Creating the “Sanctuary”
One of the ‘selling’ points, so to speak, of the house Tim and I rented was that we were given free-reign to redecorate as long as it was done to a professional standard. Throughout various times in my life I have needed to paint a room (or several). There was the time my mom and I painted my bedroom yellow in Arizona (probably where most of the ‘kinks’ were looked over). There was our move to France where our decoration skills were put to work from Day 1. Wallpaper stripping, plaster filling, sanding- you name it, I’ve done it! I even went back to Arizona when our house needed to be painted a neutral colour so that its chances of selling would increase (Oh yea, remember that market crash in 2008? That happened RIGHT after we packed-up all of our belongings and moved to France. Some paint, elbow grease and a new realtor later and it finally sold!) So when we found a three bedroom property with a beautiful kitchen, conservatory AND free-reign to make it my own with the only stipulation being that it needed to be done to a professional level, I felt qualified.
It is amazing to see how different the room is now to what it was before. While 3 of the 4 walls were a bog-standard magnolia, the dark floral wallpaper made the whole room feel small and cramped. The overall project took me just under two weeks, working from about 6 am until 10 pm some nights.
The Prep Process:
I debated whether or not to paint directly over the wallpaper or to strip it, but after a fair bit of research it seemed like I was putting myself at the risk of having the pattern show through (even though it was completely flat). However, with that said, there was the option to wallpaper over it. In hindsight, that may have been the better option considering the plaster started to fall off the wall! Luckily, it wasn’t too bad and was able to be patched up fairly easily.
To prepare the walls, we used a wallpaper steamer to strip the majority of the paper off. We then (painstakingly) washed the remainder of the glue and paper off with sugar soap and water. We washed all the walls and ceiling this way to prep them for painting. We then used a powder plaster, mixed it with water via the instructions and applied it with a plaster spatula in small amounts, allowing it to dry before applying the next layer. Once the area was fully covered, I sanded it with a plaster-specific hand-sander. After one more wash, we were ready to paint! (Ohh, and when I say ‘we’ I mean my handy partner Tim of course! He very kindly helped me on weekends and when he came home from work).
The first coat of paint I did was the ceiling in a Dulux Trade Matt White. We mixed this 50/50 with water to use as a primer for the walls. The skirting boards and windowsill were primed with a Valspar gloss specific paint primer. While that was drying, I was able to do a second coat of the ceiling (always the worst bit I think- Always remember to stretch your neck after each painting stint or you can end up with a serious neck strain!)
Colouring in the Edges:
The colour combination I went for is a Dulux Misty Mountain and Dulux Bowler Hat (as the accent wall). When applying paint you always want to add it in thin layers, using a “V” motion. This will ensure that you have the most even coverage. I painted the skirting boards, the built in bedroom cupboard (inside and out) and the windowsill in a Valspar Trade Gloss White. It was very sticky but the finish is beautiful. If you have the patience, they recommend sanding the dried first coat and wiping it down before applying the final coat. I did this for the windowsill, but I didn’t have the patience to do it for the skirting boards (the paint was brand new so there was no clumping to worry about and still turned out beautifully).
Putting things together:
I painted an old pine chest of drawers in a Dulux gloss Urban Chic and then bought some half moon handles from eBay in chrome. The mirror we had in our old apartment which we bought from Costco. The lamps we purchased from TK Maxx. The grey headboard we also bought from eBay, which would have been lost against the dark grey accent wall, but as you can see in the final pictures, I had something planned to go behind it!
The Finished Product (decorated for Christmas):
Yep! A super luxurious white canopy to match the white bedding and bedside tables. A lot of people mention that the style of the canopy is really unique. I wish I could find the original picture on Pinterest that gave me the inspiration, but I can’t! I had the image of a white canopy and grey colour schemed bedroom way before we moved. There are still plenty of finishing touches left to add to the room. I would love a jute rug to play off the natural water hyacinth baskets in our bedside tables. Along with two white sheepskin rugs to step out on to as we get out of bed in the morning. Next to my vanity table (the makeover of which you can read about here) I would love a beautiful standing lamp, like this one from Next. I’ve made a Polyvore board of the other touches, and unfortunately it is mainly for US based shops but I know equivalents can be found over here.
I made the curtains using the venetian blinds that were already there with fabric that I bought on the millshop online. However, I will say that it was not as easy as most online tutorials make out, at least not for an oversized window. Still, I lined the curtain with a thermal blackout liner, so it keeps the sun out in the morning and the chill out in the evening.
This was one of my first attempts at completely redesigning a room. I certainly had a lot of fun with it and am looking forward to when I actually own a house that I can transform (however, maybe with a few more helping hands). What do you think? Have I improved the space? Let me know if anything in this article was helpful or if you have ever redesigned a room!