My Master Bedroom Refresh FINALE Plus Window Valance How-to

Did you ever play that joke on someone back in your college days with flour in a paper bag? You know, the one where you tuck the edge of the bag under their door, knock, wait a few seconds for them to approach the door, then STOMP on the bag so that flour gets all over them and their room?

Well, my master bedroom looked a bit like that after workers demolished and retiled the shower in the adjoining master bath. That’s my excuse for not showing you final photos of my master bedroom refresh before now. The window treatment was up, the lamps were lit, and the nightstand was styled. But everything had a film of construction dust. And I delayed cleaning it off because what was supposed to be a four-day bath renovation took TWO WEEKS.

But more on the bath in an upcoming post. In case you need to review or catch up, follow these links to read about planning and executing my master bedroom refresh, PART 1 and PART 2.

Without further ado, here’s the finished product…

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Note the lamps I picked out in PART 2, and the window valance I made by cutting down a store-bought panel (more on that below).

Pillow talk

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I see so many bed/nightstand vignettes in magazines that I had to do one too! The two additional pillows I shared in PART 2 worked out perfectly, don’t you think? Chris didn’t tease me TOO much about them—either because he saw how great they look, or because he’s finally conceded what was a useless battle from the start. I wore him down, ladies!


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This is my bedside “altar” of sorts, mostly keepsakes related to my mom, who passed away in 2010. The two Chinese figurines I bought long ago at Stein Mart because they reminded me of a mom and a daughter; the mom works hard so the daughter can live a better life, which was definitely my mom.

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When I was a little girl, dad would bring each of us kids and mom a present when he went on a business trip. On a trip to New York City, he bought my mother this miniature Limoges teapot.

The set of glass treasure boxes I bought a while back, with no plan of how to use them. But then it occurred to me (as I was trying to fall asleep, no less!) they were a great way to display some of mom’s old jewelry. Inside are pieces I’ll never wear—mostly because the clasps are weak or they’ve discolored. But I’ll always keep them because I remember mom wearing them when I was a little girl. They all still sparkle!

Some of the trinkets included are:

  • A lead crystal string of beads with one of mom’s hairs still caught in the clasp!
  • A sterling silver and rhinestone bracelet that was my dad’s first gift to her
  • Her wedding day pearls
  • A pin that belonged to my mom’s mom
  • Inexpensive watches we bought each other on one of our many Friday evening shopping jaunts.

Gosh, I’m tearing up just writing this!

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On the right is a carnival glass bud vase that originally belonged to my great-grandmother. My mother received it when her mother passed away. In it I’ve placed a dandelion seed head paperweight that sparkles whenever the light hits it. Grouped at the base are two other paperweights I love. One is faceted lead crystal, while the other encases a tiny (real) sand crab, which represents my astrological birth sign, cancer the crab.

My addiction to blue and white chinoiserie revealed

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Two of the chinoiserie pieces in the arrangement on top of the armoire have been with me for most of my adult life and were the first décor items I bought for myself—the happiness ginger jar (center back) and the rice jar to its left. Read about my longstanding love of chinoiserie HERE.

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The rest of these pieces I acquired over the last year, mostly from One Kings Lane. I love the variety of lids, particularly the animal on the rice jar and the lotus petal on the jar second from the right. The kimono vase on the far right is so unique, and so I set it apart just a bit from the others, as if the lady who “wore” it were corralling her servants.

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This watercolor painting of China’s Li River by Patricia Ostrohm is one of only two original works of art I own. I purchased it at a Cincinnati gallery for artists with disabilities. The Ohio artist is legally blind from macular degeneration. The vases I added on either side are from One Kings Lane. I was going to add small blue-and-white chinoiserie plates above the painting arrangement, but decided that might be too much. Sometimes less really is more.

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The chinoiserie cats I’ve collected over the years. The fortune cookie box is also from One Kings Lane; it opens but also has a slit for inserting fortunes or secret notes without opening. The singing bowl is from Tibet.

Sitting pretty

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Remember those coral pillow covers I was going to use on the nightstands? As I thought it through, they seemed made to order for this square table. They hide some worn spots to boot. The chairs and the table were both given to us by Chris’ mom and are midcentury. More of my chinoiserie finds fill the bottom shelf…

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…while the middle shelf holds some favorite books, as well as three Rosanna Paris-themed trinket dishes. (Paris is my other obsession.)

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Instead of the coral pillow covers on the nightstands, I used a woven silk runner from Nepal (above top) on my side (it had been tucked away in storage). On Chris’ side I used an embroidered silk scarf (above bottom) from my ridiculously large scarf collection. It’s one I bought for its beauty and never wore because I had nothing to wear it with. This way I get to enjoy it every day.

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I lucked out on this panel and curtain rod from Target. Remember? I narrowed the curtain rods to three in PART 2, then later settled on the Kenney Marble Ball Curtain Rod. It adds textural interest and echoes the lamp bases.

The tan background fabric of the Threshold Fretwork Border Curtain Panel matches my bedroom walls beautifully and has the same slubby weave as my headboard upholstery, while the coral soutache braid arranged in Moroccan arabesques blends perfectly with my color palette and my global theme.

My only problem? Chris and I both wanted a valance rather than full curtains because of our dust allergies. But at only $24.99 a panel, I figured it was worth the risk to try to convert panel to valance.

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The original panel wasn’t lined, but it did have a header with tabs on the back to run the rod through. I used this top part as lining for my valance and the bottom part with the design as the front.

Here’s how I made it:

  • The header was about 3.5 inches deep, so I measured out 3.5 inches above the design and 3.5 inches below it, added ¾ inches to top and bottom for a seam allowance, and cut.
  • I cut the lining piece an inch shorter (though two inches would have been better) to create a crisp bottom fold that would disguise the seam.
  • I pressed a ¾-inch fold in one side of the trimmed piece and pinned wrong side to wrong side. The header was already topstitched, so I top stitched my front piece over the existing stitching along the top and bottom edges of the tabs.
  • I then folded over the trim side so that it faced the tab side (right side to right side) and stitched the bottom seam, which I pressed open.
  • Finally, I turned the entire valance right side out and pressed it smooth, taking care to crease the hem thoroughly.
  • I didn’t need to adjust the width of the panel. The sides of both front and lining were finished and hung evenly, so I didn’t bother to sew them together.

Yes, I took the lazy girl approach all the way around. But it turned out beautifully, IMHO.

I finally feel again that my bedroom is a special place, a sanctuary of all I love.

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Above the bed is the other piece of original art I own. It’s a fan painted by the highly regarded Chinese artist, Li Xing Bai. He was a visiting artist at Indiana University around the time I met Chris. A coworker knew him well and sponsored an exhibit and sale of his works. Chris and I attended it together—sort of our first date—and I bought the fan. It’s painted on 300-year-old rice paper. Plum blossoms adorn the front, while the back has a secret poem done in beautiful Chinese calligraphy.

All in all, my refreshed bedroom reminds me of a gorgeous summer sunset. I’m sleeping better, now that the bathroom shower is also done and the workmen gone (for now). But more on that another time…

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