Give a guest bedroom a much-needed makeover with minimal changes that yield magnificent results

The devil is in the details — I’m sure you’ve heard that many times. It’s a phrase that I absolutely live by, especially when it comes to staging a home or business space. These photos are a perfect example. Some of you may be thinking, wow, there’s not that much of a difference, the bedrooms look pretty much the same.


You’re right. But look just a little more closely. Both of these are guest bedrooms — obviously not the most important rooms in the house. Guest bedrooms don’t need as much attention to detail as master bedrooms, but they should still look comfy and attractive. And when you’re staging, they need to appeal to the potential homebuyer.

These photos show what a difference a few simple changes can make. In the photos of the brown room, the most obvious thing that was changed was the bedding. The old bedding was nice, with a comfortable look, but it looked a little dated and monotone.

Simply updating with a comforter that had a more modern pattern and adding pops of yellow in the shams and accent pillows breathed new life into the room. Notice also the jolt of freshness from the white bed scarf, fur pillow and ceramic lamp, which now tie to the drapery panels and the brightness of the built-in desk area.

Just a few changes gave this room a fresh new look. The old decor was island; the new look is island modern.


In the second bedroom, once again the same large pieces of furniture are still in place. But here again the bedding was outdated and a little too Tommy Bahama. I updated it with crisp, white bedding that feels sumptuous and current.

The old drapery panels were too lightweight and casual for the heavy, more formal feel of the upholstered suede bed. The new drapery panels have a contemporary grayish-green color that gives more weighty balance to the room and ties in with the accent pillows on the bed as well as the artwork.

The crisp white bedding now works nicely with the white lampshade on the new lamp, and both add a lightening balance to the space. Finally, the clean lines and darker base of the lamp echo the dark TV cabinet opposite the bed (which you can’t see too well here), which would seem out of place without at least one other element repeating it.

Am I being too picky? Maybe. But when it comes to staging a room or even redecorating your home, it’s the attention to detail, the fine-tuning, standing back in a corner and looking at a space that will give you a sense of what works and what’s missing. What did you pay a lot of money for and need to keep? How do you tie that in with other elements? Why doesn’t something tie in? How do you balance the room?


Because yes, the devil is in the details.

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her work in redesigning residential and business spaces has been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. Look for reStyle Hawaii, her new-concept furniture store reopening at 420 Keawe St. in Kakaako this fall. To find out more, go to