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. 


Erica B
Aug 25, 2010

I love it! It looks awesome. If I had some money for Lowe's I could buy some stuff for the new apartment in Seattle I move into in a couple weeks-that would be exciting!

Aug 25, 2010

This is absolutely amazing. I am so in love with this, Holly!
And! The sign slash quote! "Desiderata" is one of my Favorite Things.


Aug 25, 2010

I stand in awe. Much nicer than I thought it would be. I love the look, and think that dresser is stellar. It would be so thrilling to get the gift card. We've been trying to update our house forever!

amy mayer
Aug 25, 2010

I love how modern and minimalist the room turned out! I think I may want to get a color that is a grey-ish blue to help my son with his new house and a steel grey for my daughter who is re-doing her bathroom--this room you designed inspires me!

Aug 25, 2010

LOVELY! I knew the gray was going to be fab as my roommate painted her walls a much lighter--but still gray gray last year. It's so sophisticated, beautiful, and soothing. I love it contrasted with the white and fuchsia. Looking forward to hearing how you made the canvas over your bed!

Aug 25, 2010

It turned out nice, especially with the contrasting colors and decor.

Aug 25, 2010

I've been dying to bust some gray paint out in my apartment as well, but after just remodeling a whole office space for work, the thought of opening another paint can is just too daunting. And it's a one-year lease anyway, so by the time I get my procrastinating self around to it, I might be ready to move on.

Aug 25, 2010

Lovely, Just lovely. And I love the fuschia accents - it really works well.

elizabeth p
Aug 25, 2010

They have an Irish Tea that I would love to paint my bedroom in. I am queenesperfect at

Lisa S.
Aug 25, 2010

I can not believe how beautiful it looks! Great job--lucky you to call that your bedroom.

Pam Brain
Aug 25, 2010

aqua ocean for the guest bedroom! (good job with the steel grey - I really like what you have done with the space)

Aug 25, 2010

LOVE the color - it looked alot darker when you posted the samples and I was a bit nervous it would be tooo dark but this turned out looking lovely (and a lot lighter than I anticipated). When do you get your own show on HGTV????

Aug 25, 2010

it looks fantastic!!! i've really been digging the dark gray wall/white furniture combo ever since i saw what ab chao did to her room and i must that that you have definitely kept my interest going! now, i just need to convince my husband that i need a dark gray bedroom...

Aug 25, 2010

I love it. It's dramatic and stylish and personal. A perfect bedroom :o)


Wow I love this. It looks like something you'd see at a cute boutique hotel! I like that you can "easily" {I use that loosely} change out the quote above the headboard when you want a change. Maybe that could be your pop of color next time around!

My husband and I are looking to upgrade from our tiny condo to a larger house and would love help in being able to redecorate it...seeing as how most of the options in our price range need a lot of TLC!

jennifer m.
Aug 25, 2010

it's so beautiful :) i love the gray!

Aug 25, 2010

love the final look. the wording above the bed is perfect, i will totally be copying the idea, not the phrase, but the idea. maybe some random dr suess quote for me, its just how i roll.

Aug 25, 2010

Oh wow, I wish you would come to my house and re-do my bedroom. That looks so beautiful and relaxing, wish I could lie down in there myself right now. :)

Aug 25, 2010

Very impressed. It looks amazing!

Aug 25, 2010

Wow, it looks Great. Very Bold Yet relaxing. I like it.

Aug 25, 2010

But... there's no cat barf on the bed.

Pat F
Aug 25, 2010

"You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees or grass. You have a right to be here". I LOVE Desiderata!

Paint color - a nice white is just fine with me!

Aug 25, 2010

The 107th person to beg sweetly for the poster DIY is here... I'm always amazed at how warm a grey room can be - the room is gorg-eee-ooos!!! One many more to go?

Aug 25, 2010


Love the gray, but especially love the sign.

Aug 25, 2010

If I will the gift card will you throw in free advice on a DIY ugrade to my own bedroom?

Pat Ramey
Aug 25, 2010

It is lovely. can't wait to see how you did it all.

Aug 25, 2010

I love how your room turned out! It's fantastic. Looking over the paint colors I suddenly fell in love with Swiss Chocolate...I'm getting married in two weeks and my man is letting me redo a whole room for my office/library and I think this would be the perfect color!!

Roxanne Ellis Raymond
Aug 25, 2010

Love that color, I was hesitant about it too, but it works so well, love to see turquoise against it!

Penny Snyder
Aug 25, 2010

Wow!! Love it.....I'm needing to do some painting in our house - may use some of your ideas & color!!!

Aug 25, 2010

You achieved your goal- your bedroom does look like a swanky hotel! I love it. We are in the middle of painting our new house too and after seeing your transformation I am now thinking we might want to go with a darker shade, in at least one room. Your room is great inspiration!

Nadine Larsen
Aug 25, 2010

I think when I gave my opinion in your first blog post, I said it was too dark, but seeing the finished product with the way you accented it with the white and red and that fabulous rug, I love it now.

nan lara
Aug 25, 2010

i like it, looks really modern, and i love the thrift shop find
nannypanpan at

Casandra Weller
Aug 25, 2010

I love it! We bought our house over a year ago and we still have a bathroom, master bedroom, office, and home gym to paint. I can't wait for the tutorial on how you did the inspirational quote above your bed. I need a quote like that in my home gym to remind me why I torture myself on the treadmill daily.

Jaque Richards
Aug 25, 2010

I love what you did with that room....very nice.

A few months ago I decided to paint my living room, I have saltillo tile throughout my house, so agonized over the color choice. I decided to use Valspar's Pale Pumpkin Butter....when I opened the paint can I almost changed my mind...but went ahead and painted. It is fabulous! The tile and the paint compliment each other and are warm and inviting. Here is another surprise....I only needed ONE coat! I will never buy any other brand of paint.

Thank you. :-)

Aug 25, 2010

Oh, it looks great! I can't wait to see what else you are doing in there - I notice you didn't post any pictures that show the light fixture!

Aug 25, 2010

I want to move into your bedroom. Love it.

Denise S
Aug 25, 2010

Very bold and different than what you usually see. I like it.

Aug 25, 2010

I LOVE it, and I would love to see it with a splash of lime green accents! Nothing better than being able to change it up and match your mood.

Aug 25, 2010

I just LOVE the room! It's so elegant, modern, and comfortable all rolled into one.

I just rented a house in PDX that has approximately 900 colors painted on the walls. Well, the living room is lime green with a white stripe (weird, I know). One of the bedrooms is blue with an orange stripe, and the last bedroom is tan (well it's actually 2 colors of tan. Maybe the tenant ran out of paint? Decided to mix their own? Who knows) with another white stripe. Also, the entire basement floor is painted blue. Sooooo....we need some design help asap! Not sure how much longer I can live with lime green walls!

Karin Jakubowski
Aug 25, 2010

Gorgeous! Looks like a magazine spread.
At first I wasn't sure about the color... but it is stunning.
You have inspired be to be more creative!

Aug 25, 2010

Because my own bedroom is very sunny, if I ever get around to painting the walls, I too will use High Speed Steel. I'd say if it weren't so white/sunny, it would be a wee bit too dark, but it turned out just great!

Aug 25, 2010

The quote above the bed is just as soothing as the entire bedroom put together. Well done, there.

Aug 25, 2010

Love. Simply love.

Aug 25, 2010

I have to admit, I was on the too dark! TOO DARK! bandwagon, but now I think it is so pretty and serene. Love it.

Aug 25, 2010

It's so pretty!! The white furniture is perfect with the dark walls.

And if I could, I would paint this whole house. Every. Single. Room. Goldenrod only goes so far, ya know?

Henria O.
Aug 25, 2010

I do love the look of your room...I never knew that grey could be so dramatic and appropriate. The white accents are just the right touch of light! I especially love your $50 thrift store why can't I find beautiful objects like that?! Congratulations on coming closer to your dream room!
sazzyfrazz at gmail dot com

Aug 25, 2010

Wow, Holly. It looks incredible. I hereby hire you to help me decorate my next apartment. I assume payment in cheese and salted caramels is acceptable?

(Seriously, gorgeous. And I love that quote too. I repeat it to myself constantly too - with varied degrees of teeth clenching.)

Aug 25, 2010

Oh, I love it! I knew I would, though. I can't wait for the post about the wall hanging above the bed, because THAT? I think it is my favourite part of the whole room!

addrienne mertens
Aug 25, 2010

well i dont find it comforting for a bedroom, it seems cold like a jail. sorry but you asked. im not trying to be mean just honest. if you like it then thats what counts..right. enjoy your new room. =)

Aug 25, 2010

I think it looks great! It might even make me take the leap of painting my boring kitchen chocolate brown.

Aug 25, 2010

That is absolutely amazing!

Aug 25, 2010

I love dark gray for walls!! You bedroom looks so cool and calm...I'm getting sleepy just thinking about it. Once, I saw a photo (was it in the last Domino?) of a charcoal-almost-black bathroom with white fixtures...gorgeous...and I've been in love with dark walls ever since. Anyway, it looks lovely and elegant. Well done!

Aug 25, 2010

The art is very cool.
We are about to start Home Renovating in preparation for moving house and $500 from Lowes would make it a lot easier!

Aug 25, 2010

Beautiful! We are moving next week and I'm having a love/hate relationship with picking out paint colors for our new place!

Aug 25, 2010

Love the art you made above the bed. Can't wait for that tutorial.

I'm thinking of using "Voyage" in my upcoming bedroom makeover.

wine country mema
Aug 25, 2010

lovely, just lovely! I hope you pick my number, have a downstairs bathroom that needs some serious 500 dollar Lowes help!

Sunshyn Vanderheiden
Aug 25, 2010

That looks fabulous! You must be thrilled with your 'new' bedroom. We recently redid ours and painted it a slightly lighter copper color. The new color instead of the old, drab paneling still makes me smile.

Aug 25, 2010

Love the paint color. I've really started to like the white on dark look these days also. Just about finished with an addition project. (making more room for five growing kids) and love the inspiration.

Aug 25, 2010

I absolutely love this. And it's giving me inspiration for the gray walls I inherited when I moved in with my boyfriend.

Katherine M
Aug 25, 2010

I'm so glad I came back to see the finished room. It's wonderful. Love the sign.

Aug 25, 2010

I love the sign! It is a beautiful room.

Cherie Stangis
Aug 25, 2010

Love, love, love the grey. It's my totally favorite neutral to decorate with. I'd use it in my own bedroom if it wasn't already a lovely shade of green.

Aug 25, 2010

I will be bookmarking this to share with my husband. I have been petitioning for dark gray walls in our bedroom for years and he can't visualize how awesome it can look. The transformation is beautiful - cannot wait to see the rest of your house as you take on more projects. :)

Aug 25, 2010

like very much- Carolina Inn Brass, is one of the ones I am looking at for work

Aug 25, 2010

Gorgeous! Makes me want to repaint the family room. (Do people still call it a family room? Den? Great room? Most often we say the "TV room" and that's the ultimate commentary on our life.) Can't wait to see the progress on the rest of the house. Congratulations!

Aug 25, 2010

I love it. It looks like a picture in a magazine.

Rachael W
Aug 25, 2010

I am totally, completely in love with the DIY poster above your bed. It was the first thing that caught my attention. Please post the tutorial so that I can steal this idea!

Judy M
Aug 25, 2010


Patricia Treskovich
Aug 25, 2010

you did a lovely decorating job

Aug 25, 2010

Looks great! I can't wait to see what you do in other rooms in the house.

Aug 25, 2010

Your bedroom is GORGEOUS. It looks like *you* which is weird since I do not know you.

We bought our house on December 23 of 2008. We had a five month total demo and rebuild timeline that we were doing ourselves. Of the whole house. All 2800 sq. ft. of it. Down to new hardwoods, all new bathrooms and an entire kitchen.

We found out I was (SURPRISE!) pregnant on Mt. Luther King Day, January 2009. So, for 3 weeks we worked on the house and laughed when people suggested we have kids in it ("NO! Not for a long time!"). And now we laugh when we think back to those 6 months that we did not live in this house but paid the mortgage and our rent simultaneously and stripped this house to nothing while my belly grew bigger and our bank account grew smaller and yet we turned it into a home. And now we have an almost one year old and a house we LOVE and CHERISH and WILL GROW OLD WITH (yes. We took wedding vows with this house) because we put our love into it.

And that is what you are doing with yours. And you will never regret it.

(OH! I would use the gift card for some outdoor planting projects! Because while the inside is perfect, the outside is livable and I want pretty!)

Stephanie V.
Aug 25, 2010

first class all the way! I love dark with light accents so of course think it is lovely.
tvollowitz at aol dot com

Aug 25, 2010

Wow--it looks great! I especially love the repainted dresser--I have been wanted to do something like that and feeling intimidated, but you've really inspired me.

Aug 25, 2010

The white furniture keeps the room looking bright and lighter that you would expect in a grey room. It is very chic but still liveable. Nice job!

Aug 25, 2010

Absolutely stunning!

Aug 25, 2010

Beautiful and very creative!

shawn mckim
Aug 25, 2010

I love it.. A coat of good paint can do so much.

Aug 25, 2010

Stunning. The color is great!!

Leslie M.
Aug 25, 2010

I LOVE it!!! Love, love, love! I never would have dreamed of doing it myself, but you may have inspired me!

Aug 25, 2010

love the results! my bed room is a slightly lighter color gray, but might need to be punched up a bit after seeing how dark and romantic yours turned out. good job!

Lisa Carr
Aug 25, 2010

I want to say, I would never have thought to choose gray as a wall color, but it looks fantastic. I think the white prevents it from looking dreary. The room looks great. The pop of color is so important. I like that they are not more permanent accents, and that you can change it on a whim if it strikes you. We bought our house 12 years ago, painted before we moved in. Well, we haven't painted since. I am always on the fence about what colors to choose for each room, so I end up putting it off. After seeing all of the work you've done, I've become inspired. I'm still not sure about the colors, but I am now determined to get the rooms done this fall.

Aug 25, 2010

I think its wonderful! Fresh and clean and crisp. I might try this steel gray on a buffet thats been modified to vanity.

Aug 25, 2010

I'm a new follower here and must say, I LOVE your room- the color palette, the sign, and, most especially, the fact that you wouldn't need to spend more than thirty bucks to completely change the vibe with a new accent color. Awesome job!

Aug 25, 2010

It looks so lovely and modern and chic! I really like how you thought about the color scheme and being able to change the accent colors so easily. We are currently searching for the perfect curtains for the bedroom. After seeing your DIY wall art, I am anxious to see your tutorial for the materials. We still have a bunch of sample cans I am itching to use for accents. I also stumbled on a local shop here in the valley that has a furniture paint (no primer or sandpaper needed) and workshops for paint ideas and gold foiling, etc. that I want to check into further. I love Desiderata. I have a little laminated print of it on my fridge which I try to read daily. I just bought my first little orchid a few weeks back for my office too and have managed not to kill it so far. Yours is beautiful! Can't wait to see more of the house and more your ideas!

Aug 25, 2010

it looks so very lovely! i hope that once you are done, you will allow apartment therapy to come back and take shots of your place.

brenda helgeson
Aug 25, 2010

Wow, It looks so sophisticated, I love how the white pops against the color of the walls. I've been looking for a curved chest for years at thrift shops, but I'm still on the hunt.

Ellie W
Aug 25, 2010

I love the contrast of the dark walls and light furniture.

Aug 25, 2010

awesome bedroom! I think I'd paint my bedroom in Celestial Blue, so it'd be relaxing like a spa

Lisa Foster
Aug 26, 2010

If I win I think I would put it toward redoing my countertops--been wanting to for a long time.

Aug 26, 2010