Designing A Spare Bedroom On A Budget

Updated: Sep 6

The spare bedroom (and downstairs loo) can be a great place to try out bold colours and patterns, that you might not be brave enough to use elsewhere in the house. It can however also be a room that you don't want to spend a fortune on, particularly if it's not going to be used very often. Ours fell into this category, but I still wanted our guests (when we can eventually have them!) to enjoy their accommodation.


So, where do you begin the design process when you find yourself in this situation...

Find elements in the room that you like, or are simply too costly to change (maybe the flooring) and build upon those as your base palette. In this room, the ceiling was already painted in Farrow and Ball Brinjal - a decorator was beyond the scope, and being only 5ft, Edwardian ceilings are a challenge for me (this project had a tight deadline as well as a tight budget)! So I embraced the dark, and used it everywhere as a backdrop to highlight lighter furnishings and accessories. ⁠⠀


Use mirrors, framed posters and even dried foliage to add interest to flat painted walls. The palm leaves above the bed are from @rustichouse11

The floor boards and tiles were also existing (shame on the previous owner who ripped out the fire place!) - I would have swapped the tiles for a pinky toned terrazzo had there been room in the budget, but that's one for the future! The most cost effective way to update (or hide) your flooring is with an area rug. They also help to ground your furniture (in this case the bed) within the room. The general rule is to go as big as your budget will allow! Ensure there is at least enough rug poking out from each side of the bed, that your feet land on it when you get up in the morning.

Furniture is where your budget can easily be eaten up, but bear in mind that less expensive pieces can be elevated with thoughtful styling. For this reason, I opted for an Ikea bed frame, but dressed it with beautiful French linen. Check out our post 'How To Make A Bed Like A Pro'. Similarly with the rattan chair (also from Ikea), I added texture using a fur throw and tassel cushion. When it came to storage I decided that a wardrobe wasn't necessary, as we never have guests for more than one night. But hanging space is always useful! So I took the opportunity to make a feature of the window wall, using simple plywood strips as cladding, and clothing hooks with co-ordinating wooden hangers.

Finally the lighting! In the spirit of elevating though dressing, I choose to spend a bit more on the ceiling pendant, and one of the floor lamps. Mixing more expensive pieces in with budget friendly Ikea items, prevents your room looking like one of the stores room sets, and makes it more individual to you. When it came to wall lights, these were a real DIY job. I've used plug in pendants, so an electrician wasn't required to hard wire, and basic B&Q shelf brackets, painted in the same colour as the wall (so they disappear!) And lastly, to make it pop (and appear more expensive) a porcelain bulb!

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