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

It looks lovely! Honestly, much better than i had expected, given that the paint has the word "steel" right in the name. I do think that the white brightens it up, and i love the fushia to give it some color. Beautiful!

A. Marigold
Aug 25, 2010

That looks really great! I'd be afraid to go with something so stylish because I know I'd never make my bed and leave clothes and shoes and papers all over the floor all the time, which might ruin the effect. ;) Maybe it's worth it for those few times I clean up after myself?

Aug 25, 2010

I love it!

The $500 would unfortunately be used for something boring like new gutters... It would be a HUGE help though!

Aug 25, 2010

It looks incredible. I love the fuchsia. And unlike a bridesmaid dress that everyone insists will be able to be worn again with the right accessories, you really will be able to change the whole look of the room with new pillow covers, art, and an accessory or two.

Aug 25, 2010

Wow. I was a bit skeptical when this began - I'm more of a yellow wall person - but your room looks amazing! I am so happy that you love it! And I can't wait for you art tutorial.

Aug 25, 2010

Wow! It looks great. I love how you can change out the accent color whenever inspiration strikes. Very nice!

Aug 25, 2010

Love it! The color is perfect and I love the white accents, it really lightens the room and highlights the dramatic color of the walls. I need to find a lighter color for our entry way. The previous owner painted it a horrible deep red and mixed sand in for's as hideous as it sounds. Heading to Valspar to see if anything strikes my fancy.

Aug 25, 2010

Looks awesome! My master bath needs major renovations and I want to go with a dark mocha color that would flow with the lighter mocha color of my bedroom. Fingers crossed - $500 would help a lot and spur us to move forward!

Aug 25, 2010

It is perfect! I always wish my bedroom could look so neat and clean! :-)

Aug 25, 2010

How splendid! I like that you can switch out the pink for different colors when the mood strikes you. I'm inspired to paint my boring old dresser with a mirror in a bright white color now!

Aug 25, 2010

I really love that quote! It is a stunning bedroom.

Aug 25, 2010

I LOVE how your room turned out!

We just purchased a house last month and it is absurd how quickly expenses build! I feel like every time I turn around I'm adding another trash can or light fixture to our home improvement list! Next in our list is the kitchen. We're going to do all white cabinetry with pops of caribbean blue and red. I've love to paint the small amout of visible wall the "Nautical" color from the cool blues section.

I can't wait to see how everything else turns out!!

Aug 25, 2010

It is GORGEOUS. I'm usually not such a fan of stark white linens, but the gray walls and fuchsia accents really look amazing with them (and I love that you can change the accents out so easily to introduce new colors). It looks like something you'd see in one of the Ace Hotels! Bravo! More decorating posts, please!

Aug 25, 2010

Wow! It looks really nice and beautifully arranged. I also like the idea of the color versatility through accessory changes. You can be super-seasonal or even change the colors to match Charlie's vast sweater wardrobe. I wasn't super-stoked about the name of the paint but it appears it was a case of judging a book by its cover (so to speak). Congratulations! Impeccable style!

Aug 25, 2010

Looks great. And I like the quote above the bed, too.

Aug 25, 2010

I think it looks amazing! You've inspired me to try something like this after we move next week.

Aug 25, 2010

It looks spectacular! My husband and I bought our first place in June too :) We've also been using Valspar to paint the bedrooms. We haven't redone our master yet - just the 2 guest rooms (one was pink! hello 3 coats of primer!!!). We mixed our own shade of yellow-beige and the rooms look gorgeous. We'll probably move on to our kitchen/dining/living room paint jobs later this year or early 2011 and our master remodel will wait until we've saved up enough to move a wall around in the master bath, so probably sometime this winter. I can't wait to paint them!!! :)

I'm contemplating an accent wall in my dining room in the "Pitch Cobalt" or similar grey-blue color.

Aug 25, 2010

It looks lovely! The touches of fuchsia are especially nice. For me, I'm a fan of Jekyll Cherokee Tan. Partly because the name is absurd and partly because I'm grovin' on the pale blue/brown color combo in my world.

Aug 25, 2010

I've been watching to see how your room turned out - I've been thinking about painting my bedroom "Mountain Smoke" but was worried that it would be too dark. Yours looks beautiful, though, so I think Mountain Smoke may be in my future! Y'all did an amazing job - it's a beautiful room.

Aug 25, 2010


Aug 25, 2010

What a beautiful room! I love the dark walls & how it makes all the other colors pop! Great job!

Aug 25, 2010

It's just lovely (although at first, I thought the sign was covering the window in the first pic bc of the before shot...duh)! Would love to see some pix taken in the morning or mid-day to see how the paint color looks.

Great job!

Aug 25, 2010

Very nice job with the dresser and mirror! Speaking of mirrors - if you do away with the mirrored closet doors, be sure you have full length mirror somewhere. There's none in my bedroom, which means I have to traipse down the hall to the guest room to see my entire outfit. (Yes, I know I should hang a mirror on the back of the bedroom door. It's on the list.)

Aug 25, 2010

Totally chic and sophisticated. Can't wait to see the how-to for the wall art.

Aug 25, 2010

Love it! Love the wall color.

Ariel Cummins
Aug 25, 2010

So. Beautiful.

I always wonder how people make rooms look like more than just a collection of stuff in a place...apparently it's by HAVING A PLAN and WORKING HARD. Who knew?

Funnelcloud Rachel
Aug 25, 2010

I LOVE it! LOVE it! Also - how did you get that done so quickly?!

Seriously, can you come out to the east coast and help me do our bedroom because we bought our house two YEARS ago and it is still unpainted. Shameful!

Aug 25, 2010

O M G! Love the end result.

Aug 25, 2010

I love it. The gray looks really classy and relaxing. Well done!

Aug 25, 2010

I think it is awesome too. We have an entire HOUSE that is still white after 7 years (we built it but did not have the money or time for the builders to paint it at that time). It is totally on my nerves, but the thought of getting started is enough to make me shudder!

Aug 25, 2010

I love this. Everything about it.


Aug 25, 2010

Looks great. I love that quote too!

Aug 25, 2010

I always wish I had the nerve to use bold, dark colors like that but it's so against my nature. Then I sit in awe and jealousy at other people's rooms and think, "Why?! Why can't I do that?!" It looks great and I am guessing it's very cocoonish when you are ready for a good night's sleep. I also love the dresser. Looks brand new.

Susan H.
Aug 25, 2010

Looks great! You did a wonderful job.

Aug 25, 2010

Love the gray and white with the pop of fuchsia! Dramatic and serene at the same time, which is quite a trick to pull off.

Aug 25, 2010

Sweet cracker sandwich! Your dream bedroom is now my dream bedroom. That sounds way more creepy than it is meant to be. In a word: love! Congratulations on your new room!

Aug 25, 2010

Wow, classy! I love the very meaningful personal touch of the poster. And the pink, of course the pink. (:

Aug 25, 2010

dramatic, but not over the top. i love it. for my own bedroom i'd probably go with grand hotel awning yellow or chickery chick. but your grey has inspired me, so who knows...

Aug 25, 2010

It's gorgeous! And inspires me to finally finish stripping and painting the half-finished dresser I have in my dining room. I would love that gift card for some of that glossy white paint!

Aug 25, 2010

I think it looks lovely! It ended up looking like a very expensive hotel room, and now you get to stay there all the time! Well done!

Aug 25, 2010

J'dore, j'love, j'can't get enough!!! I love this!

Aug 25, 2010

Wow, Holly, it looks really awesome! I don't think I could ever pull something like that off (especially not in a rental), but it looks totally "you" - very chic, elegant, crisp. I think my two favorite items in the room that really make it, though, are the painted white dresser/mirror and the cow hide rug. I covet your dresser. I love painted furniture and this looks terrific! You guys did a great job.

So I visited Valspar's colors and chose a couple that I would use in my teeny tiny house. I'd use Lime Kiss in the bedroom on all the walls, and I'd use it in the living room on all the walls but one. For that, I'd use Spring Lime as an accent. I don't know why, but green really appeals to me; always has. But I like how Spring Lime is a lighter color that won't darken things up too much.

Thanks for sharing your journey with us! Terrific, as usual.

Aug 25, 2010

This is both inquiringly lovely and deceptively achievable.

Now, mo' photos, mo' rooms!

Aug 25, 2010

I love it! Especially the pink. And the white dresser. And the sign. Or actually all of it! I painted my bedroom gray as well and I think it really is the most fabulous color - everything goes with it, I swear. Now I paint everything gray.

Aug 25, 2010

honestly i would be too scared to go grey on my own. but the outcome is great. i have always wanted a beautiful bedroom, but i doubt i have the ability to create one.

Aug 25, 2010

It looks amazing! I had a hard time imagining painting a bedroom that dark of a color, but it really is stunning! Nicely done!

Aug 25, 2010

I think you are way, way hipper and more modern than me, and I would never dare to have such a bedroom, but it is gorgeous. I love the color and I love how you made it so easy to switch out the accessories and add those little pops that really make it perfect (and the quote is gorgeous, I'm reading the poem right now going "ooh, that's a good line, too!" "and that one!" etc. etc.)

Lauren E. E.
Aug 25, 2010

You definitely achieved your hotel-room look. Well done!

Aug 25, 2010

Beautiful Holly! Excellent job. This is a perfect example of: be not afraid of your favorite color.

Aug 25, 2010

I absolutely love it! So modern and cozy at the same time. Can't wait for the how-to on the sign.

Aug 25, 2010

Spectacular! Love it! I'd love to paint my bedroom with Churchill Hotel Olive.

Betsy Blodgett
Aug 25, 2010

It looks awesome. It's a perfect room for sleeping..dark and cozy but airy as well. Well Done!

Dawn K.
Aug 25, 2010

Absolutely gorgeous. Will you come and help us make over our bedroom? I just know you would help us make it simply divine!

Elizabeth Jones
Aug 25, 2010

I've been putting off my own bedroom makeover for about a year now as we work on other sections of the house but I really like the idea of painting it a color similar to Beach Sparkle (with a lighter blue/green shade on the ceiling perhaps.)

Aug 25, 2010

i absolutely love it! i am bad with paint colors but need to jump in soon! i need to repaint almost my whole house and i have just over 2600 sqft to change!

Aug 25, 2010

I think it looks amazing. We also painted our bedroom a dark blue/grey and I have to agree the room looks so much bigger!

Aug 25, 2010

Marvelous job! You are such an inspiration.

Aug 25, 2010

I love this, but the white concerns me. What with my cats that shed and whatnot. What are you doing to stay on top of all that? (If any...)

Ultra Premium Raspberry Wine, FTW. I think I would paint my whole life that color.

Aug 25, 2010

the vintage curvy dresser is my favorite piece!! Can't wait to come across the perfect dresser to give this treatment to myself.

Aug 25, 2010

So tremendous! And...I teared up a little reading your graphic -- my Boppy carried that poem in his wallet for years, and after he passed away my Grammy sent us all copies which we keep on our fridge (stay klassy!). Your room is lovely, well done!

Aug 25, 2010

I love it! I almost want to do something similar in our bedroom except our furniture is all black and I'm afraid it would be a bit overwhelming.

We need to tackle our dining room next. Unfortunately it will involve the stripping of wallpaper that does not want to let go so I've been avoiding it.

Aug 25, 2010

This is incredibly rad. Perhaps even splendid! I especially love (love love) the quote.

I know the chances of me winning the gift card are small but I am already hatching plans for what I'd do with it. I'm not going to lie, it would probably involve finally getting a vacuum cleaner I've been dreaming about. That is how cool I am; I dream about vacuum cleaners.

Fingers crossed!

Heather MacMillan
Aug 25, 2010

I love love love the bedroom! Dramatic and classy all at once. If I had to pick I'd stay with the greys - but something lighter, like Notre Dame.

Aug 25, 2010

Simply gorgeous, Holly! But it's not like we expected anything less coming from you. :)

Aug 25, 2010

Very dramatic and I think you achieved the modern, upscale hotel vibe.

Aug 25, 2010

I LOVE the sign over the bed. I've used a dark blue and crisp white in my room for a while, but seeing A.B.'s room and now yours with the beautiful dark gray makes me want to repaint. Right. Now.

Aug 25, 2010

Well-O was one who was worried about how dark the color was-but it looks wonderful with all the white/ Well done!

Kelly H
Aug 25, 2010

I've always wanted a turquoise bathroom - with white tile floor and white vanity & sink. I would paint it Ocean Sigh. Love that color! And your room looks amazing!

Michelle B.
Aug 25, 2010

Love it! I've always loved color, but been afraid of something so bold/dark. I think you've changed my mind! :-)

Aug 25, 2010

i love it!!!! The house I moved into had dark brown walls, this is much cooler, much less....poop. haha congrats! So clean!

Stephanie M
Aug 25, 2010

The color is beautiful! I love it!

Aug 25, 2010

Love the gray! Love it, love it, love it.

Aug 25, 2010

Looks amazing! I would have never thought to paint a bedroom so dark, but I really like the way it turned out.

Aug 25, 2010

The room looks wonderful! Incredibly unique and most definitely inspiring..

Mary H.
Aug 25, 2010

Very dramatic! Its lovely.

Aug 25, 2010

The gray looks great! Actually, because of your monochrome bedroom ideas, we decided to go the same route in our apartment. We don't get to paint the walls, but since our bedroom furniture is black, white actually works. But the pops of color are really necessary.

Aug 25, 2010

Fantastic! I love love love dark walls and am so happy for you that it turned out the way you planned!

We just bought a 1941 house, and had lots of plans...till the water started flooding the basement, the water the former owners said "never ever happened, we swear" when we asked before making an offer. So now all our money is tied up in destroying our house instead of decorating it, *sigh*.

But keep the updates coming because its obvious you have fantastic style and I'm going to stock all these things away for a future time when I can build my closet and decorate my home, and not have to keep living/dressing out of the storage containers I moved them in.

Aug 25, 2010

I'm leaning towards Laura Ashley- Sugar Blossom. It would be perfect to perk up our dining room and would off set our new table linens.

Aug 25, 2010

Your bedroom turned out beautifully!

Aug 25, 2010

This is sensational! I'm very impressed with how lovely and inviting the room looks.

Aug 25, 2010

Oh gosh, I love it. It's beautiful!!

Aug 25, 2010

Looks great! As you said, it definitely isn't everyone's style. But, you can see you and your style in it, and that's always a successful makeover (in my opinion)! Now, for my $500 fantasies: I'm moving next month. The walls, oh the walls, in the living spaces are screaming for some loving. It's one of those lovely neutral colors, but it's a sickish yellowish color. Oh! And, the kitchen could use some color...and maybe the bedrooms too... Ok, I think my fantasies are well over $500, but it would be an amazing start!

Aug 25, 2010

It looks great!

Aug 25, 2010

It really looks great - I never doubted the dark gray, but it's lovely all together! Do you have room at the foot of the bed for a bench of some kind? I've always wanted one but our room is too small - looks like you might have the space, or it might be Sean's awesome photography skills making the room look huge :)

Vivian Sun
Aug 25, 2010

The room looks really cosy but also sophisticated, which seem difficult to achieve in the same space. Love the updated dresser as well. Nice work!

Aug 25, 2010

Love love love it!

Aug 25, 2010

Love it. My bedroom is also gray, but with a metallic top coat so it shimmers. It is such a peaceful color.

Aug 25, 2010

It turned out great. Just lovely. Hats off to you and Sean!

Aug 25, 2010

It's just perfect! I'll have to remember to consult the internet before embarking on my next room decoration disaster. My last disaster was in the form of cookie monster blue. I don't want to talk about it.

Mary Daiger
Aug 25, 2010

I wasn't a big fan of the color you chose, but I must say, all together, it looks AWESOME! I'm having a serious re-decorating itch because of this! :)