Reader SOS – Adding Warmth to a Gray Bedroom

I’m back with another “DIY Playbook, Save our Space”. My plan for #DIYPlaybookSOS is to take a reader’s space and (virtually) offer design tips and tricks on how to improve it.

Here are some of my favorite design solutions from this series…

Reader SOS from the DIY Playbook

Today, I’m helping Gia finish up her master bedroom. She chose all of the essentials for the room, but can’t seem to pull the trigger on the finishing touches when it comes to art and decor. Right now, her gray bedroom feels very monotone and gray on gray on gray…and she wants to change that! Let’s take a look at her design dilemma…

How Can I Add Life to My Gray Bedroom? Reader SOS gray bedroom

So we moved from Chicago (tiny condo) to Texas (big home). Somehow all of the rooms feel mostly finished but ours. I am just not loving the way it looks now. I really want a bedroom that feels like a sanctuary or hotel.Bathroom reader sos

I need a touch of color and I definitely want to add more black.  I went very monotone as that is the feel of the adjoined bathroom. Choosing the right decor reader sos
The decor is just tossed there, to have something there. I am blessed to have a big home, but I can’t do one more “bowl of stuff” or basket. MAYBE a tray if it is styled right, but no more tray just to have a tray.TV wall for reader sos
The television is the biggest eyesore. It is a must, but I want decor around it to soften the blow.Reader SOS
I know where to start in a room, but it is those last details that are hard to finish. 

Adding Life to a Monotone BedroomGray master bedroom

First of all, what a gorgeous space! The finishes are fantastic and it is such a large bedroom. Oh, and that marble bathroom with the arched doorway? Yes, please! But I can see what Gia is talking about it.  It does feel very monotone and a bit cold. This room has soooo much potential and I think some simple switches can really bring in the life she craves.

One thing I loved about her note was that she doesn’t want to buy just to buy. That is music to my ears. Sometimes people clutter up their homes, their dressers, and their nightstands with trinkets that don’t have any special meaning to them! I really like that she wants to be intentional about the items she brings into her home and would rather go simple than add more clutter. I’ll keep that in mind with my next suggestions.

Incorporating Color

There isn’t a whole lot of color in this room to begin with. The walls are gray, the carpet is gray, the bedding is gray, and the wood furniture is even gray. The silver in here is also making it seem very cold too. I’m all about neutrals, but I think it’s important to add some depth and texture to a room for it to look layered and interesting. It’s falling a little flat right now. I don’t think we need to go and ROYGBV this place up, but some color, texture, and warmth would do some good!
Adding a rug over carpet
Photo via Crazy Wonderful
I would first add a rug to the space. I know what you’re thinking… a rug over carpet? Yes, this is totally okay! It would add some pattern and color, while breaking up the continuous gray on the ground in here. I believe her bed is a king (just eyeballing from the photo), so that means a 9×12 is the very smallest she can use in here (you can read more about choosing the correct rug size over in this post!).Post renovation video home tour
I know everyone is using this Loloi rug, but I really do think it could work in this space. I love it in my living room and it really is a chameleon and somehow works with any style or color.  I think adding these olive tones to the room would bring in some warmth, and the pattern will add lots of interest to her gray bedroom.
Add a runner to the gray bathroom
Photo via Anita Yokota
While she is at it, I would add a colorful runner to her gorgeous bathroom. That marble tile is just begging for a little life! This runner would look amazing in there.
Bedroom decorating 101
Another easy way to add color is through textiles (a fancy word for pillows and blankets!). I don’t want Gia to have to go out and buy all new bedding, so I would have her go ahead and keep the gray bedding she has now. I would maybe use the duvet as a quilt at the bottom (similar to how I folded my white duvet in the above photo). She could then use a white quilt on the main portion of the bed. Gia could then keep the white Euro pillows, and add two of these velvet pillows and this long lumbar (it would bring in so much texture to the bed!).

Consider Chairs & LampReader SOS

While I love the bench Gia has near her windows, I think it’s a bit small for the space. Big bedrooms need big furniture. I would urge her to consider adding two chairs and a table between them at some point. The bench is so cute and neutral, I bet it could work somewhere else in the house. I think the two chairs would balance out the room better and be the right scale for those large windows. She can keep her side table and simply place it between the two chairs. She could also add a floor lamp and a plant too!
A thoughtful place blog
I know I’ve shared this cozy bedroom nook from my friend Courtney before, but it really showcases the look perfectly. Two chairs (these wood ones would add those warm tones we’re looking for), the side table in between, a brass lamp (a few accents of brass would really work well in this room), and a leather pouf, and this area would be transformed (not to mention  it would become cozy & functional too!).

Incorporate Plantsplanter in the living room

One of the best ways to add color and life to any space is through greenery! Plants are the ultimate functional decor because they purify the air while looking pretty. I have at least a few real and a few faux plants in every room in our house and it makes such a difference. Gia has a lot of space in her bedroom for a tall planter somewhere. Olive tree from crate and barrel on black friday sales 2019She could go the faux route and choose something like my favorite olive tree! If she placed it in a large basket, we could get even more texture in here. Snake plantOr find a pretty planter (like this one) and plant something super easy to maintain (like snake plants). Plant and soap dispenserI would then add a few smaller plants to the dressers and side table in this room (and in the bathroom too!).

Choosing Functional & Meaningful AccessoriesTV wall for reader sos

Gia mentioned that she thinks the television is a big eyesore. I actually think it’s nice and proportionate with the dresser, but it’s the accessories that look too small and puny next to it. In the past, I’ve encouraged people to hang a gallery wall around their TV if they want it to blend in a bit more (this post has more details about that), but I don’t think that would look great here. If she realllly hates the TV, I would recommend upgrading to the Frame TV. It can double as art when not in TV mode. We have it in our kitchen and it’s amazing!
Living room TV area
For the rest of the dresser, I would just go for a few larger pieces of decor, similar to how I decorated the console in our living room. A wood bowl with polaroid pictures or photo booth strips, a pretty box for special jewelry with a coffee table book grounded under it, and a clear vase with fresh stems (or these faux eucalyptus leaves) to one side would add so much to this area. I’m telling ya, opt for larger accessories over small and they’ll make an impact without giving off “cluttered vibes.” Choosing the right decor reader sos
As I mentioned earlier, the silver in here is also making the room read a bit too cool. A few brass details around the room will really warm things up. I would ditch the tall vases and candlesticks and incorporate some warmer tones to this area (but keep the blanket ladder, it’s super cool!). The art is a bit small, so I would lean toward a larger print in a light wood frame to bring some of that warmth in. Then add a small lamp in front of it and you’d be good to go!

Gray Bedroom Upgrade – Shop the Look

As you’ll see in this mood board, I didn’t add tons of color alllll over the place. It’s still a very neutral room, but it just feels softer, warmer, and cozier with the addition of these accessories. It’s okay not to want color all over your home. Just make sure you’re always incorporating texture, warmer tones like brass, gold, or wood, and greenery to keep it from looking boring! Gray bedroom accessories
Thanks for submitting your master bedroom, Gia. I can’t wait to see what it looks like after a few tweaks. It’s going to be the calming oasis you always wanted!

Submit your Reader SOS

I always love hearing your design dilemmas. If you have a space you want me to tackle next, email [email protected] with the subject line “READER SOS”. Please include as many photos and information as possible. Can’t wait to read…


More Reader SOS Posts

The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.