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I’m so excited to continue to lend my decorating skills to make a real difference. With each room at Wilma’s Transition house that I work on, I try to create spaces that offer comfort and support to women and children in need.

From arranging the furniture to adding thoughtful and colourful touches, I want these rooms to feel like safe havens where healing can begin. Here’s a look at another bedroom that I decorated. 

And while we’re here, I’m breaking the decorating details down into 5 steps to help you decorate a guest bedroom in your home.

Wilma’s Transition Society

Decorating for a good cause

Except for my quick vacation to Maui in March, I have spent every available moment of my spare time, decorating five suites in our local transition house for women and children. Other than the items I brought from my accessory garage, which included a few vintage items plus custom drapery from other homes I’ve lived in, I purchased everything else from IKEA and HomeSense.

Before I came along, these rooms got a grey, standard institutional bed and a black dresser. Maybe a piece of art was plunked on the wall if someone had donated one.

Since these are furnished suites, the idea was to have them feel like a hotel with all the basic decor handled. 

Remember when hotels used to have a minimum of 4 or 5 lamps in each room? One on each side of the bed, one on the dresser across from the bed, one beside the chair in the room and a standing lamp in the corner? Well that was the idea here.

Now that LED recessed lighting has become so cheap and accessible, in addition to the edison bulb trend (which completely hurt your eyes if you look at your light fixture) I have noticed that hotels aren’t doing as many lamps as they did in the past. Which is super sad.

5 steps to decorating a guest bedroom

Anyway, back to Wilma’s Transition House. I decorated 12 bedrooms and each room got a MINIMUM of two lamps and every bunk bed got their own individual light.

Every living room got a lamp in each corner. 

Here’s a tip to remember when you’re lamp shopping, if you have to turn the overhead lights on in order to comfortably see, you don’t have enough lamps… the end.

Step 1: Add a gourd lamp

(and if you can, buy them in the accent colour of the room)

I cleared out every HomeSense in my local area of the best gourd lamps every time I walked in over the past month. That’s because I bought approximately 30 lamps (not including floors lamps and sconces for the bunk beds). It’s one of the 5 lamps I recommend every home has. 

Let’s talk about how the colour scheme for this Mom’s room came together:

Step 2: Create a focal point when you walk in the room.

To do this, notice what you see when you first walk in the room.

Whatever you see becomes a very important decorating moment, ie. the focal point of the room. And then make sure that’s what you want the focal point to be. If it’s not, time to change it up.

When we walked into this suite at Wilma’s the first thing we saw was a glimpse of the right side of this bedroom window with the short, single drapery panel (installed incorrectly).

Instead, we decided to make this window a prettier focal point. 

Step 3: Choose your inspiration/starting point

I have had these floral drapes (below) sitting in a box for over 10 years every since we moved from this townhouse where I had them custom made for a guest bedroom.

At the time, I didn’t line them because they were made for the rental and I was on a budget (normally you would ALWAYS line custom drapery).

Since our bedroom had such a small window, these curtains were perfect.

See the original blog post here

Step 4: Make store bought curtains look custom

Because they were originally designed to go underneath a 70s valance, they were not very long. Normally, we would install the curtain rod as close to the ceiling as possible (below). 

In this case, the curtain rod needed to be raised to accommodate the drapery. We also re-installed it so that it was longer on both sides so when they were open, they don’t cover up half the window.

How To Hang Curtains Properly | Geranium Blog

You’ll notice that I go out of my way  NOT to hang grommet curtains and that is because they mostly scream off-the-shelf (because there are so many of them in every big box store) and belong strictly in a modern space.

The first time I went shopping to look for pillows or bedding to coordinate with the curtains, I came up empty handed. This yellow green and aqua shade together is NOT trending at this moment. After all both colours were around for about 20 years before greens got a lot cooler and went back to Kelly, forest and deep olive greens.

Then one day, I went shopping with my sister Elizabeth, and we were just about to leave the art department when she pulled out this bird.

I thought it was a Flamingo but I was corrected by my followers. It’s a Spoonbill bird. Look at how pretty she is. And she looked so good with the drapery.

The mermaid didn’t make the cut for this room in the end. 

Step 5: Add an accent colour

I found these lovely green velvet pillows and since pink now entered the colour scheme through the artwork, and they had just stocked up on a bunch of bright, colourful outdoor pillows for summer, I snagged these striped pink ones to complete the palette.

Anytime, you can find a pattern off-the-shelf it always looks just a little more custom.

I also chose a creamy duvet cover because the ground of the drapery was cream. Then I added a pink faux fur throw to bring the pink over to the end of the bed. Notice I used the Colour Balancing Method™ here.

This is a decorating lesson I go into, in great length on Day one of my workshops for Homeowners!  Designers, this course is for you.

Almost all the furniture we found from Facebook Marketplace including what was in this room. It was a complete score when I found the green dresser with the pale wood top (notice how well it coordinates with the sand in the art). This was a find at 1:00 am one morning when I couldn’t sleep.

HOT TIP about shopping at Marketplace: You can find wonderful things if you consistently troll the site and also do this.

We also had a lot of people on marketplace who simply donated furniture once they heard it was for a transition house. Truly heartwarming the generosity we have found everywhere!

And here’s the happy after! Ready for a special Mom to start her new life!


The next decorating project for me at Wilma’s is the safe house (a completely anonymous location for moms and children) and we could use your monetary support. Please donate here and mention it’s for Gail’s Deorating Project! We would be so grateful for any help you can give!

PS. We’ve extended the sale on my newly relaunched Masterclass for Exterior Colour Selection for one more day! If you already have it, all the new updates and bonuses are included inside your modules (see the new Introduction to download bonuses),

Remember, this course comes with lifetime access! Learn more about about what’s new and get your exterior colours right this Spring! 

Related posts:

Greens that are HOT, and Greens that are NOT

Hot Tip to Secure the Best Deals on Marketplace

3 Steps to Make More Money Selling Furniture on Marketplace


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  • Nancy says:

    What a blessing for these moms and children to have a place that is a safe haven .

    That room might not have been the trendiest but it came together and looked thought out .
    I’m sure who ever gets that room will be ecstatic!

    This was a gift of love and inspiration !!

  • Margaret says:

    Beautiful and soothing, exactly what a family in transition needs.

  • Bette says:

    Such a great use of your time and talents — thank you! In the future, I’d love to see a post on curtains, windows, and radiators or heating vents. Everywhere I’ve lived, from older homes to modern apartments, the radiator is under the window. Floor-length drapes cover the radiator or vent, blocking the flow of heated air. I notice this in this post on Wilma’s Place, as well. What’s the solution?

  • Louise says:

    This room says, “You are safe. You are welcome. You are worthy of a pretty room where you can feel at home.” Thanks so much for your work on this project.

  • Julie S says:

    I really love how you handled the combination of pink, green, and aqua! So happy yet still soothing. I would be delighted to stay in a guest room that looked like that.

  • Fiona says:

    Wow, I really LOVE that spoonbill picture! As an artist, I’m pretty picky and normally never see any art I like in HomeSense etc. But that is great. I always find it is really tricky finding art that I like, but also fits an existing color palette in a room.

  • Barbara Everett says:

    May you receive many blessings for your donation of time, skill, and kindness to help women and children in need. What a gift to uplift those who are dealing with difficult times.

    I hope you can update the lamp sources especially for floor lamps. Thanks for sharing your expertise with your readers!

  • Cynthia says:

    I live in south Florida and love the Roseate Spoonbill. We often see them here in SW Florida. Wish we had canvases like that at Home Goods. I never find anything interesting in the art department there! I guess you have to have a keen eye and keep seeking until you find.

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