Coral and Navy Guest Bedroom

There’s something about being at home all day every day that really makes one consider all the nooks and crannies of one’s home. So what better time than to style, photograph, and share some of the completed rooms in our Algiers house, amiright?

When we moved in to our Algiers house in the heat of the sweaty summer, while we were waiting for our belongings to arrive, I had lots of time to walk around and imagine how I’d set up each room. One of my favorite details in our house is this arched doorway in the hall. You look through this arch when you come up the stairs to the main floor of the house.

I knew that I wanted to see something inviting when I popped up the stairs each day. Originally, I thought this would be a good spot for a home gym, but how to make that looks stylish? I didn’t at first consider this room for a guest bedroom, because there’s a larger and more private room downstairs that makes for a better guest bedroom, and one with a queen bed. The upstairs room already had a twin bed in it with a blonde wooden frame (government-provided furniture) and I decided I’d keep it there, on the very off chance we have several visitors at once.

Here’s the room in question, just a few days after we moved in.

As I was thinking about how to decorate the room, I came across this photo, which is the master bedroom of Stacey-Ann Blake, on Instagram as @designaddictmom. (Follow her, she’s incredible and will make you lust after fiddle-leaf figs, if you’re not already).

I love how cheerful this coral wall color is, and I love the mix of patterns in her room. I figured this is the look I wanted to try for – minus the toddler in a matching tutu – because peeping it through the archway to a room with this vibe would make me happy.

So, I drove to my Italian/Algerian paint store, Valpaint, showed the woman who works there the DesignAddictMom photo and we picked out a color. Actually, I was a little scared to go too pink, and so the first batch was too orange. “Needs more pink. I told you,” she said. She was right! And she added some more pink to the paint. I was very happy with the color, and I painted that room real fast.

The rest of the room came together even faster.

We kept the cream-colored synthetic shag rug that the Embassy gave us. I would prefer a beautiful fluffy wool Moroccan rug, but our cat Gus would pee on such a thing in a second. We had our landlord put in a few of our own light fixtures throughout the house, and while workmen did that, we had them move that Ikea basket chandelier from another room in the house into this room, where it worked better. As I said, we kept the bed, and also a matching blonde wood dresser. I’m not a fan of the yellow highly varnished two-tone of these pieces, but I also didn’t want to buy a twin headboard. I might have a new dresser made here in Algeria, though. (There is some really cool carved wood Berber furniture to be had here!) There’s also a nice darker wood armoire in the room, and that’s Adam’s closet. In my years abroad, I have learned actual built-in closets are an American thing. (Marriage tip: If your spouse is an earlier riser, make them keep their clothes in a different room to not wake you up getting when they get dressed).

I had almost everything else for the coral room already – the twin duvet cover and sheets from Crate and Barrel (last used them in our Madrid apartment, where a second guest bedroom did get a fair amount of use); the white cotton Moroccan tasseled blanket, navy and white curtains I ordered five years ago from Etsy; the white desk-turned-sewing table and chair; the vintage metal shelf (I painted it the same color as the walls); the white pottery; the small Turkish rug; the two wooden and rattan mirrors from Rabat, the lotus flower stitched pillow cover from a shop in Essaouria, the two navy and lucite foot stools at the end of the bed; the very 1980s David Bowie-esque watercolor from Rabat. And the sewing supplies: Yep, had those. Have yet to use them, though.

In fact, the only things I bought specifically for this room were the pink and orange vase from Anthropologie that reminded me of the watercolor with it’s 1980s-feeling pastel geometry and a Threshold velvet quilted pillow sham in navy from Target. So, one could say I spent about $80 on this room (vase, sham, paint and supplies).

A note on adding in the navy: A totally coral, or even coral and white room, wouldn’t have enough contrast in color, and would probably seem too candy-hued, making it feel like a kid’s room. Adding in the masculine navy provides contrast that makes the coral and white that much crisper and makes it all feel a little more grown-up. As much as a room with a twin bed can ever feel grown up…

Okay, more Coronavirus updates soon. We’re still totally fine here although I fear all the imported cheese in Algiers has disappeared. Until next time: More home pictures:

Update from June 1, 2020: After looking at these photos, I decided there still wasn’t enough contrast in colors in here, so I added a lime green throw pillow and moved the glam man watercolor to above the bed. I think it looks a little fresher this way, but I’ll keep the original photos above. Just goes to show: A room is an ever-changing thing.


  1. What a stunning room! I’ve always been put off painting overseas embassy housing by the burden of having to return it to its standard condition upon departure, but this post is making me think differently…

    1. Do it! I try to think of it as “just more exercise” when I have to repaint to white at the end, although it is a bit of a bummer. But also: The embassy will almost always repaint houses and apartment between occupants, so you can usually get away with just slapping up one coat of white paint, as they’re going to do at least another coat anyway. Painting a room (in the Foreign Service) is a day of work for potentially two or three years of enjoyment. Worth it!

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