This designer took on the task of making over her teen's bedroom – the result is a sophisticated yet characterful transformation

What happens when an interior designer's daughter asks for a bedroom makeover? The results are magical and theatrical

three images of bedroom makeover
(Image credit: Aaron Dougherty)

We're all intrigued. It's the million-dollar question in house design. What happens when an interior designer does a room makeover in her own house? And when the client is the designer's 18-year-old daughter and the room is that daughter's bedroom, well, that's when things get really interesting. 

The Dallas-based interior designer Ginger Curtis of Urbanology Designs is here to let us know exactly how it all turned out, and offer design inspiration for anyone looking for chic yet cozy bedroom ideas. 

bedroom with dark walls and vintage furniture with rooflight

(Image credit: Aaron Dougherty)

It all started with a modest request from the room's teenage occupant. Maddie asked her mom, designer Ginger Curtis, if it would be okay to get a new bookshelf. 

'I looked at her and said, Maddie, I can do so much better than a bookshelf!' recalls Ginger. 

custom built-in shelves painted in dark color with books and keepsakes and classical bust on pedestal

(Image credit: Aaron Dougherty)

'What started with designing built-ins quickly turned into a full-room renovation,' says Ginger. 'Given the unique bedroom layout and the sloped ceilings, I had to carefully consider the best way to maximize the space and make it more functional.'

The initial bedroom bookshelf ideas soon evolved into smart, custom built-ins that encase the door to the room and provide ample storage and display opportunities for the immediate sitting and work area.


Until recently, Maddie's room had been a classic attic bedroom with cream walls, a hotchpotch of furniture that had been with her since toddlerhood, and an off-white carpet that had seen better days. A refresh was well overdue. 

bedroom with dark walls desk/dressing table and classical busts on shelves

(Image credit: Aaron Dougherty)

The old bedroom carpet was ripped out, then the plywood subfloor was sanded and stained a dark walnut color to coordinate with the wood-clad ceiling and door.

Painting the walls in Sherwin Williams' atmospheric Plum Brown shade created the perfect moody backdrop for the space. 'Using dark colors in a small space can always be a risk,' says Ginger, 'but the large skylight allows the area to be flooded with natural light for perfect balance.' The quality of natural light is key when considering the best dark colors for small rooms.


The room's dramatic transformation started with the built-ins but Ginger also decided to move Maddie's bed and closet into the smaller adjoining room beyond the curtain. Doing that freed up this lighter and larger section of the room and it's now a spacious sitting room and workspace, with plenty of room for impromptu get-togethers with friends. 

bedroom with dark walls and view through doorway to bed

(Image credit: Aaron Dougherty)

The new-look room is a lesson in decorating with vintage, since most of the artwork and accessories in the room are finds that Ginger and her daughter Maddie have gathered on treasure hunts at local fleamarkets and vintage stores. 

'The furniture is also mainly vintage items we previously owned and wanted to give new life in this space,' adds Ginger. 'There are a lot of personal touches in this room, such as the dried flower artwork I picked and arranged myself, books inherited from my mother-in-law, and my grandmother’s collection of rare perfume bottles. All these finds provide layers of personality and depth to the space we absolutely adore.'

Through the doorway, adorned with velvet and scrim swag, is the bed and custom closet. 

portrait of designer Ginger Curtis
Ginger Curtis

Ginger Curtis founded Urbanology Designs, an award-winning design firm, following an inspiring triumph over an 18-month battle with cancer. This life-altering journey revealed to her the incredible influence of neuroaesthetics on our well-being. Rooted in simplicity and elevated by extraordinary beauty, interiors by Dallas-based Urbanology Designs bring organic luxury to life. The firm's design-forward sensibility looks beyond today’s times, trends, and whims to create homes with longevity and intention. The project featured here was uniquely personal, a bedroom makeover for Ginger's own daughter Maddie and the mother and daughter team enjoyed working on the designs together. 

bedroom with green ceiling and orange blossom wallpaper and brown chest of drawers

(Image credit: Aaron Dougherty)

There's a slight shift in mood and wall treatment in the bedroom space, where the walls, ceiling and closet are painted in Sherwin Williams' Rosemary, with Zak & Fox's leafy Orangerie wallpaper behind the bed and into the alcove. 

The choices of color and pattern might not be the obvious bedroom ideas for teenagers, but beyond that curtain is a hidden leafy bower, and there's something of a fairytale element about this sleeping beauty's apartment.  

bedroom closet with dark curtains

(Image credit: Aaron Dougherty)

The custom-designed curtained closet idea opposite the bed is practical and a little theatrical, too – with soft velvet drapes that wouldn't look out of place on stage. These are all touches that play their part in this showstopper of a classical history-themed room. 

Maddie is delighted with her bedroom's new look. 'I love how it artfully captures the essence of moody ambiance in a way that sparks creativity and inspiration,' she says. 'It makes me happy every time I walk into this space.  It’s ultra comfortable for lazy days of lounging or long cramming sessions to get ready for finals. I love to read, play the piano, and host my friends here.' And what do her friends think? 

'They say my room is a piece of art, seemingly straight out of a museum,' adds Maddie. 'They love how the vibe changes throughout the day as varying amounts of sunlight is filtered through the skylight.'

It's only right that mom – and designer – should have the last word on this very personal transformation. 'The finished room is unexpected for a teen, yet that’s what makes it so magical,' says Ginger. 'This space deeply reflects who my daughter is and what she loves. She wasn’t afraid to embrace a bold, eclectic look – she craved it! We wanted to take the road less traveled with this room, experimenting and exploring with surprising pieces and moments that would evoke a mood and pure emotion.'

Most definitely a case of mother and daughter knowing best.

Interior design: Ginger Curtis of Urbanology Designs
Photography: Aaron Dougherty 

Karen Darlow

Karen is the houses editor for and homes editor for the brand’s sister titles, Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors, and an experienced writer on interiors and gardens. She loves visiting historic houses for Period Living and writing about rural properties for Country Homes & Interiors, and working with photographers to capture all shapes and sizes of properties. Karen began her career as a sub editor at Hi-Fi News and Record Review magazine. Her move to women’s magazines came soon after, in the shape of Living magazine, which covered cookery, fashion, beauty, homes and gardening. From Living Karen moved to Ideal Home magazine, where as deputy chief sub, then chief sub, she started to really take an interest in properties, architecture, interior design and gardening.