A Dark & Moody Third Floor Hideaway

Whenever we show someone around that has never been to our house before their favorite room always seems to be the guest bedroom up on the 3rd floor. I totally get it, you go up the back stairs and at the top are greeted by the sunlight pouring in through the skylight on the landing and then turn into the door to find this cozy little hideaway of a room. The ceiling is low and, part of the room being inside a dormer, not much of it is even flat. The two side-by-side windows peek out into the tree tops. It is the kind of room that makes you look forward to rainy days so you can cozy up and get into a good book while listening to the rain tapping on the skylight.

We assume that the room was originally for a live-in maid or servant of some sort. I feel bad for whoever had to live up there before window AC units were invented though because, boy, does it get hot up there in the summer. In the winter it is cold but is still usable with the assistance of a space heater and heated mattress pad. Despite the rooms shortcomings, however, it is still absolutely charming.

I really wanted to do something special up there. Something moody and romantic. Because it is not a room that is used everyday I figured I could afford to take a few risks and try some things that I had never done before. The furniture that I had to work with were all traditional pieces. The bed was my mother’s when I was growing up. The dresser, vanity, and bench I got recently from my grandmother who was downsizing her apartment. I wanted to incorporate more traditional accessories into the room and offset them with just a few more modern pieces. You can see some images that inspired me below.


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One of the first things I had to decide was what color I wanted paint the room. When we originally purchased the house the room was painted two different shades of glossy mauvey pink. While I don’t have anything against mauve, it just wasn’t working for the room. Also, the two tone scheme highlighted the somewhat awkward geometry of the room. Shortly after moving in I just painted everything white. It stayed white for the next couple years but I never really loved it, it didn’t really do anything for the darkly lit space. This past spring  I decided I wanted to try out a light blue. I went with Behr’s Skylight Blue. The color it’s self was really quite lovely, but, like the white it wasn’t really doing anything for the space it was in.


Before in Skylight Blue

I don’t know how closely you follow interior design trends but dark colors are really having a moment right now. After seeing so many examples of beautiful spaces set against dark and moody colors I began to think that might be just the thing to really set off this room. In addition to creating ambiance I also believed it would help to reign in some of the impact of the irregular walls and ceiling, which can be a little overwhelming in the small space. After wavering back and forth for a bit I decided to commit and painted the whole space in one of my favorite standbys, SW Sealskin. This warm, dark charcoal was just what the room needed and also what I needed to get excited about styling it.

Dark and Moody Room Color

For the art and accessories I tried to stay within a somewhat limited palette. I added Black and white, of course, but also mixed in shades of blue and green in the art, ceramic items, and the plants. I incorporated brass throughout the room not only with the bed but the lamps and a couple of small accessories. Lastly, just to mix it up a bit and keep it from feeling too stuffy I added a touch of red in the fun patterned pillows on the chair and some of the artwork on the gallery wall. All in all I feel like I managed to keep everything relatively balanced and didn’t over-do anything.

Gallery Wall

I incorporated several DIY projects into this room as well. One of the first things I did was recover the bench seat that goes with the vanity. I added a little extra padding in there while I was at it, but, it is still a rather firm sit. I also added the fringe and trim to the lampshades that are on the pair of glass lamps on the vanity (BTW, those lamps were also from my grandmother, and the Wedgewood jar on the dresser). I love the fringe. It adds some texture and has a fun French-esque feel to it. When I was getting the fringe I also picked up a few tassels to hang on the other two table lamps in the room. Just a couple small details that I feel made a difference.

bench and chair

Probably the biggest DIY of the room was the new cushion I made for the chair. I found the chair at the local Salvation Army. I loved the shape and the rattan back, but, the cushion on it was completely shot. There was no part of it that could be salvaged. I had never made a cushion before but I figured I should probably figure it out since this will definitely not be the last time I will be needing one. While it didn’t come out perfect I am still happy with it and it was a good reason to figure out how to use the vintage sewing machine my mom found for me (I think she maybe wanted her’s back).

bed and gallery wall

In addition to the bedroom on this floor there is also the most adorable bathroom you have ever seen. Once we get around to renovating it I would like to list the whole suite on Airbnb. What do you think? Would you stay here?

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