home decorating, home staging & interior design advice


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Brian Cotsen - Property Coach

Guest Bedroom Makeover


Your Home Room Rescue - February 2006

Camille asked me to come and take a look at the small box room that she needed help with.

The house is quite modern in design, lots of open plan spaces, but Camille wanted to create her own little ‘den’.

‘What I long for is my own study/ chill out/ hobby room where everything is to hand and I can close the door on work and the rest of the family and just have my own space’ ‘After all the kids have their own bedrooms and my husband has the shed’

The room Camille took me to was the smallest on the second floor, no more than a box room really.

At the moment it is a blue and white cell with two tall floor to ceiling cupboards either side of the room and floor to ceiling shelving beside these. There is no room to put in a table or a chair, so essentially this is a walk in dressing room.



Problem 1

Cupboards and shelves on either side mean that there is no space to put anything else in the room. No room for a bed, a desk or even a seat…so it is a wasted room.

Problem 2

Nothing soft in this room, no fabric or soft flooring this room feels cold and hard.

Problem 3

The lovely views from this room are wasted because no one spends any time in this room.

Problem 4

Although there is lots of storage it isn’t very practical space, in the cupboards there are just hanging bars and the open shelves would look messy with lots of things on them.

Problem 5

There is no door on this room so it feels exposed and not very intimate.


Camille wants to create her Chill out/ study/ Hobby room which may seem like a tall order but I think that all these things can be achieved. Small rooms need careful planning. List all the things you want to achieve and then look at the room and see where each task could happen.

My first task was to sit down with Camille and list all the things she wanted to do in the room. Camille loves sewing and needlework; she makes cushions and all sorts of lovely soft furnishings. I needed to create a work area that would fulfil this requirement, not just surface space to sew but storage for both large items like the sewing machine, large pieces of material and cushion pads as well as convenient organised storage for smaller items like cotton, pins, webbing and heading tapes. Camille also wanted somewhere to organise her accounts and household bills etc. so a bit of office storage would be necessary. This room also had to be a chill out space for Camille to escape to, somewhere to sit and read, watch a favourite DVD or just gaze out of the window at the lovely view. I felt that a daybed built against a sidewall would create a cosy spot to sit and relax.

How I revamped the room

Furniture – I wanted to reuse what I could in the room. This would both keep down the cost and be good for the environment. I removed the right hand cupboard and shelving and built in a daybed with a hinged lid, thus creating fantastic storage for large items below. The left hand shelving was reworked and I created a curved desk, with shelving above and below.

Storage – Apart from the fantastic storage space below the day bed, perfect for larger/ heavier items, I also introduced stackable storage in the tall floor to ceiling cupboard – Muji sell a range of interlocking semi clear drawer units that fit neatly into all styles of cupboards. The different sizes of drawers are perfect for everything from cotton reels to stationery and larger items of clothing or shoes. I also used a hanging unit from IKEA, sold as a shoe store but perfect for rolls of material and balls of wool.


Colour – Multi purpose rooms need a colour that will be stimulating when you are busy with your hobby as well as soothing when you want to relax. I chose a fresh Aqua Green ‘Morning’ from Little Greene Paint Co, which worked beautifully with the pinks and greens in the rest of the furnishings.

Lighting – All-important in a multi function room. Apart from the halogen down lighters that gave overall ambient light, we introduced a desk light and a reading light above the daybed, perfect for when you want to curl up with a book. The soft light given out by the wall art creates a cosy effect even on a bright winter day.

Flooring – here we chose to use a rug near to the day bed, but leaving the floor space by the desk free so that the chair rollers would work freely.

Windows – curtains would be too heavy for such a small space, I chose a Roman Blind from Hillary Blinds made up in a lovely ribbed blue green fabric. This allows Camille to raise it fully for maximum light when busy working or lowering it to create a more subdued cosy feel when she is chilling out.

Accessories and display – on the work side of the room all the colour comes from practical items such as books, desk items and files as well as swatches of fabric. On the right hand side colour and style comes from pretty cushions and throws and the attractive artwork on the walls. A mirror over the daybed helps to create a feeling of space in the room.

Good Ideas

  • To keep costs down, reuse wherever you can. The day bed, desk and shelves were all built out of the wood from the dismantled cupboards.
  • Make sure you think about lighting when planning your room so that you have power where you need it. Here we put a wall light over the daybed.
  • Storage space under the daybed is the perfect place for heavy or bulky items. Clear storage boxes mean you can see through at what’s inside. Picture of Camille sorting out the boxes.
  • Removable drawers from the storage units mean you can comfortably pull them out and look through them while sitting comfortably. Picture of Camille and me sitting on the daybed sorting through the boxes.
  • Use the cupboard space more effectively by introducing alternative storage. Various size drawer units and hanging units.

  • Good idea – get exactly the right size mattress / day bed cushion cut from a foam wholesaler…make sure that you ask for mattress grade foam.
  • Using multifunctional equipment like a flat screen means you can move them out of the way when not needed or hanging them on a wall if you want to watch a DVD on the daybed.
  • Think of alternatives to standard art – here we used Habitats Tse Tse cherry blossom light.
  • Use space saving devices like this pull out keyboard shelf – great for making the desk even more useable.



What it cost


Little Greene Paint Co – ‘Morning’ matt emulsion

£19.50 / 2.5ltr

Roman Blind

Hilary Blinds – Green Rib


Wall light

Ikea – ‘Fartyg’


Desk light

Camille’s own


Pull out keyboard shelf

Ikea – ‘Summera’



Pentonville Rubber


Chocolate cushions

Ikea – ‘Felicia’ x 2

£5.99 = £11.98

Green Cushions

Made by Camille

Patchwork cushions

The Pier – ‘Kalista’ x3

£20.95 = £62.85

Crochet throw

The Pier –



The Pier – ‘Global Rug’



Ikea – ‘Stave’


Floral wall light art

Habitat Tse Tse


Pink flower art x 3

Habitat -

£25.00 set of three


Ikea – ‘Grundsund’


Stackable cupboard shelving -

Muji -

From £19.99

Hanging storage

Ikea -


Red file storage

Ikea -


Total £513.67

How the room works for Camille.

‘I know I said I wanted a chill out/ office/ hobby room, but I didn’t think I could get all of this out of such a small room. It is such a flexible space now every inch of space is used and yet it still feels airy and restful – I love it’