Bedroom makeover: ‘Reusing old furniture kept our costs down’

Rachel decorated around existing pieces, which meant she could stretch the budget further to give her master bedroom a fresh new look

Bedroom makeover: 'Reusing old furniture kept our costs down'

Ever since buying their four-bedroom Edwardian semi in Southampton in 2005, Rachel Orr, 52, and her husband Chris had used the largest bedroom, which was brimming with original period features, as their master.


‘We decorated in neutral colours and this served us well for 12 years, before a roof leak in 2017 meant we had to strip the room back and start again,’ she explains.

Bedroom makeover: 'Reusing old furniture kept our costs down'
Rachel was keen to ensure that the new décor was in-keeping with the property’s history – including the beautiful original fireplace which has bags of character and charm

The opportunity came at a good time, however, as Rachel was keen to give this room a new lease of life and switch the neutral palette for something a little bolder.

‘Although it was unfortunate, the leak kick-started the project and gave me the perfect excuse to redecorate!’

Bedroom makeover: 'Reusing old furniture kept our costs down'
Rachel had the pink paint colour matched to the wallpaper to ensure they would both work together

With the roof leak located directly above the master bedroom, the first task was getting a roofer in to fix the problem. ‘Chris was able to repair the ceiling internally, but this took several weeks with all the filling, sanding and painting that was needed’ recalls Rachel.

During this time, she began to collate ideas for a new scheme using interior design magazines and Pinterest. ‘I also found lots of inspiration through Instagram and I now have a dedicated interiors account @velvet_juniper.’

Bedroom makeover: 'Reusing old furniture kept our costs down'
Both the bed and bedside tables came from Rachel’s old bedroom, but fit seamlessly into the new scheme thanks to their neutral cream colour

With the ceiling freshly painted and the room stripped back, Rachel decided on the colour palette by testing various paint and wallpaper samples. ‘I instantly fell in love with the flamingo wallpaper by Cole & Son and, even though I was aware that it was a trend at the time, I just kept coming back to this quirky design,’ she says.

Bedroom makeover: 'Reusing old furniture kept our costs down'
Relocated from another bedroom, this pine cabinet fits snugly into the alcove to provide additional storage

‘We’d had a feature wallpaper behind the bed previously and I liked how it acted as a focal point in the room, so was keen to replicate this with the new scheme.’

The dark blue in the wallpaper was a close match to Farrow & Ball’s Stiffkey Blue paint, so Rachel chose this shade for the alcove wall and built-in wardrobe. ‘I struggled to find a pink that worked in the room, so, in the end, I had a paint colour matched to the flamingo wallpaper by Valspar at B&Q.’

Bedroom makeover: 'Reusing old furniture kept our costs down'
Rachel’s bedroom benefits from numerous original period features, including the fireplace, bay window and cornicing, which she has retained and worked into the design of the new room. By painting only below the picture rails, for example, the height of the Edwardian ceilings has been amplified

The existing carpet was worn after years of use. ‘We didn’t have the budget to replace it, even though I was dying for something new and lighter,’ says Rachel.

‘Amazingly, we received some PPI compensation money midway through the project, which meant we could re-carpet after all!’ Rachel chose a deep-pile weave in a dove grey colour, which complements the pink and navy scheme and adds a cosy touch underfoot.

Bedroom makeover: 'Reusing old furniture kept our costs down'
Rachel has breathed new life into this old dressing table by adding stylish handles and lining the drawer. This simple upcycle means it now fits in seamlessly with the new bedroom décor and takes pride of place beneath the bay window

In order to stay on budget, the couple decided to upcycle furniture they already owned, rather than splashing out on new pieces. ‘Aside from the dressing table stool, everything else was ours from the old bedroom or elsewhere in the house,’ says Rachel.

Bedroom makeover: 'Reusing old furniture kept our costs down'
Good idea! Use leftover wallpaper to line drawers or the back of a wardrobe – it’s a stylish way to make use of scraps

‘The wooden dressing table was sitting unloved in our shed so I upcycled it with new handles and lined the drawer with leftover wallpaper.’


This creative approach allowed the couple to focus their budget elsewhere. New bedding, artwork, accessories and lighting has transformed the space and shows off the pre-loved pieces in a whole new light.

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