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One Week Flash Mob Room Refresh on a Budget!

Not long ago, my friend Erin asked me and a few other girls if we’d like to surprise a mutual friend, Carrie, with a quick-and-dirty refresh of her master bedroom for her birthday.
I was like: “I don’t know, guys. That sounds pretty lame and unfun.”

PSSSH WHATEVER! I couldn’t sign on fast enough for THAT! Seriously the best idea anyone has ever had. Carrie is the sweetest friend. She went out of town just before her birthday and left us with ONE TINY WEEK to refresh her master bedroom.
She’s been bummed about her bedroom situation for a while, mostly because of the paint color, which she called “pee yellow.” As soon as she called it “pee yellow,” I became physically incapable of seeing anything but urine when I looked at the color.
carrie before 2 (Custom)

The “pee yellow” color was not their choice and she really wanted something different. The girls and I analyzed her pinterest boards to figure out her style (here’s how to do that), and turned it from the “pee yellow” before to this:
The biggest, immediate changes we made were to paint the walls and rearrange the furniture so the bed was opposite the door and between the windows. I love that the curtains can frame the bed now, and with the bed across from the doorway, it becomes a much stronger focal point.

Carrie loved her bed and nightstands so we didn’t make any changes to the furniture. We added the pintuck duvet, which was a DIY project! See how to make your own pintuck duvet right here. The pillows on the bed were from ikea, and the one on the little orange chair was a last-minute Marshalls find.
The only furniture change we made was to add this little chair which was a craigslist score for only $25! Isn’t that craziness? There was almost a brawl over that chair, because we all wanted to keep it. I will cut you if you take a good furniture find away from me! Not really. But just don’t, okay?
Orange vintage chair
The curtains were simple tab-top white panels which I turned into back-tab curtains to make them look a little more custom. (So easy! See how I did that here.)

Carrie already had the little blue dresser, so we designed the color scheme around it, making sure to include the mustardy warm colors she’d pinned when we were analyzing her style. (See that post here.)
All the accessories on the dresser were things she had in her room already. We shopped her bookshelves to bring in some extra color too.

Carrie had a sewing machine and lots of craft supplies spread around her room before:
carrie before (Custom)
So we corralled them all, brought in a little cabinet for storage and made a crafting spot for her on one wall:
She had pinned SO many rooms with the fabric stretched on embroidery hoops, so we brought those in for her too. (I wish we’d hung them a little lower on the wall, but we were in a rush. It makes me a little twitchy looking at them now.) The little driftwood fish came from a friend’s vacation at the beach right before we did the makeover. We REALLY wanted to find her a little chair for the sewing machine, but one week is NOT much time, y’all! Especially not considering that all of us have tiny kiddos.

And CHECK this out!! I love this art piece so much.
Erin and her husband made this, and here’s the tutorial to make your own wood stain typography art! The words come from a Bible verse: 1 John 4:19. They seemed fitting for a couple’s master bedroom. The piece is such an awesome scale and stunning in person!

Here’s how our tiny budget shook out:
Paint: $60
DIY duvet: $25
All the pillows and pillow inserts: $45
Little orange chair: $25
Driftwood fish: $32
Materials for the verse art: $50
Curtain Rods: $10
Everything else: shopped from our houses
Total: $247

One more before-and-after, this time with an appearance by the birthday girl!
carrie before 2 (Custom)
our bedroom_05

It was a little quick-change refresh on a teensy budget! I wish we’d had just a few more days because there was so much more we wanted to accomplish for her. Carrie wrote about it on her blog here. She and her husband are very talented family photographers.

By the way? You know how I’m always preachin’ the hang-your-curtains-tall-and-wide gospel? Look what a difference it made in the photos above. The windows are a little blown out in my pics (sighhhh) but don’t they look so much larger and more grand with that simple fix?

What would you think if someone dropped in and changed out a room in your house while you were on vacation? Our house is a complete shambles when we leave for vacation, so I’m sure no one would even be able to find the bedroom. Ha!
Surprise master bedroom makeover on a tiny budget!

Let's connect


  1. Britt @ Creating Space for Five says:

    I made that same duvet for my bedroom, love it! You guys did a wonderful job. Love the mirror and art pieces. That blue dresser she had is fantastic, the rearrangement of furniture makes it stand out much more.

  2. that is awesome!!!! you guys are such amazing friends!!!!! we should totally do this as bloggers- meet up and crash people’s pads and improve them on a whirlwind weekend! let’s do it next weekend, k?

  3. How cute! What a nice thing to do for her 🙂 xo Kristin

  4. The space looks amazing and she is so lucky to have friends like you all! And that budget??? Seriously??? A huge high five to all of you because that is pretty incredible! Looks way more expensive! Jesse @ Scout & Nimble

  5. Brit [House Updated] says:

    Excellent improvement and so nice to surprise your friend! Ikea is such a great source for bedding and pillows – I just used that same turquoise Ikea pillow in my guest bedroom in our guest bedroom makeover!

  6. What an amazing difference! You all did a wonderful job. The result looks so much more intentional, Carrie must love it! Would you like to come by and surprise me with a living room makeover? 😉

  7. Julia @cuckoo4design says:

    You guys are amazing friends! Love the makeover. And that you actually gave up your finds without cutting anybody just shoes how much you love your friend LOL

  8. What sweet friends you are! It looks great! And I love that red chair, what a great find.

  9. So, let me know when you want my address. I can make myself disappear for as long as you need. Also, don’t feel as if you have to stop with just one room 🙂

  10. Sure. You can totally come to our house next.

    What? You didn’t offer. Oh, okay.

    This looks totally amazing! And you are so right that it’s a perfect example of why hanging curtains high and wide is key.

    Also – I love love love the artwork. And that dresser – that I didn’t even notice in the first room because of all the urine? It’s so cute and such a statement now. I’m really digging the white walls and have to say, I’m coming around to them. I have always been firmly in the “color on the walls” camp.

    As for that duvet? I’m waiting on pins and needles for that tutorial. I sense the next Pinterest sensation.

  11. awesome improvement!! I love it 🙂 And I’m excited to learn about the duvet

  12. Wow, what a difference some paint and rearranging can do for a room! Lucky girl to have such good friends to make over a whole room for her, I need me some friends like ! Love it!

  13. Fabulous! I want that orange chair so, so much. so much.

  14. Hey, I’m going on vacation in a couple months… want to come do mine?!

    I love how bright and big it looks now. Great work!!

  15. Let’s be friends so you can make my room over, mmmmkay?

  16. This is such a lovely makeover! It’s amazing what a few keys pieces and a rearrangement can do! You guys are definitely great friends!

  17. Not only is the makeover awesome, but the fact that you ladies came together for your good friend is the best part!!! She is one lucky lady!! 

  18. How awesome! It looks amazing! I thought about making a pintuck duvet when we were about to buy the west elm one, but ultimately laziness won over. 😛 Go you for making your very own! 🙂

  19. With friends like you – every room will be made over!!
    Looks amazing – love the desk!

  20. Wow! What a change for $250!!! The room looks like it doubled in size. I bet she was super happy.

  21. This is an amazing birthday gift. You’ve given this room a whole new life and stretched it to double it’s original size!

    The dark brown wood with turquoise accents and the white walls and comforter are all perfect together.

    She’s lucky to have friends like you guys! Great job!

  22. I LOVE this idea!! My wheels are turning and I’m definitely going to find a deserving and unsuspecting victim/recipient soon…so awesome!! 🙂

  23. I’m loving this idea of stealth decorating. I suppose you can only pull it off with close friends since it is sort of getting up close and personal, but what a treat to work in a new space and be able to get the creative joojoo out for someone else! Well played, team.

  24. That is so stinkin awesome that you all did that for a friend! That is seriously my dream….to transform a room or house for someone I love while they’re away. How fun and creative – it came out great Kelly!

  25. What a difference a little paint makes! What a refreshing room, I would love to wake up in there!

  26. Gretchen says:

    DARLING! Such a nice blend of her board picks. Terrific job ladies!

  27. So if I go away for a week, you’ll redo my bedroom? Do I have to be sweet like Carrie? I can generally fool people into thinking I am because my voice is sweet and my cheeks are rosy but you can’t hear or see me so I might not fool you…
    It looks fantabulous! Kudos to all of you on making a huge difference on such a tiny budget (do compliments make me seem sweet? They’re real!)
    Congrats to Carrie on her new bedroom and having such awesome friends!

  28. I love this!! I looks amazing and what a fun special awesome thing to do for your friend!!

  29. That is a major transformation! Well done. I really like the fresh new look. Now to convince my friends to secretly redecorate my bedroom!

  30. What an amazing transformation! I can’t believe you did that for only $250!!! I love your Craigslist chair! I will be letting you know when I will be out of town next… 🙂

  31. What a great group of friends you are! Her bedroom looks beautiful and I love that you incorporated her Pinterest style!

  32. Kelly…this is the You can flash mob my house anytime you want! You might need to plan a little more in the budget for a plane ticket to England though. 😉

  33. Shelly O'Brien says: I want a tutorial on how to make that duvet. I love it!

  34. What an awesome birthday gift!

  35. Well what a great way to start my Tuesday! 😀 (and yes, I locked my office door) I was with you through the whole thing… All of you laughing and talking really fast while you decided on color and then began painting. Arguing over the adorable orange chair! You were so right about the urine color and the finished room was 1000% better. It made me feel peaceful and relaxed! Great Job ~ all of you!!!

  36. This is awesome! What great friends you all are! I really want to do this in the future for a friend! Thanks for sharing all the DIY ideas. I really want to do the comforter!

  37. OMG! You did an amazing job! Please come live with me for a while and “play” in my house…pretty please! I’ll feed you authentic STL BBQ 🙂

  38. I absolutely love this. What a sweet thing to do!

  39. Such a thoughtful gift for Carrie!! Amazing refresh job — kudos!!
    xo Heidi

  40. This is so awesome. The white paint is refreshing and mood lifting. Every detail is amazing. I love that first picture of Carrie and her baby. She looks like such a fun person and sweet too. BTW her bed is awesome. She had good bones in her furniture to work with.

  41. Nice job ladies! I’ll be out of town next week. The key’s under the mat. ; )

  42. Can I beg you and your posse to come and redo my room too!!!! I have so many of the supplies needed … just need the manpower and a talented design eye!!

    I have a b-day coming up soon too …

    🙂 Linda

  43. I really like the makeover of her bedroom, it’s very nice
    you guys are great friends to do this for her!

  44. I love this so much, especially because you all did it for a friend! It turned out fabulous. I love the bed between the windows (the whole room looks bigger), the PINTUCK DUVET (I can make that?!?! wow, can’t wait to see that!) the colors, the embroidery rings, the verse, that chair – all of it! So much done with such a little budget. It’s a complete transformation, not just a refresh! How fun for Carrie, she must feel so blessed to have friends like y’all.

  45. it looks fantastic Kelly! What an awesome group of friends to get together to surprise her!

  46. I need better friends. (I kid, I kid.) But you all are awesome! Such a fun room!

  47. So Cute! What a great gift for a friend! So personal. I want that orange chair. Great craigslist find!

    Emily @

  48. Wow you guys are awesome friends! You all did a fantastic job what a difference the room looks so much nicer now!

  49. Great guys! But why didn’t you frame the small prints by the bedside, and why not hang the pictures over the chest drawers.?

    • It was a last-minute thing – we found those prints the night before she came home and had no time to get frames. I actually prefer the leaning art over the dresser, because the wall is so big that we couldn’t fill it to scale, so it makes more sense to me to keep it all tight.

  50. You guys made some awesome changes ~ it looks beautiful!

  51. Wow what a big difference! She must have loved it 🙂 Funny you did this, I am in the middle of doing something similar for a friend except I think she knows 🙂

  52. First of all, you girls are the sweetest friend ever! What a blessing for your friend! I can’t believe you pulled this off in a week! {Well, I can, but I’m super duper impressed!} Everything is so beautiful and I love that you paid such close attention to her style and preferences…what did we do before Pinterest, seriously?! 😉 Thanks so much for sharing the big reveal with us! Hope you’re having a great week, Kelly!

    ~Abby =)

  53. Amazing. It looks very bright after make over and you pulled it off in just $250.

  54. I am an open-mouthed fool right now considering all that you did for only $247! Wowza! I need to crawl inside your brains for a day and learn your frugal ways. Or I guess I could just read this blog post a million times until it sinks in! #thickheadsyndrome

  55. Will you be my friends? I’m going out of town next week, hint hint. Super lovely! Well done.

  56. What a great transformation! It is absolutely beautiful! Kudos to all of you!!

  57. The room looks great! But I’m wondering, does anyone know where that bed is from?? We have been looking for a bed like that for YEARS and can not find one!!

  58. As my mom would have said when I did something nice, you’ll get an extra star in your crown. Unfortunately I rarely had occasion to hear those words–butyou girls certainly should! Makeover was great, loved the elements you brought in such as duvet, paint color, sign etc. How fortunate the homeowner had the sweet blue dresser & brilliant, thrifty friends to design around it. Great job.

  59. Girls y’all did awesome! It’s so fresh and clean…I love that you used the blue color to pop the room…on the white background….wonderful job……now, come surprise me…;

  60. We are going on vacation soon. I’ll let you know where we hide the spare key. 😉 GREAT JOB!!! What a blessing to your friend and It’s so AWESOME that you did the room according to HER ideas and not your own. You gals are FANTASTIC friends. 😉

  61. Love the makeover! Our bedroom is yellow too right now and we are looking for a paint color. Do you remember what that color is called?

  62. Oh, I know the pee-yellow all too well. I used to have my kitchen (!! yeah, I know) painted that color for many years. It was driving me MAD – a real Yellow House! Take a look here: – though it looks much more pleasing in the pictures. Great Job, ladies – I loved the remodeled room!! I am in the midst of remodeling my master bedroom – in my head so far. And Pinterest is a GREAT helper. so, as soon as I have my remodeling done – I shall report 🙂

  63. Bonnie P. says:

    Really enjoy the “refresh on a budget” posts! 🙂

  64. Wow! What an amazing transformation, especially considering how inexpensive the project was! The room is so much brighter and cheerier, and I love how you were able to keep/use a lot of her existing pieces. It just goes to show a little paint and some small touches can do so much!

  65. Y’all are so welcome to come to my cabin and makeover every room hahaha ( there are only 4). Truly great friends are hard to find, y’all are the best and the room looks AMAZING!!!!

  66. I absolutely love friends that care enough to do something that special for a friend.


  1. […] a few friends and I went in on a little flashmob surprise room makeover for a friend, we were workin’ with a miniature little budget. We pulled the whole room […]

  2. […] jaw was ON THE FLOOR when Erin brought in this killer typography art piece she’d made for Carrie’s surprise makeover: The picture does NOT do it justice. The scale is outrageously cool too. You can kinda see the […]

  3. […] show you how we translated Carrie’s pins in the next post! (UPDATE: see it here!) How do you find inspiration and narrow down what you dig when it comes to […]

  4. […] Right about this time last year, a few friends and I went in on a surprise makeover for a mutual friend. We had one week and about $200 to pull it off, and you can see the before-and-after here. […]

  5. […] Click Here To See The Transformation […]

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