better homes & gardens

Finishing touches are the key to turning an ordinary room into a haven. After decluttering your spare bedroom and giving it a basic overhaul, it’s a magnificent chandelier, painted stripes and personal mementos that can really make a difference.

As for the bed, pile it high with pillows and plump linen that invite your guests to slip between the sheets. Flowers can be the hero of the day, so add a handful of blooms. And don’t forget a good-size wardrobe – you can never have enough storage.

1. After seeing a photo of Michelle’s spare room, Better Homes and Gardens TV presenter Tara Dennis felt it deserved a much-needed makeover. Newly redecorated, the room is now a romantic escape for Samantha and her fiancé.

Messy clothing strewn everywhere does not make for a romantic escape. Streamline your storage using a roomy flat-pack wardrobe with the appearance of an expensive built-in. The frosted sliding doors are ideal for small rooms as there’s no need for inward-opening doors, and glass heightens the air of spaciousness.

An elaborate chandelier is so much more romantic in style than a standard oyster light. It also tempers the solidity of the stripes for a softer, less regimental feel. What’s more, you can pick up a great chandelier for about $159 from the hardware store. It’s worth ducking over now to have a look!

Paint vertical stripes on the wall in calming neutrals that tone in with your new carpet. The 23cm-wide stripes introduce pattern without compromising the room’s serenity. Use Dulux Natural White as your base colour and Warm Neutral, the darker of the two colours, for each alternate stripe.

It’s not necessary to splash out on costly custom-made wardrobes, as there are many affordable flat-pack modular options available. You have a choice of sliding or hinged doors as well as mirror, frosted glass or solid doors. You can also customise your wardrobe with fittings including drawers, shelves and hanging rails.

Introduce flashes of colour to add richness to your neutral scheme. Use cushions to add accents of peacock blue, turquoise, fuschia and pink. By repeating the shades elsewhere in the room – note the flowers – it works.

Paint stripes

Gather your suppliesDulux Wash & Wear 101 Advanced Low Sheen acrylic paint in Natural White and Warm Neutral; low-tack blue painter’s tape; spirit level; tape measure; pencil; paint rollers; paint trays; drop sheets; putty knife.

Before commencing this project, prepare your walls by filling holes and repairing cracks using a suitable filler and following directions on the pack. Then apply an undercoat and leave to dry.

Step 1
Paint walls of your room with two coats of Natural White, allowing paint to dry after each coat.

Step 2
Using a spirit level and pencil, lightly mark 23cm-wide vertical stripes around the walls of your room. It’s best to start with a centre stripe on the main wall (one unbroken by windows and doors) and work out to and around the corners. As you near each corner, you may need to adjust the width of the stripe slightly so you can take it around the corner evenly.

Step 3
Press painter’s tape along each marked line so you are left with 23cm-wide alternate stripes. Seal edges with a putty knife to help prevent paint seeping underneath.

Step 4
Roll a coat or two of Warm Neutral paint within each alternate stripe. While paint is still wet, carefully peel off tape at a 45° angle by pulling the tape back on itself.

Spare bedrooms are often convenient dumping grounds for items you can’t bear to throw out or don’t know where to put. But it is valuable real estate, and you can claim it back simply by following these steps.

  • Clear out the clutter. Sort it into piles for keeping and relocating, donating, selling or tossing into the skip bin. Be ruthless.
  • If you’re going to change light fittings or mount wall lights, or if you’re planning to install or move electrical switch plates and plugs, now is the ideal time to hire an electrician so it can be done before you start painting and redecorating.
  • Rip up your worn old carpet and replace with new. If you have floorboards, check the condition and, if necessary, strip and re-polish.
  • Repaint your ceiling, walls and finally the skirting and architraves. As spare bedrooms are often small, look for ways to make the room feel larger. Whites and paler neutrals on the walls and flooring help push the walls back. Vertical stripes make the room seem taller, horizontal stripes make it seem wider.
  • Bring in the furniture, hang your blinds, install your new lighting and dress the bed.


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