The Bonus Room, For Now


I had to throw this picture at the top, I can’t stand the mess that is every other picture in this post….


I’m slowly moving forward on the bonus room/family room/homeschool room/man room that is the upstairs room over the garage. We’ve never really finished it. It’s always been a room with blankets and popcorn on the floor and it’s served us well but, I’m ready for it to be more functional and look more presentable.

The wall over this sofa is going to be a gallery wall.


Here’s the beginning of what I have to work with. I’m shooting for black and white and wood and once I figure out what color we are adding to the room, if any besides blue, then I’ll add in some of that. I’m getting some photos printed up and ordering a large gallery wrapped canvas that I’m excited about. Otherwise, I’m shopping the house for anything that could possible work and keeping my eyes open at thrift stores. If something amazing screams my name–like that shapely frame from World Market, I’ll consider it.


Back behind the sectional is a really odd space. I’ve got two small, thin black sofa tables that are in another room that might work like desks back here. I’d rather not have to purchase something but I’m open to it once I get the rest of the room in process.


The hanging of the drapes is going to be a fiasco. I like ’em hung high but the ceiling is at an angle. I did find some wonderful black velvet drapes at Ikea –the pair for $39!


I got the black and white rug from Joss & Main and it’s just laid out folded in half for now, on top of the other rug.  We’ll be painting this room in the next week or so. It’ll look about the same in pictures, I’m going with my favorite, Simply White–the same color I used downstairs. This room hasn’t been painted since the builders put a thin coat of pinky white up 5ish years ago. It desperately needs a fresh coat. On either side of the TV are two nooks.  A twin bed perfectly fits in there so for now we have a few mattresses piled up. It seems like a shame to not try to get creative with that.


What this room lacks in tables it makes up for in chairs. I’ve been on the lookout for months for super sturdy tables. Yes, we actually turn on that lamp at night, cue Sanford and Son.  This room is being used every day while I plot and plan.


Another chair being used as a table. I’m coming to terms with the fact that it might be time to be done with the pair of chairs and matching ottomans. You’ll be the first to know if I get rid of them.


Here’s a little peek at what I thought could be a good idea. When I saw Mandi’s sharpie wall I immediately thought it looked kind of like it was planked with boards with little spaces. So I got a marker and just in the corner, before we painted I drew some lines to see how it looked. I actually think it could be great, I’m just not sure it’s what I want for this room.


Lastly, the thrifted lamp has a home for now. I really should peel off that green sticker. He sits on the $99 table from HomeGoods. I gave up. This table is perfectly imperfect and has six legs–super sturdy!  And can comfortably sit in front of a bookshelf if I ever find one the right height and width that I like.


This little guy will fit in somewhere in the room as well and I’ll still need to add a low bookcase and a few more tables.  But, he’s on his way from One Kings Lane. So that’s the update for now. Nothing all that exciting but that’s what happens when most of the decisions are being made.


  1. It looks well loved and often used, and I bet your testosterone-laden housemates think it’s great! The estrogen crowd, however, will rejoice with you when the room makes you happy, too. Party on, Garth!

  2. I love that you’re keeping it real! I know that those beautiful photos people take of their homes where everything is in place and you don’t see a speck of dust = definitely not real life people! ha.
    I can’t wait to see what you do with this space, it definitely has a lot of potential but also a lot of small quarks that will make it interesting to work with!

  3. what fun to redecorate such a space! i love the pieces you already have and are adding. the nook is sweet with the mattresses…have you thought of perhaps a pallet base for them, maybe even some large caster wheels? (that is if you like a bit of industrial thrown in). if you sand the pallet wood with 60 grit followed by 100-150, it turns out beautiful with an added layer of paste wax. just a thought. can’t wait to see the reveal. ;)

    • we have, my husband even got the pallets to do it and then it just died out, great reminder, we may end up doing that, nice tip with the sanding and wax, thank you!!!

  4. I have a bonus room just like yours, but minus the dormers. My room is half done… and I think it might be permanently that way, as part of the room is used for storage… trunks, bags, odd pieces of furniture… I bet you’ll inspire me to finish it up. I’m looking forward to seeing your transformation!

  5. I love how you’re always so honest and show pictures of the process and not just the beautiful afters! Question though, by Emily do you mean Mandi’s sharpie wall? Or maybe I’m missing something?

  6. I like where you’re headed and I love that graphic rug.

  7. I’m glad you have vision. Seriously I would be overwhelmed. Can’t wait to see how you pull it all together…it will be amazing. You have the gift.
    Just a little heads up. I worked on a major project where we used sharpie pens to draw our lines so we would know where to paint. Okay…this was a major project where I was up on one of those motorized scaffolds painting a gym to look like a kids’ story book. But I digress. We could not cover the sharpie in most cases with lighter color. Fortunately you can’t see it when it’s 20 feet above your head….but none-the-less….I would do some test painting if I were you to make sure about the sharpie showing. I’d love to hear how it goes. BTW I used SW paint.

    • oh thank you!! It’s acutally the waterbased Sharpie that Mandie talks about–she tested a certain kind so that one kind will work but not just regular Sharpies, I should have said that!!

  8. loving the drapes and rug!!! timeless. masculine. looking forward to seeing the after!

  9. I love the honesty in these pictures. It shows a place well loved and lived in with great potential. Looks like you already have some great pieces. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  10. Thank goodness that you’re showing us the process, befores and thoughts behind this room. I adore watching a room come together and come alive, rather than just a before and after (although who doesn’t love a good B & A?). Love your ideas so far, and know it will be Nesterific in no time. Can’t wait!

  11. I have no doubt this is gonna be fantastic. Everything you do is!
    And I totally thought you had planked that wall! I’m intrigued by this idea, what color of marker did you use? I’m sure I’d use something water based, like Mandi said to do, but I like how yours looks so why mess with a good thing!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Love where you’re heading with the black, white & wood! Glad you found some curtains!

  13. So many fun furniture possibilities!! Especially those chairs and entertainment stand. Can I raid your home?:)

  14. Can’t wait for the AFTER pictures….I am just working on redoing my family room a bit and it just takes me a while to find all the perfect stuff..I can’t just go out shopping for the day, purchase pillows and lamps and needs to be just RIGHT , so it’s better to take your time and get it right….I am still on the prowl for some of the right accesories….here is my link to the family room post if you feel like taking a snoop. Greetings from a new Blogger

  15. Thank you for showing the process! It’s so real and encouraging to me. Most of my house looks like this at the moment. We moved in a few months before our first baby was born and, over a year later, it still hasn’t changed much. I can’t wait to see how your room comes together!

  16. Ditto everyone! I like the process probably even better than the amazing “afters”, you know? I think most people do deep down…otherwise how could you explain the electricity of Pride and Prejudice? That’s this room….Pride and Prejudice. I mean that.

    I’m wanting a black/white/wood gallery, too. And then I want to add mixed metals (pewter, tarnished brass, shiny silver), but I’m afraid of it getting too busy. Looking forward to yours!

  17. I love how you’re showing us pictures of every stage with this room..I’m so bad at remembering to do that! People like to see the before and afters…it helps us know we can do it too. Rooms don’t just magically appear gorgeous. We have to work and make them that way….you’re doing a great job!!!

  18. Super looking forward to the after pics! Though I do appreciate the reality of the before–thanks for always being so open with your process.

  19. Nester,
    I like how real you and your family are. I feel better about the furniture piled up in the bedrooms waiting for the new carpet install and not even done with the painting and removal of 34 yr old carpet on the stairs.
    I love the basket/cabinet you have coming. I think it would be great behind the L of the sectional against the wall by the window. I see a couple floor cushions and reading back in that corner. You could move the lamp from the chair to the top of the cabinet right behind the couch. A little light when needed would be great. I see the room coming together and can’t wait to see what you do.

    ps my wife says I have a chair obsession too.

  20. I love your messy-room posts. It’s fun to watch the progression of the design, and also see some behind-the-scenes stuff. That rug is awesome.

  21. I know this room will be fantastic and I will drive to your house and buy those chairs if your getting rid of them (I’m kidding of course, but if I thought you were close by I WOULD, lol). :) Anyway, I haven’t read through the comments yet but the first thing that stood out to me about your curtain dilemma (I like mine hung high too) was to hang “knobs” of some sort so it follows the arch of the ceiling. Not sure if I am explaining this right but the highest knob would be near the ceiling and the next one a little further down following where the wall meets the ceiling….. Anyway hope that makes sense and look forward to see you work your magic! :)

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