A Light & Airy Guestroom Renovation

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The mantle that I salvaged and restored really inspired me to update the rear bedroom in our house. Until that point, we’d used it as an office that quickly turned into a storage room. Since all of my family lives out of state (and we have plenty of friends in other cities) I thought that turning the rear bedroom into a guest bedroom (with a small desk for me to use when needed) would be the best way to breathe some new life into our old house.

Bright Modern Guestroom

When we originally moved in, the first thing we did was rip up the carpeting and refinish the original hardwood floors so luckily for me one of the biggest parts of this project had already been completed! The other larger projects were refinishing and installing the mantle that I salvaged and building a tiny desk inside of the room’s only (and tiny!) closet.

I sanded, patched, and brightened up the walls with Bistro White in eggshell and the trim with Ultra White in semi-gloss. The ceiling was also updated with new paint and a brass ceiling pendant from West Elm.

This was also the first time I ever put up curtains  – and I found it was a lot harder than it looks! Inspired by some curtain rods from West Elm, I painted hardware from Ikea with gold spraypaint and found some fantastic antiqued bronze curtain clips to hang the sheers and curtains from. If there is one thing I learned from my first time hemming curtains, it’s to make sure that you wash, dry, and steam all of the wrinkles out before you start pinning! My curtains gained at least an inch or two in length after steaming them.

A lot of old rowhomes in Philadelphia have tiny, shallow closets that don’t even have enough depth for hangers! In most rentals I’ve just added shelves and folded clothes and shoes on them, but we decided to add a shelf at desk height to make a tiny workspace.

It just barely fit my computer, and finding a saddle stool that would fit underneath the desk took some digging, but it’s actually really comfortable to work at! The top shelf also fits a lot of storage with wire magazine holders and a chalkboard milk crate.

I love how the iron bedframe works with the vintage file cabinet that I used as a nightstand – and an old gumball lamp that I painted with the same paint from the curtain hardware. I really love the metallic stud pillows (Nate Berkus, no longer available) to add a little bit of pop. A vintage brass-plated trunk (I stripped, sanded, and sealed the interior over a weekend) adds even more storage.

My favorite part of the room is definitely the mantle that I restored – it didn’t take up that much actual space but really creates a focal point for the room. The vintage mirror was a fantastic find from Jinxed Philadelphia that really opens the room up and is a great backdrop for a few favorites like one of my grandfather’s cameras, some favorite books, and some antique brass candlesticks. There’s no fooling anyone that it’s a faux mantle, so instead I piled up some pillar candles, candlesticks, and a basket with a throw blanket and sequined pillow along the floor to fill in the space).

Source List

Paint + Fixtures

Walls: Valspar bistro white 7006-4 in eggshell
Trim: Valspar ultra white 7006-24 in semi-gloss
Ceilings: BEHR® ultra pure white ceiling flat interior paint
Pendant Light: West Elm mobile small pendant (no longer available)

Shop the Room

You can also find more sources, ideas, and inspiration on my guest room Pinterest board.

Linea di Liara

Similar Stella LED sputnik chandelier fixture


Wrought iron metal spindle bed frame


Similar 2-drawer black vertical file with lock


Ritva cotton curtains with tie-backs


1.25″ curtain rod rings with clips


Elegance sheer voile curtain panels

Household Essentials

Similar wicker basket with braided handle

Kevin Textile

Similar decorative sequin throw pillow


Set of 3 ceramic white pillar candle holders


Similar versailles gold wall mirror

Ornate Handicrafts

Similar hand-woven throw blanket with sequins

West Elm

Large rectangle lacquer tray


  1. Popped over from Apartment Therapy to see more pix. Nice job! I live just outside Philly and used to live in the city and had brass candlesticks just like those. Wondering if you bought them from somewhere I donated them in a cleanout and hoping so!

  2. Could be! I picked up these candlesticks years ago when I was in college, and had actually painted them black! When I was going through this room I was digging through old boxes to look for anything I could use and I found them, cleaned them up with some paint thinner, and they look fantastic! If they were yours – thank you! 🙂