Ikea is a wonderful place. Meatballs, cakes made from Dime Bars, those clippy things for half opened bags of food that you buy Every Time You Visit. Oh and the odd piece of furniture. Eight years ago I bought a simple wooden cabinet to provide some much needed storage in my old house. I’d always planned to do something ‘jazzy’ with the doors but as it was hidden behind my sofa I never got round to it. Fast forward to the New House and the cabinet is being used as a TV stand and is much more on show.

cabinet before

I felt now was the time to get the paints and wallpapers out and give it a little make over.


It only took an afternoon of painting, I used a variety of paints, ones that I already had in the house. The yellow is a really high shine gloss and the others are all satin finish emulsions. If you are using matt paints – maybe left over from painting your walls – then using a clear varnish or wax will give a nice sheen.


1. Remove the doors and give them a wash and a light sand.
2. Masking tape all round the sides of the doors to avoid drips.
3. Prime with an acrylic undercoat and primer in one.
4. When this is dry paint with your chosen colours, I used a small roller to avoid brush marks.
5. If required finish off with a wax.

If you don’t fancy doing-it-yourself then these pieces already have the paint job done for you.


Oliver BonasMavis Chest £515


John Lewis sideboard by Leonard Pfeifer £650

Though I love my cabinet and its jazzy doors I found just the sort of cupboard I was looking for the other day. Of course it wasn’t quite right as it was so it’s currently being ‘Dad Hacked’ in Dads Garage. I reckon it’ll deserve its own post pretty soon.

P.S. If you’ve not visited the Ikea Hackers website go now. It’s full of inspiring projects to turn your run of the mill Ikea goods into unique one of a kinds.


Hurrah. I’ve finally done it … I have finished one room in The New House. It’s only taken me … ooh about four months. I started so well; painting, carpeting and getting the bed delivered and built all within a couple of weeks of moving in but then there seemed to be a lull when life and work took over.

When I first saw the house it looked like this.


But I didn’t need bunk beds or more wardrobes, just a nice space that could be an office or a spare room. I chose this room to decorate first because it was small and manageable with no wallpaper to remove, just a quick paint job, new carpet and a few little bits and bobs and it’d be good to go.

Regular visitors to the blog will notice the odd cushion or bin that are now in their final resting places, other pieces came from Ikea or were recycled, reclaimed or customised. I painted the walls in Potters Clay by Dulux from Homebase and polka dotted the two shorter ones with white vinyl that I got from the local hardware shop.

TOP TIP hand cut wall murals are easy to make using vinyls that are often found on the high street (maybe more commonly known as sticky backed plastic, well, it is if Blue Peter was your crafting Mecca when you were younger (click here if you want to know how to make a Blakes7 bracelet)). I drew round the inside of a masking tape roll for my polka dots and cut them out with scissors. If you are going for a more elaborate design don’t forget to draw your design in reverse on the back of the vinyl so it is the right way round when you stick it up. Oh and something I’ve learned the hard way… Don’t put the mural up on freshly painted walls. It’s best to wait two or three weeks for the paint to dry fully otherwise when you want to remove the mural the paint will come with it. (One way or another my walls will now always be spotted.)

Here are some more facts.


BED I didn’t want my spare room to be filled with a double bed for the odd occasion when someone would be sleeping in it and I knew I’d need lots of storage so this Hemnes Day Bed from Ikea was perfect. It had three massive drawers in its base that are now filled with my fabric collection and pulls out to be a huge comfortable double bed. The bed cost £260 and the two mattresses were £80 each. I changed the original knobs on the drawers for ones bought from Tiger and the Orla Kiely bedlinen is from TK Maxx.


CUSHIONS TK Maxx on the left and Matalan on the right. Couldn’t say if the TK Maxx one is still in store but you can still buy the Matalan one for £8 here. The carved wooden angel wings were a gift from my sister and were £35 from CoxandCox


CHAIR I found this chair in a charity shop in Sydenham when I was on my way to a friends for coffee. It wasn’t super fun getting it home on the train but I did have somewhere to sit. One day soon I will do a tutorial on how to upholster chairs like this.


CURTAINS I’ve decided that it’s best to try and only have two things from Ikea in any one room, that way your home will retain some individuality. I’m not saying I’m going to stick to that rule but I’m going to try! These curtains were just £25 from Ikea. They were ridiculously long when I put them up, so I had to cut about 50cm off the bottom. I made these tiebacks with the spare fabric and trimmed them with £2 a meter pom pom trim from my local fabric shop. The old owners of the house left all their curtain poles so rather than changing this one I simply painted it white.


DESK Here is the bin that was a blog post a little while ago and here is a chair that I found in the street. It has lived in my garden for about three years but even though its been rained, snowed and hailed upon it’s still remarkably sturdy. All it took was a little bit of filling, a lot of sanding and a nice coat of paint and it’s as good as new. The pinboard I made for a shoot and I’m going to show you how in the next couple of weeks.

I love this room. It gives me hope that one day the rest of the house will be as nice.

In my old house I only needed three bins, one in the bedroom, one in the bathroom and the kitchen one. Now it seems I have a need for a bin wherever I go (especially as I am still unpacking) and need to find 5 more, well 7 really as I managed to leave my bathroom and kitchen ones in the old house. Here is something I have realised… A good bin is hard to find…  So I’m making do with an interesting selection of receptacles till I find some decent ones.

The one good bin I do have is one I bought in a sale at The Pier when I worked there as a student. When I bought it I always planned to paint it or cover it with paper as I really liked the shape but not so much the paint job. Now 19 years and 6 houses later I have finally gotten around to it.

I’m using the bin in my spare room which is the only room that doesn’t require major renovations (more of which later), I’m sure painting the bin isn’t necessarily the first thing you should do when decorating a room but then I’m finding when it comes to DIY I’m not one for rational planning and sensible organisation!

I used a small radiator roller to paint the lines and it took a few coats of undercoat to obliterate the zebra stripe.

I’m not having much luck finding others I like but here are three that seem fairly innocuous

From Left:
Grey Stripe from BHS £10, not technically a bin but if you only used it for paper bits then it would be fine … Get it here

Teal Metal from Ikea £11, This is a bit of an odd size … A bit too big to be a bedroom bin and too small for a kitchen, so though I looked at it in the shop I didn’t buy it… Obviously as soon as I got home I realised it was the perfect size for the Craft Room. (Yeah, I now have a Craft Room, well, a room in which I do craft. Others would call it a glorified cupboard.) … Get it here

Blue Flip Top from Habitat £22, Has a nice rubberised finish so you wont need to keep polishing it like you do shiny stainless steal ones … Get it here

I’m currently thinking the best bin bet is to buy cheap metal ones from the Pound Shop and cover them in a paper or paint that suits the scheme of the room.

I have been to Ikea. I went to get some eggcups (that they didn’t have), a replacement recycling bin – as mine was stolen from outside the house (that they have changed the design of so now it’s 2 inches taller than the old one and thus doesn’t fit in my cupboard), some metal hangers for Master J (they don’t make them any more) and some material (out of stock). It was a bit of a disastrous mission really until I turned the final corner and saw this …

Mmmmm, lovely lovely wrapping paper. I had entered the Ikea Gift Wrapping section.

Do I need some matching tags to go with that lovely lovely gift wrap?

Yes I do. But what about these number ones?

That also come in white …

but then there’s these picture ones …

With matching stickers.

And how about some Washi Tape

Don’t mind if I do, and to finish it all off, some curly wurly ribbon.

Thank you Ikea my faith in you has been restored.

(In true Ikea fashion nothing here was more than £5. The tags and stickers were 50p-£1, the ribbon £2, the gift wrap £4 and the Washi tape £5 … which is pretty damn good for Washi Tape. I couldn’t find them on the Ikea website so you’ll have to get yourselves down to a store (Top Tip: don’t go on a Bank Holiday, go when there’s some football or other national sporting event on, it’s well quiet then.))