Transforming a bedroom

See how a dated space was transformed into an elegant room full of character

TODO alt text

With her DIY know-how and an eye for vintage finds, Deborah Smith has turned a dated space into an elegant room full of character

‘When I moved into my house six years ago, my bedroom looked stuck in the 1980s,’ remembers Deborah. ‘The room resembled a dingy B&B, with fitted MDF storage along two walls, false wooden beams and a flimsy plastic rail holding up net curtains. The ceiling was a mess of damp patches and dated artex, the beige carpet was worn, plus there were skirting boards missing and holes in the plaster.’

The space also felt small and closed-in, despite its substantial footprint and large bay window. ‘I lived with the room for more than five years while I finished off the rest of my house, before deciding to dedicate a couple of long weekends to its total refurbishment,’ explains Deborah. As a competent DIYer, Deborah was keen to take on most of the work herself – sanding fl oorboards, painting walls and wallpapering. She started by removing the storage units, revealing several holes in the walls where the the original skirting had been removed by the previous owners. ‘When I pulled down the false beams, large chunks of the ceiling started to fall away. A whole section in the bay window dropped to the fl oor,’ recalls Deborah. ‘Luckily, I’d already obtained a quote from a plasterer to skim over the entire ceiling, so fortunately this unforeseen disaster didn’t cost me any additional expense.’

Having ripped up the carpet, Deborah hired a sander to restore the fl oorboards. ‘It only took a couple of hours of sanding, but it took almost a whole day to clean away the dust,’ she laughs. The fl oor was then handpainted with several coats of varnish to create a clean, classic look.

The whole room was painted in brilliant white matt emulsion, creating a blank shell before Deborah started wallpapering. ‘I wanted a bold feature wall along the far side of the space so that it would be the fi rst thing you could see when you walked through the door,’ says Deborah. ‘To help me decide on the fi nal design, I stuck several wallpaper samples on to the wall. However, when I saw them next to each other it gave me the idea of creating a patchwork wall.’ Although the design has undoubtedly had a great impact on the room, the decision proved to be an expensive one as Deborah bought seven rolls of wallpaper to create the look.

‘It took me about a day to paper the wall, as I took so long to decide where to position each piece. I had intended to keep the remaining walls white, but when I fi nished wallpapering, the rest of the room appeared too stark,’ says Deborah.

‘I dashed to the shops and bought a tin of taupe-grey matt emulsion, which I used on the walls behind the bed and around the door. Although it was an impulse decision, I’m glad I did it, as the colour has given the room a warmer, cosier look.’

Deborah chose blackout blinds and heavy, ready-made linen curtains in neutral shades to brighten up the scheme. ‘I also restored a vintage chair I already owned, which now sits beautifully alongside my console table in the bay to create a smart desk area,’ explains Deborah.

‘I had set aside a large portion of my budget to spend on a good-quality mattress made from natural materials that would help with my allergies,’ she continues. ‘The vintage bed frame was a £50 online bargain, so I could afford to invest £800 in a mattress by Vi-Spring, and it was worth every penny.’ With the bed dressed with white bedlinen and an appliqué throw, Deborah has succeeded in creating the luxurious look and feel of a high-end hotel bedroom.

‘As the majority of my budget went on the walls and bed, I scoured secondhand shops around Hove to source the fi nishing touches,’ she says. ‘I bought items that I knew I would be able to paint or restore myself. I would have loved to replace my existing chest of drawers, but instead I gave it a fresh coat of paint and replaced the old handles with new ones from Zara Home.’ An eclectic collection of old and new plates have been hung in a circle pattern to create another unique feature. The metal shelves were the fi nal fi nishing touch, and give the illusion that the books displayed are floating on the wall.

‘I love the result,’ smiles Deborah. ‘I’m delighted that I’ve managed to create a stylish, cosy bedroom full of character, and I’m especially pleased that it has the light and spacious feel I wanted.’


Furniture and accessories£2,463
Paint and wallpaper£446
Labour and building materials£168