Gazette writer makes his 1799 room a little more 2020

Provided photo. 
Brenton Blanchet's renovated room.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Provided photo. Brenton Blanchet's renovated room.

Categories: Fall Home

Inspiration can strike at any point. And as someone who would never make it in the interior design business — even if I paid my way in — a couple episodes of “Queer Eye” were all I needed to make a change to the place I call home.

For the past four years, my home in Schenectady has been a middle ground. I’d go to school in Buffalo during the fall and spring, stay in the 518 briefly for my summer and winter breaks, and head back to my other life just a couple months later. In a sense, I saw my home as a pit stop.

But no home should ever feel that way.

My room had older, brown hardwood floors, zero decorations and an extra-enormous mattress lying on the floor for some reason. It didn’t feel like my room. Yet I’ve always been a bit weird about redoing it. Our house is from 1799, older than everyone who lives in it combined, so I didn’t want to alter anything too dramatically.

But still, when I got home a few weeks back, it was time for a change. I enlisted my dad for a paint job, bought some frames, redid an old piece of furniture and made my room, finally and actually, feel like my room.

Here arethe biggest things I learned in the process.

Your bed decides everything

Ah yes, the bed. It’s a big, bold piece of furniture that — if given the opportunity — can swallow the room whole without batting an eye. And its position in the room can really make or break the entire space’s presentation.

For years, my bed was sitting in the middle of my room against a wall. I had cabinets around it and a weird extra 10 feet of space to the left, which I rarely ever used. It got pretty dusty, and nobody likes old-house dust. As soon as I came back from school this year, my father and I moved it to the corner of the room and at that moment, I became the most experienced interior designer in our household. With my bed in the corner, I had far more space to decorate and make the room my own.

Warm colors are the way to go

When I got back from school, my room was relatively dark. The hardwood floors were a reddish shade of brown. I didn’t have any pops of color in the form of rugs. And even with light yellow walls, I still felt a clash between my floor and walls.

My next step was painting the floor. Well, my dad did it. He found an extra can of paint, which he assumed to be gray, and suddenly when I returned from work one day, my floors were a light blue. At first, I felt like my floors and the walls just didn’t mesh, but after buying a $30 rug from Ocean State Job Lot — featuring blue flower designs over a sandy white color — it all suddenly came together. At this point, I had a room.

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Everyone needs a good desk and chair

Who could forget the pandemic? Even with a beautiful new room, I couldn’t keep sitting on my bed or the couch to get stuff done while working from home. So, like the thrifty guy I am, I noticed my stepsister was throwing out an old desk and I enlisted her to paint it with me. Instead of a light wood finish, it was now a white-and-blue-striped (mini) desk that could easily squeeze into the room and pull everything together.

But no desk is complete without a chair. For that very reason, I copped a white fur chair from Ebay (from a bargain chair store) and now I’m rolling around without a care in the world.

Finishing touches

A room is nothing without its decorations and some good lighting. Before I started revamping my space, I only used one light to make up for a severe lack of natural lighting (there are many trees outside my windows). So as soon as I had the chance, I purchased an $8 Target lamp, which does the trick perfectly.

And to top everything off, I grabbed some new frames from Target to display some music memorabilia, started storing my record collection in a plastic bin to prevent any mishaps and finally propped my college diplomas on the wall as a reminder that this is now my home for a bit.

Overall, the experience was worth it. I don’t consider myself an expert decorator, but these few tips I learned helped me take my old-school bedroom and make it a space more livable. And I loved every second of it.

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