Moving Back Into the Master with Leesa (+ Rescuing That 80s Headboard)

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We moved back into our master bedroom almost two weeks ago, after two months of living out of our guest room. Hooray! The funny thing, though? We had grown used to staying in the guest room. It’s small, and it felt cozy (which was our goal when we gave the space its facelift all that time ago – hooray again!). We were living mainly on the first floor (with the only exception of my studio being upstairs), and the whole family – especially the girls, Maddie and Libby! – seemed to love living small(er) again. It reminded us a lot of living in our former condo, and I think that made the last couple of months feel comfortable, unlike that first round of demolition years ago.

All that to say, we had finally reached a point in our recent renovations where we could choose to pack out of the guest room and move back into the upstairs bedroom. We were being weird about it all; again, we were just fine downstairs! But – and that’s a big but – we had something to look forward to that made the transition pretty exciting, too. A new bed!

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Look at that headboard! I mean, if that doesn’t scream excitement, than what does? I honestly don’t know what to say about her. We sort of loved it. And we hated it. And we were like, are we losing our minds? This is ugly, right? Or pretty? Pretty ugly?

We found her listed on Craigslist for $30. I had been scrolling through the ads daily, texting Scott links when I found something decent, but we rarely agreed. Did we want upholstered? Metal? Wood? All the bed frames and headboards started to look exactly the same – and then I saw her. She was round, for one! And very, very oak. She was straight out of the 80s, but for some reason we couldn’t seem to shake the thought of her. One night as we were walking the pups, we suddenly decided we had to have her. She was kind of funky, kind of cool.

You can see in the above photo that there’s an area on the upper right that’s lighter than the rest. We were torn between paint or stain, and I tested a small area with Citristrip to see if she would lighten up, and yes! Success! We decided to give staining a try, and worst case, we could always fall back on paint.

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I followed the same steps as our kitchen hutch to get her down to bare wood before a quick sanding by hand. After a thorough wash with no-rinse TSP, I began the staining process, with the entire goal being to take out any and all orange-y undertones. To do so, we knew we’d need to go dark, so after a pre-stain wood conditioner, I built up layers in Jacobean and Ebony before protecting the finish with two thin coats of Polycrylic.

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She came a long way! Because the inside panels on the headboard are a thin oak veneer, I was a little nervous about the entire process, but she took the stain nicely. Once we paint the walls dark (like, dark dark), she’ll be less of a statement and more of a quirky, vintage touch. Can we call the 80s vintage? I’m doing it.

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Next up, it was time for a new mattress! Our new-to-us headboard is king sized, and for the first time since we’ve lived in Chicago, we have the space to accommodate it. (Our guest room and close-to-ten-year-old former mattress are queens). Leesa is an online mattress brand that reached out to us to see if we would like to try one of theirs, and after reading through hundreds of positive reviews, we were excited to give it a try and share our experience with you. The whole process of ordering something as large as a mattress online and having it delivered right to our door was oddly satisfying, and because it’s a one-feel-fits-all foam mattress, it came tightly compressed in a pretty adorable box (perfect for tight staircases and low hallways!):

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Our old mattress was memory foam, so it’s what we’re most familiar with, and our new Leesa surpasses that comfort ten-fold! We’ve been sleeping on our new set-up for almost two weeks, and we haven’t given our guest room a second thought. Sorry, guest room.

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I know that buying anything online sight – or feel – unseen can be a bit of a guessing game, so Leesa offers a 100 night in-home trial with a full refund policy if you’re unhappy for any reason. Of course that’s a great incentive, but we personally love that it’s American made, is attractive (an unexpected bonus!) and most importantly, you feel snug as a bug in a rug (a visual that always makes me laugh, but damn if it isn’t true). It’s soft, but firm. Supportive, but not hard. And it’s never too hot, always just right.

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As it stands, our bed is a single floating piece of furniture in the room, but this is the most inviting our bedroom has felt since move-in day! If you’ve been curious about giving Leesa a try, take $100 off when you use the promo code YBH100 at checkout, and get started right here!

High fives to Leesa for partnering with us on our bedroom renovation, and all the same to you for supporting the brands that support us. xo

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  • Meg - February 4, 2016 - 7:24 AM

    The headboard looks fantastic! Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought you could turn that orange mess into something beautiful. I’m impressed with your vision. I’m also super excited that you are painting it black in the bedroom (or super dark, anyway). I have a mid-toned bedroom that I’ve been itching to go dark with, but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 4, 2016 - 9:37 AM

      Every time I start to chicken out about how dark we’re going, Scott tells me to snap out of it, haha. We’ll be sharing our choices in an upcoming post!ReplyCancel

  • Steph M. - February 4, 2016 - 8:48 AM

    That headboard is fantastic! I’ve been digging through craigslist too in anticipation of our first “grown up” bed when we move! We’re sleeping on my college mattress that I’ve had since I was 19…ha! Can’t wait yo see the darker walls!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 4, 2016 - 9:36 AM

      Digging through Craigs can be so mind numbing – I think that’s why this round one stood out! In a sea of squared edges, this one said, LOOK AT ME!ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Harrington - February 4, 2016 - 10:00 AM

    How is the smell of the mattress? Is off gassing an issue since it is foam?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 9, 2016 - 2:50 PM

      Nope. No scent at all in our experience! I didn’t think to mention it because there wasn’t one!ReplyCancel

  • Dani @ Danielle and Co. - February 4, 2016 - 10:06 AM

    That headboard looks awesome now! I always question whether I would have walked on by in the thrift shop, or would have seen the possibilities shining through, when I see posts like this. The roundness makes her look unique!ReplyCancel

  • Hope - February 4, 2016 - 10:30 AM

    I know the mattress comes in the small box, but you have to have a box spring, don’t you? Where did it come from? I always wonder when I see people getting the rolled up foam mattresses in the mail.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 4, 2016 - 10:37 AM

      Good question! I should have mentioned – the Leesa doesn’t require a box spring, actually, they recommend a slatted base with NO springs. Some bed frames don’t require a box spring at all (like our old bed frame and a lot of modern bed frames), but our new headboard needed one of those metal bed frames with the wheels AND a box spring. Such a fussy 80s lady.

      We ended up buying this one! It doesn’t have springs and it was pretty simple to put together (and very sturdy), and I confirmed with Leesa that it would be okay before we brought the mattress home.

      Short answer: No, it doesn’t require a box spring, but if you need to have one, make sure it doesn’t actually have springs. :)ReplyCancel

      • Hope - February 5, 2016 - 2:37 PM

        Thank you!. The Not-Actually-A-Box Spring looks brilliant. Does it squeak?ReplyCancel

        • Kim - February 5, 2016 - 2:52 PM

          Nope. It makes a great pair with the Leesa!ReplyCancel

  • Monika - February 4, 2016 - 10:47 AM

    Whoa…how fabulous is that headboard now! Well done, guys. I’m still without a headboard because I can’t find anything cool or affordable. You have given me hope there are potentials out there! :)ReplyCancel

    • patty blaettler - February 5, 2016 - 1:10 PM

      Look online at Target. I’m very satisfied with mine! Nice style and fair prices.ReplyCancel

  • Lyndsey - February 4, 2016 - 11:21 AM

    I’m loving the vibe of your bedroom! Those pillow cases– i have a serious case of envy. Where are they from?? Jack obviously gives the bed a 4 paw stamp of approval :)ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - February 4, 2016 - 11:35 AM

    This is so gorgeous, and unique, I can hardly handle it. Well done guys! And it’s not pretty ugly, it’s just pretty cool!ReplyCancel

  • Kalli - February 4, 2016 - 2:52 PM

    You’re going to have dark walls? Can’t wait to see that! I like the headboard, it’s definitely unique and looks much nicer with the dark stain.ReplyCancel

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design - February 4, 2016 - 6:08 PM

    I feel kinda awful that I have become a quiet lurker but I so love everything you guys do and your photos always make me smile. I had looked at the 80s headboards too when I redid my daughter’s bedroom and came across these rounds headboards. I was so close to buying one or two of them and never actually pulled the trigger. So so love it in the dark wood.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 5, 2016 - 10:12 AM

      Oh, man! Yeah, the round headboard wouldn’t leave our minds – we just don’t see anything like it now! I’m sure you would have rocked them, but you can do anything and I LOVE.ReplyCancel

  • Lynne - February 4, 2016 - 8:02 PM

    I lurk…and LOVE your renovations! I had to comment because this headboard is magnificent! The before was ‘OK, maybe’. The after is ‘YES’! I love the reuse/repurpose/repair/refinish. So much is saved from the landfill simply with vision!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 5, 2016 - 10:12 AM

      Thanks for de-lurking, Lynne! :) And thanks for the super sweet words!ReplyCancel

  • Loryn - February 5, 2016 - 12:29 PM

    Normally I’m good at seeing possibilities, but I would not have guessed that 80s oak could look that good! I have a four poster with a flaking finish that I was going to paint for my guest room. I am going to have to think about refinishing it instead.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - February 9, 2016 - 8:46 AM

    We actually bought a Leesa mattress last March (and upgraded from a full to a queen at the same time… all of our friends COULD NOT believe we had slept on a full mattress for so long, LOL) and we loooooooove it!! My boyfriend tends to like mattresses on the firmer side and I tend to like them on the softer side but this one is kinda perfect for both of us. Love the headboard, too!!ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl - February 9, 2016 - 9:12 AM

    For at least ten years, I’ve had a super dark bedroom (RalphLauren Brown and now black, though it looks more navy, unfortunately). I don’t know if I could ever go back to light walls in the bedroom. Dark just feels so luxurious.

    Can’t wait to see!

    Also, can you share the source for those cases? Love them!ReplyCancel

  • Jeannine | The Small and Chic Home - February 11, 2016 - 8:04 AM

    It looks great! Confession: We’ve been sleeping in our guest room for two years and I kind of love it. :)ReplyCancel

  • Shavonda@SGStyle - February 11, 2016 - 9:18 AM

    Holy Moly that looks good! Loooove your choice to go super dark and rich.ReplyCancel

  • Lori - February 21, 2016 - 8:52 PM

    I was just looking at headboards on Craigslist and was pretty amused when your headboard (almost!) was the first thing that popped up: https://austin.craigslist.org/fuo/5437500329.html

    Small world!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 21, 2016 - 10:41 PM

      Ha! So cool. Round headboards #ftw!ReplyCancel

  • Sierra - March 8, 2016 - 7:54 PM

    Are you still enjoying your Leesa? My husband and I are thinking about buying one.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 9, 2016 - 8:35 AM

      Hi Sierra, we do love it! Our last mattress was a queen memory foam that got a good long run (almost 10 years!), but we made this switch to a king. We’re used to how a memory foam feels, which is a bit more firm than a spring mattress. Leesa has a great return policy if you’re not satisfied, so I honestly think it’s worth taking a chance.ReplyCancel

  • Heidi - December 29, 2017 - 11:40 PM

    I was so inspired by your gorgeous bedroom pics on Pinterest, I headed to craigslist and immediately found a very similar headboard. Snatched it up today and am embarking on the refinishing project. Any chance you can provide more detail about how you layered the two stain colors? I’m a DIYer, but new to staining furniture. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 30, 2017 - 11:47 AM

      Hi Heidi! There are a couple options here – you can do the same route we did by removing the old stain/poly with citristrip, and then adding a stain color you like. We layered because we wanted it darker than Jacobean but lighter than ebony – essentially, I started with Jacobean and then added a thin coat of ebony, and I kept building up using rags soaked lightly in the stain until I was happy with the results. The OTHER option would be to use a gel stain. A gel stain can go right over an existing finish, almost like a paint! I’ve never used it myself because I know it can be a little tricky to do right (and requires a lot of patience), but it saves you the stripping step. Search Pinterest for gel stain tutorials and decide which is the best option for you. Good luck!!ReplyCancel

      • Heidi - December 30, 2017 - 5:59 PM

        Thanks Kim. I bought all the products you used and already have the citristrip cooking. Your tips for layering the stain colors is very helpful. I’m so excited – wish me luck!ReplyCancel

        • Kim - December 31, 2017 - 12:49 PM

          Exciting! Would love to see photos of your finished headboard (and a before photo if you have one?) when you have the chance! Good luck. :DReplyCancel

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