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Passion Project Part 2: Decorating Before & After

This week I’m sharing before and afters of another suite I decorated for Wilma’s Transition Society. I’m just delighted and grateful for this opportunity to add joy and beauty to a space for moms and their children. 

The second suite I decorated during my marathon styling weekend was a three bedroom suite.

Cozy dining area

It ended up more colourful than the first one because the sofa that was donated was sage green. Last week’s living room had a brown sofa and a pink beige chair. So that’s why that room ended up more neutral, you can see those before and afters here.

How to get curtains right

Again, notice the curtains are too short and the rod hung directly above and just exactly the length of the window which means when they are open, they cover the window. All rods should always be installed a minimum of at least 10″ past the window and as close to the ceiling as possible when you have 8ft ceilings. 

Also when you only buy the one pair of curtains from a big box store, they look like a sheet flapping in the wind when you close them. Always buy at least two pairs so that you get a much fuller and more custom look (even if you never plan to close them).

Don’t underestimate the power of furniture placement

The other thing you’ll notice about this weeks makeover is that there wasn’t a single room where I didn’t either re-arrange the furniture entirely or move the dresser to a much better position.

If you look at this mama’s room below, where should the dresser go?  She does have an end table on the right side of the bed (not shown).

Moms bedroom before

Again in this room? It’s super lumpy to have the bunk bed in this position. It should be sitting against the focal point wall.

Kids bedroom before

And this room had an end table sitting in the corner on the left side (you’ll see it in the video) and this chest of drawers which was also in the wrong position.

What colour works with grey?

And the beds. If you were faced with a bunch of grey beds to buy bedding for, what is the first colour you would choose?

Furniture placement is so important for every room. It dictates the size and also limits the other pieces that might come into the room. This is why a good designer is worth the money because without the right furniture arrangement, you’ll end up buying the wrong furniture.

See my Get me Started Package here for help with a decorating plan and furniture placement.

I can’t tell you how many living rooms I’ve seen with sectionals that are way too large in scale for the room.

Decorating is important, but it doesn’t have to be serious

The living room in this suite got a playful fox and a younger zebra as part of the art assemblage around the TV which needed art around it to make it look like it was installed in the right spot (below).  This is for Mom’s and their kids after all.

It’s important to add play and fun, even to the decorating!

Also, since all the furniture is donated, I switched out the dresser for a nicer one since it would be the focal point of this room.


Then I found two boxes of paper butterflies (I’ve also had in my decorating storage room for years). I thought I would stick on the wall but when I opened them I saw that they had wires attached to them so I affixed them to the TV wire instead. Now we don’t care that the wire isn’t hidden.  

I also wrapped them around the wires in the wall sconces in the kids bedroom with the leaf bedding, you’ll see the afters in this weeks episode. You can find some butterflies here.

If all else fails decorate and add lamps

If all else fails and you made a colour mistake or any other decorating mistakes, distract the eye by decorating.  That is my motto! Stay tuned towards the end of the video this week to see the bathroom where everyone hated the DIY epoxy countertop until I added a penguin.

TV room after

After (Can you see where I added the fourth butterfly in this vignette?)

Notice the floor lamp in the left corner. It feels like a window when it’s on.  You can get it here. The other thing to note about this kind of lamp, is that it looks the best when you can see most of it in a room.

If it’s sitting in a corner beside a sofa where you really should have a table with a lamp, it won’t look as good. Nor will it light up the corner properly if it’s half hidden by a sofa or chair.

Watch this weeks episode of Colour Rescue™ here:


Thank you so much to my family who showed up to help assemble everything. My Mom hemmed and pressed the curtains 💛 and my brother-in-law moved the rods and assembled lighting 💛. My nephews, sister and niece were all there 💛 to make sure two suites were ready in time for their new occupants!

My family is the BEST!

Related posts:

5 Budget Friendly Ways to Design a Kids Bedroom: Before & After

Colour Rescue Passion Project: Before & After

Colour Rescue: Adding Colour to your Black, White & Grey Room

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  • Laura says:

    Maria, Your generosity and that of your family in creating these serene, happy places warms my heart. May all the good you do come back to you.

  • Peggy Lawler says:

    Wow, did not even notice that bathroom countertop the first time I saw the finished room. Noticed it immediately in the before picture. Amazing! You have made beautiful, colorful, happy places for the these families!!

  • Ann E Crutchfield says:

    A beautiful transformation. It’s apparent that you ‘forgot’ to mention that in addition to volunteering your talents, you donated furniture and decorations. You are a kind soul.

  • Dunja says:

    Lovely, Maria! This post warmed my heart. You really made something out of nothing and your family is so sweet, as always.

  • Susan S says:

    Just think of the lives that will be touched by these safe and beautiful spaces! I can just picture the smiles and tears of joy. You and your family and staff have done a phenomenal job!👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

  • They were so blessed to have you and Team Maria. You all did such a lovely job, and will, no doubt , bring joy to hurting families.

  • Constance says:

    I have long believed that the esthetics of our homes enhance our and our families wellbeing. Your contribution to this effort to help women and children has inspired me to bring my and my friends talents to our community to do the same.


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