Okay, I’ll admit, although we didn’t spend money on this room, we did use a lot leftover from other projects/rooms so there IS that. This is therefore probably more of a ‘using what you have’ post. But it has been a real lesson in realising a space that we probably would’ve written off as ‘unuseable’ previously. Yes, it was a bit grim and had that funny musty smell when we first moved in but actually, it was probably one of the cleanest rooms in the house in terms of original renovations.
What we loved about this house when we moved in was the generous size of all the rooms, it’s very fair in shape and this room was a great size which just wasn’t being utilised. But we also didn’t want to spend money on it as we are currently saving (and remortgaging) for the kitchen, which is a much more useful and important project for us.
Frustratingly, the ‘Before’ pictures of this room don’t look so bad, as the sun was streaming through the windows and we didn’t even take pictures before our ‘stuff’ was removed. Because before this picture, you couldn’t even step foot in this room – it was filled with boxes, rails of clothes and a lot of our belongings from the move. It was the equivalent of Monica’s cupboard of junk in ‘Friends’. I was at breaking point with stuff and we came to the relatisation that we couldn’t have friends to stay (or more importantly, grandparents to babysit!) with this room as it was. So we finally got ourselves in gear and cleared everything into other rooms (or the loft) in order to decorate. We had a double bed in our loft, with space underneath for storage, and it could easily make this another useable room. We had loads of half finished paint tins downstairs from other rooms, too. What exactly were we waiting for?
The floor was half covered with 1960s vinyl flooring which, turns out, was so easy to pull up! The wallpaper is apparently in fashion now but it was in bad condition so we scraped it back, then filled in the holes. My dad helped with this on a weekend, he did warn us it would be better to plaster the entire wall – but, we kept reminding him that it was simply to have a room to sleep in and feel clean, we didn’t want to put ‘too’ much energy into this project. Because eventually we will do this room properly, I would love to have some wardrobes in here and we are thinking we could potentially extend out one day with the kitchen renovations (that’s a whole other story!), but until then, this is a perfectly good room and didn’t need too much hard work.
Obviously, the highlight was the hidden fireplace. It was boarded up when we moved in, and this room has been wall to wall with boxes and never did we even imagine there might be something lovely behind the board. If I’m honest, I was more worried the boards were blocking off a gaping hole or something!
I definitely let out a squeal of rejoice when I saw it! There is actually a false wall here as well, as the fireplace should come out of the wall more, but we chose to leave any complicated works or anything that wasn’t cruial to another time. We had to be smart here – the aim was not to spend too much energy if it wasn’t necessary.
Workwise, we stripped the wallpaper (I say ‘we’ but I was pregnant at the time being sick in bed, so Chris did the majority of it!), filled in the holes, sanded the floor gently (as we knew we were painting them) and then painted the walls, woodwork and floors. The works took around two weeks to complete, working weekends and most nights.
After the rest of our renovations, we had a lot of half used tins of paint. Yes, it’s good to keep some for touch ups but there comes a point where you realise you don’t want to spend the rest of your life painting touch ups and often, when you go to do them the paint has dried up or gone off (yep, this can happen!). And there is only so much paint we wanted to store in our loft – so we went through any tins that had enough that was useable for entire walls etc and worked out the colour scheme that way. We had a lot of white floor paint leftover from our hall, white eggshell from our bedroom, and half a tin of grey paint from the middle bedroom (which is now Peggy’s room!). I love ‘Manor House Grey’ but when we had Peggy I decided to change it up and use a pink instead. We had enough to do two walls here and then left the remainder white.
We painted the fireplace with Rustoleum furniture paint in ‘Graphite’, which we had left from our bedroom fireplace – it has a lovely chalky finish and painting a fireplace dark really makes it ping.
Up close it is by no means perfect. There are bits of skirting missing, scuffs and bumps and we should really have done an extra layer of paint but it looks fine and is clean, liveable and useable. Just being able to keep the door to this room open does wonders for your soul, we have more light streaming through into our hall (which has no windows or natural light) and I’m not always telling Peggy off for her curious nature to explore rooms – she loves nothing more than coming in here and rollling around on the bed!
Furniture wise, these were all items we had when we moved in, the cabinet was from our old bedroom and this used to our bed in our last flat.
We hung up loads of pictures that we had leaning against walls on the floor downstairs, as they didn’t yet have a home, and it brought so much personality to the room. The curtains were ones we bought from H&M Home when we first moved in for our bedroom, before we realised that cream linen doesn’t keep any light out! But instead of throwing them, we knew they could be useful one day and in here, blackout isn’t so important, and they cover the not so chic, leaky windows. But I have been kindly asked to never open them, as the walls are so crumbly they might pull the entire rails down with them!
But all in all, we are so happy we committed to making this a lovely room, without throwing loads of money at it. It’s not exactly the perfect refurb but we love it and it has made our home feel much more coherent.
And not to mention all the crap I managed to store under this bed…!