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We took last week off to rest our brains, recharge and have an adventure. Not even two days into vacation, we found ourselves talking about bedroom trim and paint (where to end that pesky line!), and I spent an embarrassing amount of time on eBay searching for the perfect vintage rug. I guess that’s to say our downtime was a success; I was so nervous that we’d come home and feel anxious about starting back up, but that’s the funny thing about time away from the grind. Once you give yourself a moment to wind down, your brain finds the space to feel creative again. (Imagine that!) All that to say, we’re feeling good. We’re ready to dive back in! We finished the last steps of this skinny bathroom storage project right before we left, so let’s get to it:


One of the main concerns in our master bath renovation – as is typically the case with most rooms – was storage. At the time, our bathroom had very little, with a small under sink cabinet that lacked any sort of organization. (Despite my best efforts of adding a basket to corral a few items, it just wasn’t working!) We added a huge-but-slim IKEA medicine cabinet (like this, minus the mirror finish), but our new plans included a sleek mirror or two in its place. This GODMORGAN vanity was on the to-buy list, and while that would already be a storage upgrade to what we were used to, we couldn’t kick the idea of adding shelving – or a cabinet? – to the extra foot of space at the end of the bathtub for cleaning supplies, extra hand towels and an endless toilet paper supply.

While we were at IKEA choosing our GODMORGAN configuration, we noticed the LILLANGEN! It was super slim, tall and had a door to hide away any mess. Yes! It can be tough to tell in the store exactly how these pieces all fit together, but we crossed our fingers and told ourselves we could trim the door, back and shelves to the proper width, if needed. We bought the unit and gave rough measurements to our contractor, asking them to leave the opening as wide as possible, but we requested a height of 70″+ to accommodate the LILLANGEN. Below, you’ll see that they left that dead space pretty open; there’s no trim, just a big empty hole:


The cabinet was 11 3/4″ wide, which was, of course, a hair too wide for the leftover space. We also didn’t want it all the way up against the wall for a couple reasons: 1) There needed to be a place for our baseboards and tile to dead-end into, for starters, 2) we wanted to balance the right side with the left side, and 3) along those same lines, we needed room to add trim all around.


By using scrap 2x4s, we created a framework along the right side of where the cabinet would go. They didn’t need to be structural in any way, but we would be screwing into them to secure the unit. Scott used the nail gun and several wood screws (directly into studs) to install one 2×4 at the front and the other centered 15″ back (the depth of the LILLANGEN).

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With that complete, we were ready to customize our cabinet to fit the space! We put it together most of the way – including adding the hinged door – so we could get the exact measurements of all the pieces that would need trimmed.


Our new opening, due to the addition of the 2x4s, narrowed the width by 1 1/2″. To give us enough room to squeeze the unit into the space, we decided to take 2″ off the door, back and shelves. Because these pieces are all different widths to begin with (the door being the widest, the shelves being the most narrow), we measured each of these items separately and took it back apart for the big cuts on our table saw! Before ripping anything down on these particle board pieces, we always tape off the cut with blue tape to keep the white finish from chipping:


With everything at the right width, we put it all back together again. Luckily, it’s a pretty simple unit! Our cuts eliminated the holes needed to attach the final side, so we (very, very carefully!) used wood screws. Drilling a pilot hole first always helps to prevent these thin pieces from splitting.

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Finally, it was time to shimmy the LILLANGEN into place! We screwed it into the studs from the inside to keep it secure, but I can promise you this – it is in there. Below on the left, the unit is roughed in, and on the right, we added thin lattice strips to finish the look:


At this point, the door still had a raw edge, the trim needed a good spackling and every last seam was waiting to be caulked:

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But man, all that magical glue (aka, spackle and caulk – the secret behind every old house!) really turned it around! You can see above that the in-process photos began before tiling, because we wanted to get this in place first. Starting below, the walls have been painted white (Clark+Kensington’s Silent White), the trim and door were painted with a semi-gloss finish (Behr’s Ultra Pure White), and we added this pretty brass handle, too!

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You can see how adding the 2×4 was necessary not only to kick the unit off the wall (allowing the door to open more freely), but it also gives the trim a place to rest and the baseboards and tile to end:

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We’re thrilled with how it turned out (!), and we gained so much usable space for all those things that get stashed into bathrooms. We’ll pick up storage bins to keep things contained, and you guys, we’re almost there!

PS… We’ve been nominated for a Better Homes & Gardens DIY Blogger Award, which has us going ‘what?!’ and ‘hooray’! Feel free to vote right here, but know this: we can’t thank you guys enough for being our biggest support system.

  • Carol - March 1, 2016 - 7:28 AM

    Welcome back! I was crossing my fingers that there would be a post waiting and here it is – And it’s beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Steph M. - March 1, 2016 - 8:49 AM

    Genius! I love it when you can make such great use out of something that would normally be closed up. It’s so good!!ReplyCancel

  • Laura Hager - March 1, 2016 - 10:27 AM

    I love how this turned out. I’m in the process of buying a house and it has a funky little space like that too. This might work for us to add some extra storage!


    • Kim - March 1, 2016 - 1:52 PM

      Congrats on your future house!ReplyCancel

  • Josh | The Kentucky Gent - March 1, 2016 - 11:21 AM

    My friends had cabinets just like this built into their kitchen around their fridge. Gorgeous house, but zero storage. Always helps when you have handy friends!ReplyCancel

    • Ashley - March 1, 2016 - 1:49 PM

      What a great idea! Our kitchen is unbearably small with little storage, but a “loose” fridge. This just might be the idea I need- thanks!ReplyCancel

    • KathleenC - March 4, 2016 - 10:53 AM

      That’s it! Thank you for this comment! I too have a “loose” fridge, and (I have to admit) I hadn’t made the connection between this bathroom space solution and my kitchen… but this might be the perfect solution to using those side spaces.ReplyCancel

      • Kim - March 4, 2016 - 10:59 AM

        Especially because this cabinet is so tall, it would make a perfect fridge companion!ReplyCancel

  • Carol - March 1, 2016 - 11:30 AM

    Another great idea for small spaces! Digging your choice in floor tile too!ReplyCancel

  • Staci - March 1, 2016 - 11:37 AM

    This turned out beautifully! I’ve never done an IKEA hack (so much measuring and re-measuring) but I am so happy your plan came together the way you imagined!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 1, 2016 - 1:54 PM

      Don’t be afraid to measure and re-measure! Hacking IKEA is the best part of IKEA, haha.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Der - March 1, 2016 - 1:27 PM

    Oh my goodness it looks totally dreamy! That brass handle… (!!!!!)!

    I just voted–I very much hope you guys win!!!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey - March 1, 2016 - 2:30 PM

    Awesome job! More storage is never a bad thing! Question – is the difference between wall color and trim color more noticeable in person? It’s nearly imperceptible in photos.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 1, 2016 - 2:38 PM

      They’re pretty close. :) We chose the same white that we put in our shipping room – it’s clean and warm without feeling yellow. We’ve always loved a white bathroom!ReplyCancel

  • Iz - March 2, 2016 - 7:42 AM

    It looks great, but I can’t help wonder if wouldn’t have been easier (for people as handy as you guys) to just construct your own shelves and door to fit the space?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 2, 2016 - 9:34 AM

      Maybe! We considered it. But when it comes to adding hinges to doors and getting everything to close properly, I’m not sure we trusted ourselves enough to get it all squared up. Plus we saved some time by not having to paint every piece of wood – just the door!ReplyCancel

  • Dani @ Danielle and Co. - March 2, 2016 - 8:54 AM

    What a great use of a little bit of space! Ikea always comes to the rescue… We just incorporated their Ragrund unit as opening shelving in our bathroom; not too big, not too small! The handle you chose makes it look much more custom and like it was built right along with the house.

  • Sarah - March 2, 2016 - 9:15 AM

    I just bought an old house and dream of the day when my bathroom might look like yours. Right now it’s just peeling paint on the tub that clogs, the tiniest sink known to mankind, and zero storage. That ikea hack is a game changer!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 2, 2016 - 9:32 AM

      We hear you! We’ve been dreaming of this day for almost 3 years, haha. You’ll get there! I think it’s better to live with it for a while anyway – had we done this renovation when we first moved in, we probably wouldn’t have had the funds or patience to expand the room like we did. It made us realize what we really, really wanted in the bath.ReplyCancel

  • Molly - March 2, 2016 - 10:36 AM

    How did you address the raw edge on the door? Did you manage to get the trim piece off the part you sawed off? We have a weird space in our bathroom we want to build something into and this sure inspired me!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 2, 2016 - 11:16 AM

      Hi Molly, we just painted the raw edge of the door AND the front of the door in a semi-gloss pure white to match the rest of our trim! We discarded the piece we trimmed off.ReplyCancel

  • Abby - March 7, 2016 - 1:06 PM

    This cabinet is exactly what we need for our laundry room, but I have passed it by on Ikea’s website because it says it has a mirrored front (the version you linked). Is the mirror detached where you can just use the white front without it?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 9, 2016 - 8:37 AM

      Hi Abby, sorry for the delay in my reply – your comment got stuck in the spam filter! To answer your question, IKEA does sell one with a mirror front, but they also sell it with a plain white front, too. I think they even sell it in the brown/black, and there’s one more option with holes in the door (for laundry, which might work for you?). :)ReplyCancel

  • Evelina - March 9, 2016 - 7:16 PM

    A closet like this seriously is SO handy. Bathrooms never have enough storage. And I am ga-ga over the handle you chose!!
    Xo, Evelina @ Fortunate HouseReplyCancel

  • Amy - March 17, 2016 - 4:11 PM

    Beautiful space — I put similar brass drawer pulls and sconces in our daughters’ bathroom and have recently been on the hunt for accessories (towel bar, toilet paper holder, etc.) to compliment the brass. I am a big fan of mixed metals as well. Our plumbing fixtures are polished chrome while our door hardware is matte black. Will definitely be visiting Rejuvenation. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 18, 2016 - 9:48 AM

      Amy, you and us have similar taste in metal mixing. :)ReplyCancel

  • […] –Pretty bathroom renovation.¬† […]ReplyCancel



Before we dive in, we have a spring makeover update! Head over to Instagram or Facebook to see where we’re headed, and all the love, hugs and high fives to each and every one of you.

With the PAX planning behind us, we’re happy to say that our IKEA PAX closet system is officially in, and despite a few of our normal house challenges (slightly sloped floors, for starters), it was surprisingly simple to build and install! It did take time, but we were able to get it in place in one very long, very rewarding day.

We started early (after lots of coffee and a Shark Tank episode, as usual), and we got right to work sorting through our forty-two(!) flat packed boxes, bags and baskets. Once we had a good feel for which box held which items, we laid out our tools – power drill, handheld screwdrivers and a hammer – and started on creating each box. One for Scott, one for me:

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We attached the hinges and doors to the first closet before sliding it into the newly boxed out space. At this point, we wanted to see the exact depth, getting a feel for the swing of the doors against the new drywall. Although the PAX is about 24″ deep, our contractor created a boxed out depth of almost 26″ (as a precaution – just in case!), so we knew we’d potentially need a spacer behind the closet.


Our test fit told us that a single 2″ x 4″ spacer along the top back of the PAX would be just the right amount to kick the entire system far enough off the wall. We screwed it right into the studs, and then we pushed the first box into place and screwed that to the 2″ x 4″, just as we would if we were securing it directly to the wall:

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Our floor slopes upwards towards the headboard-wall (enough to make us grumble, but not so bad that we need to re-level the whole room), so we started with that first box at the highest point and used shims to keep it level. It was most important to ensure that the PAX stayed level across the top, because we knew we’d be adding trim to the bottom eventually, which would completely conceal any shims.

The second box, though? This is where things got a little tricky. We had our contractor frame out the drywall with very – and I mean very! – little wiggle room. We wanted our closet system to fit like a glove in that empty space, and so we told him to account for no more than 1/2″ on the top and sides. I am sure he thought we were crazy (truth!), and he told me to double check our measurements (yup!), and once we were really, really sure (we are!), he would frame out that wall for us.

And so? The second box came with its challenges, but man, we made it work! The left box needed to be raised by almost 3/4″ to keep things level (I shake my fist at you, slopey floor!), and Scott rigged up a rail-system-of-sorts using wood scraps. Not only did those scraps keep the left closet level (they continue all the way to the back of the closet), but it aided in easing that big bear of a box into that perfect, not-an-inch-to-spare space. Yeah! Note: There are small feet on the bottom that can be adjusted for un-level floors, but we needed a bit more height than they could provide. 

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Scott used our Dremel to nip the exposed wood rails, and we had a closet! Well, we had our closet boxes! It was late afternoon by this point, and right as we were going to call it a day, we got our second wind and motored through on the organizational guts. The best part, really! This is around the time that Chunk jumped in to help, and I think she stood like this for a good five minutes before I insisted we could do the job without her assistance.

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Once we completed two of the drawers, we could complete all of the drawers in a snap. When it came time to add the drawer slides, we referenced a number sheet that was given to us at IKEA when we designed the closets. The sheet told us how many holes from the bottom each drawer, divider and rod should go. One, two, three, four… fifty-five, fifty-six, fifty-seven…

HIS CLOSET. Scott preferred the smaller side-by-side drawers, with two pull-out trays for his shoes (see all the options right here). Despite being 20″ wide, they’re almost 2′ deep, which will allow for, say, two separate stacks of tees per drawer. He has a basket at the very bottom for loose-ends – aka, the knock-around clothes he used to toss on top of our dressers, ha! Above those two solid front drawers is a tie organizer, which we’re both really excited about!


HER CLOSET. The majority of my clothes get folded into drawers (tees and jeans all the way!), so I went for the longer single drawers, because I couldn’t get over how huge they were! I have a single, wider pull-out tray for shoes at the very bottom (I’ve always stashed seasonal shoes in our foyer coat closet), and we both opted for mostly glass front drawers so we could find That One buried t-shirt without pulling out every single item. The solid front drawers (in each of ours) are for those less-than-organized items: socks and, obviously, underwear.


When designing our PAX, we were set on double doors for a couple of reasons: 1) We knew we could both be rifling through our closets at the same time (no sliding doors to keep one of us waiting), and 2) although this room feels big to us, it still needed space-saving touches. Because each individual closet is 40″ wide, the double 20″ doors allow for clearance alongside our bed:

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Don’t let my photos fool you; these closets are so tall (almost 8′) and wide (almost 7′) and deep (2′)! Our goal was to eliminate dressers in the bedroom, and these’ll do it, absolutely. We’re continual closet purgers, and when we eventually load these up, we’ve already discussed purging once more so that we have a closet full of only the items we love. No ifs, no buts. (This book instantly changed the way we organize and donate our clothing, and we’ve never looked back!)

I know that IKEA offers build services, but I promise that if you’ve taken the time to build anything more complicated than a LACK side table, you (+ a friend) can build your own closet! Really! We’ve held off on putting our clothes in the closet until we finish painting the doors, installing the LED lighting(!) and we’ll be adding big, brassy pulls, too. Oh, be still my organizational loving heart.

A huge thank you to IKEA for partnering with us on our bedroom renovation, and thank you for supporting our sponsors!

  • Courtney - February 19, 2016 - 7:28 AM

    Wow you guys! This looks amazing!!! ūüėćReplyCancel

  • Amy Lynn - February 19, 2016 - 8:23 AM

    Looks great! :) I love the picture of you two side by side. :)ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - February 19, 2016 - 8:36 AM

    I love this solution – it could totally work in my room too. But about full-length dresses? They have to folded on a hanger, or stored elsewhere?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 19, 2016 - 9:11 AM

      Hi Carrie, this was definitely a concern… BUT, I am the kind of girl who owns a dozen short dresses and 1 long dress. My longest dress is a maxi made of a jersey material, so that will gather along that shelf above my drawers, OR like you suggested, I could fold it in half on a hanger. To get our spacing just right, I took my longest SHORT dress to make sure it wouldn’t get too bunched up, and we raised the rail to the appropriate height!

      The great thing about PAX is that it’s so customizable. For example, if I really was concerned about long dresses, I could have done half-sized drawers like Scott chose, and the other half could have been mostly empty with only a shoe pull out to allow for long dresses to fall nicely. It really depends on what works best for you / what styles of clothes you wear, so we went into IKEA to design the wardrobes with that in mind!ReplyCancel

      • Carrie - February 22, 2016 - 7:41 AM

        Nice! Just checked out the half sized drawers – they’d leave plenty of space for long dresses. I have quite a few maxis and that setup would allow them to flow freely. Thanks for the post! :)ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - February 19, 2016 - 8:41 AM

    Wow!!! This looks amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Kristy - February 19, 2016 - 8:51 AM

    absolutely gorgeous – i’ve now pinned this post to look back at when we take the plunge and renovate our bedroom.ReplyCancel

  • Monika - February 19, 2016 - 9:03 AM

    You guys are my heroes! A few weeks ago we tried to put together an IKEA wardrobe and even with two college degrees between us, 2 1/2 weekends, we still had to call my son to help us. Argh! Your PAX closest turned out fabulous and is incredibly well organized. I don’t think I can ever bring another IKEA project in the house that wasn’t assembled ;) Keep up the great work. BTW, love that ‘assistant’ project manager (Chunk). ŠÉ¶ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl - February 19, 2016 - 9:11 AM

    These look so amazing! Right now, we have a great walk-in closet (former owners walled off a corner of the huge bedroom), but we are considering a move. I’ll be tagging this in case we do make it to a city with minimal space. :)

    Love it! Great work, guys.ReplyCancel

  • Rebecka - February 19, 2016 - 9:39 AM

    This looks incredible! We are installing these in the hallway to our bedroom, and am so happy you finished yours! Looks like we are going to Ikea today….ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - February 19, 2016 - 9:57 AM

    To say I’m jealous is an understatement! We had a PAX system in our old apartment and it was amazing. We don’t have the room in our tiny bedroom, but at least we have a shared closet.ReplyCancel

  • jessica - February 19, 2016 - 10:12 AM

    Wow, amazing well done on that fit! So seamless!

    My inquiring mind wants to know … are you going to frame it out at all? Are you going to leave it white or paint the same dark colour going on the walls? How will a side table fit next to the closet door?

    Congratulations on all the hard work! The end is so close!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 19, 2016 - 10:37 AM

      Yup), we will be trimming around and under the wardrobes. :) Our hope was to even add decorative trim to the doors themselves, but I think our fit was so spot-on, that they wouldn’t open properly if we did! In any case, we’ll be painting the doors in the same bright white that we use on all of the trim in our home, because we personally love the idea of contrasting doors/trim with the dark wall color we’ve chosen. They’ll also get pretty new pulls!ReplyCancel

  • misie - February 19, 2016 - 10:22 AM

    love the drawers! I would love to not have a dresser in our room – what an excellent organizational system. Nice work guys squeezing it in!ReplyCancel

  • Emily I. - February 19, 2016 - 10:43 AM

    I love this, it looks great!ReplyCancel

  • Sara - February 19, 2016 - 11:16 AM

    I’m pinning as well. I know you’re going to be trimming yours out, but I LOVE it when the closet is totally flat and fades into the wall. I’m thinking of reframing my double closets so that I can slide in some PAX units just so and then paint the doors dark to match the walls. The only trim would be at the bottom. I don’t know if I could get my framing as perfect as you did though :) Dreamy….ReplyCancel

    • Sara - February 19, 2016 - 11:18 AM

      PS – That Chunk, I just want to squeeezzeee her!ReplyCancel

  • Josh | The Kentucky Gent - February 19, 2016 - 12:08 PM

    That closet turned out gorgeous. Love IKEA, but they can definitely be a bitter overwhelming. Someone should seriously offer a service to come to your house and configure your IKEA pieces for you – they’d make a killing.

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent

    • Kim - February 19, 2016 - 12:46 PM

      Hi Josh, they do!! We turned that offer down (because we’re gluttons for punishment?! Who knows!), but they will come to your home and build the PAX for you!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Der - February 20, 2016 - 9:50 AM

    OH MY GOODNESS SO DREAMYYY!!! I am very much against dressers and this is the perfect solution! So awesome. I can’t wait to design my own some day!!!ReplyCancel

  • Sam - February 21, 2016 - 12:42 PM

    We have these too! Takes a while to install but the end product is worth it!

    Looks great :)ReplyCancel

  • Dani @ Danielle and Co. - February 21, 2016 - 1:18 PM

    So pretty – a closet that nice makes the clothes look even nicer, too!ReplyCancel

  • Allyson - February 22, 2016 - 3:14 PM

    Wow, having serious closet envy over here! ūüėćReplyCancel

  • Megan - February 24, 2016 - 12:42 PM

    Wow- Looks amazing!! I love how clean it looks with the doors open or closed!ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - February 25, 2016 - 3:15 PM

    It looks SOOOO GREAT!!!!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Laura Hager - March 3, 2016 - 7:40 PM

    I love this! I’ve been wanting a great way to reorganize the closet and I think this is it! Thanks for sharing!


  • Emily - May 8, 2016 - 7:54 AM

    I had been dreaming of creating a wardrobe in place of our wide, but very skinny closet and when I saw this post I took the plunge! My husband and I have removed the wall and created an opening for the IKEA Pax, which we plan to purchase today, but we are still at a loss for how to trim this thing out. I am waiting patiently for your reveal of that step, but until then my question is — We are also hoping to trim out the doors themselves to add a bit of depth. You said your opening ended up being so spot-on the doors wouldn’t open properly, so how much additional room would you say you needed? We had planned for an extra half inch of space on either side of the Pax.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 9, 2016 - 10:32 AM

      Hi Emily,

      Hooray for your PAX wardrobe! We have been loving ours SO much, but you’re right, we had to nix the idea of adding trim because our measurements were too perfect. As a result, the doors wouldn’t have been able to open properly due to any added depth trim would add. The PAX looks really nice even if isn’t boxed in, which would be the ideal scenario for adding your own trim to the doors, but if you are looking to box it in completely, I think 1/2″ – 3/4″ would work, assuming you use thin wood to trim along the outside edges (check out ALL the decorative trim options at a Home Depot or Lowe’s!).

      As far as trimming out AROUND the PAX, we used the same door trim that we used throughout the rest of the house! At the bottom, we used a thin strip of wood and painted it white as our ‘toe kick’ to help hide the ugliness where you can see the shims in this post. You can sort of see that here:

      For any other ‘filler’ pieces you might need, just be sure to caulk any seams and paint them white so that they’ll disappear. Here’s a great link to a similar situation where she had to use fillers to close up gaps. There will always be gaps, but there’s also always a solution!

      We’re so close to finishing up the bedroom, just waiting on a few things to arrive in the mail, and then I’ll be sharing lots of photos! If you have any additional questions, I’m happy to help via email, too: team [at] yellowbrickhome [dot] comReplyCancel



Above, top row: Valspar Sooty Lashes // Benjamin Moore Stonecutter // Benjamin Moore Soot // Bottom row: Benjamin Moore Raccoon Fur // Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal // Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron

After ultimately nixing the first paint color for our funny little nook, we decided to go¬†dark. Like, the paint chip (Narragansett Green by Ben Moore) looked straight up black, but in person, it’s the most beautiful shade of navy blue – or a deep forest green, depending on the light. As it turns out,¬†going dark is addicting! We’ve been itching to paint another room just as bold, and with the recent addition of our huge, hunky windows, the bedroom felt like the most natural choice.

On the wall opposite the windows will be our closet, and we’ll be painting those doors (and all the trim in the room) bright white. This really only leaves the bed and pocket door walls to be the showstoppers, so we felt compelled to really go for it! While we knew we wanted dark, we did want a slight hit of color, preferably leaning¬†towards blue or green. We did, however, throw in a warmer wild card –¬†just to see.

Below, left to right: Valspar Sooty Lashes // Benjamin Moore Stonecutter // Benjamin Moore Soot // Benjamin Moore Raccoon Fur // Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal // Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron


We picked up sample sizes at the store, and I painted each on a large piece of foam board and wrote the names on the back. We shifted them around the room throughout the day, holding different boards up against the pocket door, across from the window and behind our headboard. Both Scott and I had our favorites in mind before we began, so we did our best to not peek at the name of the colors as we did this; we wanted our decision to be based on what worked best in the room (not what we hoped would work best).

Not surprisingly, seeing each test board against our (awesomely 80s) headboard was the real game changer!


1) Valspar Sooty Lashes // 2) Benjamin Moore Stonecutter // 3) Benjamin Moore Soot // 4) Benjamin Moore Raccoon Fur // 5) Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal // 6) Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron

Immediately, we could see some that were way too blue (#1) or way too green (#2). I had been pulling for Kendall Charcoal (#5) while our sample cans were being tinted in the store, but in our bright bedroom, it was too light and leaned much too warm for our taste. We both thought Soot (#3) would be a strong contender, and while we love that shade of black, we reminded ourselves that we did want some smidge of extra color. After ten minutes of The Headboard Test, we had it narrowed down to Raccoon Fur (#4) and Wrought Iron (#6), but in the end, Raccoon Fur had our hearts:


It’s nice and dark without being¬†black black, and it has enough blue in it (and perhaps a hit of green?) to give it some¬†oomph.¬†As excited as I am about our choice, I’ve told Scott my concern for our less-than-straight ceilings. In some rooms – our bedroom included – there is a¬†slight¬†slope (nothing structural, just bothersome!) from one side of the room to the other, which is only noticeable along the ceiling line. (Blerg.) But!¬†We’re going to go ahead and chalk this up to¬†old house charm, because¬†guys, we really, really (really) want a dark bedroom.

Raccoon Fur it is!

  • Pedantka - February 17, 2016 - 7:08 AM

    I did my bedroom in a very dark grey-green, and solved the ceiling problem by taping off and painting about 4″ on the ceiling itself, so I have a nice straight line. Bonus: it causes the corners to disappear, creating the illusion of a higher ceiling than there is in actuality.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 17, 2016 - 8:10 AM

      Now that is an interesting solution!! Did you find that the shadows in the corners caused visual distraction, combined with the 4″ of paint on the ceiling?? I’m liking this idea…ReplyCancel

      • Kathi - February 17, 2016 - 8:59 AM

        You could, alternatively, have the ceiling color come down onto the walls a couple of inches and make the line where the 2 paint colors meet, straight….not sure if this would make the room seem too short or if it would actually heighten the appearance of the room, but it’s worth a shot.ReplyCancel

      • Pedantka - February 17, 2016 - 9:18 AM

        No; the shadows are pretty well absorbed by the paint colour. People don’t really notice the trick unless I point it out.ReplyCancel

        • Kim - February 17, 2016 - 9:20 AM

          Cool, thanks! You’re giving us lots to think about.ReplyCancel

          • Kristin - February 17, 2016 - 9:39 AM

            I was going to suggest this very thing, but Pedantka beat me to it. Our house has a picture rail about 2′ from the top of the ceiling, so we wrap the ceiling color down to that which creates a crisp horizontal line at the wall. It’s a great look in old houses with less than perfect ceilings. We don’t have the original ceilings – our plaster was completely rotten when we bought the shell, and so we installed resilient clips on the underside of the joists so that the ceilings would self-level. But I still love the look of the ceiling color on the top of the wall.

            However, in our Master Bath, we lowered the ceiling throughout the whole room so that we could run ductwork to all the surrounding rooms with no soffits. The ceiling is still very high, but about 10″ lower than the surrounding rooms, and in that room we have wainscoting about 2/3 way up the wall. Originally we painted the wainscoting white and the wall above was a dark charcoal. Ceiling is white. Even with that near perfect new ceiling, the line of the black against the white at the ceiling drives me NUTS. We’re redoing the room now and painting the wainscoting indigo and the top of the wall and ceiling the SAME color – white.

            So I’m rambling (sorry), but I’d seriously consider wrapping the color up on the ceiling, or dropping ceiling paint down on the wall, and striking a horizontal line. It’s just paint. You can always change it if you hate it, but I think you’ll like it better than accenting the slope.ReplyCancel

            • Kim - February 17, 2016 - 9:45 AM

              I cannot wait for Scott to read this. Such a huge help, you guys! I know myself, and I really think I’d drive myself crazy seeing that uneven line. I’m leaning more towards coming into the ceiling by 4 or 5 inches. Thank you so, so much!ReplyCancel

              • Kara - February 17, 2016 - 2:22 PM

                We did the same thing with a dark grey on our 1905-era plaster/crookedish walls – put a strip of painters tape down at the ceiling to give the illusion of a straight line – and it looks totally fine – from anything it opens up the room a bit, creating the illusion of more spaceReplyCancel

    • Rachel - February 17, 2016 - 10:21 AM

      That is such a cool idea! I never would have thought of that.ReplyCancel

  • Sally - February 17, 2016 - 7:10 AM

    Is there enough light coming into the room to consider painting the ceiling dark as well? Could be cosy!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 17, 2016 - 8:12 AM

      We have considered this quite a bit! It does get a ton of light, but we really do lean a bit more traditional that way – in that, we love a white ceiling with our bright white trim! I’ve been looking at some inspirational house photos with dark ceilings, but we just don’t know if it’s for us.ReplyCancel

  • Elissa - February 17, 2016 - 8:39 AM

    I love Raccoon Fur! Our bathroom is mostly tiled, but has a two foot gap along the top that was a horrid shade of beige. We rent, but I convinced my boyfriend to paint anyway and we picked three shades of dark blue-ish grey to test. My favorite going in was the Raccoon Fur, and I thought it looked the best, but the bf wanted something else. Since he was letting me go so dark, I let him pick the paint color – only for us to get it all painted and see that it was a terrible choice. So back to Lowe’s we went, and Raccoon Fur it was!

    I don’t think the ceiling is too much of a problem – old house charm, and all. Have you considered any sort of trim? Is that even an option with slightly sloping ceilings?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 17, 2016 - 9:00 AM

      We are trying to understand how adding crown would even work with our sloped ceilings. They’re not THAT bad, but bad enough that we notice. BUT – old house charm and all. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Hannah@Eriesistibull - February 17, 2016 - 8:40 AM

    We painted our bedroom a shade similar to your orI final favorite (Kendall Charcole). We get next to no light in our bedroom so it is perfect – moody and cozy without becoming too dark. It definitely would have been too light in that beautiful room! Can’t wait to see it painted!!ReplyCancel

  • Liz - February 17, 2016 - 8:46 AM

    I just went through the same process, and landed on Ben Moore’s Witching Hour. Were it not for my SO, I would have painted the whole room but had to stop with just an accent wall (sigh). The big box store didn’t color match it perfectly (it’s too saturated, and I had to go back to have them add more black), but I’m in love!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 17, 2016 - 9:02 AM

      That’s such a pretty color, too! It looks like it leans slightly blue? Raccoon Fur has a cooler undertone, but it doesn’t feel cold on our super big swatch. Fingers crossed!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - February 17, 2016 - 8:58 AM

    Please please please paint the ceiling, too! It’s so magical – when the ceiling is dark, it basically disappears and you get this amazing feeling of being outside at night. Instead of your ceilings feeling low, they DISAPPEAR! It’s truly incredible!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 17, 2016 - 9:02 AM

      But we also don’t want to feel TOO enclosed. Hmm. Scott is going to kill you guys for encouraging the ideas in my head, haha!ReplyCancel

  • Steph M. - February 17, 2016 - 8:58 AM

    Love that color!!ReplyCancel

  • Kathi - February 17, 2016 - 9:01 AM

    You could, alternatively, have the ceiling color come down onto the walls a couple of inches and make the line where the 2 paint colors meet, straight….not sure if this would make the room seem too short or if it would actually heighten the appearance of the room, but it’s worth a shot.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 17, 2016 - 9:07 AM

      We talked about that, too! Our ceilings are 9′ tall in the bedroom (maybe a touch higher than that?), but Scott was worried it would make the ceilings seem lower. I guess at this point we have 3 options:

      1) Embrace the crooked ceiling! This house is an old lady, after all.
      2) Paint a straight line INTO the ceiling by a few inches, or…
      3) Paint the whole ceiling.

      We’ll figure it out soon enough, I guess! :)ReplyCancel

  • Alexis - February 17, 2016 - 9:17 AM

    So exciting! I have large bright windows in my room and decided to paint it a warm black. I love it so much, can’t wait to see how your room turns out!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 17, 2016 - 9:20 AM

      Ooh, what color did you choose?!ReplyCancel

      • Alexis - February 17, 2016 - 9:27 AM

        I’m trying to remember, I think it was Dunn Edwards Jet. I was reading through some of the comments, my room has a trim that is a foot down from the ceiling (I have 9′ ceilings in a 1920’s apartment) and I used this as my stopping place with white above. While I still love it, sometimes I wish I’d gone all the way to the ceiling. I say embrace the crooked!ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl - February 17, 2016 - 9:23 AM

    Yea! I love it! This is very similar to what we have on our bedroom walls, but ours leans just a bit more navy (two 96-inch windows let in a LOT of light). I think you’re going to love it.

    I’d paint the ceiling except that I absolutely hate painting the ceiling. It’s such a pain. I’ve only done it on my porch after helping my mom and dad update their house several years back. I refuse. So much work. So many aching muscles. So much paint in the hair.ReplyCancel

  • Carol - February 17, 2016 - 9:27 AM

    Be honest – did you choose raccoon fur after Daniel’s post about Pumpkin on Sunday? Haha!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 17, 2016 - 9:31 AM

      I love Pumpkin the Raccoon! He was actually the first one to tell me about Pumpkin a few weeks ago. Maybe it was in my subconscious, ha!ReplyCancel

  • Whitney - February 17, 2016 - 9:33 AM

    What an excruciating decision! I would never be able to decide. You definitely picked a color with an awesome paint name! :)ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - February 17, 2016 - 10:19 AM

    Oooooh this is gonna look awesome! I was leaning Soot or Raccoon Fur looking at the picture with the painted panels, but then Raccoon Fur or Wrought Iron when looking at it against the headboard. Love your choice! I’m so excited to see the final product!ReplyCancel

  • Josh | The Kentucky Gent - February 17, 2016 - 10:23 AM

    Really liked the charcoal too, until it was on the card – a little too light! Can’t wait to see the finished product.

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent

    • Kim - February 17, 2016 - 10:25 AM

      Lighting changes everything! I was rooting for it, too. But nope.ReplyCancel

  • misie - February 17, 2016 - 11:21 AM

    Oooo nice method – must try this! Love those colors too – I don’t know that you could go wrong with any of them!ReplyCancel

  • Jenn - February 17, 2016 - 11:40 AM

    We are going through a similar struggle in our room! Our bedroom wall has ten swatches on it, on all four walls. I talked Alex into a darker shade as we have a number of doors that will stay white in the room and a large window (not as beautiful as yours!) with great light.
    We’re also waffling about crown to hide some of the “charm” – the age of this building would allow it, but the vent/soffit layout is kind of tricky in a central area. I like the straight taping line below the ceiling to mask it, but with all of your space going onto the ceiling as described above could be a good option :)

  • Shay - February 17, 2016 - 12:21 PM

    I’m another vote for the classic look of bringing the ceiling color (white) down to a picture railing. It’ll look amazing with charcoal! Even faking it without the railing looks good. Our bedroom is a bright teal and the dropped white really helps keep it from being overwhelming.

    We have high ceilings, and a very old house with wonky lines as well, the living room doesn’t have the picture railing like the bedrooms and the ceiling was painted the same color as the walls. It drives me nuts; even though it’s a light color it really shows the wonky lines.ReplyCancel

  • Meredith - February 17, 2016 - 12:38 PM

    My bedroom has been Midnight Navy by Benjamin Moore for over two years and I still love it! It’s a small room and the dark color makes it feel so cozy; I get far and away the most compliments on that paint color over any other room in the house. It’s a deep navy/purple and I have white bedding and window treatments, so it doesn’t feel too enclosed. Excited to see how yours turns out!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 17, 2016 - 12:44 PM

      Our funny little nook also gets the most compliments from friends and family, too, which is what is pushing us to take this leap! Plus, it’s right off of the open, light colored studio and cream-wallpapered laundry room.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah S - February 17, 2016 - 1:12 PM

    We are also going dark in our Master! We will have 3 dark walls and one wall will be wood plank in a nice natural light wood. We still have yet to choose a color and so we have paint swatches all over our walls! You are much smarter with your foam boards!ReplyCancel

  • Kate S. - February 17, 2016 - 1:54 PM

    I painted my master bedroom a very dark midnight blue. Best decision ever! We plan to move soon and I’ll be repainting my new bedroom in the same color. I love it that much. Hope you enjoy your dark walls just as much!ReplyCancel

  • Laura - February 17, 2016 - 2:56 PM

    Can’t wait to see how it turns out! Grays are so difficult. My husband and I painted our bedroom gray and at the last second we chickened out with the darker color and chose one shade lighter… and we don’t like it. GAH! Should have gone with the darker one!ReplyCancel

  • Ryan - February 17, 2016 - 4:14 PM

    We went dark in the bedroom using BM Chelsea Grey and copied AB Chao by painting the doors and the trim the same color. Our room has a picture rail (also painted dark) that helps create a strong line between the walls and the ceiling.

    It’s been almost two years and I still haven’t finished the last coat of paint on the doors or re hung the closet door because I have a wonky soft screw in one of the hinges (i removed and stripped all of the hardware since it was painted white) and it’s stripped. I can’t get that last hinge off the door and I’ve tried every stripped screw tool out there. I think I’ll have to just drill the entire thing out.

    I love the dark color on everything (used light curtains) and it makes our dark wood furniture look great.ReplyCancel

  • Brianna - February 17, 2016 - 5:18 PM

    Love this post, because we just made the same leap! We were torn between BM Kendall Charcoal and Wrought Iron. We went with Wrought Iron, but it reads more “blue” than I wanted it to in our particular space. My brother and sister in law helped out and suggested not painting it right up to our wonky ceiling either. I would have loved to paint the ceiling itself but can’t it’s popcorn! Would love to live vicariously through you guys if you do though. ;) It would be positively cozy and cave-like!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 17, 2016 - 8:04 PM

      Ahhh wrought iron! One of our faves, obviously. Do you have a photo of how high up the walls you went?! We’d love any inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Sage @ Plaster & Disaster - February 17, 2016 - 7:21 PM

    Our bedroom is the first room I ever tried painting a dark color, and I love it so much. We went with “Black Pepper” by Benjamin Moore, and someday I think I want to paint it even darker (but I do love that it’s a warm blue/gray — I loved it so much I went dark in our small bathroom too (and painted the ceiling the same color in that space), and it’s all I can do now not to paint every other room in the house the same way :) Can’t wait to see how your room turns out, I think it will be stunning!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 17, 2016 - 8:05 PM

      Pretty!! I think going dark when it’s in spaces that are more of a surprise – like a bedroom or bathroom – is so fun.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - February 18, 2016 - 6:21 PM

    My bf and I lived in an apartment not too long ago that had fake trim near the ceiling to straighten it out. What the apartment people did was they literally stopped painting the wall color a few inches away from the ceiling in a straight line and then painted the gap the ceiling color so then it would blend a little more and kind of straighten out the line of the ceiling! I thought it was pretty cool.

    Side note: I didn’t know you guys loved going to Jubilee! I work literally right there; I could walk if it wasn’t gross outside.ReplyCancel

  • Julia at Home on 129 Acres - February 18, 2016 - 9:25 PM

    I love your choices. We used Wrought Iron in our one bathroom and Hale Navy in our bedroom. You’re right that balancing them out with white and windows make them dramatic and not at all overwhelming. I like the idea of extending the ceiling colour a bit onto the walls (or vice versa) to help straighten things out.ReplyCancel

  • carrie @ brick city love - February 19, 2016 - 12:35 PM

    I love Racoon Fur. Used it on the tub in my bathroom and I’m 90% sure that’s what I used on the lower cabinets in my kitchen.ReplyCancel

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