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Affordable Interiors: Chapter 3: Welcome Home

by - Monday, July 01, 2013

How to create  a warm & inviting space

Hello friends!

You may have seen the photo that I Instagrammed the other day mentioning our latest makeover.  It's only a small one but I've decided to collaborate it with my latest Affordable Interiors post. This third instalment of the series is only a mini-chapter, and is simply about how the aesthetic choices we make completely influence the way others feel about a space.

My room of choice this time is our downstairs toilet (which I will now refer to as the cloakroom, because it sounds nicer!) It was a horrid, cold room that was dingier than dingy, even at the best of times. No amount of brighter bulbs or sunlight through the window could lighten it up, so things needed to change. As you know, I need light, bright and airy rooms. I don't do too well in dingy spaces!

I know it might sound very picky but I was desperate to change this small room. You could say that dark walls do bad things to my chi! I also know that if I felt this way, our guests must have done too. Being downstairs, we, and our guests, use this room all the time, even for brushing our teeth. (The upstairs sink isn't currently working). It's even one of Roma's regular haunts as her litter tray is in there too. So I wanted it to be a nice space that welcomes us, as opposed to sitting dankly in the corner.

The cloakroom sits just inside our front door, so I feel it definitely needs to look good as the door to it stays open for Roma's tray access. So, whether you think I'm just being sensitive, or (hopefully) you agree with my need to create an inviting space, here is what we did...

So here are the before shots. Once again rather terrible as I was in a rush to start clearing the room out. And being a small cloakroom, it was completely unavoidable for me to not be in some of the photos! (In my painting clothes, looking a right old scruff... apologies.)

As you can see, small, dark, dingy. Yuck! In terms of layout, I'm leaning on the door and the toilet is just behind me. That shelf up there on the wall is amazing for storage, but it just looks so messy with the amount we need to store. That was one of the two baffling parts about the makeover...

...And here is the other. I understand there used to be a bath running along the wall to the left of the radiator, but the pipes have just been left when it was removed. Seeing as we don't own the house, we can't take them out, and the washing machine still uses them for waste. So, as it stands, we're just searching for a 5 sided box (preferably white wood!) that we can pass off as a table to sit over them. If you know of anything like that, please let me know!

Cheeky paint sample on the wall there... don't let it spoil the magic of the surprise! ;)

Here's a rather bad shot using an old fish-eye lens. You can see how pokey the space is, and how difficult it was to photograph all of it for before & after purposes.

So we cleared it out, sanded everything down and yanked that dark green frame off the wall, then set to work attacking the red with a lovely Orchid White by Dulux. I really wanted to stain the pine shelf with a thin coat of white, but we decided to leave it for the time being. One day I'd like to make a curtain to cover the stuff up there, but that's a big project for a novice sewer so it's currently just an idea, bubbling away.

I managed to pick up a complete bargain; a spray can of white gloss radiator paint from Rustoleum in the sale section at Homebase, reduced from £9.95 to £3.99. I think it was a discontinued product so I'm afraid I can't find a link for it on their site. I check the sale section every time I pop in, although a lot of it is completely irrelevant, you do find the odd corker of a deal every now and then!

Everything needed quite a few coats and it eventually got to a stage where it no longer felt red. (Yipee!)

We put down a scrap of carpet that my parents gave us, so it's a little bumpy in places as we can't lay it properly (not our house etc. etc!) but it makes a world of difference to the space, it really does.

Finally, I pottered. Popped little bits in to make it feel homely, and to make it look more welcoming than before. Quite frankly, I really think we achieved that!

You like!? :)

The creamy paint and the pure white of the radiator and accessories has meant that I've accidentally made the cloakroom white and off-white, which is my favourite colour combination. As with our bedroom, I wanted to have soft pastel hints around the room, to add a touch of colour to the space.

The toilet roll holder and towel ring are both from the 'White Wood' range at Homebase. Rather cheap and cheerful, but hey, it's white wood... WINNER!

See those darn pipes!? I've got to admit, even they look better now they're in a different environment.

The lovely glass bon-bon dish is from a supermarket in France. I originally bought it to put sweets in, but it just looks so pretty with fluffy balls of cotton wool hiding inside!

We even changed the tired old light pull for a nice new one. It may not look like much, but I feel so happy when I pull a clean, white light pull instead of the black one that was there before.

My Laura Ashley 'Summer Meadow' diffuser has now been re homed into here,  as it fills the small room with its light and airy scent, rather than going unnoticed in the big hallway.

The bunting is from Waitrose. It is actually tea party paper bunting but I saw a need for colour and decided this would do for now. I think it adds a certain summer-fresh feeling, but may get changed to something more festive in the colder months.

These two photos are my own (you may have seen them about) and they simply contribute to the warm, light, pastel shades of the room.

I can't believe the difference this has all made. I'm so unbelieveably pleased with the result that I keep going into the space and just standing, staring, and SMILING.

So the best bit of advice I can say in this mini chapter, is create a space that YOU want. It could be that you feel a room should be a certain colour due to what others may think, but your feelings about it will always be reflected on your guests, so make sure you've made a space that you LOVE.

I've chosen a colour palette that makes me happy just by being in the room, and my theory is that if I feel that way, so will everyone else. Yes, it may not be to their taste, but I strongly believe that your own positive energy can definitely rub off onto others.

We had originally painted the radiator the same colour as the walls, as we wanted to keep the price down as much as possible. After two coats it still looked horrible and felt like no heat would ever come out of it. After finding my bargain radiator paint, I now stand and admire the radiator, because it is now how I wanted it to be in the first place. I know that if I had left it, it would be a negative part of the space that made me feel a bit let down by my own budgeting.

So, really think about the way you're presenting your space, and always make sure it is how you want it to be. You're the one that will create it, use it, and hopefully, love it. Make a space that you want to be in, and the others will follow. :)

Thanks for reading today, folks, I hope it's been a nice moment out of your Monday!

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