Monday, 5 May 2014

£30,000 or £9.99 for a new room?

Daughter inhabits the smallest bedroom in our house. If you live in the UK you'll be familiar with our three bedroom set up. Living room, kitchen/diner downstairs. Bathroom, two double bedrooms upstairs. And the tiny 'box room' over the hall.

By virtue of having a big model train set that takes up lots of space, Son has commandeered the back bedroom. Husband and I have the master bedroom, leaving Daughter with the smallest bedroom.

We've toyed with the idea of building an extension or converting the loft, but it's beyond our budget. The one architect who visited, estimated £30,000 for an extension. Ouch!

The 'old' room

What's the next best thing? 

Maximising the space as best we can, decluttering and decorating on a shoestring!

That means:

  • Salvaging some light coloured paint from the recycling centre.
  • Squeezing in Great Grandad's small writing desk by removing the lower shelves from the bookcase.

  • Creating as much floor space as possible by storing stuff up high (on a shelf made from reclaimed timber).

  • Or storing stuff down low. Husband made the entire bed from timber and bed bits that he rescued (the space is too small for a usual sized bed to fit - let's hope Daughter doesn't grow too much). He also built some big under-bed drawers.

  • What are the chances of being asked to review some knobs on the blog, just when you happen to be looking for some knobs? That was one quirky offer I couldn't turn down. Trinca Ferro, a global supplier of knobs (who'd have thought there would be such a thing, but there is and Trinca Ferro are it!) supplied them, quite rightly pointing out that they are a wonderful way to frugally accessorise a room. Trinca Ferro have a huge range. Daughter chose four spotty ceramic ones to put on the homemade drawers and we're really pleased with them. As you can see she wanted a slice of Cath Kidston kitsch, and the spots really fit the bill. The knobs would have cost £3.95 each so wouldn't have broken the bank.

    • Somebody was getting rid of this large mirror which we eagerly nabbed. Makes the room look bigger and is just right for a teenager who likes preening herself.

    Our other money saving hack was to:

    • Use a lot of stuff we already had. It's tempting to think a newly decorated room calls for new everything but aesthetically pleasing as it would have been to have matchy, matchy storage, we stuck with baskets and boxes that we already own. Ditto, the duvet cover, the lampshade, the homemade bunting, the bookcase and the rug.
    I'm not at all gifted when it comes to interior design but thanks to Husband's ingenuity and Daughter's ideas about how she wanted it to look, we have a room that feels more spacious than it really is. And what's most important when you're 13? Being able to have a sleepover IN YOUR OWN BEDROOM! This has already been trialled and yes, you can fit two 13 year olds into the space (and the 13 year old visitor was much taller than me).

    Final cost for the 'new' room? £9.99 (for the blind). Are we happy? If it saves us £29,990.01 then YES!


    1. Quite simply fantastic and brilliant! That is a beautiful, gorgeous bedroom. You are clever, resourceful parents, and no child with a $30,000 bedroom would ever feel the love that has gone into creating a special, perfect space.
      We are doing more or less the same for our girls at the moment. Slow, very slow, but we'll get there!
      Now, so much for you to do. You have to decide what you are going to spend that spare $29,990.01 on!!

      1. I should have revealed the time scale - we started work in February on this room and still haven't quite finished!

    2. The room looks so cozy and I would have loved it at that age. I see that she has a wide window sill that can act as a nightstand. That's a handy thing in a small room.

      Do your kids ever talk about changing rooms so they each get a chance at the larger one? I gave my kids that opportunity, but they never wanted to change.

      1. They have discussed changing rooms but the trainset has wedded Son to his room!

    3. Well done, Sarah! That looks awesome!

      My two daughters share the tiniest bedroom in our house. It's a bit of a squeeze. Their big "room makeover" over spring break involved a whole lot of cleaning, getting rid of 4 jumbo boxes of clothing, old toys and what-nots, and a bright, new set of sheets for each bed (courtesy of the Easter bunny).

      1. So spring bedroom makeovers are the in thing this year!

    4. Looks good - it seems to me that many designers or architects don't have a full grasp of the meaning of money!

      Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

      1. We were a little frustrated with our visit - the architect didn't seem to be able to see what we were striving for and could only envision the one option that was the bottom of our preferences!

    5. You've made such a difference to the room, it looks wonderful! Love the idea of storing things high up on the wall so that they are out of the way and the shelf is beautiful.