1 May 2011

Bling your bedroom on a budget

Our ten tips to a better bedroom

Bling your bedroom on a budget

No-one wants their bedroom to look like an advert for the local dump - turn it into a blinging boudoir (on a budget) with our ten simple, stylish tips...

Let's start with the basics:

1) Clean and clear
Yeah, it's dull, but if you can uncover the floor that's hidden under layers of clothes you'll instantly have more space to luxuriate in. And you can always ask your mum nicely if she minds helping...

What you need: A duster and polish, bin bags (to chuck out all the rubbish), a vacuum, perhaps a willing parent

Where to get it: Your mum will be literally throwing cleaning products at you - they may magically appear outside your door.

Expect to spend: Probably nothing if your house is well-stocked, but a few pounds for a duster and some polish at your nearest supermarket

2) Feng shui your space (aka move your furniture)
Just shifting around your stuff can entirely change the way a room looks - save yourself the sweat by trying it out on paper first.

But if your furniture's built in, don't make a tech project of it by getting out the hacksaw!

What you need: Pens and paper, a measuring tape and a little legwork!

Where to get it: Root around your dad's tool box for the measuring tape or go to a DIY store.

As for the labour - maybe try and rope in a strong mate or family member to shift the furniture if you're feeling lazy.

Expect to spend: Nothing (unless you have to bribe your helpers with chocolate - in which case, about a pound).

3) Just add sunshine
We've all got a mirror, but we can use it for more than just our make-up.

If you can hang a full-length mirror horizontally along one sunny wall you'll find that it not only creates instant sparkle but, if you're lucky, it doubles your room to the size of a celeb's hotel suite.

If only room service came with that...

What you need: A full-length mirror (preferably).

Where to get it: If you don't already own one, have a look in shops like Ikea (their Bonett mirror is a good option, and can be hung both vertically and horizontally).

Expect to spend: From about £15.

4) Lighten up
Homework's done, ditch the dull desk lamp and switch on some fairy lights for a chilled-out vibe. Beware of Christmas-tree overkill though, there's nothing chic about that.

Alternatively, kill two birds with one stone and light some pretty scented candles for a fresh, romantic feel (obvs check with the 'rents first that they're ok with you lighting stuff in your room).

What you need: Fairy lights, decorating clips to hang them on the wall (+ candles and candle holders, if allowed).

Where to get it: Have a search online and see where the best deals are. Argos has some pretty pink and butterfly-style options. Or, if you're trying to be really budget-conscious, see if you can dig out some plain white Christmas tree lights from the attic/garage/cupboard under the stairs.

From experience, the best clips to get are 3M Command Strips - they're practically invisible, self-adhesive, and when you want to take them down they come of without taking off the paint or wallpaper.

Expect to spend: Between £5 (for the clips) and £20 for a string of about 20 fairy lights (unless you're a proper bargain hunter, that is).

5) Wall of fame
Don't drive yourself up the wall staring at ancient wallpaper that's been there since you were a toddler - do what you'd do when you're having a bad skin day and conceal it.

Try turning a single wall into a mood board of overlapping much-loved pictures, photos of friends, gig tickets - anything that inspires you or triggers pick-me-up memories. Plus, it's so personal to you and your tastes that it's bound to be unique.

What you need: Photos, magazine cuttings, postcards, posters, tickets - any memorabilia or inspiring images you like. Remember, you can add to this at any time as you'll always have new experiences and inspirations.

Where to get it: Raid your photo albums, flick through your old magazines, find postcards in gift shops and galleries - wherever you like really.

Expect to spend: From £0 upwards - it really needn't cost you very much at all though.

6) Cover up

Let's face it ladies, your bed's the most important feature of your bedroom (it isn't called a carpetroom, after all) and a crumpled mess of dirty duvet is just not a good look.

If your bed linen's looking a bit on the faded/grotty side, consider dying it - bright, bold colours make a statement, while dark greys look sophisticated teamed with small shots of colour. But, remember to take the rest of your decor into account, as while a little clashing can be cool, generally it's not a great idea.

What you need: Old duvet cover and pillow cases (ideally minus holes and balding patches), a sachet of your chosen dye.

Where to get it: Find the dye at a haberdashers (fabric shop). Some hardware shops and supermarkets also stock it.

Expect to spend: £5.

7) Drape expectations
Fabric's a versatile, easy way to make an impact. Try using a single wide panel as a backdrop-slash-headboard for your bed.

What's the bit of our rooms we usually ignore (apart from when there are spiders lurking)? The ceiling. It's a missed decorating opportunity. A little clever, lush draping can create an intimate, cosy and, if you choose your fabrics carefully, opulent boudoir.

To achieve this feel, attach lengths of material to the ceiling in sweeping arcs using drawing pins or a staple gun (be sure to check with the 'rents before you try this one).

What you need: Fabric (cut from a roll, or something like a sarong, pashmina etc), drawing pins or tacks.

Where to get it: Some big department stores sell fabric, but you'll probably get more for your money at an independent fabric store or your local market.

Expect to spend: Depending how much fabric you buy, and on the type of material, between £5 and £30 (that's probably quite a lot of material though).

8) Have an art attack
If you're feeling creative, don't hide away your artistic abilities in a sketchbook stashed on the shelf. Consider your room to be your own personal art gallery and exhibit your masterpieces.

Frame up one BIG mixed-media collage, drawing or painting and make a focal point of a blank wall. Alternatively, put up a few smaller pieces in clip frames or smart (but inexpensive) options from Ikea. Then sit back and admire your own handiwork...

What you need: Paper, collage/ art materials, picture frames.

Where to get it: Find art materials in an art shop (tip: try The Works - it's often got cheap material and large canvasses, too). Photography shops sell clip frames, but for a chunkier, more professional finish, try Ikea's frames - big and inexpensive.

Expect to spend: Anything up to £30 (including the frame).

9) Find a soft spot
Fluffy, soft and pretty damn comfortable - cushions are a must-have for any girl's bedroom. They can be expensive, but luckily there is a way to get past this decorating dilemma.

Buy some cheap, plain cushions (try supermarkets, budget high-street shops, or even rummage in your local charity shop), then customise, customise, customise:

- stitch on buttons, sequins, felt, or fabric shapes

- use a favourite band/motif t-shirt that's too small for you to create a cushion cover

- sew on a single silky scarf, or patchwork cuts of fabric to cover one side of the existing plain cover.

Top tip: if you're not hot on stitching try ironing on hemming tape instead. Alternatively, put your favourite pics and patterns to good use and try using some image maker for an original, no-sewing-required, padded pillow.

What you need: Cushions (with pads), image maker or old t-shirt/ silky scarves/ fabric/ buttons/ ribbon…whatever else takes your fancy, needle and thread or fabric glue.

Where to get it: Try a supermarket's homeware department for cheap, plain cushions, or budget high street shops. All the other materials can be found in a good haberdasher, or you may already have them stashed in your cupboard.

Expect to spend: £2-10 for a cushion, a few pounds for materials, £4 for a pack of image maker.

10) Sign, sealed, delivered
Finish off your room and make sure your family's clear exactly who's in charge, by adorning your door with a dressing-room style sign.

Personalise it to suit your style: if you're a bit of diva try a giant gold star with your name on it. Or, if you're more of a grungy girl, how about a roadworks-inspired ticker tape of 'Danger! Keep Out'?

Whatever you do, make your mark with an impact - it's the first thing people see before they enter your hallowed space.

What you need: Craft materials like card and paint, or a computer and printer.

Where to get it: You can easily do this with items found around your house.

Expect to spend: Nothing at all. A branding bargain.

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