How I Revamped My Bedroom At No Cost Whatsoever
When Joe and I made the decision that we would sell our house in Reading which we'd been renting out for two years and buy something here in York, Rightmove was on permanent refresh on our phones. My inbox was constantly full of totally unsuitable properties that barely fell into our criteria and I spent my life swearing at Estate Agents, who had our full wish list but then phoned us with two bedroom maisonettes in Selby. It was quite frustrating. My dream was to live in central York in one of those amazing four storey Edwardian townhouses but my family had other ideas. There were two reasons for this. One, these types of houses rarely have any gardens to speak of and with two boys who literally lived and breathed the beautiful game, they were vetoed before I even got through the door. And two, Joe works in the motor trade and changes his car the way I change my underwear (that's regularly, before you question it) so off street parking was an absolute essential. I cannot tell you how many gorgeous houses I tried to drag him around, telling him a permit parking situation was SO easy, only to get there to find that the only place to park was a mile away and next to a dodgy takeaway.
This house didn't appear on our searches because it was in a village. In the COUNTRYSIDE. As a City girl, the C word was one I had never even considered before. As a family, we were renowned in Caversham as being the least outdoorsy people in Berkshire. We once visited the Lake District with only Havianas and Superstars on our feet. We barely walk the dog. But after a few test runs, we realised that it was possible to reach the bright lights of York centre in ten minutes and even better, it was in the children's secondary catchment area so they would be entitled not only to a free bus, but it would collect them from literally outside our front door. It seemed perfect.
We came and viewed the house on Ella's birthday and from the moment we drove up the drive, we were totally sold. Like in a completely, we can never live anywhere else type of way. It had everything we wanted and more and unbelievably was almost £100k less than the price we had sold our Reading semi for. Madness. But one of the main selling points was that it had a master bedroom suite.
Now, bear in mind that the previous house that we had lived in for the past year was much smaller and when we'd moved into it, I had decided that I would no longer own any furniture that I didn't actually like. Unfortunately, what this meant was that I had recklessly sold ALL the wardrobes on eBay and Joe and I had been living with our clothes in plastic boxes under our bed for twelve months. It was transience taken to new limits. Add this to the fact that I am a woman who does not iron. For this, I blame my mum who didn't even own an ironing board until 1992 and used to iron everything on the floor. I wash, I tumble dry, I fold, I leave in a pile in the utility room. Until the situation gets so bad that no one has any pants in their rooms. By this point, the pile is huge and no longer folded as they have all gone in furious that they can't find any pants and destroyed it. So, combine my poor housekeeping skills with the no wardrobe due to my impulsive flogging situation, you can imagine that the plastic boxes were the cause of very many arguments.
We viewed this house and Joe fell in love. It had dressing rooms. Yes, not just one dressing room. It had TWO dressing rooms. One each. And in addition to this, it had a ridiculous en suite with not only a walk in shower and a jacuzzi, but a television. Seriously. The kids were literally having palpitations. SOLD to the Dawson family.
I immediately decided that in order to fit in with the super glam bathroom, Hotel bedroom chic was the way forward. The walls were already a stone colour so after hours of Pinteresting, I went for tones of the same colour. Above the fireplace, I created a monochrome gallery wall and put the Prada print above the bed. Up went the Maskros IKEA light. Two huge matching bedside lamps from Homesense completed the room. That was about it, to be honest. There wasn't anything wrong with it, it looked sleek and Hotel like, it was inoffensive. Joe liked it. Instagram liked it, it was a full room winner whenever I posted it. But I wasn't happy. It felt too bland, too matchy matchy. I couldn't justify a colour change as, including the dressing rooms, it was too big a space and cost too much money.
So I decided on a revamp. A revamp involving no money else I would be totally bollocked for spending in January, financially the worst month of the year for all. So after a bad start on Wednesday, when I rushed Leo to school at 8.30 am only to find it was shut for a teacher training day, I decided I was going to go for it. I strapped Leo to the Playstation for a FIFA16 fest and this is what I did.
1. Changed The Bedding
If I'm going to be brutally honest, this is not something I do often. As mentioned above, my household skills are not the greatest and if Kim and Aggie ever visited, I'd be outed within seconds of them coming through the door. Our bedding was white(ish) so after a quick perusal of the H&M Home brochure, I found a set covered in hydrangeas, my favourite plant, so it seemed like fate. Plus it was black so wouldn't need washing so often. Result. I kept the original throw and hung it over the end of the bed.
2. Stripped The Walls
I would absolutely recommend this if you want to revamp a room. It does involve you having to temporarily ignore the fact that you have previously totally ballsed up the wall surface by knocking picture nails into it and pulling bits of plaster out, but it's worth it. I am slightly obsessed with art prints as you've probably already realised so I did a trawl of my house. I kept the ones that had already been above the bedroom fireplace and added some extras from downstairs. A new gallery wall was created above the bed. Because I don't have enough gallery walls in my house, obvs.
3. Attempted Creativity
I had been desperate to attempt a wall hanging (as seen on the very gorgeous Boho By Lauren feed) for ages and had already ordered the wool and dye, plus I had found a piece of wood that was perfect for the purpose. Our New Years Eve was pretty raucous - 10 adults, 13 children, one dog and a puppy had produced a house that looked equally as if it had been burgled and the site of a dirty protest. After not going to bed until 5.00 am, I duly decided that the next day was the perfect time to start a craft project. This actually turned out to be the most therapeutic, calming thing I'd done all year. That was the weaving part. The dying was a different situation that involved me hysterically shouting 'FFS' every ten seconds and panicking that my fingers and bath would be stained black forever. But it did work (sort of). The grey is more of a diarrhoea poo colour and the strands keep sticking together in clumps but for a first attempt, it was okay. So I put it above our bed. Whereby Joe announced it was like sleeping underneath the hair of the woman from The Ring. So rude.
4. Repurposed Stuff
Joe spends his entire life moaning that he doesn't have enough space on his bedside table (a 1960's drinks trolley). So I moved the antique blanket box from the end of our bed to his side and created a space large enough for his essentials, AKA superfluous gadget shit. I put his drinks trolley on to my side of the bed which was much bigger than what I had there before. Everyone's a winner.
5. Became A Plant Lady (Sort Of)
I do not have the greenest of fingers (in fact, as of Wednesday they are now dyed black) but aided by my mother in laws partner, Barry, Clapham's answer to Capability Brown, I have started to build a selection of house plants that astonishingly remain alive. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about outdoors - only last week, Barry had to drive up on a mercy mission and rescue an almost dead palm tree and take it home with him for resucitation. But I have learned over the last year or so that a plant is for life, not just for Christmas and at last count I was a plant owner of 15. So I moved a couple of cactus and a Bird Of Paradise up to our bedroom and added a Kew Gardens touch to the decor.
6. Did Some Restyle Faffing
As with the walls, I removed all the general tat. I hadn't thought that hard about accessories when I originally styled the room but this time, it was serious. So again, I trawled my house for some favourite pieces that I thought would fit in well. You'll know that green, unless you've been living in a cave, is the Pantone Colour Of The Year and one of my favourites, so I added a glass pineapple to the fireplace together with some stacked books and a favourite print by Shaylene Reynolds. I swapped the grey based Hotel stylie lamps for the pair of green bamboo lamps that were previously downstairs, total bargains at £20 each that I bought from Homesense Clearance area.
7. Blinged Up The Bedside
Joe's side was enhanced by a gold peanut (he was delighted, obvs) and a cactus together with his collection of gadget shit. I have no idea why he needs two iPads, an iPhone, an Apple Watch, a Nike Fuel Band, a Pace Tracker and seven chargers but apparently he does. My side was updated with a Harvey Nicks candle and my Kindle, plus this amazing Sleep spray that I got for Christmas that you spray on your pillow and you miraculously nod off. Or I may be getting confused with wine. NB: Currently on my underused Kindle is Never Google Heartbreak by my amazeballs and hilarious friend Emma Garcia - if you haven't read it, read it now because it's about to be made into a film starring Lauren Cohen from The Walking Dead. I'm a mine of useful information.
8. Tried To Ignore The 55" TV
Televisions are a massive bone of contention in our house. I hate them, Joe is obsessed. When we moved the dining table into the grey room, the excessively massive, 55" television that was on the wall became defunct. So he moved it into our bedroom and stuck it on the wall. Bedrooms should be calm, relaxing and zen like. Ours is akin to a drive in cinema. The kids have cabled up the Playstation and I'm regularly woken at 5.30 am to the dulcet tones of FIFA16. It's truly shocking. I considered posting a picture here but I couldn't bring myself to do it.
So I'm still not 100% happy with my bedroom - in an ideal, lottery winning world, I would paper the wall behind the bed with something amazing and paint the rest white - but I definitely like it a lot more than I did before. I need colour and the monochrome, for me, just didn't cut it. Hotel stylie isn't my comfort zone. Sometimes I think it's hard to make the right decorating decisions first time, it takes a while to work out exactly what you need to make the space your own. But repurposing furniture and moving different accessories in and out can totally transform your space with absolutely minimum cost. And it's lots of fun too which is what it should all be about. Now I just need to eBay the television when Joe's not looking.