Basement bedroom – a classic scheme with neutrals

Simple interior design touches were used to bring a light, relaxed style to the bedroom of Nicky Ryder's two-bedroom, Victorian basement apartment in Notting Hill

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Simple interior design touches were used to bring a light, relaxed style to the bedroom of Nicky Ryder’s two-bedroom, Victorian basement apartment in Notting Hill.

The master bedroom was the last room that I updated after moving into my flat,’ recalls Nicky. ‘It was outdated and drab, making it a very unwelcoming space to be in. I am so busy with my career that I was desperate to have a relaxing space to come home to, like my own private sanctuary.

‘The bedroom hadn’t been decorated for many years, well before I bought the flat,’ she adds. ‘I inherited a room with dark, dusty walls, peeling paintwork, worn carpet and really bad lighting. The window’s woodwork was covered in a mildew-type mould, with filthy glass, and the net curtains were greying. It all created quite an oppressive atmosphere and wasn’t very conducive to a good night’s sleep!’

Fact file

The owner: Nicky Ryder, a professional horse rider

As Nicky’s home is a basement flat, creating an inviting scheme that would maximise the limited natural light was crucial to the success of the space. Before she could finalise the new colour, however, Nicky had to remove all the existing wallpaper, revealing damaged, uneven walls. ‘They were in such poor condition that I had to employ someone to re-plaster the room for me, which was a cost I hadn’t foreseen when I started the project,’ she admits. ‘I did manage to track down a friend of a friend, who had done some plastering work for me in my old house,and they offered me a good rate for the work. Thankfully it didn’t end up costing me as much as I first thought.’

Once the room was stripped back to a bare shell and the newly plastered walls had dried thoroughly, Nicky could begin the task of decorating. ‘I chose simple Cream paint by Farrow & Ball, as I wanted to create a neutral backdrop rather than having a statement wall, which so many people go for now,’ she explains. ‘I felt that a statement wall could make the space feel quite cramped, and the aim of this project was to create the feeling of as much space as possible.’

To add interest to her scheme, Nicky decided that using wall stickers would be an easy way to introduce subtle detail on the main wall behind her bed. Inexpensive and easy to apply, they help to break up the expanse of wall. ‘I chose the gorgeous oversized cow parsley motif as it’s a really simple design but adds an element of style,’ she says

The previous owner had fitted net curtains for privacy, but, as this is a basement flat with private access, and the bedroom window isn’t visible from outside, Nicky decided it was unnecessary to have anything permanently obscuring the window. ‘Instead of restricting what natural light there was, I wanted to allow it to flood in,’ she says. ‘I had some Roman blinds made instead, and went for a pretty duck-egg blue fabric. As well as creating a neat fi nish, the blinds help to give the room a softer, more feminine edge.’

The furniture in the bedroom has evolved over time rather than being planned. An eclectic mix of old and new, it is a combination of special pieces that Nicky has inherited over the years or picked up in sales or local antique shops. ‘My parents have passed on a few gorgeous pieces over the year, which has saved me the cost of having to buy all new furniture for my home. I wanted to save as much money as possible on this project while creating a very neutral, calm, relaxing atmosphere with a hotel-like feel, which would also match the décor throughout the flat,’ says Nicky. ‘The only extravagant buy in here is my gorgeous new bed, which I adore. Elegant in its simplicity, it was a real indulgence for me.’

During the project, which took just over three weeks to complete, Nicky slept in her spare bedroom. ‘I love the space now as it has the relaxed feel that I wanted to create,’ she says. ‘As a professional horse rider who spends a lot of time in the saddle, in stable yards and driving the horse lorry to and from competitions, this room is the antithesis of my day-to-day life, which is exactly what I set out to achieve.’

The costs

Butterfly picture£200
Wall stickers£50