I knew I was pulling up the carpet because it was destroyed by the Bad Cat. I had already ripped it out in the hallway leading to this room. So I used the carpet as a drop cloth for weeks, painting the shelves in the wall unit and the seven closet doors. I have no saw horses or a place to store saw horses, so I used cardboard boxes. It was SO NICE not worrying about drips. I also spray painted two thrift store lamps in Rustoleum's Key Lime, after cleaning them and giving them a rough sand. I sanded outside but painted inside because logic.
**Probably don't spray paint in your house. Especially in a room with only one very small window.
But again, it was nice getting spray paint all over the carpet like a gangster. PROTIP: Tape plastic bags around the cord. Stuff the bit where the lightbulb goes with paper towels and tape over that. Tape around the off/on switch. And spray everything else, lots of light coats.
I did fashion cardboard box walls to protect my freshly painted actual walls. I'm not a savage.
This was the ugly builder-grade drop ceiling.
And now this is the ceiling after installing cool new tiles that fit right under the original ones.
It cost less than $300 to do the whole room, and Ceilume was great, both product and customer-service wise. I originally called for a sample because I wanted to feel the weight difference between the cheapest ones and the more expensive ones. I expected something the size of a paint chip, but they sent me actual 2' x 4' tiles as a free sample -- one of each. (You can see them in the 'ugly' version above.) I was able to install them and decide which I preferred. (I went with the cheaper version because I knew I was leaving the original foamy tiles up, but there is definitely a difference in quality.) They do have a 25 panel minimum for orders, but I only needed one of the translucent tiles where the light should shine through. I called and they sent that one along as a free sample, even though I offered to pay for it. Installation only took me a few hours, mainly because I had to cut so many of them. They look great, and completely updated the room. I cannot say enough good about this company. (They have no idea that I am typing this on the internet. I just really recommend them.)
Also, the bookcases got some paint, the window got some fabric, and here we are in April.
Still a huge mess, but coming together.