Heather Ludi recently made two big life changes. First, she decided to become a teacher at a nearby university after 10 years of working in the health care industry. Next, she rented her Buckhead Atlanta condo and moved into a condo just one mile from campus to eliminate her commute. "Atlanta traffic is totally unpredictable," Heather says. "I didn't want to chance sitting in my car for two hours a day, so therefore moving close to campus was a must." Coming from a one-bedroom condo, Heather was excited about the fact that her new home had its very own guest room.
As Heather began packing up her belongings, she took notice of how old and unattractive the guest room was. "It had no character, it was colorless and its old carpet was dingy; however, for a guest room, it had tons of space," Heather says. "In fact, it was more like a guest suite than just a room."
Heather put together a list of must-have design elements essential to the proper function and aesthetic of her new guest room which included:
To accomplish the project, Heather budgeted $5,000 and aimed for a timeline of one week.
Heather had the carpet removed so the new dark wood floors could be installed. She ran into a small surprise just outside her front door. "Trash disposal was something I'd completely overlooked," Heather says. "I came home at the end of the day and found a five-foot pile of carpet rolls, padding and scraps I had no idea what to do with." She found a hauling service on Craigslist and called them over the next day. They loaded the heap outside the door into a truck and took it away for $100.
The dark wood floors did offer a few challenges. "At least three times a week, I head in there to clean and control the dust," Heather says. "It's worth it, but it's just something people should definitely consider before installing them."
The 14X19 room had a large window which filled the space with an abundance of natural light. Due to where the room faces, it gets so much light that it can get really warm in the early morning hours. Since it was a guest room, Heather found that custom draperies would help block out the intense sun and allow guests to sleep a bit longer.
For custom window treatments on a budget, Heather used chintz which is often as low as $8 per yard. By using the back side, which has a matte finish, the fabric takes on an elegant look.
With the new floors down, Heather turned her focus to color. Determined to give the guest room a cozy, glamorous look, she consulted with a decorator on using purple. The duo decided on a shade of violet. "Purple is a tough color to use, because there's so many different shades from lilac to lavender, plum to grape," Heather says. "We wanted something royal and glamorous and violet was the perfect choice." Since the color was so bold, she decided to use black, white and gray tones on all other design elements including the bed, bedding, window covering, nightstands, desk and bookshelves.
A lot of extra storage was added including the double-drawer bedside chests, multiple desk drawers and the open storage of the shelving. This came in handy since one of Heather's recurring guests is a fellow colleague who sometimes stays in the guest room for up to a week at a time.
Heather added open storage in the form of bookshelves with wallpapered back panels. She used the space in front of it to place two chairs and a side table which created a quaint conversation area.
When choosing furniture, Heather was instantly drawn to a four-poster bed. The bed created the look of a room within a room. It is a great way to have a definitive sleeping area, delineating it from the workstation and the seating area. She picked up a four-poster bed for $300 in a white finish, which contrasted well against the violet walls.
The rest of Heather's furniture came from discount showrooms and flea markets. Her desk was $50 from an Atlanta flea market, which she had her painters update with two coats of light plum lacquer. She also found a vintage chrome chair to pair with the desk, which was only $20, but was covered with violet velvet for $125. Rounding out the furniture selection was a pair of bookshelves, a pair of Louis chairs, a marble side table and a pair of dark-stained oak bedside chests.
Now that the fun-loving teacher has a complete, designer-caliber guest room, she's loving her new condo even more than she’d imagined. Guests are filling the room a few times per month and the work area gets its fair use from Heather. With a stunning, glamorous guest suite, perhaps Heather will add a new class to her roster: Decorating 101.
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