Greetings test subjects! If you’re here to read more about how I designed my Portal bedroom, just scroll on down, and it’ll drag you through the many many steps I took to get to completion. If, however, you could care less about how I did it, and just want to look at the finished pictures,  under the navigation bar are three “Finished (Part I – III)” tabs. You can click through those to get all the science that you seek. While not nearly as exciting or video-game themed, I did also include a few pictures of some of my past “Interior design” projects that I’ve attempted over the years (my room-designing attempts started all the way back in elementary school!)

If you have any additional questions that you would like to ask, feel free to contact me, and I’ll try to respond as soon as possible!

Thanks for visiting, and enjoy!

The Beginning

So, like I mentioned before, most of my life I’ve always enjoyed interior design. Even as a kid I always wanted to repaint my room a new “theme” every few years or so. I’d try themes such as “ocean” or “jungle,” although starting out that basically meant the walls were sponge-painted different colors, then I’d add some related wallpaper border. During high school/college years, I changed my themes to a more modern look, but kept things pretty generic, so if I moved, I could reuse most of the decor. During and right after college, I had roommates, so I tried to keep things toned down enough that they would like it too (I’ve uploaded a few of these in a separate page on this site if you’re interested)

About a year ago, my roommate got married, and I took the opportunity to find my own place (without any roommates). I found an awesome loft apartment (I’ve always wanted to live in a loft), which came with brand new everything: new appliances, new carpet, new white walls. I thought “Okay, this is my place, I can decorate it however I want… I want to challenge myself to see how awesome I can decorate!”

I wanted to step away from the generic “squares” or “blue and green” theme, and actually try to do an actual “theme.” But was at a loss as to what to do.

The idea hit me when I was wandering through a modern furniture store and saw this:

Infinity Mirror

It’s called an “infinity mirror,” and it blew my mind. I thought it was so cool! And around the same time I found this, I’d finally gotten around to playing Portal 2, so I already had Portal on the brain, so I put  two and two together and thought “A PORTAL ROOM!”

I looked all over the internet to see if anybody else had designed a Portal-themed bedroom yet that I could get some inspiration from. I found a few rooms, and some of them were pretty cool, but I just couldn’t find one that I absolutely loved. So I issued myself a challenge: To design from scratch a Portal-themed bedroom that while obviously Portal, would also be aesthetically-pleasing enough that any non-gamer could still look at it and go “Hey, that’s a really neat looking room!” rather than “what’s up with all the weird stuff on the walls?”

At this point in time, I had no intention of including infinity mirrors, mainly because the ones I found for sale were shockingly expensive. So even though the infinity mirror inspired me, I set that piece to the side, not realizing in the end, I’d have (what I think) are the coolest infinity mirrors to ever have been made!

Blank Slate

So I started with a completely empty room, which was great for planning what I should do. Obviously I ran into many designing bumps along the way… figuring out how “Portal” to go, what would look cool, what would look too cheesy. But here’s just some basic shots to show you how empty it was when I started:




I knew I wanted the “panels” like are in the game, so I measured the walls, and tried to evenly break them up into the “panels.” Due to the size of some of the walls, there were a few inches variance on some of them, but in the end, I don’t think it’s possible to tell which ones are larger/smaller. I also knew I wanted a trail of blue dots, and orange dots, and I wanted them to be across the room from one another (for balance), but didn’t figure out exactly where until later.

The Materials

The Paint Colors!

All right, so everything above is what I used. I used Behr brand paint (the Premium Plus Paint and Primer in One, just cause that’s what I always use and it’s never let me down.)

I agonized over what shade I should paint my walls. There’s such a stark contrast between the Portal 1 and 2 room designs. Portal 1 has white, surgically-clean chambers, while Portal 2 has a more rugged run-down feel, especially in the “retro” testing rooms. I knew I would probably never be able to recreate the sharp appearance of the Portal 1 rooms without it looking cheesy, so I decided to aim more towards the Portal 2/retro testing chamber theme. I found quite a bit of Portal 2 props and artwork online, and found plenty from the “Cave Johnson” era, so I figured I could make this happen.

To match the run-down look, I aimed more towards a warm gray tone for the walls. For the base color, I went with a color called “Perfect Taupe,” then picked 1 and 2 shades darker for the lines/blending. “Elephant Skin” was the medium color, and “Mined Coal” was the darkest color. For the panels, I used the medium colors to dry-brush a wide area of shading, then went in with the darker color to do a straight line. I thought about using black, but in the end, thought this look alone gave me enough of a “panel” appearance.

The Orange and blue colors were tough to decide on as well. When you play the game Portal and look at the colors used, there are all kinds of shades. There’s the yellow-orange (the dots), then the red-orange (the jumpsuit). There’s the sky-blue (the dots), then the more aqua color (various artwork). I decided to go with a richer color for each, and decided if it was too much I could just mix white into the colors to lighten them. The blue was a Behr-brand color called “Azurean,” but the Portal orange I actually got off a WalMart paint chip, and had Home Depot color-match it.

I was able to paint my whole room with a gallon and one quart of the base color, and I only needed a quart for the medium color, and the sample sizes jars for the rest.

In addition to the standard paint tools, I decided to invest in a Laser level that has a push-pin on it that you can stick into the wall and have it map out your lines for painting. This. Saved. My. Life! I don’t know how long it would have taken me, and how crooked the lines would have looked, had I not used this tool. At $18, it was worth it.

So there you have it, my arsenal of Portal-creating tools!

The Finishing Touches

So the next images I have are with almost everything completed (again, sorry for the lack of in-progress shots… I really do just start, and then don’t stop until it’s almost done!). For the Portal dots, I used the lid of one of the paint-sample jars, made a stencil, and used the laser level to map out where the circles needed to line up. Then I drew the circles on, painted them the base color, did a bit of highlighting (lightened a bit of the paint with the white), then outlined them in black paint, and called them good!

Finishing Touches

The Furniture

While my goal was to be “Portal-themed,” I’m still such a sucker for modern art, my goal was to still try to keep a clean look with all the furniture. Thankfully, I already had most of the furniture, and didn’t buy anything specifically to match the “Portal room.” Any furniture I had/bought, I got because I like the modern/black look.

Prepac BrisbaneThis collection is called “Prepac Brisbane Collection.” When I initially purchased my furniture, I was able to get a twin-sized frame, the headboard, the foot-storage (although the one I got was a bit longer than what they sell in the collection now), a nightstand, and the dresser, through Walmart.com, all for $500.

But obviously, the twin-sized frame had been what I bought when I was living in a smaller apartment with less space, and now that I had a place of my own, could finally upgrade.

I looked for weeks and weeks to find a nice basic platform bed (it’s hard to find one that isn’t too large or expensive). I finally found one that I liked at Ikea:

Malm Bed FrameThis IKEA Malm bed frame cost $200 ($150 + $50 for the bed slats, as IKEA likes to do). They had this style in a low and high frame-style. I chose the low-style, because I thought it helped make the room look larger, and worked better with having the Chell poster centered above it.

So furniture-wise, I had the queen-size platform frame, one nightstand, one dresser, and the foot-locker-storage thing, which I slightly altered:


I cut out foam board squares, then sketched out various Portal “warning signs” (Which I see everywhere in-game), then got some cheap bookends from Walmart, and taped them to the bookends.

FootlockerUnfortunately, throughout this design process, I never came up with a satisfactory “Companion cube” for my room, so for now I settled with a “Falling cube”  warning sign (it’s not quite a companion cube, but it’s better than nothing I suppose!)

And that’s all for the furniture!