Bedroom makeover: ‘We swapped plain walls for boutique luxury’
With a mix of bold prints and luxe fabrics, Sameera Stern-Gillet transformed her uninspiring bedroom into a plush paradise inspired by high-end hotels
When Sameera and her family moved into their semi-detached Victorian property in Manchester three years ago, they knew they had their work cut out for them.
They had to transform it from an unloved shell (with many of its period features removed or hidden behind layers of old paint) into a welcoming family home to suit their needs.
The main bedroom, in particular, was in need of modernisation, and Sameera wasn’t settling for anything less than her own idea of luxury. Luckily, no renovation work was needed, so she could start pulling together opulent details for a hotel-inspired look.
The bedroom wasn’t short on character (it had a beautiful original fireplace), but it was seriously lacking on the aesthetics front. Everything was magnolia – even the fireplace had layers of dreary paint – and, interestingly, there was a sink in the corner of the room.
Sameera’s vision for her bedroom couldn’t have been further from its low-key reality. ‘I wanted to inject colour and style into the space, and I wanted it to feel luxurious,’ she says.
Welcome to our home...Who lives here? Sameera Stern-Gillet, 41, a chartered accountant, my husband, Bertrand, 41, our sons, Zayn, 11, and Rafi, nine, and our dog, Piper.
What was updated? We added wooden panelling, wallpapered and painted the walls, installed a plush new carpet and restored the original Victorian fireplace. We finished the look with metallic accents and plenty of foliage.
‘It was important to me to design the room to fit both a super-king bed and a sofa – I’ve always loved the idea of having a sofa in the bedroom.’ The makeover seemed to be fairly straightforward, since no structural works were to take place, but that didn’t mean it was free from challenges.
What we did
The wallpaper was the starting point for the scheme. Sameera first discovered it around four years ago and knew it would look great in the en suite. However, it made coming up with a design for the bedroom tricky, as she wanted the two rooms to feel connected and harmonious.
‘After a bit of back and forth, I decided I should carry the wallpaper through to the main wall in the bedroom,’ says Sameera.
A bit more about our home...Why the change? When we moved in, the décor was incredibly plain – not my style at all. So, after a period of settling into the space, I was ready to make my mark.
How long did it take? The work itself took around three months to complete, but because of Covid delays it was around a year from start to finish.
Total cost £2,670
‘Once I had committed to the bold feature wall, all the other decisions were easy – I got paints that colour-matched tones in the wallpaper, and had a plush carpet fitted.’ The pair also had a friend add panelling to make a feature of the wall behind the bed without overpowering the wallpaper.
Highs and lows
Sameera and Bertrand faced two significant challenges during their revamp. The first was additional electrical work – before the couple could get going with the redecoration, the room needed rewiring to facilitate the wall lights on Sameera’s wish list and allow her to fit a ceiling light, which hadn’t been there before. There was also a minor ceiling drama that ended up setting the makeover back.
‘We painted the ceiling, but because the lining paper had been up for so long, it started curling at the edges when the paint went on. We had to remove it all, before relining and painting again,’ Sameera recalls.
The final details
Sameera let the colours in the wallpaper inspire the furniture choices. She bought the super-king bed, which was on her list of must-haves, in an oat shade similar to the background of the paper, and the sofa – her luxury item – in a luxe teal, once again mimicked in the wallpaper details.
As for the accessories, she stuck to a palette of pink and blue, with some natural shades like creams and greens thrown in. ‘I thought gold light fixtures would give the room a more sumptuous feel, so I opted for those,’ she says. The result? A five-star suite that has Sameera’s style stamped all over it. ‘Everyone loves this room,’ she says. ‘Friends have jokingly asked if we’ll hire it out for the night as it feels like being in a luxury hotel.’
DIY ideasMake your bedroom feel like a classy hotel getaway with these tips from Sameera
1 Combine different wall finishes, like my panelling and wallpaper, for an expensive feel
2 Get an electrician to wire in wall lights to free up surfaces for a sleek, uncluttered look
3 Restore period features rather than painting over them; the ornate detailing on my fireplace gives my room classic appeal
4 Panel three-quarters of a wall to create the impression that ceilings are much higher than they really are
5 Start your scheme with a wallpaper or piece of art and let the colours and motifs influence the rest of your décor choices
Photos Georgia Burns.
Abbi is a freelance journalist specialising in health, fitness and interiors, and is co-founder of UK Interior Awards