Quarantine shelter-in-place gave me time to finally renovate my bedroom

May 20, 2020 — by Jeanette Zhou

When my older sister moved to college on the East Coast, she gave me her room. While it’s larger than my old room, the off white walls combined with all white furniture always lacked personality. 

I have always wanted to personalize my room, but I kept putting it off with the excuse of a lack of time. However, due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place, I could no longer use that excuse. Also, it was as good a time as ever now that my sister had come home from college due to the lockdown, so I successfully roped her into my renovation antics.

So began my epic room makeover.

Before we could start moving, we had to gear up. My mother insisted on wearing old clothes turned inside out topped with a plastic bag. (It was quite the look, if I do say so myself.)

I started by taking out all of the clothes in my closet, my night table and any loose items, leaving the bigger pieces of furniture in the center of the room, and then I taped old New York Times newspapers to the ground to prevent damage onto my floor.

After this, I began caulking around the baseboards of my room, filling in the gaps that had been created when my dad and I installed wood floors last summer.

On day 2, we began painting the walls. 

Our plan for the room was to paint most of the walls a brighter white and put a mural on the wall behind my bed. This was a very ambitious plan, considering that we only had about half a gallon of paint for over 200 square feet, and we were not about to risk getting sick during a quick Home Depot run. Thankfully, the gods of wall-painting were watching over us and we were able to paint the walls fully with an eighth of the can left.

On day 5, we started the mural. We had six different colors in our garage to choose, ranging from a very dark blue to a very light lavender (pro-tip: Kelly-Moore gives out quart-sized free samples of high-quality paint).

I started with a base of the darkest blue, blending down to a dark purple. When I realized how dark the paint was after drying, I decided to paint a galaxy by adding in the lighter colors.

This process took me two days and didn’t quite go as planned. To be fair, I didn’t have a plan in the first place, which was part of the problem, and I really should not have attempted to blend wall paint with a dollar store brush.

I tried to splatter stars on top of the wall by flicking a mixture of white paint and water off of the brush onto the wall. I hadn’t researched the paint to water ratio before this, which created some streaks of paint dripping down because the mixture was too watery. 

But as the great Bob Ross once said, “We don’t make mistakes, only happy little accidents.”

To hide my happy little accidents, my sister came up with the idea of painting larger stars throughout the mural.

By day 8, we had finished the mural, and, after digging through our attic, found string lights to hang over it and make it seem like the stars were glowing. 

On day 9, I started making curtains. Luckily, my dad had leftover curtain rods and curtain rings from our old house, which we installed right under the ceiling to add height to the room.

I attached old sheets to the rods, which were the height of my ceiling and the width of my window, and a layer of tulle to the clips of the curtain rods.

Once I finished my curtains, I began moving all of the furniture back into my room.

Using my sister’s feng shui expertise, we decided to keep the bed in the same position, with the headboard against the west-facing wall, put the desk in the corner farthest away from the bed, and move the dresser farther left. I also removed my vanity table, placed my whiteboard on the left side of my bed and put up a collage of old cards and photos behind my desk. 

And then I was done. 

After 10 days of hard work, I had finally finished my room makeover. While the process was certainly time-consuming, I am glad that I was able to add a little more flavor to my room. From the impulsive mural to the new layout, the room is now entirely my own.

 

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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.

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