Ask Amy: Combination Guest Bedroom and Nursery


A Nursery that Doubles Perfectly as a Guest Room


Photo from OhDeeDoh 

Chrissy lives in a 2 bedroom house and is expecting their first child – congratulations Chrissy! She’s wondering if they can keep the queen bed in the nursery for guests! I say absolutely! Especially when the baby is young. As he or she grows, you may want to change the queen size for a small sleeper sofa or futon, but for now, I think it can work perfectly for guests coming to see the new baby and to help you out! 

So what do you have to have in the room? My three essentials are a crib, rocking chair and storage. A small chest of drawers would be nice for storage of clothing, diapers, etc., but the closet will suffice if you can’t fit it into the space. You want to avoid being cramped. Less is definately more! A changing table can be overated – you can use a foldout padded vinyl mat on top of the bed or crib.  If you have space for a small chest of drawers it may possibly double as a changing table if you think it’s necessary, but always put safety first. 

If you don’t  have space for a chest of drawers, try a small end table next to the bed or rocker with drawers to store diapers and changing products. The thing is to look for items  that are multi purpose. Shelving can hold photo frames and treasured items, but can also hold adorable storage boxes with items that you need to access. 

Don’t forget under the bed. You can get inexpensive storage boxes for clothing that the baby needs to grow into. In fact, you might even want to raise the bed with bed raisers which will give you more under the bed storage. A bonus is you’ll give your back a break if it’s doing double duty as a changing area. One word of advice…pay the extra $10.00 for wood one’s. I bought my daughter the plastic variety for the queen bed in her new apartment and they lasted until her 6′ 6  boyfriend sat on the corner. The bed busted right through them, haha!  Welcome to the new apartment Mike! Luckily, no one was hurt, but it’s not worth the risk. 

Here’s a few photo’s for inspiration that I found around the web. I didn’t find many with a guest bed, suprisingly just the one above and the one below, but I’ve included a few storage ideas I thought could work for you as well… 


Probably bigger than Chrissy's but another multi purpose room


All Photos below from HGTV 


Store Items in stacking baskets that are seasonal or for the future 


Look for unique pieces that are taller rather than widewww.bhg.comBaskets on wall book shelves can store items you need quick access to such as diapers & wipes



Baskets can provide storage on wall or bookcase shelving

Baskets can provide storage on wall or bookcase shelving 

Pottery Barn has a ton of storage ideas
Pottery Barn has a ton of storage ideas 

Good Luck Chrissy and let us know how it turns out 🙂

Step Three: Painting the Kitchen-a Kitchen on a Budget

Before Photo: Kitchen with Border

Before Photo: Kitchen with Border

Last weekend, the Kuster’s started painting their kitchen in Step three of their kitchen redo on a budget. Phase one was about finding the inspiration for their project and phase two consisted of selecting the finishes that they would apply. This past Saturday, Bill primed the walls. Ten years ago, Lori and I had stenciled some grape vines on the wall with oil based crayons, and as cute as it was back then, she’s so over that look. The before photo above shows the existing stencil at the top of the walls that extends throughout the kitchen.

Priming the Walls before Painting

Prime the Walls before Painting

On Saturday, the first step was to apply a primer to ensure the oil based stencil can be easily painted over. Bill used the product below by Zinsser. It’s a water based primer that doesn’t require sanding, seals stains, sticks to all surfaces and is resistent to mold and mildew. Best of all, it dries in an hour. It may be an extra step you didn’t plan on, but it’s definately worth it in the long run. There’s some odor involved, so it’s best to open some window to ventilate.

Kitchen Walls with Primer

Kitchen Walls with Primer

On Sunday, it was time to tape off the areas to be painted with Sherwin Williams Afterglow which goes on all the wall surfaces above the white bead board chair rail which still needs to be painted and the cabinets. Lori and Bill chose a satin finish so that it wouldn’t reflect the walls imperfections, yet could be easily cleaned as needed.

Sherwin Williams Afterglow

Sherwin Williams Afterglow

Here’s a before and after photo of another area of the kitchen…


Before Photo of Side Door in Kitchen


Afterglow above Chair Rail

Afterglow above Chair Rail


Painted Wall with Roman Shade that was the Inspirational item for The Kitchen

Painted Wall with Roman Shade Laid Over the Door to see how it Matches

I’m thinking it’s going to be FABULOUS…what do you think? Great job Bill! Next step will be to paint the chair rail and cabinets. Stay tuned!

Step Two: Choosing Finishes – a Kitchen on a Budget


On Monday I shared the begining thoughts from a few weeks ago  for a kitchen project that my friend Lori and her husband Bill are ready to begin. She had found a window treatment that she ordered off the internet to use for inspiration and we were waiting for it to come in. It came last week and over the weekend, we selected paint for the walls above the beadboard and also decided what would be the best finish for the new wood floor. Here’s the things we talked about…


The valance that Lori ordered from Pottery Barn turned out to be perfect for the kitchen windows and worked extremely well to pull together the green stove and the red coffee maker. The only suprising thing was we thought from the picture in the catalog that it had a yellow/gold color in it that we could match the walls to, but it ended up having a tinge of orange in it. After much consideration, we chose a color by Sherwin Williams called Afterglow.

I have a photo that I created on Sherwin Williams website using the actual color, but it really looks much more orange on the computer than it does in person. I think it will be a great color for the kitchen and add a fresh new feel. Especially with newly painted white beadboard and cabinets. If you ever want to get some paint ideas, you can to to the Sherwin Williams website and using the visualizer tool, you can pick a room that is most similar to yours – I picked a bathroom since it had the beadboard. Once you choose a room, you can play with different paint colors to see how it changes the look of the room. It’s a great way to get some ideas, but do not…DO NOT ever choose paint from a computer. A computer does not show you color in true form and a shade that you see online will not look remotely the same in person.

They currently have an existing wood floor in the living room that runs up next to the kitchen. It would be next to impossible to try to match it and continue the same floor into the kitchen. Rather trying to make it look the same, I recommended  installing the new floor in the opposite direction and matching the dark pegs that are part of their current wood floor which has a light colored finish. Their living room floor looks like this…


See the round dark pegs? I’m thinking that if they chose a wood floor for the kitchen with a stain color similar to the stain on the pegs, that it will be a smooth transition. They agreed.

We also discussed how the colors will go with the rest of the areas that adjoin to the kitchen. This is where having a whole house plan comes into play. Since they want to continue the olive green color in the kitchen and solariam, the colors work well. The green will be a common thread in each area which will create a nice flow from room to room.

Lori showed me a picture that she bought and said she absolutely LOVES it. I loved it as well, and I think the apple itself goes really well with the roman shades and walls, but…I think that the background is just a little too much for valance. I asked her what she really loved about it, and she said the apple. With that in mind, she’s going to keep her eye out for another picture that has a large apple without the busy background. I think in the long run she’ll be much happier. If you find something that you LOVE, but it doesn’t quite work, figure out what it is that you love about and maybe you can find something else that will work even better. Here’s a photo of the picture she bought with the fabric below it…



 What do you think?  The next step is for Lori and Bill to dive in with painting the cabinets. When they get started, I’ll make sure to post some pictures. Hopefully, it doesn’t take as long as my dining room did – haha! Come to think of it,  it’s not 100% complete. I need to get moving on that 🙂

Step One: Finding Inspiration – A Kitchen on a budget


My friend Lori called me a few weeks ago and wanted help picking colors for her kitchen. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get together with her and her husband Bill for a few weeks, so I gave her some assignments before I met with them. I thought I’d blog about the process with you from beginning to end and also share my thought process so you can see how some of the decisions were made. Although I did get together with them this weekend to choose the paint colors, it really has been a project that they have done on their own. They key to a successful project is to really think it out before you run to the paint store.  When I talked to her a few weeks ago, she was biting at the bullet to get going, but by pulling back and really thinking it out, I think they’ll have a kitchen that they really love on a budget that they can afford. 

Here’s a couple of photo’s of their kitchen as it is now…

cabinets2Main kitchen above and side door next to eating area is below



 What is your budget? Lori and Bill want to keep the project as inexpensive as possible. It’s one project of many that they have planned, and they don’t want to go to the expense of a full kitchen remodel.

What do you want to keep? Actually, the better question is what do you need to keep! Obviously, we’d all like to have everything new, but that’s not always realistic. Keeping their budget in mind, they have chosen to keep the existing cabinets, mini-blinds and appliances, but do want to replace the vinyl floor with a new wood floor and  the olive green sink with a white one. Fortunately, Bill is a willing to do all of the works (gotta love that!) which will save them alot of money!

Summary: Knowing the above, this is what they have to work with…

  • Worn, but charming painted cabinets that could use a little revitalization.
  • White refrigerator and dishwasher
  • Tall Painted bead board wainscoat which adds to the charm of the kitchen
  • Nickel finish table and 4 chairs with wicker seats. (Table has a glass top with blue inlay tile underneath, but we will not design around that, as we can ultimately cover the blue if need be.)
  • Olive green double oven that will eventually be replaced
  • Red coffee maker that was a gift from Bill’s parents

Do you have a particular style, color scheme or look in mind? They really didn’t have anything in mind or at least like most people they couldn’t verbalize it. They just new they wanted a new look. They wanted something fresh and inviting. A place they wanted to spend time in.  


I had Lori go through magazines and websites on her computer to find pictures of things that she loved. When looking on the web, some good places are sites of stores that you like, better homes and gardents (  or even blogs like this 🙂  Lori doesnt’ need to necessarily find photo’s of  kitchens, but rooms that she liked the look of. She also might find a piece of artwork, a color scheme, or a vignette that she likes. The point here was to  look and earmark anything that caught her eye and made her feel good. The only rule is don’t think too much. The end goal here is to find an inspiration picture or two.

Why do you need an inspiration picture or item? An Inspiration picture or item is a visual guide to help you start a project. It’s an invaluable tool, as it can keep you on track as you  become overwhelmed with  decisions you’ll need to make. It could be a treaured picture or item that you want to incorporate into the room or a photo of something that you love that you found in a catalog or online. Maybe it’s a photo of a room that catches your eye and you want to achieve that look and feel.

In Lori’s case, it was several things. Last week, she found first found a look in a pottery barn catalog that she loved…


And then she found a valance that pulled in the colors of her stove and her red coffee maker. 


Bill was a little iffy on the valance, but agreed to hold judgement till they saw the real thing. I took the inspiration photo’s and made the color board that is at the top of the post and suggested that the next step was to order the valance and see it it was right. She did get swatches from the local pottery barn, but with the size of the print, it was too hard to tell if it would work. 

Tomorrow, I’ll let you know if it matched and the next steps they’ll take!  


Beautiful Walls on a Budget!


My daughter e-mailed me a link last night to a site with really beautiful and unique wall decals and re-stick art-I just had to share. Thanks Ashley! What I am so impressed with (besides the beautiful oversized graphics) is that in most cases you can customize the colors. Best of all is that they are sooooo affordable! Prices range from around $25.00 – $55.00. It was hard to pick a few to share with you! Check these out…










This could go anywhere. I’m thinking it would be great in a bedroom, living room or even an empty bathroom wall. By the way, this is probably where my dog is right now as I type from the office – on my bed!












I love the scale of some of the graphics and this purple is definately a trend for 2009!














Isn’t this Great for a Powder room or Bedroom?













 How about this for a teenager’s room, play room and even a kitchen?













 Isn’t this fun for a family room or game room?













 For Card lovers….













And that favorite little tyke…




Have fun and check them all at I think you’ll find it hard to find a favorite – I loved them all!