Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

How to choose the next room you make over! (Why this ORC is a guest room, not master bedroom: Week 3!)

This week for my One Room Challenge update I'm sharing how we found the right size of rug for a this slightly-small guest room, and my faves after lots of searching!

New here?

If you're new to this blog from the ORC site, welcome!! I'm Suzannah, a longtime DIYer and design lover currently making over our 1937 Tudor revival style home, our second fixer-upper. I have a 2-year-old and baby on the way, but my husband and I have done almost all of the work on our homes ourselves! I've blogged about all of it so you can check out my tutorials page and room reveals to see. You can also follow along with me and my projects on Instagram! I also co-host the Your Home Story podcast!

See all my posts about this ORC here!

How to choose a One Room Challenge room, or any room makeover

First, I’ll share the ORCs I’ve done (total makeovers) and why! (You can see all my previous One Room Challenges on my Room Reveals page, and I'll summarize here.)

The first one I did was our master bedroom. We'd just moved into this house and really needed at least one space to feel done!! We'd painted in here but didn't have a bed/headboard or nice window coverings, and the old funky light fixture still. I've made changes in here since, but it felt so good to have this room feeling done!

Then I took it up a notch--for the spring 2019 One Room Challenge I worked on a full gut bathroom at my friends' house. I'd designed several bathrooms before (see here) and wow, it was a ton of work (mostly for my friends, but I helped tile the floor and did a ton of design work). It was a lot to do in 6 weeks!!! 

Then for the fall 2019 ORC we did our main bathroom. Even more work. Wow. We started demo before the ORC started and even still were working all day every day on the weekends getting alllll the wall and shower tile done and more. Ugh, it was hard.

In summer 2019 we did our kitchen reno!! It took ~8 weeks, I think, but Jason had the summer off so was able to work a ton during the day. 

We've also been working on other rooms in this house, like Otto's room, the living room, the dining room, the upstairs hall, and the office (see the finished ones here, home tour here). We have more projects to do, but only a few more spaces or rooms that are begging for attention, or hardly usable, or need a full makeover starting from fresh.

That brings me to my tips: how to choose the next room you make over. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing the next room.
  1. What's your budget? What else are you planning on doing this year? For example, my friends/clients for the bathroom last spring would love to do their kitchen but know it's not in the cards till they replenish after all the other projects they've been doing!
  2. What is timely? Obviously if you're expecting a baby, do the nursery first (no, scratch that--do the hardest room first!! You won't have time for DIY projects starting pretty soon). If you're expecting guests, do a guest room or shared bathroom next. If summer is coming, focus on the exterior/back yard (that's what we've been doing this spring!! See our recent exterior projects here.).
  3. What spaces do you use the most? That's why our bedroom and dining room were some of the first spaces we "finished"--we use and walk through them all the time, and it's a pain if they don't function well and/or bug you every time you look at them. 
  4. What skills do you already have? We learned a ton by ramping up at our last house--we did the most complicated project, our master bathroom, last, after we'd done two simpler bathrooms and lots of other projects. Another way of asking this is, what is easiest? What can you handle? Emotional well-being during a renovation can be really tough--they can really wear on you if you're not in the right place or take on more than you can chew. 
  5. What are you sure of? This is a big one. We lived with our kitchen for almost a year before redoing it. We had a lot of time to think through what would make it better, how much we wanted to change about the layout, what skills we had and if we were willing to hire anything out... by the time we started the project we were really informed and ready! This is a big question if you have multiple simpler spaces to redo, too-for example, my friends want to finish/redo their bedroom soon, too, but aren't quite sure on the design direction for that one, and it was easier to make decisions about their guest room which they are also a little less invested in since they don't use it every day! TIP: Start Pinterest boards for each room. Add to them over time, or scroll through all your pins and re-pin them to duplicate them on those specific boards. Once you have the best of the best/not just in general but your faves for each specific room, you can see which rooms have the clearest direction and are ready for you to source specific products.

Why we chose the guest room over the master bedroom for this ORC

I’m helping my friends/clients Gabriela and Matt on this room reno. They wanted to do either their room or the guest room for this ORC, and at first it was hard to choose!

About them... Gabriela and Matt are transplants from the midwest. When they bought their house here in Portland 3 years ago, having a designated room for out-of-town guests was important to them, a must-have in the house hunt. Given that all of their family lives several thousands miles away, their guest visits are usually a week or two. And then there are the monthly weekend friend visits from all over the country, too. But due to other new home ownership priorities, since their June 2017 move-in date, the guest room has been a bit of an afterthought in terms of design. (Their words, not mine!) It functions well, there is a comfy bed, a dresser, nightstands with real lamps and a chair in the corner and it has a lot of space for guests, but it doesn't give off the cool midcentury Pacific Northwest "I am on vacation in a hotel" vibe that Gabriela and Matt would prefer to offer their guests!

Before COVID-19 took over, a lot of guests made plans to visit in 2020. This room was going to get a lot of use in 2020! So they decided to finally glam up the guest room with the ORC. Travel plans have since been unfortunately canceled, but once we are all able to travel again, Matt and Gabriela are looking forward to hosting their friends and family here. They'd like to add, “hopefully sooner rather than later because this guest room redesign is going to be gorgeous! Wonder if guests will prolong their stays after they've seen the updates we are going to make!”

I'll also add that my Pinterest board tip really came in handy for choosing this room, too. They still want to redo their bedroom soon but when we flipped through the guest room pinboard versus the master bedroom pinboard, it was clear that the design concept for the guest room was just naturally more defined. I saw a lot of common elements--warm wood, white walls, some olive green, upholstered headboards, light colored more casual rugs... we were ready to design this room from scratch after seeing those inspirations!

Remember, here’s the guest room before! See the design concept here!

Lots of things are arriving in the next couple weeks and we’ll have a lot of progress, projects, and more tips to share soon!

See all my posts about this ORC here!

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