When my heart mate and I decided to move to New York City we were prepared to downsize. And downsize we did: to be exact, from a two bedroom, two bath apartment with separate kitchen and living areas, to a one bedroom with an open plan living, cooking and dining space. Having photographed a tiny one bedroom apartment on the Lower East Side for my second book (more on that very soon!), I was expecting our first NYC rental apartment to have a tiny bedroom. I’m glad I had my expectations in line because I was right – our first bedroom here in NYC is tiny! That said, I love it. Yes, it’s tiny but thanks to its south facing aspect it’s flooded with natural light. There’s a also a private roof deck with views of Central Park (well, if the tops of leaves count as a Central Park view – humor me…!), and you can even see Times Square in the distance, so expect to see lots of fun content from out there once the weather improves. Click through after the jump to see the whole process of transforming our tiny NYC bedroom, from blank canvas to an exotic bold blue space with a destination vibe, that’s also super comfortable thanks to my new Leesa mattress, which was designed to meet the needs of all types of sleepers!

nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-3Regular readers, or anyone who follows Bright.Bazaar on Instagram, will know how I look for most of my design inspiration from my travels. Similarly, I love all things that have a nautical aesthetic. During my trip to Santa Barbara last year I made a mental note of this photograph and how I was keen to inject the majestic mystery of the intense midnight navy color of the ocean into a future scheme.nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-4As I began to start planning a new color scheme and design direction for the bedroom in #BBbrownstone, I kept the that gorgeous golden hour moment from Santa Barbara strong in my mind. I knew that I was keen to inject an unexpected edge to the midnight navy, so when I happened upon an electric blue door next to a dark navy door I decided in that moment to invite that shade of blue into the space. The summary blue skies I saw in this city last summer and knowing how well a splash of blue-green mint would layer into the space, I had my palette set!nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-2I may have had the color palette ready to go for the new space but in reality I was still sleeping on an old mattress on the floor! I had been searching high and low for a bed but because the space is so tight almost every option was too big, and so the mattress remained on the floor! So when Leesa kindly invited me to road test their revolutionary mattress, it was just the catalyst I needed to overhaul the space, finally find a bed and put my chosen color palette into action! When I realised that the Mid-Century bed would fit the space I was over the moon – the warm oak was the perfect addition of texture and warmth for the space. Not to mention that I would have the ideal stage for my new Lessa mattress to live! Last time I bought a mattress it was a real struggle to get it upstairs and into place. So imagine my delight upon learning that Leesa compress and package their mattresses into a manageably sized box. So manageable, in fact, that I was able to easily carry it up my spiral(!) staircase in #BBbrownstone, so that I could un-package and place the mattress on the bed in a matter of minutes with ease. Of course, I had to test my new mattress out with a quick jump!nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-2anautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-5Before I could get to work on painting, I needed to prep the space. Walls were washed and taped, furniture covered in drop sheets and chaos came to my tiny little bedroom. I remember saying to my heart mate before I started painting: I have forgotten what it’s like to sleep in normality! Still, often to get better things have to get worse and so I embraced the mess and got to work.nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-6I love that moment when the brush or roller touches the wall for the first time with the new paint color. Here I am applying the first lick of Newburyport Blue to the main wall in the bedroom.nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-7On the other side of the room (which is divided by the top of the spiral staircase) there is a smaller wall. I decided to paint it in a contrasting Electric Blue color. It’s one of the colors closest to that used in the makeover of Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment in the first Sex and the City movie. I promise that’s not the only reason why I love it…!nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-8To create a cool and clean contrast with the navy wall I painted the radiator in a matte white.nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-9Continuing that cool and calming contrast, I dressed my Leesa mattress in soft white linen bedding accented by graphic striped euro shams and a ticking stripe quilt. I then referenced those stripes via the gorgeous indigo fabric I chose for the new roman blind.nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-10With the walls painted and the bed dressed, I turned my attention to artwork. I picked a striking flamingo print to hang above the headboard. Not only does it bring the exotic, destination vibe I was looking for but the negative space brings an added feeling of breathing space to the overall scheme.nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-11Remember the inspiration picture of me wearing the green tee in front of the ombre blue wall near the start of the post? Well, that was what inspired me to layer in mint green accessories as accent colors to the space. I painted my own mini watercolor to place on the Reclaimed Wood Dresser.nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-12The Roar & Rabbit designed ceramic table lamp pairs perfectly with my watercolor, and the round mirror helps bounce light around the space.nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-13There was a slither of dead space at the end of the bed, so an affordable storage solution helped bring much needed storage to the room. Not only that, but it made the bed feel snug and cozy in it’s little nook, too.nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-14Art is a great way to pull a palette together, and this small gallery wall gave me the opportunity to splash in blocks of accent color and typographic pieces to the space.nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-15I love waking up and seeing this vivid blue hue, it fills me with energy and joy!nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-16The irony of a beautifully designed bedroom is that it’s all pointless if the key part of room – the bed – isn’t comfortable and encouraging of a good night’s sleep. For the last two years I’ve suffered with on and off back issues and been through several different mattresses to try and find one that helps my recovery. Genuinely, over the last month that I’ve been sleeping on my Leesa mattress I’ve found the support to my back to be first rate. I was concerned at first that because the mattress has a two inch layer of contouring memory foam that the mattress would be hot. I was completely wrong! I’ve always been a ‘hot’ sleeper, however, on the Lessa I’ve felt not only felt comfortable and supported, but thanks to the layer of Avena foam it’s cool, too. I’ve had so much fun decorating the tiny bedroom in our NYC rental – let me know which elements from the destination inspired bold blues scheme you like best! The first 50 readers to buy a mattress will get $75 off their order. Just use the code BAZAAR at checkout. Leesa gives you 100 nights to try your mattress, risk-free.nautical-navy-bedroom-makeover-17 // Photography by Will Taylor | Posted in partnership with Leesa, all views my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Bright.Bazaar going!


Will Taylor

Will lives in NYC and is an interior design author and content creator. He's been blogging about his love of design, style and travel since 2009. His #MakeYouSmileStyle approach to decorating and dressing has inspired over one million Instagram uploads to the hashtag from followers across the world.


  1. You completely transformed the space, wow! Love the combination of blues!

  2. I was gonna head to Macy’s to look for a mattress this weekend but think I’ll try Lessa now. Thanks!

    • @Ben – Smart move. I can’t get over how much the mattress has changed how my back feels when I wake in the mornings. Quite life changing, honestly.

  3. Will, you have such a talent for pairing colors together. What a beautiful space you have created. The blind, the bed, the art…adore it all!

    • @Molly – Right? I’ve gone dark in small spaces before and it just adds so much depth and interest to the space. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. You’re so good with a small space! And those blue are rich and joyful. Love that quilt — you use it as a replacement/substitute for a full comforter?

  5. I love that swimming underwater piece! Just beautiful. (As is the whole room!)

  6. I love it, such alot of thought and care in your decision making. My fave parts are the hints of mint which give it an extra pop and I really the paler blue. I’ll be thinking up some new ideas when I find a new abode xxx
    Jo xx

  7. Will, great job with the makeover and congrats on the Dream Decor promo at Times Square! I was wondering if you could make a post about how to pick art for a room… I feel the need to relate to an art piece in order to bring it home and that doesn’t happen often! Haha.

    • @Soutrik – Thanks for the kind congrats! Funny you should request that as I have something fun coming up to do with art in the next month or so – stay tuned!

  8. Love this look. I unfortunately do not have a room with enough light to use such strong color although I love it. Years ago I had a roasted pumpkin family room. Everyone thought I was crazy when I painted it, but when the room was all finished they loved it. The mint green touches make the room and those I CAN use…..not to mention the colorful art!

  9. Gorgeous. Good job. I love the slider. I was trying to pull all the photos on this post. hmm. Inspired by tones of blue.

  10. Absolutely lovely Will! I wish we could paint our rental, plus do window treatments. Definitely make you smile style.
    xo Lynn

  11. Love how the striped window shade echoes the “striped” radiator. Tell me about the whale in the window…

  12. Your room looks fabulous – both stylish, sophisticated and I love the nautical theme. The darker blue works so well with your choice of curtains and the Matt White radiator. I also love the contrast of the lighter blue. The lamp also stood out for me as well as your sweet painting. Perfect prints too. Have followed you for some time on Instagram as I am also a big fan of colour (see my insta food shots) but only just gone onto your blog. Seems I have some catching up to do as it looks wonderful. Don’t know what took me so long. Best Torie

  13. Two of my favourites! Blue hues & nautical decor. I particularly love the way you manage to get everything in the frame when you photograph in small spaces like this.

  14. Love the 2-tone room! The blues are so crisp & energizing. Quite lovely indeed.

  15. This is so lovely! Just goes to show that even with a smaller space, a room can still look just as lovely.

  16. Will, compliments! Your bedroom Looks fantastic. (And i am not saying this because blue is my favourite colour;-)

  17. Such a lovely room! I would say its my dream room actually! Being an undergrad does not let me live in a place I get to decorate. So I must live through wonderful blogs/websites like yours. x

  18. What a bright cheery space! Where do you get your Roman shades made in NYC? OR do you make them yourself?

    Thanks so much!

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Hey, I'm Will

Welcome to Bright.Bazaar, my make-you-smile style corner of the internet. I’ve been sharing my love of beautiful design, feel-good homes, everyday style, inspiring travel and, pretty much everything in between, since 2009. As well as working as a content creator, I write interior design books and edit a bi-weekly e-newsletter called Smile Mail. I live in New York City with my heartmate and can often be found listening to Madonna’s Confessions album and dreaming up my next home renovation project.