Living

Chromatic crush

A master bedroom makeover that all started when Alex fell in love with ‘that’ wallpaper.

Where did you get the inspiration for your bedroom makeover? It all started with the wallpaper, by Swedish designer Hanna Werning for Boras Tapeter. I loved the navy base colour with the unexpected colours of the flora and fauna in the design. This room has a very high stud so I knew that teaming this with a design-heavy paper would yield a very impressive result. We also needed practical things like storage, because, as with most old houses, there wasn’t any.

How did you go about pulling the colour scheme together? I’m a huge fan of mixing pattern on pattern so I just take cues from the palette and mix and match with those in mind. For this space anything goes – tartan, slubby linens, Marimekko designs, budgie prints, stripes and shibori. It’s mad but we love it. Every time I change the bed I choose a different combination of four pillowcases, which makes it forever changing and exciting.

The cabinetry colours are on point with the rest of the room – were these custom made? Yes they were. I wanted them to be built-in and tie in with the space – I designed them to proportionally fit the room and to create the feeling that they had always been there. We kept the design fairly plain but added the decorative skirting board to the base, which nods to the era of the home. The exterior of the units was painted in Dulux Deep Storm, which matched perfectly to the wallpaper base colour. I’m not really a fan of white internal spaces inside joinery so we chose orange-red for me and purple for Jeff. It makes us smile every time we open the wardrobe doors.

What’s your top tip to stop bedsides being boring?Storage and lighting. I use Uashama bags to store all those bedside bits and bobs that are better off not being on show and a Pug Light from Teapea to add some fun. We also have wall-hung lights from Catherine David Design which complement the era of our home but with a modern twist of unexpected colours of pink and yellow. We also got the electrician to add a main light switch by the bed so we don’t have to get out of bed to turn off the light. Ask them to put it low so it’s out of sight. Another thing I have recently done is ditch the LED bedside alarm clock and replaced it with a pink Tivoli for music. It only took me 40 years to work out that having a bright red light glaring at you is probably not a great move for a rested sleep.

Combining pattern on pattern can be a daunting task for some – how did you make it work here? Use your new colour palette to guide you with the colour choices then go a little crazy with mixing themes, patterns and designs. If you love it then it works, if it’s too much try pulling it back. There is no right and wrong so go with what feels right to you.

What is the white bedding about? For a colour nut like yourself, it is quite a departure! A few years ago it was so hard to find coloured bedding and duvet covers and now we have so much more choice. It must be in the blood as my daughter Isla is obsessed by foodie bedding with pizzas, pasta, watermelon and bananas. But this white bedding is a work-in-progess as I brought it from Father Rabbit three years ago with the plan to shibori it after I had done a workshop with Megan Morton at The School. I haven’t done it yet, but watch this space!

What was your best buy for this room?  The two side tables. I loved that they weren’t white or wood but an unusual shade of bright olive green. They have no storage but that means we can stack magazines and books underneath and storage options on top.

If I wanted to makeover my bedroom, how would you recommend going about making it feel a little more like ‘me’? Start with a favourite piece of art or wallpaper. Use that as the base for your colour story. Pull out three or four tones and design around those. Add colour to unexpected places like the inside of your wardrobe, the back of your door or on your ceiling. This is your space to experiment a little and stamp your personality on it. Have fun with the design elements and don’t take yourself too seriously.

Photography Jim Tannock