CREATING SPACE // from cramped & cluttered to minimalist chic

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One of my biggest renovation challenges was creating space in a cramped bedroom.

My room was a typical 1970s-build-sized double – big enough for a king-sized bed, a chest of drawers and a bedside table, but not much space to spare. It had a chimney breast running up along one wall, but no fitted furniture.

When we first moved in I bought one of those cheap canvas wardrobes to fit into the chimney alcove, which was supposed to be a short-term fix until we could sort out some fitted cupboards. But, as is often the case when you have young children, pricey wardrobes never quite made it to the top of the ‘buy-now’ list.

I hated it with a passion – it was ugly and awkward to use, and overwhelmed the modest space. One day I decided I’d had enough, and took huge pleasure in smashing it into little bits. In its place I put a contemporary black steel and wood hanging rail.

It was only supposed to be an interim solution, but I’ve decided I absolutely love it. Because there’s no clunky outer shell it takes up much less square footage than before; the open space at the top and sides makes the room seem bigger, and once I put my clothes in a basic colour-coded order they didn’t look as messy (which I worried they would). A simple IKEA shelf installed above, with a couple of green plants and some knick-knacks, and it was a view I now took pleasure in.

OH had been given a gorgeous Fortnum & Mason gift basket for Christmas, and I’d been wondering what to do with the empty wicker hamper. The colour matched the wooden rail and shelf, and it fit perfectly into the small gap between the rail and the wall. I filled it with all all the things I’d previously stuffed into the wardrobe – winter gloves, scarves, a jewellery box and a couple of small handbags – the perfect up-cycling solution. 

As a short-term solution I’ve bought a couple of plastic under-bed boxes, but eventually my plan is to invest in a bed with built-in storage.

There are two reasons why Happy Beds divan beds appeal to me; firstly, there’s no gap under the bed to grow dust bunnies and aggravate allergies. Secondly, every inch of that otherwise wasted space is put to great use with pull-out drawers. These are ideal for storing away your spare bedding, non-seasonal clothes and all those accessories that can clutter up a room (hair straighteners, toiletries, books, etc… ).

I hadn’t realised just how much all the fuss in my room had been bothering me, until it was gone. With the hulking wardrobe dismantled and the surfaces decluttered the room felt like it had doubled in size .

I’d been nervous that my new dark walls (colour-matched to Farrow & Ball’s off-black) would make the room appear smaller, but somehow the opposite happened – it felt cosy but spacious too. Finally, I got OH to order a custom-made mirror for the door well, so when the door was closed the wall behind it was entirely mirrored (he had it exactly made to measure and stuck it to the wall with industrial strength Grip Fill).

The reflection added depth and the illusion of even more space.  For the first time since we’d moved in I felt like I could actually breathe… Rather than a cluttered, frustrating space my room is now my peaceful oasis.

• Happy Beds are open and delivering as usual, with extra COVID-19 health precautions in place to ensure the safety of their employees

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If you enjoyed reading about creating space in a cramped bedroom, you might also like to take a peek at Big Sis’s bedroom renovation

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