Bedroom makeover: ‘Our room is so much brighter and happier now’
A coat of white paint inspired Jannine Newman and her husband, Steve, to embark on a full bedroom makeover, mixing earthy colours and artistic touches.
Despite having lived in their Victorian terraced house in North London for seven years, Jannine Newman and her husband, Steve, had never got their own bedroom quite right.
They painted the walls grey soon after moving in, then concentrated on working their way through the rest of the house, fitting a new kitchen and two bathrooms, rewiring, replumbing and replastering, as well as sorting the bedrooms for their twin sons, Aubrey and Bertie, now 21.
‘Everything else was great, but our bedroom never gave me the same feeling,’ says Jannine. The couple needed to work out why the existing décor wasn’t working for them so they could finally create the welcoming atmosphere they wanted.
When lockdown hit, and the couple were spending all their time at home, Jannine finally realised what the problem was. ‘We’d picked the wrong colour in the first place. The grey always looked a bit grubby and every morning when I woke up, I found it depressing. Our bedroom is at the front of the house and gets plenty of light, so it shouldn’t be making us feel like that,’ she explains.
With time on their hands, the couple experimented with a variety of whites, and found one with creamy hints that they liked. ‘Steve painted the room himself over the course of a weekend and even before it was finished, my mood had lifted,’ said Jannine.
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‘People may think white is white, but believe me, the right shade makes all the difference.’ With a new-found enthusiasm for the room, Jannine decided to go even further and gave herself a £1,200 budget to totally transform the space.
Welcome to our home...
Who lives here? I’m Jannine Newman, 53, a photographer (@underthecloth), and I live here with my husband, Steve, 66, a voice actor, and our twin sons, Aubrey and Bertie, 21. We’ve lived in our Victorian terraced house for seven years.
What was updated? Our bedroom needed a fresh look, so we painted the walls white, replaced some furniture and added new accessories in warm tones.
Why the change? The room’s previous grey colour scheme felt dull, so we wanted to make the most of the natural light with white walls and neutral hues.
How long did it take? It took us around a month in total, from painting the walls to adding the finishing touches.
What we did
Sustainable materials were high on Jannine’s list, as she also runs regular curated markets and pop-ups for independent designer-makers on Instagram (@theassemblymarket). She searched for wooden bedside tables online until she found some she liked, with a handy shelf for books as both she and Steve are big readers. For a retro touch, she added marble and gold 1970s-style lamps, which she splashed out on.
‘I love the idea of having a few expensive things mixed with inexpensive pieces, inherited items and original artwork,’ says Jannine. ‘I call it natural luxe.’ When it came to adding colour, she wanted to ditch the stark-feeling grey and add in layers of rusts, caramels, pinks and browns, again with a mix of budget-friendly and artisan buys. ‘I found some deep-tan bedding that was lovely and cheap, and accessorised with handmade cushions.’
My style tips...
Find the right white Not all white paints are the same, so try out a few to see what works best with the light in your room – we went for a creamy shade for a touch of warmth.
Shop your home We spent time looking at how we could incorporate what we already have into our updated scheme, which gave us a bit of extra budget for investment buys.
Buy art second hand You can get original paintings for a fraction of the price of new prints in charity and second-hand shops. This will give your walls an eclectic look.
Highs and lows
The couple sat down and agreed on what would stay from the original scheme, including the plain blinds, a dresser that had belonged to Jannine’s parents, the basic white wardrobes and a useful chair. Their existing iron bed, however, had to go.
‘We had our metal bed for more than 25 years, and I was starting to hate it,’ explains Jannine. ‘It was an expensive bed at the time, but I wanted something different, and I’d begun to yearn for earthy colours and retro touches.’ After spotting a bed with a green velvet headboard in a clearance sale for £300, Jannine sold her old one for £150.
The final details
Original artwork, which they often buy second-hand, is very important to both Jannine and Steve. ‘We both loved a painting of a house that we had over the fireplace, but it was all greys and greens. So, we put it the hall instead and swapped it for a flower painting, which only cost a few pounds, in the new colours. It’s probably from the 1960s.’
Jannine already had artwork in mind for above the bed, too. ‘During lockdown I photographed trees on my walks, and I chose my favourite one from Epping Forest to hang between two pictures I found in a book. I love the symmetry,’ says Jannine. ‘I went a bit over budget overall, but the room is so bright and relaxing now that I wake up feeling happy.’
Feature Stephanie Smith. Photos David Giles.
Thea Jeffreys is the Digital Writer on YourHomeStyle.uk, and is passionate about all things home décor. When she’s not scouring the internet for budget-friendly homeware finds, you’ll find her writing about the latest interior trends and handy upcycling tricks.