One Designer Turned a Frumpy Spare Bedroom Into a Stylish Home Office

Complete makeover guest bedroom with blue classic patterns.

Design: Susan Sutter; Photo: Jenn Verrier; Graphic: MyDomaine

If there’s something we never get tired of seeing, it’s a great makeover. Whether it’s transforming a retro bathroom into a modern oasis or giving a lackluster bedroom a fresh look, pros perform these design miracles all the time.

To give designers a chance to showcase their favorite makeovers—and to bring you plenty of inspiration for your own home—we’re sharing the best before and afters we’ve seen in our series, Makeover of the Week. Take notes for your next renovation.

“After launching my interior design firm six years ago, I longed for a dedicated space where I could brainstorm ideas and efficiently store samples and materials,” interior designer Susan Sutter says. “So, I repurposed an existing guest suite in my home into an office, modernizing practical elements such as cabinetry and lighting and upgrading things like poorly constructed closets to be more functional and aesthetically pleasing.” 

Meet the Expert

Susan Sutter is an Arlington, Virginia-based interior designer and owner of Sutter Interiors. She likes to incorporate fun patterns and happy colors into her designs, which range from transitional to contemporary. 


Dingy dark space bedroom with old comforter.

Courtesy of Susan Sutter

"Sliding closets from the 1950s, blah-colored walls, and dated lace curtains and bedding defined this space prior to the makeover,” Sutter notes.


Blue wallpaper bedroom with delicate accents.

Design: Susan Sutter; Photo: Jenn Verrier

“When I was sent this bright blue floral wallpaper sample, I knew it would one day hang in my own workspace,” Sutter shares. “The accent wall provides the perfect backdrop for everything in the room, including the white desk and cabinetry and blue and white fabrics.”

What Changed:

  • Color theme:  A mix of blue, white, and tan result in colors that are bright and colorful, inspiring and fun. 
  • Desk: The trellis detail on the sides of the desk coordinates with the floral wallpaper, while the red Chinese Chippendale chair provides an unexpected pop of color.
  • Desk lamp:  The double gourd navy lamp works with the other blues in the space and provides functional task lighting. 
  • Ceiling pendant: A polished chrome lantern gives off a traditional yet contemporary vibe. 
  • Window treatments:  Navy trim adds color and design to the creamy flat fold roman shades. 
  • Wallpaper: An accent wall covered in large floral wallpaper anchors the room and provides a focal point.
  • Bench:  Blue and white accent pillows in varying shades and patterns lend a playful and fun vibe. 
  • White chair:  A cream tufted chair with nailhead trim creates a seat for visitors.  
  • Cabinets: Files, a printer, office supplies, catalogs, and fabric samples are all stored in the white paneled cabinetry while the acrylic and chrome pulls and knobs work with the other metal elements in the room. 
  • Rug:  A blue and white wool rug adds texture and unites the other colors and fabrics.  
  • Side tables:  The vintage iron and glass nesting tables provide the perfect spot for greenery.
  • Bed: A custom headboard has a streamlined design and is covered in a blue and white toile fabric.  
  • Bedding: Fresh white cotton percale bedding features blue stripes and a monogrammed pillow.  
  • Nightstand:  The heirloom black lacquered table, with its gold trim and unique shape, provides a nod to the past.   
  • Blue wall paint: The saturated cornflower blue wall paint (Blue Persuasion by C2 Paints) pops against all of the white in the space. 

Shop the Look:

Monogram pillowcase with blue chinoiserie accents

Design: Susan Sutter; Photo: Jenn Verrier

Polished Nickel Four-Light 11-Inch Chandelier
Bellacor Polished Nickel Four-Light 11-Inch Chandelier $243.00

“This metal ceiling fixture can work in a variety of spaces—from a bedroom to a kitchen to a hallway,” Sutter notes.

Sateen Embroidered Duvet Cover
Land's End Sateen Embroidered Duvet Cover $240.00 $167.00

“Nothing freshens up a bedroom like a crisp, white duvet and monogrammed pillows,” Sutter notes.