A Guest Bedroom Makeover on a Just-Moved-In Budget


Melanie Gnau and her husband spent five years living in an Airstream to save up for their first home, a fixer-upper in Asheville, North Carolina. They used the proceeds from their Airstream to fund the renovations, which were extensive. They spent most of their funds on a complete overhaul of their home before they officially moved in. “When we bought our home, it needed new electrical, and the drywall was in bad shape, so we decided to tear it all out and replace it. We did all of the demo work ourselves but hired out the electrical and the drywall installation.” They also refinished the floors and added new doors and trim throughout the home.

When they were finished their remaining budget was very (very) tight, which meant they had to get creative when it came to finally fixing up their guest room. Here’s how they did it, how much it cost, and their best advice for making the most of your just-moved-in budget.

What was your vision for the guest room?

“Guest room” is kind of a loose term. We use it to store stuff for our business, pack orders, and take pictures. So, it needed it to be light and bright, have good storage, and function as a room for the rare guest.

Originally, when I had been trying to work in my husband’s office, we had a dresser in the room, but I really like to be alone to work, and so does he. So I switched out the dresser for a “desk”–two thrifted filing cabinets with a piece of wood on top.

Makeshift desk and art piece
After living with the guest bedroom for a while, Melanie and her husband decided to replace the dresser with a DIY desk so that they could each have a dedicated working space in their home.

How do you convert the room from office to bedroom?

When I turn this room into a guest bedroom, I change out the linens and leave out my fluffiest towels for my guests. I realize that this might not be as comfortable as a hotel, but I try to make it welcoming. I light a candle, and if it’s in season I’ll cut some flowers from my garden. I’ll also clear my work stuff off the desk so they can have space to unpack or set things.

How did you stay on budget for this room?

I was on a very strict budget for this room, so I shopped our house a lot. Of course, I had bought all this stuff previously, but I’m always glad to use things I already own since I’m a big proponent of sustainability. The most sustainable thing you can do is use the things you already have. The second most sustainable is shopping secondhand.

I like to shop in person, but there’s a lot of great options for folks who can’t make it to the thrift store or for people who think thrift shopping is overwhelming. It definitely can be! Etsy, Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist are all great options for secondhand finds. I also like the fact that when shopping online you can sort by price so you’re not even tempted by items that are outside of your budget.

What major purchases, if any, did you make for this room?

We chose this pull-out daybed from IKEA a while ago for this room. I looked around for a long time before finding something that would be able to accommodate two adults, if necessary, but also had storage (or the ability for storage boxes) underneath. I actually have storage boxes under the bed, and I store paperwork and sentimental items under there. I also like that normally the bed is twin-sized, so it doesn’t take up the whole space.

We also bought the curtains and blinds, the rug, and two of the three light fixtures from major retailers. Everything else we sourced from flea markets, secondhand shops, and our own home.

Dog sitting on bed with colorful throw blanket
When guests come to stay, Melanie can quickly change out the linens on the daybed and add a few cozy blankets and throw pillows to make them feel at home.

How much DIY work was involved?

We did the blinds and curtains installation ourselves; I turned a CB2 flush mount into a hanging lamp with this kit; and I spray painted the desk lamp, which was a thrift-store find, to match the other light fixtures. I also made some of the pillows and the wall art. I wanted a Mondrian-inspired piece and used different sizes and shapes of wood to create this tactile, statement art. I love how original it is, and I think it adds some much-needed color and fun to the room.

Budget breakdown:

  • Labor: Melanie spent $2,500 for someone to drywall the entire house and another $2,000 for an electrician. Adjusted for just the guest bedroom, this amounts to $675.
  • Materials: Melanie spent $200 on paint.
  • Furniture: Melanie spent $1,500 on furniture.
  • Total: $2,375

Shop the room:

The realtor.com® editorial team highlights a curated selection of product recommendations for your consideration; clicking a link to the retailer that sells the product may earn us a commission.

The post Before & After: A Guest Bedroom Makeover on a Just-Moved-In Budget appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.