After spending so much time at home in 2020, Claire Douglas, 37, a project manager, her husband, Spencer, 39, an illustrator, and their two children – Oscar, seven, and Milo, three – were feeling the effects of lockdown living. ‘I was starting to get cabin fever and was desperate to shake things up at home. I was bored of staring at the same walls all day, every day,’ says Claire.
‘This was exacerbated by the fact that we had a tiny, dull and uninspiring bedroom.’ Claire decided to completely revamp her bedroom to turn it into a calm, relaxing and romantic sanctuary.
‘I wanted to capture our imagination with the bedroom décor. I had the idea of choosing a mural that would give you the impression of being on an exciting holiday in a far-flung destination,’ she says. ‘It was lockdown escapism at its finest. Especially considering that our usual family holiday is a week in Center Parcs!’
Previously, the space had been Oscar’s bedroom. ‘It was a basic kid’s room with a huge, mirrored wardrobe that dominated the space. In May 2020, we all swapped rooms. Oscar moved in with Milo, and we took this bedroom,’ explains Claire. ‘It was so uninspiring,’ she says.
‘We wanted to create a space that was nice to spend time in, and where we could unwind.’ In order to get their double bed into the room, Claire had to dismantle the old mirrored wardrobe.
‘When I removed the wardrobe, I revealed ancient wallpaper, so I painted over it for an easy life in one weekend,’ she says. ‘I replaced the missing skirting and coving at the same time, too.’ Claire also put up the DIY panelling herself, which she painted a stone shade to match the walls.
Claire had seen an expensive mural wallpaper, but it was way out of her budget. ‘It inspired me to paint my own mural. I started searching for one that was achievable with my limited artistic abilities,’ she says.
She found a mountain motif that came in gradient colours that she knew she could use for inspiration. ‘I choose three paint shades. A lead grey with blue undertones, a muted dusky pink and a palest grey pink.’
She then blended the gradient shades herself to create an ombré effect. ‘It took about two weeks to paint, and I would have finished quicker, but I was struggling to fit it in around childcare, working from home and home-schooling my seven-year-old. As I was painting it, I decided to expand from one feature wall to paint it all round the room. I wanted to be more daring with the design.’
Once the mural was done, Claire painted some of the wall panelling a soft, dusky rose colour. ‘I didn’t want the whole room to be in pink,’ she explains. ‘Along the main wall, I painted the panelling pale grey to create a contrast next to the black bed frame.’ She finished by painting the door and architrave pink to continue the relaxing feel of the room. ‘I bought cheap wooden pegs from Amazon and added them to the top of the panelling,’ she says. ‘I love a peg or two for hanging accessories onto.’
The black four-poster bed was a bargain Claire found online. ‘It was vital to the scheme to pick a four-poster bed to create that indulgent feeling of escapism. I really wanted a black frame to contrast with the soft romance of the mural and create a sort of picture frame as you looked out.’
They ripped up the cheap carpet that was covering the floorboards. Sadly, the floorboards were not in great condition but, as Claire didn’t have room in the budget, she decided to paint them white for a rustic effect. ‘Luckily, we didn’t have much furniture in here at the time, so it was easy to move things around
to paint the walls and woodwork.’
With all the shops closed, picking up accessories for the room was a challenge. ‘I shopped online and also got crafty, making a faux wreath that I added dried flowers and ribbon to for my peg rail.’ She then added holiday vibes with darker woods, bamboo materials, straw accessories and natural texture.
Claire is thrilled with the end result. ‘I get great satisfaction knowing that I have created this room with my bare hands,’ she says. ‘It’s a nice feeling to have a cup of coffee in bed and soak in my mural and be whisked away in my imagination.’
Feature Maxine Brady. Styling Claire Douglas. Photos David Giles.