Sunday, 14 July 2019

Room Tour: Bella's Bedroom

I feel like I've written about Bella's bedroom many times. From her six year old's bedroom in our old house in Leeds, to her quickly decorated new bedroom here when she was eight ,which we then updated two years later, and then updated again last summer. It was always a challenge to squeeze all her things into the smallest room in the house, with her needs ever changing. I should say that I never mind this constantly evolving bedroom situation; it gives us a chance to update and refresh the children's bedrooms, and it's unrealistic to expect a child's bedroom to never change, as what they need at six is so different to what they need at eleven, and sixteen.

What we've done is move Bella, who is twelve and a half, into what was the spare room downstairs, just off the hall and opposite the kitchen. This room was only really used if we had guests, or if I was doing the ironing. Wasted space, to put it mildly, while Bella was crammed into a box room upstairs.  From the spare room, an archway leads to a smaller room which we used to call the office but no-one ever worked in there, it was basically storage. 

Here are a few before and after photos of the spare room:

and the office area:

(When the house was built this smaller room was a utility room, accessed from the garage and with a door to the garden, but previous owners had blocked up the garage entrance and knocked through an archway, making it accessible from the house instead. So we had two awkwardly shaped but linked downstairs rooms which added up to quite a good sized bedroom.)

Over half term, we removed the laminate flooring from the spare room and the carpet from the office and used the same flooring that we have in the hall and living room, largely because we had so much left over that we only needed to buy another couple of packs. Straight away, using the same flooring throughout made the space look like one room rather than two. We also boxed in the upvc window frame, moved a couple of light switches and redecorated. 

As much as possible we tried to reuse what we already had, buying new only when we absolutuely had to. Another IKEA Billy Bookcase (I could assemble these in my sleep now) was added to the one that was already there, so that Bella finally has enough space for all her books and those storage boxes which are ideal for storing small toys, craft supplies etc.

I updated Bella's six year old desk (the Micke desk from IKEA) by covering all the pink metalwork and trim with copper spray paint and turning it into a dressing table. It was no longer big enough for her to use as a desk, so it's nice that it has a new purpose.

An old IKEA Frosta stool was given a face-lift with new cover made from a load of leftover scraps of yarn.

In between the door and bookcases hangs a gallery wall. All the prints were ones we already had, we just updated a few frames cheaply from IKEA and Wilkos. 

Bella is now using what was the "spare bed", rather than her old wooden one, because it's a trundle style bed with a pull-out mattress underneath, so perfect for sleepovers.

Most of the bedding and cushions we already had, although Bella chose to spend some of her pocket money on a new cushion and a mustard throw.

I added a garland made from leftover scraps of cotton and acrylic DK yarn.

Moving into the old "office", this now holds Bella's wardrobe and desk. It's an awkward room due to the boxed in pipework that runs along one long wall, so we decided to devote this wall to hanging storage, for her school blazer, bag etc.

At one end is space for a wardrobe, a bigger one than before because Bella does not have a chest of drawers to hold clothes, so everything is hung or stored in boxes in the wardrobe.

At the other end, under the window, sits the desk that was there before with the addition of a little chest of drawers underneath and a couple of shelves above. This desk (which we've had for about six years maybe) is plenty big enough for Bella to study at, with space for folders, laptop etc. Although I bet she will continue to use the kitchen table as she always does...

She arranged and styled everything herself, and these two shelves hold some of her most favourite things, so I'm relieved to see a couple of old handmade toys up there.

We bought two new lampshades, but I didn't mind this as we'd never updated the lighting in this room since we moved in four years ago.

We were able to reuse so many things; the curtains, desk and chair, a slim Billy bookcase, dressing table and stool, bedside table, bed, plus smaller things like storage boxes, prints and shelves. I'll provide links for everything we bought at the bottom of the post.

So you might be wondering about what kind of spare room we have now, and what about poor neglected Angus? Well, Angus has moved into Bella's bedroom, taking with him a huge wall map, his clothes, and about two hundred books. His old bedroom is now going to become a multi-use room, and it is going to work extremely hard! It will be the spare room when it needs to be, although we need to buy a sofa bed before we do anything else, so that we can put people up when they come to stay (or let them have our bed while we sleep on the sofa bed). But the sofa bed is also so that this room can become a sort of second sitting room, with somewhere for Bella, Angus and friends to play on the Xbox or watch a DVD. It still holds all Angus's toys in the large cupboards in the eves, so this is essentially his play room for now, which he is delighted about. ("It's like I've got two bedrooms mum!") And finally it will be an office, the room where we keep all our files, paperwork and printer, with a desk and chair. If any of you use these kind of spare room/offices/play rooms I'd really appreciate any tips on how best to get the space to work. I'm guessing it's one thing mainly: storage!

I hope you are all well? We've had the loveliest weekend, visiting lavender fields, picking fruit and enjoying the weather among other things, just taking it a bit easier than usual. It was much needed after a tough week last week, during which I was unwell with a horrible virus, no doubt something to do with end of term tiredness. Anway, five more days to go...

Product links:


  1. Bella's room is beautiful! Perfect for an almost-teen.

    The spare room, tho? You just know that when you need the space to do the income taxes--or write this blog, the kids will be deep in an XBox game, your college roommate will need a place to crash during her divorce, and Angus will have an attack of Lego creativity, etc etc. I can't imagine sharing an office space with my kids' playroom [not that they have,lol.] I know you'll make it work beautifully.

    1. Oh dear! Sadly, without building an extension, I don't have an option. Perhaps I should consider a desk in my bedroom....

  2. What a lovely room for a growing young lady. Well done to you both for an excellent makeover. As for spare room ideas, that's a hard one for me as with only us 2 oldies now, we're not juggling rooms with the kids anymore. I'll think about how we may have worked things as the 3 were growing up & drop you a line. Take care.

  3. It's a beautiful room, actually a small suite! Bella has obviously inherited your good taste and creativity. I really like the colour scheme she chose, and of course love the fact that there are at least two foxes on her shelf!
    Not sure about the small hanging shelf/mirror (?) above the heating; it has hooks underneath but anything one would want to hang on those hooks would sit on the heating, wouldn't it? Everywhere else is space used to its best advantage.
    I have never had children, but I was a child myself, and I know I would have loved a playroom/sitting room for myself and my sister to share - without it doubling as an office for my parents ;-)

    1. PS: Sorry to hear you were not well last week, especially whith all that work still going on.

    2. I know what you mean about the shelf - it's a little blackboard and Bella was insistent that it went up, and had we hung it any higher she wouldn't be able to write on it!

  4. Oh such a lovely transformation, she must be thrilled with her new "grown up" space. Well done to all of you.

  5. Looking really good. I must admit to the fact that my girls share a room and have had the same decor for 10 years and never asked for anything else - lucky eh! Jo xx

  6. The room is wonderful. I hope your daughter appreciates what a lucky girl she is.

  7. Oh what a lovely room! I hope she loves it. It is truly beautiful. Lucky lucky girl :)

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  9. It must be so exciting for both of them to have new spaces! The room is just beautiful. I hope she loves it. What a great and understanding Mom you are.

  10. I'm amazed at your energy! And Bella has obviously inherited your interior decoration gift. Your IKEA modding is fantastic - I'd never have thought of copper paint but what a transformation! I have to confess we didn't do much to our two's rooms as they grew up. Son wasn't remotely bothered about decor, so all we did was replace nursery curtains with neutral ones, buy a new bed, and put in lots of bookshelves. Carpet and paint stayed exactly as they were! Daughter suddenly decided to paint one wall of her room purple when she was 14 (and it's still purple and now that we're selling the house I suppose we'll have to repaint :(). At the same time she declared she needed a double bed, a bigger desk and a bigger wardrobe, so IKEA to the rescue. Son came home from university after the first term and announced he too needed a double bed, so an IKEA four-poster was bought, as well as a futon. Be warned - today's late teens/university students seem incapable of sleeping in anything smaller than a double bed. Then son went to Nepal with a student volunteer group and the walls of his room became covered in handmade Nepalese textiles. Daughter usually worked in children's summer camps in uni vacations, so would come home at end of term, do a big wash, and leave for Canada a couple of days later. I'm afraid that we were so busy with work that it never occurred to us to use the children's absence to redecorate their rooms. Bad mommy!!! Our office was the smallest room, a box bedroom over the front porch, but we still crammed a bed in there as a spare. Now we have to plan things from scratch, all at once, in our house renovation up in the north, and I'm panicking about it. Do you fancy a wee holiday in malt whisky country to be my interior decor consultant?

  11. You've all done a great job, it looks stunning. A very grown up space for Bella. Cx

  12. What a super makeover! I love your creativity and vision. To be able to take everything out and start again, re-purposing and adjusting where possible is my dream. Unfortunately although we have 4 bedrooms they are small and difficult to re-jig! Also, when grandchildren came along they are all in use again! Although a room may be a 'double' it is rarely a 'twin'. Having to squeeze 2 beds in is a nightmare. Still - we manage even though one of us (not me!) could be classed as a hoarder, so constant negotiation is required.
    Sorry to hear you've not been well - look after yourself and try to carve some 'me-time' out of this holiday to re-boot!

  13. It is stunning! It's made me excited about how my two year old daughter's room will evolve during the years! We're still sharing 1 bedroom in a flat, so it's a bit of a dream to have more rooms but an exciting one! x

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