Upper Deck Redux

The Bonus Room Turns Into the Upper Deck

I don’t know why builders call this type of throw-away space a bonus room. It’s boxy, has a lot of odd angles, is boring and usually has a low ceiling to boot. None of these are plusses in my design repertoire. A thankless design project, really, but you ‘might’ just turn it around if you employ a few tricks that are not that difficult to pull off! This is a long view of the room from the top of the staircase…


When we bought the Spring Lake House, it had ‘lovely’ low ceilings upstairs and all the boxy-ness referred to above. It was dark, had only one natural light source, and that was at the end of the room in the form of a glass block privacy window.


I feel like mirrors are your best friend. They ‘bounce’ light all around and ‘multiply’ it. Can you ‘sort of’ see the mirror on the floor far back in the room two pictures down?

Upper Deck 1

I changed the paint to a dustier, lighter, taupier beige to tie in better with the carpet color…AND I installed French doors to my art studio which was the adjoining room with only sky lights and used a set of 6 mirrors above the sofa and stole some of the light and it brightened the area right up. I say grab light from wherever you can get it and reflect it as much as possible to lighten up a space!

Low Ceiling Tricks, One Coast Design. One Coast Design, Michelle Woolley Sauter

Another thing I did was mount a drapery rod the full length of the wall over the glass block window almost to the crown. I hung gorgeous bronze burlap drapery panels to the floor on either side (plus an inch, I prefer a ‘break’ at the bottom) and the stack back was about 14″ so it made the whole wall read as a big bright window at the end of the room…with the cutest white crushed velvet settee beneath it. You can see the wine glasses, barely, sitting on the stools in front of the sofa.

I also removed those hideous ceiling fans with lights attached that the builder put in… I call them ‘helicopters’, sorry…do. not. love. Lots of people think they are just great and I understand they have a huge following…*sigh*…so when pressed by a client for them, I concede, but only after they swear they can’t live without them.

But…with that low ceiling, I couldn’t have anything that would impede on the visual height. So I found these Fabulous flush mounted brushed brass retro-looking ceiling light fixtures…and now I can breathe. (see above)

And since the room was so long, I also created zones with the layout so I had different seating areas that could all still ‘talk’ to each other and keep everything open and airy. No more boxy, walk-through glorified storage area. The sofa under the mirrors folds out into a queen bed so visiting guests could really spread out up there!

AND it had the husband’s stamp of approval. 🙂