Bedroom makeover: ‘I was determined to banish the bland on a budget’

An eclectic mix of second-hand and high street buys helped Sinead Gulless turn a lacklustre bedroom into a colourful, cosy and welcoming retreat

Although Sinead was keen to get started on decorating her new dream home, her plans were immediately delayed. After only a week of moving in, she had to call back the developer to replace the bedroom radiator!

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This did, however, give her some extra time to think about how she was going to address the many white walls in her home. Here, she recalls her renovating experience…

A bit about me…

I’m Sinead Gulless, a psychologist. I live with my partner, Sami, who’s a gardener, in a two-bedroom, single-storey detached house in Wiltshire.

Bedroom makeover: 'I was determined to banish the bland on a budget'

My renovating experience…

The bedroom was a blank canvas, so it really was a matter of starting from scratch. There was a built-in wardrobe, but apart from that it was a featureless box. I knew we needed to inject some character and style into the space.

Bedroom makeover: 'I was determined to banish the bland on a budget'
A bold wall painted in Little Greene’s Canton is just one of a number of blue and green tones used to add depth and interest to Sinead’s scheme. Her choice of a neutral carpet also allows for any décor changes in the years to come

Our limited budget meant we had to get creative when decorating and furnishing the room. Rather than buy everything new, we chose to upcycle and add vintage finds. The look was inspired by a need to marry different styles, and our desire to incorporate a few favourite souvenirs from our travels abroad.

Bedroom makeover: 'I was determined to banish the bland on a budget'
‘I’d describe the look as global meets boho. It’s very relaxed and easy to live with’

I’m a big fan of feature wallpaper and liked the idea that it would allow us to add interest without redecorating throughout. So, having trawled through hundreds of designs on the internet, I was delighted to spot our damask-inspired paper for half price in a local shop. It was actually an end-of-line bargain buy as it’s since been relaunched under a new name and in slightly different colourways. I’m proud to say I hung it myself, and it’s now my favourite part of the room.

Bedroom makeover: 'I was determined to banish the bland on a budget'
‘Personally, I think that mixing things up has really helped add character and interest to the room’ says Sinead

As most of our collected bits and bobs are blue or green, the soft teal colourway was an easy choice, and the money saved was used to buy a coordinating paint for the opposite wall, to help balance the look.

To save money, we furnished the room with second-hand pieces, some of which I updated to match the new scheme.

Bedroom makeover: 'I was determined to banish the bland on a budget'
The couple already had this Moorish-style fretwork cupboard and it looks right at home in their global-inspired scheme

Sami wasn’t convinced at first, as he likes to buy new, however, he soon changed his mind when he discovered I’d only spent £133 in total. Personally, I think that mixing things up has really helped add character and interest to the room.

However, I have to admit that, when it came to the bed and carpet, I was happy to pander to Sami’s preference for new. Both were bought on the high street and, thanks to a little research, we had enough money left to buy a made-to-measure blind.

My style advice…

Go boho on a budget

Bedroom makeover: 'I was determined to banish the bland on a budget'
Sinead has cleverly mixed different styles by sticking to a uniform colour palette. Her budget divan bed from Dreams has been dressed to impress in sumptuous layers, while a second-hand blanket box provides ample storage for additional bedding

To save money, Sinead refreshed second-hand pieces using leftover paint. ‘I spotted my £15 bamboo bedside tables in a junk shop, and the £40 blanket box and £5 chairs were bought on eBay,’ she says. An old cupboard, donated by her parents, was also given a new lease of life by decorating it with offcuts of wallpaper.

Add a focal point

Bedroom makeover: 'I was determined to banish the bland on a budget'
Style idea: A feature wall is an easy way to change a room’s look

For designer style without the price tag, Sinead added a luxury wallpaper. ‘Two rolls cost £80, which was more than enough for one wall,’ she says. Despite being her first attempt at hanging paper, it proved easier than anticipated, due to the fact there were no tricky corners to contend with.

Use wall space

Bedroom makeover: 'I was determined to banish the bland on a budget'
Paint furniture in a shade that fits in with your room’s colour scheme

Sinead has made the most of her walls by adding a number of decorative shelves. These are not only great for storage and display, but also help inject a more homely, lived-in feel.

Her handy wall shelf with hooks, bought at a vintage market, is also used to hang outfits ready for the morning, or a night out with friends.

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This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in HomeStyle magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?