Real-life results: How 7 simple steps took this bedroom from drab to fab

Laura de Barra shares her masterclass in transforming a room with a real dullness problem.

Laura de Barra regularly brings her lifestyle and home maintenance expertise to the Glenveagh Home Magazine on This week for our Real Homes issue: how she transformed this bedroom from worn-out to wonderful. 

THERE ARE SOME really simple ways to bring a room from drab to fab, without having to spend a fortune. There are so many tricks that you can do to make a room feel more luxurqious, larger, comfortable and so on.

Take for example this ‘before’ picture. This bedroom looked worn out and tired, nothing seemed suited to the rooms purpose and quite frankly it just wasn’t welcoming. The carpet was worn in with some permanent staining, the yellowing skirting shortened the room and there was just one light source which would make the room appear smaller again at night.

Before the transformation: cramped and lifeless Laura de Barra Laura de Barra

Next, the window dressing made the windows look small, and added to the feeling that the the room lacked any luxury – not to mention what it would be like to sleep there with those curtains.

I knew this room needed some major changes but my budget was low and so was my time. Here’s how I did it:

Paint: I began by painting the whole room white. By doing this I was able to make it look taller and wider. White not only give the feeling of space, a contrasting skirting board cuts the room and can shorten it to the eye. I used a water-based wood paint to avoid any yellowing in the future.

After the transformation: Sleek and stylish Laura de Barra Laura de Barra

Furniture: I kept the furniture true to the purpose of the room: sleeping and dressing. By choosing a bedframe that was neat and not much wider than the mattress, I was able to keep as much floor space as possible. I selected the higher mattress position when building the bed frame (always makes a bed look more expensive and also allows for optimum use of the underbed storage).

Bedside tables were a must. They help with a smooth transition into rest, as we have all we need nearby. These were in white to fade into the wall and not distract the eye.

Lighting: Lighting can transform a room. These bedside lamps not only make the room look bigger, they are a must for a bedroom. No getting up to switch a light off before you sleep! I also made the central light shade smaller and in a plain, light colour to give the room more height.

Symmetry: This was super important, as it creates space and a high-end feel. Each bedside was identical and I placed two prints above the bed as well as buying two dress cushions. Having both sides of the bed evenly dressed is super important for me as I feel it creates balance for the occupants.

Window dressing: I installed white wooden slat blinds so there was the option of privacy without having to close heavy curtains. The curtain I chose were blackout and larger than the window.

This again creates a luxurious feel, and when they sit at the sides of the windows instead of over them, it can make the window appear wider. Again the symmetry here adds to the ove all lewk.

Carpet: I refreshed the carpet with the bicarb trick I have written about previously, hoovered it and spot cleaned. This brought it back to life a little but there was no denying the lacklustre feel to it.

It was mainly between bed and wardrobe that was the worst. This is because this is the area with highest traffic – which also meant it would only get worse. So, I popped in a large rug. Not only would this solve the problem of having to look at the dreary carpet, it meant I was able to prevent any further damage. It’s an inexpensive answer to an old carpet, and it’s much cheaper to swap out when you need a change than getting a whole new carpet.

Softs: When it comes to soft furnishings, I wanted to keep the minimal feel going with a focus on space and symmetry as well as the function of the room. If I started to add prints and pattern there was a risk I would undo my work so far. I went for white bed linen with the rest of the softs in tones of dark blue or navy.

Any one of these steps will help you change a rooms appearance without spending a lot or having to make any major changes. Try it!

Want more tips and hacks? Laura de Barra’s new debut book, Gaff Goddess: Simple Tips And Tricks To Help You Run Your Home is on shelves now, published by Transworld Ireland. Buy it here or in all good bookshops, and follow Laura on Instagram for even more cleaning and lifestyle tips.

More: Too many things, too little space? A masterclass in clearing out your wardrobe>

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