From Dark & Dingy to Full of Light

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Design Reveals

Hey there, I'm Michelle!

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Transforming My Guest Bedroom

I bought my first home this year and have a guest room for the very first time. This space had a loooonnnnggg way to go, but we got there. It’s received raving reviews from friends and family that have stayed the night.



I LOVE sharing the behind the scenes transformations that took place inside my own home. This house has absolutely been my passion project, and being able to cultivate a space that not only looks great but also makes me feel peaceful and calm has been life-changing for me.

I’ve previously shown the behind the scenes transformation of the primary bedroom (you can find that post here), and today I’m walking you through the process I took in the guest bedroom.

I’d never had a guest bedroom before so I was super excited to create a space that my guests would love to sleep in!


When I purchased the house this room was dark, dingy and energy-draining. This before photos were taken when I toured the house with my realtor. Thankfully, the previous owner did the house vacant on closing day . When I first saw this space, my number one concern was natural lighting. I knew there was potential to brighten the room with light but it’s hard to imagine that in this before picture:


The Renovation

I had the vision of how I wanted the room to look and feel before I started and I’d already pieced together the decor. I HIGHLY recommend having a clear plan before you get started, because winging it just doesn’t work. Buying paint and then grabbing a few cushions on the fly is highly unlikely to result in a beautifully designed space that you truly love! Good design needs to be cultivated.

I used a coat of fresh white paint on all the walls. I actually love to use white paint straight off the shelf. It has zero tint to the color, so it’s a “pure” white. You’ll find that most whites have undertones and might pull a certain color in specific light, but a white with no tint won’t have any undertones. It’s kind of incredible what just a coat of paint can do, right?!

I created my accent wall with green paint. The color is Rural Green by Sherwin Williams. The color was inspired by my friend Racheal with Banyan Bridges, she has an incredible eye for color. I honestly had planned on just painting the walls white and living with it for a while, but I got too excited and had to throw some color up. My favorite part about this green accent is you can see it from the entry and living room. It’s a sneaky pop of fun.

The floors were solid wood, which was a major selling point for the house. The wood was however covered in cat urine weighted (yes, weighted) carpet. I pulled back all the carpet and the urine had soaked through the carpet and into the wood floor. My kind mom and I spent hours scrubbing the floors with every. internet. recommendation. ever. to remove pet stains from wood floors. We eventually threw in the (literal) towel and hired professionals to redo the wood floors throughout the house. It cost $3,000 for 1400 square feet of flooring and it was worth every single penny. We went with a clear coat finish and no stain.

While I was waining on energy mid renovation, my oldest brother Jeremy hung the new modern white fan. I planned on adding canned lights to the room, but alas budget. I ended up adding lots of lamps, so it was fine, but cans would have been the move. The fans came in a pack of two from Amazon and were great at $100/piece.

My little brother Matt fortunately was in town and happened to need a bed to sleep in while he was visting from New York, so he assembled his own bed to earn his keep.

I added a full length mirror and wall hooks for guests to use. I personally hate not knowing if someone has used my bath towel in a shared guest bathroom so having a space to hook your towel within your guest room is a plus.

I had this blush velvet bedding from my previous home. I originally purchased the bedding from West Elm for my own bed, but in the new house I upgraded to a king bed and opted for this set to move to the guest room. I love that it’s a simple comforter. I personally hate washing a duvet cover for guests every time they stay, with a comforter you can just throw it in the wash and not have to reassemble the entire thing and break a sweat while you lose your religion. I also love an oversized lumbar pillow instead of 65 throw pillows.


My grandmother’s bar cabinet has traveled with me for ten years and made the perfect nightstand addition to this space. I added coffee book tables for a guest to peruse as well as lamp light for night time reading.


I’m not going to lie, my guests have raved about the space and how it feels like a respite. The blackout shades and cozy silky sheets add to the comfort factor. Find all the links below and a few of my go to’s to creating a welcoming space that your guest might not ever leave.






Must Have Items For Any Guest room

If you’re thinking about making a guest room transformation of your own, here are the items I’ve found invaluable to include. They’re a mix of practical and aesthetically pleasing pieces, and they make the difference between having a stark, plain guest room and having a welcoming space your guests will love to visit.

  • Cozy Bedding

  • Mirror

  • Towel Hooks

  • Mood Lighting

  • Live Plants

  • Black Out Window Coverings

  • Phone Charger

  • Diffuser

Hey there, I'm Michelle!

Interior Decorator in Austin, TEXAS

As the founder and lead interior decorator here at Cultivate Your Space, I'm here to bring you the vision your space—from the baseboards to the ceilings—even if you have no idea at all what your decorating style is.

My job isn't just to design a space you love. I want your living space to be a source of peace, comfort, security, and joy...not just somewhere you lay your head each night.

Most Austin interior decorators only focus on how your space looks—but not me. I care about both how your space functions AND how it makes you feel.

Curating with intention

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Do you need to buy new decor but aren't quite sure what to call your design style or what to even search for? Download this free guide and discover your signature style, even if you don't have an eye for design.

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