Keeping the atmosphere homey and inviting inside their five-bedroom brick Georgian is something that comes naturally to Elburn, Illinois, homeowners Lynn and Mark Nickel. From the handpicked folk art that establishes homespun flair in every room to the comfortable sitting areas that they love to arrange here and there, the entire home is awash in personalized comfort that Lynn happily says is anything but mass-produced.
Although the guest bedroom fit in nicely with the home’s style, Lynn decided that wintertime, when visitors frequently stay over, was the perfect time of year to give the space an extra boost of decorative delight. The couple, who share the home with their 4-year-old daughter, Abbie, are no strangers to cozy country style, so they welcomed some advice for fine-tuning the room from Country Sampler stylists Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker. “They did a wonderful job of bringing some of the themes found in the rest of the house, such as birds and miniature houses, into the guest bedroom,” Lynn says. “Everything they recommended just enhanced the look I was already going for here.”
Sally-Jo says that just because guest rooms aren’t used as much as more high-traffic living rooms and kitchens, there’s no need to skimp on style. However, she adds, “We often don’t have enough time to really do a lot in a spare bedroom. Catherine and I focused on keeping our ideas simple and working with what Lynn and Mark already had to finish off the room.” From clever ways to create stylish side tables to eye-catching storage solutions, read on for Sally-Jo and Catherine’s advice for making your spare bedroom simply sensational.
Written by Elizabeth Preston Morrissey
Styled by Sally-Jo Enstad & Catherine Parker
Photographed by Brian Nightengale
Produced by Dennis Morgan
1. Make a case. The stylists brought a few utilitarian objects out of the Nickels’ closet to create a unique, storage-rich side table. “I have a hard time finding side tables that are the right height,” Lynn says. “The suitcases on the luggage rack are perfect and make me feel worldly!”
2. Do look down. A stack of decorative boxes on a footstool provide more storage and balance out the empty space around the luggage rack’s thin legs.
3. Get coordinated. Lynn used a place mat that matches her striped drapes to craft a mat for a photograph of her grandparents, which rests beside an iron candle stand atop the suitcases.
4. Be a shoe-in. A rustic wood ladder takes a glamorous turn as a rack for Lynn’s high heels. A wall-mounted wood box fits perfectly between the ladder’s legs and offers space to showcase pretty accessories.
5. Let there be light. A beige panel offers privacy but lets in sunshine; with one edge tacked up, it softly frames a wreath on the window.
6. Pile it on. The stylists placed a wicker tray on a pair of firkins to create a platform for an arrangement of bird figurines and candlesticks that echoes an avian theme found elsewhere in the house. The smallest bird accent gets an extra boost from an oval pantry box.
7. Reflect your taste. Hang a decorative mirror up over a dresser to help bounce light around a room and make the space feel larger.
8. Look on the bright side. “We’re always advocating pops of color, and rich red is the perfect room brightener for winter,” Catherine says. “Try a red pitcher full of berries, a cozy throw, a jar candle or a hooked rug with red accents.”
9. Strike a balance. Sally-Jo and Catherine played up the small drawers on top of the dresser with a reflector light and a primitive-style black box, relying on the scale of the accents to balance each other out.
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10. Make a mad stash. Spare rooms are often used for storage when guests aren’t around, so Sally-Jo and Catherine recommend installing a storage unit that’s useful and stylish. “Attach wicker baskets to an old shutter and hang it on the wall,” Sally-Jo suggests. “Use it for mail when you don’t have visitors, and then swap your own items out for towels, toiletries, magazines or snacks when guests arrive.”
11. Come home. The stylists continued their makeover with an eye-catching lighted house on an antique cabinet filled with linens. The house adds a pop of unexpected color and ties in with other miniature houses found throughout the Nickels’ home.
12. Sleep on it. Give guests the four-star treatment with warm-toned bed linens that play up the coziness of your country look. “Stick to mostly solid or geometric bedding to keep the bed from looking too busy,” Sally-Jo advises. “Add in more graphics in small doses, such as one pillow on the bed or an accent pillow on a chair nearby.”
13. Be berry thoughtful. The stylists picked up the bedding’s barn-red hues with a bunch of berries in a redware vessel and a berry ring around a candle inside a black metal lantern.
14. Brighten your day. Position a light-colored table runner, place mat or other linen atop a dark wood nightstand to make black accents, such as a lantern or a small set of drawers, stand out.
15. Go for a layered look. “Just-right wall art can be hard to find, so sometimes it’s best to combine two ordinary pieces to create one perfect one,” Catherine says. “We rested a framed print inside a basket on the wall for lots of dimension and texture.”
Visit our Craft Fair online for more information.
Wrought-iron candle stand and candle, Mountainberry Candles & Keepsakes
Make-do wall box, Toadally Country
Folk-art sheep stacking boxes, Henny Penny’s House
Tobacco cloth curtain, Susie’s Bittersweet Treasures
16" wreath, Country Creations
Square reflector lamp, Toadally Country
Ruby red ceramic pitcher and branches, Country Living
Red berry bushes, Mountain Star Mall
Federal mirror, Saltbox Primitives
Wood box with lid, Mountain Star Mall
Candle in cracker jar, Mountainberry Candles & Keepsakes
Wool strips hooked flower rug, The Painted Shelf
Shaker oval box, Shaker Woodenware by John Tucker
Fairhaven candlesticks, The Primitive Corner
Crow on spool, Henny Penny’s House
Mustard resin bird, Circa Home Living
Toss pillow, Olde Farm Creek
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Bed n’ Breakfast lighted house, Simply Country
Willow Lane pillow, Country Creations
Brick-colored blanket, shams and toss pillows, Olde Farm Creek
Primitive tea-stained runner, Henny Penny’s House
Farmhouse Drawers, Cute as Country
Black metal lantern, Country Creations
“Crows and Pineapple” print, Whispering Willow