My new sanctuary

Seven weeks after moving in, I finished my bedroom.  I did it all myself, except for a friend kept me company while I cut the blind to size and another friend spent Sunday with me putting the furniture together.  I did it in snatches, an hour or two after work in the evening, a day in the weekend, while frantically trying to wrap things up at work ready to start my new job.

So without further ado, let’s look at my bedroom before:


Almost before anyway – I couldn’t resist chipping some of those tiles off.  And it did have some furniture in it but I got Shelter to come and pick it up.  At a time where the housing crisis is on all of the front pages it feels like a good charity to support, when I’ve finally got some security of my own.  Thanks so much to them for collecting, it was a huge help to me too.

Take another look at that photo – tiles on the walls, woodchip wallpaper (oh yes, I scraped some of that off before taking the photo), and inexplicable areas of bare painted wall too.

Time for some PPE:



I borrowed a friend’s wallpaper steamer – brilliant!  Although it made the flat very damp – I opened the window as much as it could, when it wasn’t raining anyway.


The steamer was good at getting the tile adhesive off too, but it still left a big mess.


Walls cleaned up and patched.


Ceiling and walls painted and underlay down.  I used a damp-proof, insulating underlay as I’m above a garage and have a concrete floor.


It took me most of a weekend, but I got the laminate floor in.  I got the highest quality, meaning my floors are now 17mm thick with the wood and underlay.  Turns out I’m pretty handy with a jigsaw.


Finally some furniture.  The bed and wardrobe are from the Ikea Trysil range.  It’s one of their cheaper ranges but it had the clean but comfortable feel I was going for.  The bedhead is angled, which is great for sitting up in bed.  The bedding is the John Lewis Logan set.  The blanket I made myself from leftover wool over the course of four years.  And the light shade is the Vita Silvia mini from Heal’s.

I wouldn’t say it’s finished yet – I have my eye on a couple of designer pieces, and I want some sheer white curtains over the blackout blinds.  But it’s finished enough that I’m ready to turn my attention to other rooms for the time being.  Next up is the bathroom, which I must admit I’m turning over to someone else to take care of entirely!  I know my limits.

From this experience though I’d like to encourage anyone thinking about doing their own decorating to definitely give it a go.  It’s time-consuming and frustrating, but there’s nothing you can’t do armed with some quality tools and a few YouTube videos.

A few things I’ve learned:

  • Buy mid-range tools – not the cheapest, but you don’t need the most expensive either.  Bosch is a good bet.
  • Buy the best quality paintbrushes.  If they have a paint tin opener on the end that’s a bonus.
  • Ikea mean it when they say you need two people
  • Magic paint, which goes on pink and dries white, is brilliant for ceilings. Especially when you’re decorating after dark.  Worth every penny.

What are your best DIY tips?

6 thoughts on “My new sanctuary

  1. I’m glad you are ‘enjoying’ your new role as homeowner. Grand job in turning that dark room into a bedroom but what possessed anybody to put tiles in a bedroom. I fully agree about the power tools and the brushes! ps – here it is Mrs M, not Mr M, who does the DIY!

    • Thanks Meg! I can’t wait to get on with the rest of the flat now. The hallway doesn’t have woodchip but embossed wallpaper that peels off easily – so I have taken to inviting every visitor to tear a strip off!

  2. Wow Sarah…very impressed!!! Glad you got new place /new job…and if anything were to go wrong career wise looks like you could always go into painting/decorating!!! Congratulations on new job and becoming a homeowner.. …Kevin

    • Thanks Kevin! My Dad was brilliant at all things DIY. He kept a box of scrap wood for me and my brother to play with a bit like some kids have a dressing-up box. So now we’re both pretty handy!

  3. Looks great! Well done on doing everything yourself, must be so satisfying to look at the result. I’m especially impressed with the flooring, I think with our next house (ha, because there’s not much left to do to this one I am now mentally shopping!) I’ll have to follow your lead and look to spec up from vinyl.

    My top DIY tip would be to know your limits and get the pros in when it counts – i.e. for bathrooms. So I guess I don’t really need to share it with you! 🙂

  4. Mum has some really nice vinyl in her place! You wouldn’t know it isn’t laminate, although it doesn’t come in a v-groove option like laminate does. It was very important to me to get nice thick laminate and insulating underlay though, as with a concrete floor things can get a little damp. I’ve noticed such a difference between the bedroom and the living room now – can’t wait to get the rest of the flat done!

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