This bedroom makeover embraced darker colours

a bedroom with blue walls and orange bedding

A dreary bedroom with outdated wallpaper gets a stunning makeover that takes it from drab to fab.

When it came time to renovate her spare room, Jane Strange based the design on her late father, Fred, honouring him with a colour palette that is dramatic and moody but with a hint of masculine glamour.

“I wanted the room to incorporate artworks I inherited from my dad that are meaningful to me, but were not consistent with the rest of our home,” she explains.

Having recently given up the corporate world to study interior design, the Auckland woman experimented by curating a gallery wall, trusting it was the perfect way to combine her love of old and new, placing her dad’s paintings and artefacts alongside more contemporary pieces. “Dad’s paintings are mostly traditional landscapes that reflect his rural roots – farms, rivers, mountains and bush. I used frames and images in different tones to unite the eclectic mix and took the arrangement almost to the ceiling.”

When fitting out the rest of the bedroom, she introduced curvy shapes into furniture, mirrors and lighting to contrast with the linear wallpaper and artworks, with showstopping results. “It took me a while to pluck up the courage to embrace darker colours. My husband thought I was nuts, but I have created a space that I love, where my dad’s memory is alive, and in doing so I have conquered my fear of the dark.”


Essentially a low-lit cube with no attractive outlook, this once-neglected space now shines in both the look and feel departments, by tying together different eras and styles of furniture, objects and artworks.

Colour code

The star of the room is a striking petrol-blue wallpaper. Going super dark is not for everyone, but Jane wanted to prove to herself that moody hues can expand a room rather than make it feel smaller. She had paint tinted to match the wallpaper and commissioned her mother-in-law to paint a complementary artwork for above the bed. Caramel, rust and creamy shades were introduced in the carpet, rug and sheepskin to add texture and warmth. Elsewhere, brass light fittings inject a shot of glitz while tan leather furniture, including a chair she found on Trade Me, expands on the gentleman’s club vibe Jane was after.

Get lit

The key focal point – and biggest splurge – is an original mid-century chandelier that lends both
luxe and wattage to the compact space. The twin bedside sconces are Duomo Piccolo from Nightworks. They were a prototype, slightly longer than the final product, so Jane was thrilled to snap up a pair of fantastic handmade lights for a steal. A replica mushroom lamp illuminates the desk area.

The hard stuff

The bed, wardrobe, drawers and desk were all leftovers from the room’s former life as a teen hangout, but were repainted and repurposed to fit the new colour scheme. Jane changed the bedhead for a leather one she found on eBay, but when it arrived it turned out to be the wrong colour so, resourceful as ever, she used shoe polish to recolour it. New linen curtains and wardrobe handles add the finishing touches.

The budget

  • Wallpaper $1000
  • Wallpapering $1000
  • Lights $3000
  • Carpet, rug & laying $1300
  • Headboard $900
  • Paint & painting $900
  • Chair $400
  • Candles, toolbox $170
  • Plants, pots $250
  • Mirrors $70

Total spend: $8990

Carpet Bremworth Galet in chert.

Rug Bremworth Galet in sienna.

Wallpaper Ferm Living ‘Lines’ from Artisan Collective.

Paint Valspar from Mitre 10, tinted to match wallpaper.

Pendant light Vitrine.

Bedside lights Nightworks.

Lamp Lighting Plus.

Cupboard handles CS Studios.

Sheepskin Corcovado.

Duvet cover Città.

Sheets and pillow cases A&C Homestore.

Curtains Lahood.

Mirrors The Warehouse.

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