How I Made A Design Client Happy By Throwing Out All Her Bedroom Furniture

How I Made A Design Client Happy By Throwing Out All Her Bedroom Furniture

How I Made A Design Client Happy By Throwing Out All Her Bedroom Furniture

Buying a new home is exciting. Inspiring.

It makes us want to run out and buy “ALL the things.” Especially when you’re moving in soon!

Then you’re anxious. Even starting to panic.

You NEED “all the things”! And fast!

That’s how my client, Lesley felt.

Can you relate?

Probably. Panicked furniture buying happens to the best of us. Urgent move or not.

Things turned out great for her. But Lesley learned the hard way.

Her new home story reveals valuable tips that can prevent stumbling on your bedroom decorating journey.

How Fast Decisions Fool You

Lesley is a talented, top executive in a major international company. She’s a busy gal, doing important things.

Style rich, but time poor.

She works long hours, has no time to waste. She’s wise with her money.

Lesley relocated temporarily to a new city for her job. She was being asked to do it again, this time for good. And quickly.

So she found a fabulous, new, little condo on the water in the new city and decided to buy.

Of course, Lesley couldn’t take any of the furniture from the executive rental she was leaving.

But what would she sleep on? Or store her clothes in?

How would she feel rested and organized? Ready to tackle her new position? That was a priority. She had to move fast.

Or so she thought.

Smart People and Their Bad Ideas

So Lesley went shopping.

She’d start with the bedroom. And soon found a bedroom set she liked.

It didn’t look big in the showroom. It would provide lots of storage. She liked the classic style. And the colour of the wood.

It was even a great deal!

And hey! At that price, Lesley reasoned, even if it wasn’t absolutely perfect it’d be fine.

Until it arrived. And she tried to live with it for awhile.

I can’t blame Lesley.

She wisely thought about what she needed the most.

To do well at her new job she needed to sleep well. She needed to show up feeling organized and well put together.

So, like the efficient girl she is, she bought all the furniture she’d need, all at once. And off she went to her new city and new home.

That’s when I met Lesley.

Sucking All the Air Out

The problem, she confessed, was that nothing looked quite right.

It didn’t feel comfortable. It didn’t reflect where she was in her life.

It took all the air out of this exciting event, move and milestone.

And she was frustrated. Disappointed. Overwhelmed.

She couldn’t breathe.

So together we looked at her bedroom. The room she needed most to support her busy life.

How To Face Facts Without Crying

The room was fine. A decent size, with lovely light. It also had a beautiful ensuite and a good sized walk-in closet.

I saw 2 problems.

1. The furniture.

2. The closet.

The furniture wasn’t bad, to be fair. It was a bedroom suite in solid wood. It included a wooden bed frame, 2 large night tables, a chest of drawers, and an armoire with shelves and drawers.

The classic, elegant style fit the architecture of her condo and Lesley’s aesthetic. Sort of.

But the set was big. The lines were thick. The proportions were too large for the space they were in. And there were so many pieces.

Her beautiful room was dwarfed.

The windows seemed to disappear. The volume and the dark, heaviness of all that wood took over.

The furniture sucked the air, light and space from that perfectly good room.

The closet wasn’t so bad either. True, it was an odd shape, but a really good size.

The issue was the builder’s basic, single rod all the way around it. In it’s present state Lesley’s clothes just fit.

When Losing It (Big Time) Feels Good

Lesley wanted an elegant, airy and relaxing haven.

She felt trapped in a heavy, oppressive, suffocating box.

She wanted something classic, luxurious, and slightly feminine. She was stuck with traditional, clunky and clearly masculine.

The solution was clear. Painful maybe, but clear.

Step 1: Maximize the closet.

Step 2: Get rid of the furniture.

“Lesley,” I ventured, “what if I said you wouldn’t need all this furniture if we improved your closet?”

She looked surprised. Then doubtful. Then she laughed. I could tell she didn’t believe me.

So we looked inside each furniture piece to see what it held and how much storage it provided. Truly.

Then we measured out what was possible in the closet. We tallied up the storage that could be added with double rods, drawers, hooks and accessories.

A look of hope crept into Lesley’s face. Then excitement. She began to see the possibilities.

Then Lesley surprised us all!

By the time I came back with the closet company rep a few days later all the furniture was already gone.

“It found a better home,” she explained. “It made someone else very happy.”

The closet (and the room) was being transformed.

The closet storage almost tripled. And the bedroom seemed to expand.

Suddenly there was room for so much more.

Removing the armoire and dresser made space for a sitting area to read with a glass of wine. Or drink coffee and work near the window.

A free standing, full length mirror now fit there too. Making getting dressed easy. And special.

Removing the massive bed frame allowed a comfortable, upholstered headboard. Saturday morning lounging in bed would be a pleasure.

Room too now for an upholstered storage bench at the foot of the bed. Great to hide linens and while putting on shoes.

Space was even made for a gorgeous vintage cabinet Lesley loved. The room had another beautiful focal point and papers, memories and jewellry had a place too.

Why Going Backwards Pulls You Forward

Maybe it wasn’t the easiest way to get here. But Lesley had come a long way.

These are the behind the scenes steps that made this bedroom design work out.

Let me warn you.

They may sound weird. Unnatural maybe. Backwards even.

FIRST, get to know your space.

  • Take measurements of new space and draw a floor plan.
  • The room’s overall length and width.
  • The placement of doors and windows.
  • Add the door opening widths, which way it swings.
  • Add window size and sill heights.
  • Note the location of lights, plugs, heaters, vents, sprinklers, speakers.


  • Take photos of the space and adjoining rooms.
  • Take the pics between 10 am and 2 pm for the best light and true colours.
  • Start with a photo facing each full wall of the empty room.
  • Add photos of details like moulding, baseboards, bulkheads, niches or weird angles so you see them in relation to the space, not just from up close.
  • Include pics showing the colours of any wood, bathroom countertop and tile, or carpets in the rooms visible from the bedroom.

Next, get to know yourself.

  • Peruse magazines or Pinterest to save images of bedrooms you love.
  • Come back later and look at the whole collection together.
  • What overall look repeats itself? Are the rooms mostly airy and light? Dark and moody?
  • What style reveals itself in the majority of the photos? Modern, clean lines? Traditional, curvy shapes? Classic, formal and elegant? Or rustic, informal and natural?
  • Look at the details you’re repeatedly drawn to. Refined and polished finishes? Or rustic and raw?
  • What types of wood? What colours?
  • Patterns on fabrics or walls? Or solids with texture?

Then start planning.

Begin with your bedroom closet.

  • See if you need more short or long hanging space, shelves for shoes, bags, suitcases, dirty clothes.
  • Measure in linear inches how much space your shoes take, then your bags. Do the same for the long clothing items, then the short. Note all dimensions in a list.
  • Measure in linear inches the space available in the empty closet. Draw it out.
  • See where a double rod, drawers, extra shelves or more hooks can be added to maximize that space.

Now draw a plan of the bedroom as you’d like it.

  • Look at furniture pieces online to see the popular dimensions. Place them on your floor plan.
  • Notice where you can add furniture that does more with less space. A bed with storage, taller chest of drawers, a wall mounted mirror, a storage bench or ottoman.

FINALLY, go shopping.

  • Shop online first to narrow down models, sizes, colours. Phone or email to ask what’s in stock and how quickly it can be delivered.

Remember, there’s no shame in buying an inexpensive, temporary, metal bed base frame in the interim. (They come flat packed and are easy to store.) And an upholstered headboard is easy to add.

  • Don’t be sucked into buying ALL the pieces of a matching set of furniture. It seems freeing in the moment. But it’s limiting.

The chances of buying the right size pieces improve by leaving your options open. You won’t feel obliged to keep less than ideal sizes just because they’re a set. You won’t feel stuck.

  • Carry your photos, floor plans and measurements with you everywhere. Show them to the sales people in the stores. Use their knowledge and expertise to show you exactly what you need.

Here’s the bonus!

It doesn’t matter if you do it all yourself or hire a designer to help.

Either way…

Doing all this prep work saves time, money and disappointment.

Your shopping, like your vision, becomes focused. You know exactly what you need. And exactly what you like.

You won’t be distracted by ALL the pretty things out there.

No wasted time looking for, receiving deliveries of and trying things that don’t fit your style or your space.

Or worse, returning them later too.

Think how much easier (and faster) it will be for a designer or a sales person to help you if you can SHOW them what you mean!

Where Am I? (And Other Non-Scary Thoughts)

Lesley’s bedroom still had plenty of furniture.

But each piece was the right size. The right colour. The right shape and style.

Because of that, the windows seemed to reappear. The light poured in. Her room felt airy and spacious, not dark and cramped. Elegant and relaxing. Not oppressive and heavy.

Unexpected space was found. Space Lesley didn’t know she had. Or thought possible.

For reading, working, dressing, unwinding.

Finally a space that reflected Lesley. Her tastes, her success and her lifestyle.

Most importantly, the room supported her. It added value to her home and life. Every day.

“I can’t believe it’s mine! It’s like a 5 star hotel suite! I can spend the day here!”, she exclaimed.

Lesley lost a little. But she gained far more.

The home she had pictured. Hoped for. Attempted.

And now loved.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy

By signing up for this guide, you will also be added to my mailing list. You will receive periodic updates and special offers from me via email. I will not sell or distribute your email address to a third party at any time. View my privacy policy.

A No-Fail Guide to Choosing the Right Paint Colour (The First Time)