Before and after: Step inside this bedroom sanctuary-meets-calming work space

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  • After this couple moved into their two-bedroom Georgian flat in Bristol, along with their six-year-old son, they realised that their bedroom was gradually becoming a dumping ground for all kinds of clutter. They put it down to the space being the biggest room in the flat, but knew they needed to resolve the way the space was designed. ‘Nothing really matched as we were using old pieces of furniture. So basically the room just wasn’t working for us and desperately needed a complete overhaul,’ they say.

    As well as being a place to sleep, the couple wanted their bedroom to be a peaceful sanctuary – ‘a stylish room we felt good about, not the jumbled, cluttered, untidy space it was.’ And as one half of the couple is a professional blogger, she thought the large room would be a great space to create a work area too.

    The unloved bedroom was given a new lease of life when an interiors company asked if the couple wanted to test out a revolutionary new product – British Gypsum’s Thistle Magnetic Plaster. ‘I was spurred on to start a full makeover,’ says one of the pair. ‘In the end I decided to use the magnetic plaster on the wall behind our bed so that I can change pictures regularly without having to drill and fill in holes.’ Before that, though, they had to decide how they wanted the rest of the room to look.

    The first step was to declutter, which created more space. ‘I went around the room deciding what was no longer needed and what could be sold or recycled. I sold many items on Gumtree, Facebook and eBay, which boosted our budget!’

    They then made sure that everything had its place, in order to keep the space calm long term. This shelving unit not only helps to organise the bedroom, but its light profile means that, despite its size, it does not encroach on the rest of the space. ‘It’s great for our art books and other bits and pieces, while the white storage boxes add uniformity,’ say the couple.

    In terms of the look and feel of the space, Scandi influences were the starting point for much of the decor in the bedroom – muted tones and natural materials are prominent throughout. ‘We used magnetic plaster, which is a type of plaster that allows you to turn any wall into a magnetic surface. It’s great because you can hang anything, from pictures to shelves, on it by adding a magnetic strip to the back.’

    They painted the walls over this, in a soothing shade of pink. ‘My husband wasn’t convinced about having the entire room painted pink, but as it’s just a soft blush shade it works well.’ The gently pretty hue was offset with grey and neutral accessories, such as the patterned throws on the bed. ‘They’re actually large oversized scarves – I wear them in winter, but they also look great on the bed!’

    The soft blush hue also works well with stronger design features, such as the original fireplace with its teal and mustard tiling. A mantelpiece display – featuring original prints, a light box and personal treasures – softens the impact, and dominance of the cast-iron fireplace. As far as a stand-in for a wall-hung picture shelf goes, this mantelpiece makes an ideal display space in the rented property.

    In addition to their preferred cool Scandi design style, the couple’s interest in sustainable design influenced a lot of their decorating decisions.

    ‘I’ll always reuse or revamp an item if I can,’ says one of the couple. ‘For example, I painted a second-hand wooden chest white and now use it as a bedside table. On my husband’s side of the bed, I used a Habitat side bench we had in the dining room.’ They then introduced plants and botanical pictures, such as a the vibrant framed palm print, to bring a sense of the outside in.


    This penchant for projects the required handiwork and smart solutions weren’t just limited to upcycled bedroom storage; they point out that ‘Instead of a table lamp, we made this simple light fitting.’

    This contemporary bedside lamp, constructed from a lighting cable and wall bracket, was an inspired, functional project that fit with the overall theme of the room. Not least the working area.

    ‘As I wanted an office space within the bedroom, it was important I create a calming environment suitable for both working and sleeping,’ says one of the owners.
    This work bench is narrow, so it doesn’t jut out into the room. ‘When I add a mirror, it works as a dressing table, too.’

    In addition the golden wood-and-white finish and clean ceramic and glass accessories fit with the Scandi theme elsewhere in the room, making this area a serene workspace.

    ‘Now the bedroom is finished it’s become our favourite room – it’s so calming,’ say the couple. ‘In the evening, when we have soft lights on around the fireplace, the colour scheme is warm and embracing and during the day it’s bright and airy. We’re really pleased with what we’ve achieved.’

    Shopping list

    Bed frame, £295, Wayfair

    Desk, £75, Ikea

    Similar shelving, £1,525, Funktion Alley

    Storage boxes, £40 for 4, A Place For Everything

    Magnetic plaster, Rooms Made For You

    Pink Ground Estate Emulsion, £43.50 for 2.5l, Farrow & Ball

    Similar side table, £149, La Redoute

    Lamp, £75, Loaf

    Similar throw, from £24.99, H&M

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