house by the ocean that we bought in June.

I hardly have to remind you how lame our bedroom was when we first clapped eyes on it. Well, okay then, maybe I do; it was so boring, I’m not surprised you’ve forgotten what it looked like:

I’m pleased to reveal that since then, we have made it far more to our liking, and these days it looks a little something like this:

The dark gray walls are Valspar's High-Speed Steel---chosen thanks to your great suggestions, and with a little visualization help from Valspar’s handy Virtual Painter---and the curved dresser is a very solid vintage piece we picked up at a local thrift store for $50 and painted Valspar’s Ultra White in high gloss. We didn't realize until after we'd paid for it, but it came with the mirror too; we unscrewed the legs that connected it to the dresser and painted it Ultra White as well to match. You can't look a free mirror in the mouth and all that.

We made the large graphic sign over the bed ourselves using a black Valspar spray paint and some more of that leftover Ultra White, and I love it more than I can possibly say. The line is taken from the poem Desiderata, and it's one I repeat to myself frequently. In the next few days, I'll be posting a how-to in case you want to make something similar; it's super easy (and cheap!) if you've got a little time, patience, and paint.

I knew I wanted to add a pop of color into an otherwise gray, black, and white room, so I ended up going with some fuchsia cushion covers I found for $8 each, then rolling up an old pink blanket I've had forever that matched perfectly, and picking a bunch of (free!) geraniums that grow in our new backyard to tie it all together. The best part of all this is that if I get sick of the fuchsia, I only have to switch out the accessories to introduce an entirely different color palette; the basics are all gray, black, or white and I can add yellow next month if I decide that's what I prefer, or turquoise the month after.

So what do you think? I have to say, I’m incredibly pleased with how it all turned out---a big thanks to Valspar and BlogHer for offering to make it possible---but I’m curious to know what you, my virtual team of interior designers, has to say about the finished result. I know a lot of you worried it would be too dark on first glance, so I hope the white has lightened it up a lot. It might not be to everyone's taste, I know, but I've got to say: I kind of think it's my dream bedroom. And I'm so happy we did it ourselves. We still have a little way to go on it---I have a bunch of white frames I need to hang, and we have an exciting solution to get rid of those mirrored closet doors that I'll share with you later---but for now, it's looking a whole lot better than it ever did. I was never worried about it being too dark---it's paint! You can paint over it!---but I was worried that I might choose a gray with too much purple or green in it: as it turns out, High-Speed Steel is neither. It changes beautifully in the light and even though it's very dark, it almost---weird though it sounds---makes the room appear bigger.

Anyway, leave a comment below with your thoughts---or check out Valspar's other paint colors and let me know which one you'd use for your own makeover---and you’ll be entered to win a $500 Lowe’s gift card, which you can use for anything you like (put it toward some new bathroom tile, perchance? A big stainless steel refrigerator? Maybe paint the kitchen you’ve been meaning to paint since you moved in two months ago, oh wait am I projecting again?) 

The rules are simple (you can read them here) and I’ll notify the winner once they’ve been chosen, so we can whoop it up together about all the cool stuff you’re going to get to buy. But now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go lie in my bedroom and stare dreamily at the walls. It’s suddenly a whole lot more pleasant to be in there. 


Aug 25, 2010

The first time I saw the colour of the walls, I was like,"really?" Then I said to myself, "wait, this is Holly Burns so just sit back and wait for the end result."

Like wow, that was really worth the wait. Love the look. Very classy.

Aug 25, 2010

Very chic. And relaxing. I love how dramatic the wall color is...

Aug 25, 2010

The effect is so dramatic! The paint looks amazing. I'm a huge fan of the little touches - the Buddha, the flowers, the splashes of color.

Nicole A
Aug 25, 2010

It looks AMAZING! i love that you can change the color palette so easily, too with just accessories! And I'm eagerly waiting the above-the-bed poster DiY tutorial...

Aug 25, 2010

Amazing! Just beautiful Holly - simple and just lovely.

Anne in SC
Aug 25, 2010

How exciting to come back and see the finished product. I'm hoping to do my bedroom soon in a dark gray, but my daughter is hoping for a purple room with a contrasting large purple flower painted to wrap into/around a corner. I feel it coming on for her birthday (in September). Don't know why I get so ambitious with the painting projects, but I do. Can't wait to see what you do next.

Aug 25, 2010

I was a bit worried at the start that it would be very dark but I have to say that I love it!

Aug 25, 2010

Very nice, it's ever so classy.

Aug 25, 2010

I'm dying to paint my bathroom something like aqua ocean, but we're waiting to find the right piece of granite for the vanity counter first.

Aug 25, 2010

Wow, you did a wonderful job. I like that you'll be able to change out the accent color, and no matter what color it is it will POP! I'm looking forward to the poster diy, great idea.

Aug 25, 2010

It looks amazing! Like the totally serene space you wanted to create. I would pick lyndhurst shady grove for our bedroom just because it gets very little natural light so I would need a lighter color, though I do love the boldness of your walls.

Aug 25, 2010

Oh wow, it looks gorgeous, so fancy, and grown up, but still young and cool. I love the quote above the bed, I'm going to remind myself of those words often. I love the pink accent, and I love the wall colours. Well done, you did a grand job. Are you sure you don't want to become an interior designer?! You certainly have a great eye for it!

Aug 25, 2010

Oh my goodness, Ms. Burns has gone and done it again. It looks incredible! I love the word poster, the buddha, everything! Can you please tell me that's a fake orchid, so I can go back to feeling like you are actually human after all.

And I would absolutely love to make over our bedroom in a really, really light dove grey - you've inspired me!

Aug 25, 2010

oooh, I saw a quote sign like that on apartment therapy and it struck me as something I'd love to do but wouldn't translate well in any other space. I was your results!

Aug 25, 2010

I love it- and that dresser is a find! I don't know why I'm always so afraid to paint thrift store finds- it always looks great when other people do it!

Aug 25, 2010

Absolutely LOVE it! Wow is about all I can say. Though, I guess I could also say, "Would you like to come and redo my bedroom?"

Aug 25, 2010

It looks beautiful! I am dying to know about the rug. I can't stop looking at it! Did you skin a cow in your free time or what?!

Aug 25, 2010

I like it! It's very dramatic and elegant. I like the contrast of the dark colors and the white furnishings!

I'd probably choose to re-do my room in an airy beachy type of thing. Maybe I'd paint the walls summer breeze...I love bright and airy rooms!

Aug 25, 2010

I think it's AMAZING. Job well done! (Please come decorate my apartment!)

Aug 25, 2010

I think it's awesome. I love the pop of fuchsia!

Aug 25, 2010

Absolutely gorgeous! You two did an awesome job. The sign over the bed is brilliant.

Aug 25, 2010

Oh my gosh, I LOVE IT. What a gorgeous, restful and modern room. I love the graphic print over the bed, although I have to admit that I thought it was a quote from "Harold and Kumar."

Sarah Hill
Aug 25, 2010

It looks good, modern and cozy!

We just moved 2 months ago and our list of improvements is growing daily. I'd probably put the gift card towards tile for the bathrooms and kitchen floors.

Melanie D
Aug 25, 2010

We just moved into our home Aug. 1st. There's a list of things Lowe's could help us with. #1 is definitely the white carpet under our dining room table and the area rug I plan to purchase to cover it up!

I think your room is lovely. The gray isn't as cool as I'd imagined and the white really is a beautiful contrast. I think you did a fabulous job!

Aug 25, 2010

Holly! My word, that bedroom looks fantastic! I admit I was one of the ones saying, I love gray, but careful not to go too dark, and now I say, WOW!

And as an aside, I have the same bed and have actually been thinking about doing a similar over-the-bed piece of do-it-yourself art. Your room just pushed be to give it a go!

Aug 25, 2010

Wow! That looks fabulous, very romantic. My favorite part is the dresser...I feel like a total ass for buying my bedroom furniture at a chain furniture store now.

I think I can beat everyone here with my need for the Lowe's gift husband and I bought and new house at the end of July. One hour after closing, the first dumpster was delivered, and we began our demolition. We're now on our fourth 30 cubic yard dumpster. Just stop and think about how many buckets of lathe and plaster it might take to fill just one dumpster, multiply that by a million, make an adjustment for the plaster that ends up in your clothes/belly button/hair, then take a sip of wine and begin a meditation on possible new kitchen layouts. It's how I've been coping!

Aug 25, 2010

Looks like I'm going to be the 4000th blogger to say I love it. And I do! The pillows and the matching flowers did it for me. :)

Aug 25, 2010

Wow, this looks GORGEOUS. The wall color is beautiful, and I love that Desiderata sign more than words can say -- I might have to steal that idea for my own house.

Aug 25, 2010

It's BEAUTIFUL! I love it Holly, just beautiful. You and Sean are so talented.

Aug 25, 2010

Gorgeous! I love how you used pops of color to accent the room, and the Desiderata line makes me swoon (it's one of my favorite poems). Great job Holly :)

Aug 25, 2010

It's gorgeous and so chic! I love it!

I am going with a Valspar color in my master bathroom make-over a peacock green color to contrast the gray I have in my bedroom and the apple green that will be in the master closet.

Aug 25, 2010

As usual, it looks amazing. Love the technique of the quote above your bed. Looks like a project I've been wanting to do for a while.

If I had to choose a color, I love Mino's eye (perhaps for a bathroom) or green shimmer, perhaps for an accent in a kitchen?

Great work Holly! Love all your interior design projects

Aug 25, 2010

OMG, it is just beautiful. I didn't really know what to think about the gray, but it is just beautiful. Can you come to Michigan to do my bedroom?

Aug 25, 2010

Hmmm, tough choice, but I think I am leaning towards Cabin Plank for our kitchen that we moved into 9 MONTHS AGO!! Holly, do not feel badly about 2 months and having an unpainted kitchen. We are having major analysis paralysis at my house!

Aug 25, 2010

Ok, that Desiderata quote above your bed is AWESOME! Where did you get that from?!

Aug 25, 2010

Oh, lovely! I can think of a million ways to use $500 at Lowe's for projects in our 1931 bungalow. Perhaps an oven that doesn't heat 75 degrees above where you set it? Subway tile for our bathroom? Mulch and gravel and wood to landscape the side of the house that will never grow grass thanks to 4 lovely but shade-inducing maples? New faucets for bathrooms and kitchen? So many home improvement options!

Aug 25, 2010

Oh I'm such a dullard, I just actually read your entry properly and saw you made it! Please ignore me, I just got a bit overexcited!

Aug 25, 2010

GORGEOUS! It looks like a chic hotel that I would definitely want to stay in. I have total bedroom envy right now. I'm showing this post to my husband and when we get a new house, he better be ready for something modern and clean, just like what you've done here. I LOVE it!

Sarah M
Aug 25, 2010

This looks great! I tend to pick dark, dramatic colors for my house and then second guess them all the time, but this looks amazing and makes me feel better about my choices too!

Aug 25, 2010

I love, love, love it!! It's so elegant. Nice job, you two!!

Meghan B.
Aug 25, 2010

Aaaaand now I want to crawl back into bed and take a nap.

My husband and I are taking on a major kitchen renovation this I would probably put the $500 towards my dream range or something of the like.

Aug 25, 2010

It looks great! Very graphic and chic!

Aug 25, 2010

It looks great! It's not how I would do a room in my house (different strokes and all) but I think it looks magnificent and fits you perfectly! If I had $500 we'd probably buy a new gas grill (ours is pretty beat up from being blown over in storms - no handle left, only one burner works, etc.) if my husband had his way while I would head directly to the tile and get all the supplies necessary for a beautiful glass tile backsplash for my kitchen!

Aug 25, 2010

I love it! I was one of those that was a little worried about such a dark color, but I knew once you got your white linens and furniture in there it would be absolutely perfect. I can't wait to see what you decide to do with the closet doors. I'm thinking Valspar's Winter Flannel for my living room, I'm a little nervous, but like you said, it's just paint!

Aug 25, 2010

Not that I actually know you personally but from my idealized version of you this bedroom really does look like you! And it is beautiful, I love the faux(?) hide rug and the edge it brings to the room. My husband and I also just bought our first house in June and we could really use that $500 towards a new refrigerator since the "new" one that came with the house just died. Gotta love homeownership!

Aug 25, 2010

Truly - it is fabulous! Simple clean lines. Strong contrast yet has a soothing relaxing feel. Great choice! I may copy!!

Aug 25, 2010

This is just beautiful, and I totally picked that color, so I'm extra thrilled! I'd love to paint our hallway into the guest room area something really bold -- like an orange-y red or something, and then paint both guest bedrooms something bright but subtle. Does that exist? We'll find out -- stay tuned!

Aug 25, 2010

The end result is amazing! I've been debating between Valspar's Purple Royalty and Rollick for my all white guest room. Except in my case I've been meaning to paint it for two years, not two months!

Aug 25, 2010

Love the paint color. Dark walls really do make a room seem larger.

I'm currently planning a complete bedroom makeover, and a Lowe's gift card would really help!

Aug 25, 2010

Looks great!

Emily in NC
Aug 25, 2010

I have to admit, I was a little skeptical of the dark color. But it looks amazing!! And I love that quote. I would love the Lowe's gift card to help out my 98 year old house :)

Aug 25, 2010

Love the wall art with the quote! Are you planning on adding more art or photographs to your room?

Laura B.
Aug 25, 2010

love love LOVE it! i wish it was my bedroom!

Aug 25, 2010

Congratulations, it looks amazing! As newish homeowners who are total DIY-ers, my husband and I know how satisfying it is to see a project come out so nicely! Our next project? Scraping down and repainting the exterior of our 1928 Spanish Revival home. Yes, we're glutton for punishment. The Lowes gift card would SO help with the costs!

Aug 25, 2010

Looks great! What inspired you to do the cow rug?

Aug 25, 2010

Definitely love the room! Very classy. But I don't know if I would get rid of the mirrored closet doors, it seems like they would really keep the room open and from getting too dark. But you probably have a really great idea for them!

jive turkey
Aug 25, 2010

This is BEAUTIFUL! I used to always be 100% averse to dark shades of paint, but between you & AB Chao, I'm becoming a total convert.

Aug 25, 2010

just lovely! i think my favorite part is the ability to change your accent colors so easily. well done!

Aug 25, 2010

It looks fabulous! You've got me itching to repaint our master bath. We painted it when we first moved in, but instead of growing to love the color, I've grown to abhor it.

Aug 25, 2010

AMAZING! I'm totally inspired to make a similar sign for my bedroom wall. Congrats, it really does look wonderful and like a place you would want to spend a lot of time in, which in the end is what really counts!

Aug 25, 2010

It looks wonderful, Holly! I LOVE your graphic sign, can't wait to see the how-to!

Aug 25, 2010

Looks so great! Dramatic yet homey and perfectly well done. Congratulations!

Aug 25, 2010

That looks awesome! I love the statement piece on the wall and how the rest of the room is very clean and simple. The pops of red and pink are super cute. Good job!

Aug 25, 2010

I really like it! I would have never had the design chops to go so dark and make it work, but you totally did. Enjoy it!....and feel free to come to NC and work on my bedroom while you are at it!

Aug 25, 2010

It looks amazing. It makes me want to get serious about my bedroom redo. Right now I feel like I'm a thirty-something in a teen's room. Not cool. Congrats on a job very well done!

Aug 25, 2010

Love the wall hanging!

Aug 25, 2010

Amazing! We have a gray and white bedroom also, but yours is much more dramatic.

Aug 25, 2010

wow that looks incredible. very inspiring! i LOVE the headboard you did. cant wait for the DIY
i would choose winter flannel. grey enough, but neutral enough for me. i'm in a rental so i dont want to go too dark and have to paint it back!

Aug 25, 2010

Ok- people live there? That is what I always think when I look at a room like yours. Gorg. If I won the Lowe's giftcard, I would rip out the wallpaper in our bathroom (grapes! of all the hideous wall paper to put where you... well, you know) and paint it something beautiful.

Aug 25, 2010

It's so beautiful. You've done an amazing job. I think I'd have to choose Wavery Clean White. We have Oak trim all over our first floor and I desperately need to cover it with a beautiful clean white paint. My eyes are burning!

Aug 25, 2010

It's so very awesome! And very YOU :) Great work!

Aug 25, 2010

It looks gorgeous! You wouldn't know it was the same room. Congratulations!

Aug 25, 2010

As another owner of a grey bedroom, I must say I'm slightly partial, but I love love love it- especially the artwork above your bed- it's the perfect thing for a bedroom.

Aug 25, 2010

It looks fantastic and I love that paint color! Great job!

Aug 25, 2010

Wow I love it! Love the grey, the white, the rug and the artwork!

Aug 25, 2010

It's gorgeous! Several apartments ago, I painted my bedroom a similar but lighter grey and really loved the way the color shifted with the light throughout the day.

Aug 25, 2010

It looks wonderful...just like a chic hotel room! I painted my bedroom when I moved into my flat last September, but while I went kitchen-aide red and ocean dream blue in the kitchen and bathroom, respectively, I went neutral in the bedroom. I now wish I had gone with something more dramatic. Enjoy your new room!

Aug 25, 2010

What a beautiful master bedroom! You inspire me to put a little effort into my house. If I can do half the job you did then it would be amazing!

Aug 25, 2010

Your taste is impeccable as always. The room is beautiful!

I'm too scared to paint a room dark after a nightmarish midnight blue wall phase in high-school, so I'd stick to the safe confines of Metropolis :)

Aug 25, 2010

I'd love to add some red into my living room. Autumn Fire looks like it would be perfect!

Congrats on the room - it turned out great!

Bonnie Jean
Aug 25, 2010

I love all the white! Great job!

Aug 25, 2010

Wow! That room is spectacular! Great job, especially love the cow rug!

Aug 25, 2010

Wow! That room is spectacular! Great job, especially love the cow rug!

Aug 25, 2010

Your bedroom looks fabulous! Very crisp and dramatic, and the quote is perfect!

Aug 25, 2010

I would definitely be painting our living room.

Aug 25, 2010

I think everything about it is beautiful. I love how simple it is.

Aug 25, 2010

Your bedroom looks beautiful. Well done! Can't wait for the sign how-to and to find out your plans for the mirrored doors. I'm intrigued.

Aug 25, 2010

It looks lovely! I think the pop of colour is perfect.

Dawn Irene
Aug 25, 2010

Please share info re: the cow hide rug. I have been considering one for a while now.

Aug 25, 2010

It's just stunning. And I can tell it totally turned out the way you wanted it to. And I can't wait to see your art tutorial. (and your kitchen)