12 More Inches

Our guest bedroom (currently Handy Sammy’s room) is small.  Not even 10 feet wide by 11 feet long, including the foot deep bookshelf.  And it doesn’t get a ray of direct sun light, so it can be dark sometimes.

New-House-Guest-Bedroom April 13 2012

Add in furniture and fill the bookshelves and it’s one cluttered, dark little room lacking real storage and organization.


I found a pint-sized dresser, for more storage space.  But it took up valuable floor real estate.  And left a tiny walk way between it and the bed.


We had always planned to notch out the bookshelves, pushing the bed against the wall.  Spurred by the new dresser, we started a few weekends ago.  It took me an hour and five laundry baskets to clear off the shelves.Bookshelf-Contents-in-Baskets


We drew a quick sketch and talked about our plan and options.  And then Ben worked his magic and Sawzall.  It worked best for us to cut out the vertical supports, leaving the tops.


This allowed us to keep the shelves above the bed the same width and reuse the cut pieces as side supports.


The old shelves cut down to fit the narrower sides.


A new piece at the top framed out the bed opening.  To brighten up the room, we painted everything bright white.


For function, Ben added an outlet on either side of the bed, inside the bookshelf.


Sconces (these specifically, hung upside down, though I would have loved to have these if clearances weren’t an issue) replace the old table lamps, giving ample reading light while keeping clutter off shelves.


With the bed pushed against the wall, we gained 12 inches of floor space.


Obviously we’re not finished.  Here’s what’s still on my to do list:

Let shelves dry before loading contents back on

Find the right paint color (hence the Technicolor walls) – jeesh, finding a warm gold that isn’t too green or orange is tough!

Install new baseboard, crown, and door trim

Sew a bed skirt

Hang the headboard

Pick out an overhead light and install it

35 thoughts on “12 More Inches

  1. what a great idea to recess the bed into the bookshelves! You could maybe go with an even lighter color on the walls to brighten up the space even more?!?!

    1. Hi Jenn!

      Thanks so much! If I can’t find a warm yellow, I’m going to look for a light yellow. Maybe similar to the color we had in the boys’ room at our old house. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂


  2. I love what you’ve done with the shelves, the bright white just brightens it up so beautifully, and I love the way the bed fits in there perfectly. As for the paint colors, the sunny yellow is my choice. I just painted our finished basement and the previous color was peach. We’d had it for 10 years, so I think that’s why I’m shying away from peachy colors right now. 🙂 Can’t wait to see it finished!

    1. Hey Julia!

      Thank, lady! We’re happy with the white, too. 🙂 I hear you on peach, too. That’s what I’m trying to shy away from, but the lighting is more blue in this room than others in the house. So, we’ve got to counter act that. Any color suggestions are welcome!


  3. Hey Amanda! I see I’m not the only one who’s dealing with a case of the small guest room woes! I have a question for you? This is usually not at all something you would ever hear me say, but have you considered going white on the walls in there? I know you’re wanting to go with a golden brown, but I think that space is the perfect candidate for white walls. You could warm up the room with textiles and accessories. Just something to think about? Either way, I know it’s going to be awesome in there. I love how you installed the sconces within the bookshelves.

    1. Hey Shavonda!

      Oh yes, small guest rooms are tough, especially right now when it’s a full-use bedroom. Hmmm, I’ll have to run the white wall idea by Ben. He’s usually not a white wall person. If the warm gold doesn’t work out (I’m about to give up on it!) I’m thinking of using a pale yellow, just for some color. 🙂 We do have a fun dose of color for the headboard and new curtains.


  4. what a great idea! are you going to do some sort of cool headboard in the new nook area? you could do something neat out of wood, or, an inset padded headboard with some fun fabric?

  5. For colors, it might be kind of fun to put up white board and batten 3/4s or 2/3rds of the way up on the remaining two or three walls (like just the window and dresser wall), but put a dark navy (BM Hale Navy) above it. With the the white bookshelves it would really brighten it up, but the dark color and books would make it weighty for a bedroom (and more manly for Sammy, although navy is pretty gender neutral, especially if you add fun pillows).

    1. Hi Karyl!

      You know we love board and batten, but we’re going to stick with painted walls for now. We can always add it if we change our minds. Handy Sammy loves yellow, so that’s why we’re looking there.


    1. Hi Denise!

      We’ll share the headboard as soon as we get it in the room. 🙂 Although I’ll admit it’s not terribly exciting. Simple to keep the shelves from competing with the headboard.


  6. Great solution. Boy oh boy that Handy Sammy is lucky.

    I have a nice gold in my bedroom. It’s Madera by Dunn Edwards. We used a 25% tint for the master bath and the ceilings.

    1. Hi Malibou!

      Thanks so much! I know, I kind of want to kick him out just for a night so I can try it out. Haha. Where do you buy Dunn Edwards paint? I’d love to pick up a swatch. 🙂


  7. Your bookcases inspire me to tackle the oak in my house…how did yours turn out? Can you see the grain and what were the steps you took to cover it?

    1. Hey Kate!

      I think they turned out great. You can still see the grain (obviously oak is very heavy), but I don’t think it looks bad. And the shelves will be filled with books. 🙂 I quickly sanded the shelves with 220 grit paper, cleaned the dust off, and painted with Glidden’s Duo (primer and paint), doing three coats on everything. Hope that helps!


  8. Love! Just fabulous. Can’t wait to see how to turns out. Picking paint is soon hard. Makes my head spin. I think you could go a lot of different ways with color in here. I have ‘Aztec Gold’ by Glidden in my living room and I really love it. May be too heavy and rich for this room though. Going the other way, I have a soft yellow, ‘Saw dust’ by Pittsburgh Paints??, in my guest bedroom and it also turned out nice. -Sarah

    1. Hey Sarah!

      Thanks so much! Yep, and yellow seems to be especially hard. I’ll check out Aztec Gold and Saw Dust when I’m out next. 🙂 Thanks for the suggestions!


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