Bedroom makeover: ‘We went for maximum glamour on a minimal budget!’

A clever mix of recycled and high-street buys has helped transform a damp and dreary bedroom into a luxurious boudoir

Real home - pink bedroom with gold leaf wallpaper

When Helen Roper and husband, Matthew, bought their three-bedroom home in South London, they knew it needed some work, which they began almost as soon as they moved in.

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Fast-forward a year and, with most rooms updated, the couple had finally run out of steam. ‘Having worked our way upstairs and completed the rooms for our children, Benjamin and Olivia, in record time, our bedroom stubbornly remained on my to-do list. We just couldn’t summon up any enthusiasm for the project,’ explains Helen.

Real home - dusky pink bedroom with gold leaf wallpaper and a vintage chest of drawers
Helen and Matthew’s dusky pink bedroom is now a relaxing retreat, complete with rich, warming wood and gold tones, plus plenty of texture and statement motifs

The couple were spurred into action sooner than they expected, however, thanks to the unlikely intervention of a leak!

A badly leaking roof meant that, not only did a section of ceiling need to be pulled down and replaced, but the couple also had to ditch the already tired and now water-stained carpet.

Real home - gold leaf motif wallpaper
It’s all in the details: the colours, shapes, materials and patterns of these accessories all come together to complement the overall scheme Helen’s used for this bedroom

Luckily, the bed and existing built-in wardrobes escaped unscathed. So, once the leak was fixed and the carpet consigned to the skip, it was simply a matter of waiting for the area to dry out before making good and re-plastering.

‘The wait not only gave me time to consider my new scheme, but also get on with the task of removing layers of rather ugly woodchip wallpaper,’ says Helen.

Real home - gold leaf motif wallpaper and pampas grass display
Good idea! For designer style without the price tag, choose statement wallpaper. Two rolls is plenty for a feature wall.

As the room is north facing and not particularly big, Helen was keen to make the most of available light and space, as well as inject style and character with a glamorous gold and pink scheme.

‘We also needed to get creative with our decorating and furnishing choices, thanks to now-limited funds,’ says Helen.

Real home - a vintage chest of drawers against pink walls
The vintage chest of drawers was a bit of an impulse buy but it tones in beautifully with Helen’s opulent pink and gold scheme

Rather than invest in new fixtures and fittings, the couple opted to supplement existing pieces with vintage and high street finds. But their first budgetary challenge was flooring.

Having established that a new carpet was out of the question, they settled on simply sanding and sealing the exposed boards. ‘They turned out far better than expected and were definitely worth the effort,’ says Helen.

Real home - A second-hand chair painted in pink
A second-hand chair, painted in deep pink, makes good use of the empty fireplace and provides a welcome spot to stow clothes at the end of the day

In keeping with the cost-cutting approach, Helen chose to refresh the wardrobes and chimney breast with a coat of space-enhancing white paint. The remaining walls were painted a warm and welcoming soft pink.

‘I think the pink works really well with the wood tones in the room – although I must admit it’s the feature wall that I’m most proud of,’ smiles Helen.

Real home - white wardrobe doors with amber glass handles
Good idea! Revive dated wardrobes with a fresh coat of paint and by swapping the old handles for new ones.

A lover of feather motifs, she spotted her opulent gold paper on Pinterest and, despite it being her first attempt at hanging wallpaper, she’s found it easier than anticipated.

‘I think it was mainly due to the fact that there were no tricky corners to contend with,’ she says. ‘And at under £13 a roll it was a real bargain!’

Real home - cat on a pink bed
‘We went for maximum glamour on a minimal budget’ says Helen

Fortunately for the couple, the full-height wardrobes provide ample clothes storage, although Helen couldn’t resist adding a vintage chest of drawers she found online.

‘Both the drawers and chair are from the same Margate emporium and while I loved the rich wood tones of the drawers, I decided to paint the chair to match the new scheme,’ she says.

Get the look

A quick trip to IKEA led to the couple’s clever storage tables, cosy rugs and tactile light, while the newly acquired skill of eBay bidding resulted in the blind and replacement handles.

‘Along with my new bedlinen, they’re a great finishing touch to what is now the perfect place to relax at the end of the day or simply spend time reading a book,’ concludes Helen.

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