Before and after: from dumping ground to two-in-one spare room

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  • A good dose of TLC has transformed a formerly underused space into a welcoming guest room and inspiring home office

    As with many rented homes, the biggest problem the tenant faced when she moved in was its lack of character. ‘The walls were magnolia and there were cream carpets throughout’ she says. ‘On top of that, it’s a fairly new building, so there are no period features. Luckily, the landlord allowed me to paint the walls and put nails in, so I could start to make it feel homely and decorate it more to my taste.’

    For the first six months, the spare bedroom was used as a dumping ground, but the occupier knew she needed to make better use of the space. ‘Once I had cleaned the room out, I painted the walls white, which instantly made everything feel brighter and larger,’ she says.

    After bedroom SAH Apr p86 Jackson

    The room was then designed so it is split into two sections – a bedroom area for guests to stay, then an office area for working from home. Keeping the bed on one side made the best use of the space and meant there was a clear wall to sit the desk against without it intruding on visitors’ comfort. ‘I wanted both areas to feel distinctive in terms of their looks, but still work well together,’ says the tenant.

    Desk 3 SAH Apr p86 Jackson

    The room is a mix of new and old pieces that have been given an update to fit in with the scheme. ‘I inherited the rocking chair from my grandmother and upcycled it by using chalk furniture paint to create a dip-dyed effect on the legs,’ says the occupier. ‘I love how it has become a feature.’

    Chair SAH Apr p86 Jackson

    The bed, which was a hand-me-down from a friend, was also given a thrifty update with the addition of a white headboard. It has made the ordinary divan more luxurious and ties it in with the rest of the white furniture in the room.


    As the tenant works from home, she wanted the home office area to be inspiring. ‘The chic Scandi-style desk goes perfectly with the white walls and modern scheme,’ she says. ‘However, I needed more storage, so I bought an Ikea filing cabinet and spray-painted the handles gold.’

    Desk 2 SAH Apr p86 Jackson

    The fun bit of decorating a room is always putting together the finishing touches and the occupier was in her element styling the room. Accessories give the home-office area lots of character and the shelves are great for adding personal touches. ‘My Ikea picture ledges above the desk are perfect for displaying framed prints, which I often buy as printables from Etsy, so I can easily update them,’ says the tenant.

    Having transformed the spare room within the limitations of a rented home, the occupier now loves spending time in here doing her work, and hosting friends and family. ‘I’m very glad to have said goodbye to the magnolia walls and put my own stamp on the scheme,’ she says.

    Get the look

    Buy now: Colours Absolute White emulsion, £17.63 for 2.5ltr, B&Q

    Buy now: white slat headboard, £92.50, Cuba desk, £181.99, and stag head, £76.99, all Wayfair

    Buy now: Peony double bedding set, £70, Joules

    Buy now: Palm leaves poster, £15.99, green plant poster, £15.99, and gold frames, £20.99 each, all Desenio

    Buy now: cushions, from £3.50 each, Mosslanda picture ledges, from £4.50 each, Hemnes bedside table, £40, Helmer drawer unit, £25, Tejn faux-fur rug, £10, all Ikea

    Buy now: similar bedside lamp, Dunelm

    Buy now: similar pink throw, Linens Ltd

    Buy now: similar desk chair, The Conran Shop

    This bedroom originally appeared in Style at Home, April 2017

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