Blissful Bedrooms


Our goal is to do one bedroom makeover per month. Of course, that all depends on the availability of funds and resources, which unfortunately has been our limiting factor. Weeks before a makeover, the Core Team meets with the recipient and his/her family in their home, and discusses a color scheme and main theme for the room. In the past, themes have ranged from rainbows and butterflies, to martial arts and bodybuilding, to angels and oceans, to the Yankees, to Hello Kitty, to fairy kingdoms, etc. We make every effort to bring the individual’s fantasy room alive including all of his/her favorite elements! At that time, we also take a video of the recipient in his/her bedroom, which we use to introduce Blissful Bedrooms volunteers to the young person and for fundraising purposes. Finally, we take photographs and measurements of the bedroom, and create a 3-D computerized graphic of the empty room right then and there in SketchUp, which we later use to create a collaborative design and plan for the bedroom makeover.

Once the recipient’s dream bedroom theme is decided upon, and a makeover date is established, Blissful Bedrooms Core Team members come up with a basic design and recruit committed volunteers for the project. We then arrange a team meeting, during which time we show a Powerpoint presentation regarding various aspects of the makeover (i.e., fundraising, background on the recipient, inspiration board with ideas for the design, etc.). Then we get down to the fun part of sharing ideas as one large group, and co-designing the bedroom, while simultaneously altering the 3-D image of the bedroom, which is projected on a large screen or TV. This includes conceiving of ideas, based on the theme, for art work, custom built furniture, bedding, accessories, arrangement of furniture, etc. After this, the volunteers break into task forces (or focused teams), refine their design ideas, create a project plan and delegate pre-production responsibilities. Before the actual makeover weekend even arrives, several of the team members spend many hours doing preparation work (i.e., fundraising, researching, shopping and purchasing materials for the makeover, building furniture, creating art work, etc).

Finally, we get in there and get our hands dirty! The makeover begins on Friday morning with the foundation work and spans the entire weekend until the room is revealed on Sunday evening. The process looks something like this:

– Remove old furniture and wall hangings
– Spackle and prime the walls and ceiling
– Paint the walls, ceiling and trim
– Install Flooring
-Install wall/door facades (if included in design plan)

– Painting touch ups
– Install molding/baseboard
– Install lighting fixtures and associated tasks, such as wire management
– Artists perform onsite art work, if any
– Assemble Ikea furniture
– Install shelving
– Mount flat screen TV
– Install window treatment hardware

– Installation of art work prepared prior to the makeover (i.e, wall murals/wall sculptures, etc.)
– Move and arrange new furniture in the bedroom
– Assemble custom-made furniture pieces
– Miscellaneous finishing touches, such as installing outlet covers, handles, door knobs, etc.
– Hang window treatments, arrange bedding, pillows, accessories, hang additional art work)
– Hang framed photographs from personal photo shoot (see below)
– Set up electronics, etc. (DVD player, Wii and accessories, speakers, etc.)
– Personalize computer or iPad, iPod and assemble adaptive equipment so the recipient can access the technology (i.e., wheelchair mount, specialized computer table to accommodate wheelchair, rig up head pointer to work with touch screen technology for an individual who doesn’t have voluntary movement of arms or hands
– Create a personalized Facebook page for the recipient so he/she can stay connected to all the new friends he/she made as a result of the makeover experience (volunteers and peers).


Finally we unveil the new sanctuary to the eager and excited recipient (and his/her family), who hasn’t been allowed to see the room all weekend! It is all very dramatic and riveting as the recipient is rolled up to the closed door with his/her immediate family close behind, and extended family and friends behind them. The volunteers are inside the room waiting to proudly present the result of their compassionate and labor intensive efforts. Meanwhile, everyone is chanting the recipient’s name loudly, over and over, bringing even more intensity and excitement to the moment!! The door is opened and the family member pushes the recipient into the room. At first there are lots of wide open mouths and looks of shock, especially on the recipient’s face, followed by squeals of joy and disbelief and lots of finger pointing accompanied by “ooohhhhs, ahhhhhhs and look at that!!.” At that moment, it almost seems as though a transformation takes place in the recipient, as if he/she stepped over the threshold into an elevated state of well-being. Of course the bedroom is an amazing and very special gift, but we think it is really the realization and integration of knowing that so many people came together to make this dream come true just for him/her that is really responsible for this perceptible transformation in recipient’s spirit. It is difficult to describe in words. You have to experience it!! This is the emotional state that led the Founders of Blissful Bedrooms, Martha and Alex, on the path to creating this organization, and is surely what keeps the loyal volunteers hooked on doing it again and again.

As if the room were not enough, we give the recipient gifts, which may include a laptop/Ipad, Ipod, novelty items related to the theme, DVD’s, CD’s, clothing, etc.

The recipient’s family is encouraged to invite friends and extended family to the Reveal Celebration (which includes a dinner buffet that is either donated or prepared by volunteers). Past makeover recipients also gather to support, celebrate and welcome the current recipient into the Blissful Bedrooms family! These new friendships with peers and volunteers will be nurtured and encouraged through invitations to attend regular Blissful Bedrooms events throughout the year and staying connected through social media (i.e., Facebook, Skype, email).

Lastly, we take lots of pictures of the transformed bedroom with the smiling recipient and exhausted, but HAPPY and FULFILLED, volunteers!

Even more special than the actual tasks undertaken before and during the makeover, is the special bonding that happens between the volunteers, not only with each other, but with the recipient and family members. It is such a beautiful experience for all and very often the volunteers become cherished friends of the recipient and his/her family. It is not unusual for Blissful Bedrooms volunteers to return to the recipient’s home for birthday parties or attend other special events in his/her life.