Bronxville Bedroom Update – Decorating Is So Difficult!

Hey Everyone,


Bedroom update! The focus is the decorating details; there are a lot of them.


We’ll touch on how to get the mix right with colors, finishes, accessories, remaking/refurbishing some furniture pieces and window treatments.

But first of all, I couldn’t be happier with how things have turned out so far and the big stuff is done; that being, the paint and wallpaper.

To see the bedroom, before, click here.


mural sources wallpaper Anastasia - Sand my Bedroom update


Please believe me when I tell you that these photos do not do justice at all to the wonderful colors in the wallpaper from Mural Sources who have graciously donated the paper after I begged them. ( didn’t have to beg hard) ;]

Unfortunately, the radiator cover hasn’t materialized yet, but I am told that Friday the carpenter will be coming. Did I tell you that I’m going to have one made in the manner of this one here, but of course, much deeper.

One thing that they did is to paint the two bookcases which were a cream bordering on yellow in some lights. I had them use the white dove paint and what’s interesting, is that they look slightly different from the walls which I expected.

white dove bookcases - my bedroom update

And in this late morning light, they look different from each other! Doesn’t the building across the courtyard look like a painting? That’s because my windows are filthy!

Yes, we already discussed the wires. When I’m looking at the TV, in bed, all I can see is the top of the table and TV.

But…Please be rest assured those of you who donate regularly to the electrical wire police. The glass was removed from the doors and in its place, they will put a piece of plywood painted the same white paint color.

To see what that looks like, you can see a similar look in the built-in tall cabinet.

Then, they will put the TV inside one of them. In its current place, I think that I’ll put the round ottoman that’s cowering in fear under my desk, at the moment.

It’s like this one only the fabric is a pale gray-blue and beige geometric. It’s from Serena and Lily, however they discontinued it about three years ago.

The wall mural from Mural Sources is beyond exquisite. The background color is actually a soft, pale taupe. The leaves usually look bronze with a green-y gold tinge which I dore. And the birds are fabulous. I don’t get to see too many because of the furniture, but we’ll be getting to that.


I have been asked about mixing furniture in a room.


Or, rather, mixing furniture styles. And then there’s the issue of wood stains. Should they match? And if painted, how many pieces painted and should they all be painted the same way?

But, these decorating details are super important.


After all, we don’t want a matched set of furniture–ever.

However, we also don’t want our rooms to look like a vignette from the Salvation Army. Even IF everything came from the Salvation Army. Hey, I’m fine with that!


Let’s begin with the pieces of furniture in most bedrooms.


  • A bed(s)
  • nightstands or small chests used as nightstands

We could stop right there, because if there’s a large closet, you might not need anything else IN the bedroom. I have had that situation happen in at least one bedroom I’ve worked on.

But most people have a dresser and/or a chest(s). Some have an armoire or wardrobe. I have bookcases.

So, it’s possible to have a bed, nightstands, dresser/chest, and then one or two of the following, highboy, armoire, wardrobe, or bookcase(s).


In most rooms, I do a combination of paint and stained wood pieces.


The stains do not need to match, but they do need to coordinate. It varies, but usually I have more painted than stained, but sometimes its the other way around.

As for styles, if one stays with a general period, for instance, my furniture is either Gustavian Swedish in style or Louis the XVI (straight tapered leg.) Those two styles always look great together.

A big issue in my room is that the floor is orange-y and the bed is cerused oak. Normally, I would say “icky poo,” And on top of it, there are mahogany nightstands!


But, there’s also mahogany ribbon banding in the floor. In fact the night tables, with the orange-y leather floor are very close to the floor colors.


my bedroom update - bed-nightstand-lamp Mural Sources wallpaper

I think that all looks very nice together in a kind of collected, slightly funky way. What saves it, is that the Harbour Cane bed from Serena and Lily (which I adore) looks so great against the wall mural. Oh, and that is the only place that one sees the big blue bird we saw here except for a little bit of the tail. He looks like he’s about to take a bite out of the lamp cord!


Speaking of lamps. I have had these for a very long time and was going to replace them. But they actually look quite nice. We’ll see.


The bigger problem is that the nightstands are really a little too big and a drawer we be incredibly useful. Believe me. I have looked at night stands. But I also have had these for 19 years and love their shape which you can see here.

Uhhh… maybe if I cleaned the crap out of my dresser, I’d have more room?

No worries. We’re getting to that! Not today and not tomorrow but soon and it’s going to be radical!

But Laurel, I thought that you were putting the bed in front of the window???


Oh, yes. Thank you for reminding me. Well… The window is not centered in the room but the bed would have to be centered on the window and that would leave about 15″ between the bed and dresser for 15″ of overlap. No Bueno.

If there was no dresser, then it would work. But, I am not going to spend a small fortune re-configuring my closets, so the bed has to stay put.


Okay, this next pic is when it begins to feel like I’m in the grocery store wearing only my bra and undies.

BTW, no judging.

Fine. judge. Think whatever you like, but please don’t shame me for the missing drawer pulls. Thank you. Nobody’s perfect.

Yes! Of course, I’m getting some new hardware! Do, I even have all of the loopy things? Who knows? haha

Fillipa pull decorating details - AnthropologieI’m loving the Filippa pull from Anthropologie in white and cast brass.


Now, that the mirror is gone, (well, not gone, but resting against the wall in the hall) I’m thinking a new mirror. It’s not that I don’t like the other one. I do love it, except that it weighs a ton and it’s too big. Well, too tall.

antique-venetian-glass-wall-mirror decorating details

Yes, I know that it’s a train wreck. lol I actually love that. The  missing piece is taped to the mirror which is what that mess is. It reminds me of the mirror in my Paris apartment bathroom.

And if I don’t like it over the dresser, then it would also look fabulous in the bathroom, whenever that gets done.


italian-tole-florentine-sconces-a-pairThese lovelies were purchased a few days ago from Chairish! I was going to put them in my widget on the vintage sales page. But I’ve learned my lesson, because if I do that, they’ll be gone in the morning. ;] They might look nice over the bookcases, but if not, I’ll find another place for them.

Can anyone think of a non-tacky way to illuminate them a little? (other than by candle-light) It would be great to get a little light over the bookcases. Yes, real sconces would’ve been nice, but didn’t get that one together and not sure that hardwired sconces would’ve been an option, in any case.


The rug is still hanging out in the living room. I would attempt to drag it in and install it under the bed but I would need to grow a pair of balls and I don’t think that’s a good look for me. ;]


bright bird - mural sources wallpaper my bedroom reno update
I had no idea this bird was so gorgeous– and bright orange! I can also see it behind the door. But the door is usually open in front of it.


Laurel, what about the windows? And what’s taking so long?


Well… this is how long it takes! Usually from start to finish with clients, the average is about six months for a room. Sometimes I’ve done them faster, but five-six months is about average.

I did decide a while back that I want to do a layered window treatment. I need a solar shade because from the end of September until the end of March in the later afternoon, it is BLINDING in here.

And then, I want to do a Roman Shade. You can read all about Roman shades here.


In the meantime, I came across a new image that I love.


Greek key trim taffeta Roman Shade - traditional living room - source unknown

I’m looking at the middle window because it is similar in size to mine. And sorry, but despite my best efforts, could not find the original source. If anyone knows who this image belongs to, please let me know and I will add it.

And while I do love this, I think it would be a bit much for the bedroom, even with a much lighter shade of gros-grain, either in a bronze-y-olive or taupe-y-sand.

So many ideas for how to do the Roman Shades have been swirling around in my head—for weeks!


Here’s why (and it’s also a lesson for interior designers to understand how their clients live.)


I love laying in my bed and looking out the window. And being on the third floor, I can see quite a bit of sky. I can see planes coming in because the approach often directs planes from the south and then they turn to go more easterly which makes sense since the major airports are south east of me.

Sometimes I can see Venus which one time it was so big and bright, I thought it was a plane, but after five minutes with no discernible movement, decided it was not a plane. :]

And in the summer, I can see my beloved thunderstorms rolling in (like we had this evening) and brilliant, fiery sunsets. (like we’re having right now!)


Are you beginning to understand? I adore my little piece of heaven, right outside my window!


And the thought of covering any of it up, even with my glorious Greek key pattern. (I love them all!) is causing the system to crash. And of course, the windows should’ve been the first thing that was on order!

This is really the sun’s fault. Or maybe it’s my fault for living so far north. Whatever, something has to give.



kathys curtains- beautiful Roman shade with black grosgrain trim

Kathy’s Curtains


This as you can see is the top down-type Roman shade. Do check out her link. (under the image) She gives a detailed tutorial on how she does the trim. No offense, but please, we should not drag our shades on the window sill. Use a cord cleat to tie up them cords! Kitties love dangling things and those are quite dangerous.


Laura Tutun top down roman shade with ribbon trim decorating details

Laura Tutun did a similar design in this charming office. But you know that whoever sits there, does not sit on an ottoman. haha. They do all sorts of wacky things for photos.

Looking over my Roman Shade post, a memory was jogged that some of the best photos were by a local workroom which at the time, I did not realize was a local workroom!

And I love her work. It’s Deborah Cronin, owner of Leatherwood Design Co.

Now, here’s what’s really funny.

Remember this post where I went into great deal about a lot of info about Window Treatments?


And see that handsome young man?


That’s Mario. And get this. Deb told me that Mario had mentioned me and I think it’s possible that he had mentioned her to me, but it didn’t sink in at the time. Too funny!

Well, it looks like Mario has gotten a new job, but he’s a fabulous installer. Sooooo important!

Deb couldn’t have been lovelier on the phone and I can tell from her blog and the conversation that she really knows her stuff. So, I’m going to be working with her. Her workroom is only about 20 miles from me. I know that she’s going to whip up something extraordinary for me and so excited about that.

Well, I was going to get into more options, but this is already over 2,100 words!

There’s more to come– soon!

But, this room isn’t going to be finished for a while. In the meantime, I’m enjoying seeing it unfold.



PS: Coincidentally, just found out that there’s a terrific 20% off beds and headboards going on at One King’s Lane if you’re interested.


72 Responses

  1. You hit so many nails on the head it’s – amazing! Design is/can be difficult because of the CLIENT! It’s so HARD to let them make bad decisions! And when they buy furnishings on their own without telling you (the wrong stuff) and then send you pictures so you have to do a work around/re-plan & make it look good-as best you can- oh my!

    1. Hi Catherine,

      Being an interior designer means getting squeezed between your client and your vendors. Of course, we need good relationships with both, but sometimes, it really is like walking a tightrope!

  2. I love reading your blog! I have loved design since I was a teen girl (now I have one) and I have learned so much from you over these last few months! Your humor and honesty about the design process are encouraging to this amateur who has been dithering about new lighting fixtures for several weeks. I finally ordered today, and the fixture for the kitchen table area closely resembles the “Decostar” I just saw on the Hot Sales Page! Thanks for the validation. 🙂

  3. Laurel
    Just wanted you to know that when I said “cords and all” I meant that I appreciate that you share the entire process with us-not waiting until everything is perfection. We enjoy the transformation and your thought process. Love your blog!

    1. No problem. I didn’t think that you meant anything derogatory. I wouldn’t have published it. It’s just that the cords and TV look so bad in the photo but in real life, not so bad. But, I want to take care of it anyway.

  4. Looks lovely, Laurel! I just knew it would with that heavenly paper! Your comments on mixing painted and stained furniture have me questioning my assumptions. I always thought my 1980s-era Chippendale-style dresser was too new-looking and formal to mix with a painted piece…am I wrong? Or do you need the worn look of an antique to make it work?

    1. Hi Mary,

      Difficult to answer without seeing everything together. But I’ve mixed painted pieces with more formal English Mahogany pieces. Back then, there was stained and painted furniture, as well. And then there’s painted as in Chinese lacquered pieces.

  5. I would like to see Harry & Meghan do a look like “black matte walls emerald green sofa” photo online.

  6. how about a post of how you think Harry and Meghan should decorate their digs as a married couple? Remember that old HGTV show “Designing for the Sexes”?

    1. Hi Susie,

      Yes, I remember that show. uhhhh… that was NOT my experience at all! Most couples agreed on most things. Or else they kept it private.

      Interesting idea about Harry and Meghan’s new digs.

  7. Yes, yes, yes! THIS is why I love your blog Laurel. And why I admire you so. I love to see you work through this process and so generously share your insight and thoughts. And after reading your blog I have been trying to add more layering and mixing and matching in my own home and WOW is it hard! I think it is so difficult to get a timeless look, that is personal and meaningful, and not one that is “decorated”. Your end result will be fabulous, and I can hardly wait to see it.

  8. Laurel I completely understand about the view of the sky. I personally like a long soak in the tub, and currently have a great view of treetops & sky. I told the contractor who’s remodeling our next house (which has killer views) that I needed to have the windowsill over the tub dropped down about 8 inches so I can see out, at the forest, the mountains and the sky. He might think I’m a bit nutty to want to re-do a perfectly good window but he did say he was glad we owned the house for a while before undertaking the remodel, so we would know what we really wanted.

  9. I could listen to you blather on…. I mean read your blog for hours! I was sad when you said you were at the limit. As I always tell you I so enjoy your wit and sarcasm! I too take forever doing a room for myself. You can imagine how stressed I am building my new house…


  10. So much character and charm! I love that you have all sorts of interesting sources for your goodies, but when pulled together they look just ticketyboo.

    THAT is wherein lies the talent of a good designer vs the rest of us, I suspect. Actually, I know this for a fact, lol, looking around my room behind me as I type!

  11. Good morning Laurel,
    What a pleasure to read today’s blog post.
    I love all of your choices, especially the wallpaper. The birds are beautiful! I love the placement of the birds in the wallpaper panel in the first photo.
    I am so looking forward to the ‘rest of the story’ and I know it will be worth waiting for!

  12. I LOOOOVE your murals! They look gorgeous with the paint color. I’m afraid to look at their website, because I’m sure I will try to find a place to put some of their masterpieces in my home!

    I also follow Deb Cronin’s blog. She does beautiful work and I get ideas for sewing window coverings from her. I knew you were both in the same area and also wondered if it was the same Mario. Small world.

    Looking forward to seeing your final reveal. It is heavenly so far.

  13. The paper is so pretty it’s a shame that you have to have furniture at all! Ha! I like dark, cozy bedrooms but my faves are the softer ones that seem so relaxing as the direction yours is going. Can’t wait to see the finished room!

  14. Sooo, so pretty! Thank you for sharing your process. Someone mentioned battery powered bulbs for your sconces. Have you seen the battery powered candles? I have the kind with the flame that moves/flickers and a timer. They have some with remotes, too. One of my favorite details in my house!

    1. Hi Sandy,

      I think that you’re the third one now! I so appreciate this and am not sure why I didn’t realize they existed. But it’s the perfect solution because I just need a tiny bit of light for ambiance and to balance out the other lighting, better.

  15. Dear Laurel,
    I love everything so far but especially the Roman shades. They are the perfect solution for my master bath. Thank you thank you. Do you know if it’s possible to add that piece of wood between the windows that I see on the Greek key photo? Currently, I have a giant three window opening and I wish the windows were separated by trim pieces. Thanks for sharing

    1. Hi Gina,

      Those are mullions and it is probably not possible to add it, but, I’m not 100% sure about that. I agree, it’s a better situation. However, I’ve encountered yours numerous times and you can still make separate shades if one long one feels to much.

  16. Laurel – You are such a precious person and love your sense of humor.
    Your bedroom is going to be “Gorgeous”.
    I personally like when woods don’t match and the room is a gathering of time, places and events.
    When I look at each piece in my home,it takes me to the place and time in acquiring it.
    I have learned not to take design so seriously that the room is so fixed there is no joy in the space.
    You, my dear Laurel, make it all so beautiful and it reflects joy.
    If you can’t find a place for the Venetian mirror, I will send my shipping address to you.

    1. Hi Tammy,

      Thank you so much! I took a look at your website and it is gorgeous and I’m following you on instagram. I love the Roman Shade with the scalloped bottom. Not sure what that’s called when there’s a flap at the bottom. Flange? But it’s beautiful! And I used to hold my breath for every window installation we did and of course, over the years, it was dozens. One time we did 21 windows, (mostly shades) for a home in New Jersey that was a 90 minute drive for me. Just one window was a little tight, but we made it work. Phew!

      Not sure where you are in North Carolina, but I hope that folks take a look at your website!

  17. Hello Laurel, I like that fact that your wallpaper is not overpopulated with birds. Some of those Chinese papers look like stills from an Alfred Hitchcock movie!

    I also like the slow pace of the transformation. It gives you a chance to live with each phase a little, and to weigh future decisions, thus avoiding the “phoned it in” look which you so rightly deplore.

    1. Oh, that AH reference made me laugh out loud for real, Jim! It wasn’t nearly as difficult getting used to this as the white after the dark/dirty purple.

  18. I love the paper! Gorgeous. And I love reading your blog. You have to be the funniest designer out there. You’re just a joy. We could be friends.

  19. Hi Laurel,

    LOVE IT ALL….I purchased your Laurel Bern Rolodex and paint and furniture guide and I already know I am doing Queen Anne Pink in my renovated bathroom, with Calacatta gold marble.. I LOVE this mural Laurel. I was hoping you wouldn’t mind telling me what the name of the mural is on the site. I am not sure if it would even be right for my bedroom as I do have strange ceiling issues, and my ceiling would be slightly vaulted, and that may be too much and busy, along with this gorgeous paper. However, if I decide to drop my ceiling height completely I could see doing this. I hope you don’t mind me stealing. 🙂 My furniture is not as beautiful or curated as yours of course, but Rome wasn’t built in a day! I find my tastes are changing quite a bit as I renovate this old house. My casual “pottery barn” look is just not working in this elegant house, and every designer I have interviewed is just not getting what I am trying to achieve, and wants me to do more modern elements to get the house out of the 1930’s. Um, no…… just no…..I probably need to find someone who has retired….the search continues. Cannot wait to see the finished project, for what it is worth, I think the lamps actually look very purposeful in that room, like they were made for it…but I am sure whatever you decide to do will be amazing.

      1. Laurel, it’s all beautiful thank you for sharing it with us, cords and all. You mentioned once that you don’t do bamboo blinds often, but I think they’d be lovely with this paper. What do you/your clients prefer? I have the same challenge as your reader above- the designers in suburbia Dallas/FW tend toward “transitional”. Except the likes of Joe Minton and Cathy Kincaid who would laugh at a $150K budget for a kitchen and bath. Thank you for all of the inspiration! PS They make LED lights in a tape or a string that you can adhere for a bit of twinkle. 🙂

        1. Hi Danae,

          I’ve done bamboo shades a few times. But they are all in country houses. One, I recall is by a lovely lake. I’m in a more urban setting and I also want the window treatments to be quite light.

          The reason for sharing the image with the cords was to demonstrate how light affects a paint color. The room is not finished! Not even close.

          I promise you that when i’m in my room, I do not see cords! But since it upsets so many, I’m going to be getting rid of them. ;]

          hopefully. :]

  20. Hi Laurel. I love your posts! The gorgeous wallpaper in your bedroom, and the wonderful lightness it imparts is sublime.

  21. Hi Laurel, your bedroom is going to be beautiful! About your little mirror, there is a company in white plains that repairs them. I took my Grandmothers Venetian mirror to them in pieces and they did a beautiful job. It’s called Modern mirror and glass in Lake street. It wasn’t expensive either.
    Best wishes Laura

  22. Thanks for the informative article. This is one of the best resources I have found in quite some time. Nicely written and great info. I really cannot thank you enough for sharing.

  23. I look at your evolving bedroom, and see this is the difference in having a professional designer working on a room, and me fumbling around for a look. I am learning so much from your blog, and love the laughs along the way. The wallpaper done inside panels is utterly sublime. I have thought for some time of doing a single big panel behind my bed, but now I realise I have no thought to the room as a whole with layering. Can’t wait to see your fabulous room completed!

    1. Thank you so much Danielle. A designer, but I don’t remember who once said something to the effect of “if you fill your home with things you love, it usually works out alright.”

  24. I love hearing your thought processes and watching the room develop. I can’t wait to see what light fixture you picked. The finished product will be beautiful. A fun post would be rooms that weren’t phoned in. I would love to see your picks for rooms that have heart and soul.

  25. What about a remote controlled shade for the windows? Something that would hide. Then you can pick whatever is most beautiful, leave it open & get privacy with the remote controlled ones.

  26. Wow Laurel! The paper, the paint, the bookcases with new gorgeous jars, the future radiator cover… is, all of it, stunning! The colors are soft and elegant and soothing. I can’t wait to see the rug in there. Personally, I think your bedside lamps are particularly lovely with the new paper. Could you do woven wood blinds?
    Can’t wait for the next update!

  27. You know what? It’s clear you are having a ball working on your room. So take as long as you like! It’s nice to see you having fun with it.

  28. Love the wallpaper, trim and paint. The room looks wonderful and the bed and painted bookcases look great. I know the windows will be later. Perhaps, we’ll see the rug, ottoman and chandelier in place next? Bedding and chair? I know, pushing, pushing! Happy for you!

    1. Patience my child… :] All good things come to those who wait. No, hold on; that’s not right. All good things come to those who bust their humps and then collapse in a heap of exhaustion.

  29. That paper is to die for. I understand your restraint on covering the birds after reading your informative post. I would have tried to elevate them somehow.

    Three things, they make little led twinkle lights with your choice of bulb warmth, color of wire and battery or plug in with a remote. Maybe a short copper one could be twisted around your sconces? (tacky?) My battery one’s last for a season if I remember to turn them off.

    If your beautiful mirror is tall might you remove the top or bottom decorative/scrolly part? maybe flipping it upside down if need be? That would probably ruin the estectic though.

    Love the shape of your table lamps. I know nothing but I’d be tempted to whitewash them to coordinate with the headboard. A unadorned shade would nor compete with the paper.
    Your choices will be perfect for you. I love to read your thought process.

    1. Thanks so much for your suggestions Suzanne. I might have some little lights like that, that I got a couple of years ago and stuck in my big cabinet.

      The wallpaper mural is five panels, so we ran them around in order. But I realize now that after the first four behind the bed, it wouldn’t have mattered which order. But it is fine. As for the mirror, the one I have covers all but a couple of inches on each side and this one is much smaller, but not too small.

  30. Ok, I am not a designer so don’t expect too much, but, have you thought about doing a full length mirror on the back of the bedroom door (or closet door but don’t know which door it is) so you wouldn’t have to have a mirror over the dresser? Then you wouldn’t cover up the gorgeous wall mural!

    1. Hi GGG,

      Oh no, I want to cover parts of it up.

      There is already a mirror on the back of the closet door. The mirror over the dresser is more decorative and won’t cover everything up. Layering is also very important for getting the look I want. If you like at Mark Sikes’ Kips Bay Showhouse bedroom, you’ll see that he covered up a fair amount of the Gracie wallpaper that’s prohibitively expensive. Although, they probably gave it to him. :]

  31. Hi Laurel,

    I love to see your progress, or not-progress. In this article you really show us that to design a room is a process, even for yourself. You love what has been, and look to the future, but sometimes that takes time.

    Truly, you inspire me. The best room is not done in an hour, but takes time. And that is what makes wonderful.


    1. Thanks Michelle,

      There are some designers who “phone it in.” Every room looks the same. I love when I see a room and I have no idea who did and when I find out and it’s not what I was expecting, I know that they put a lot of their heart and soul into it.

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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