Upcycle, Recycle & Decluttering with Hillarys

When I first moved into my house I went to town with my living room. If it was bright and on a canvas, I bought it. I quickly lost momentum when a) my dad stopped helping me with the decorating and when my “moving in” funds ran out and sadly the upstairs of my house was left unloved and without the TLC of the living and kitchen area. My bedroom is very much “lived in” meaning that I don’t have enough storage to house all the clothes, makeup and shoes so it slowly began to creep into my spare room. For a short time, my spare room looked like a bomb had hit it; full of half unpacked cardboard boxes, empty boxes and then it became a spare bedroom with a double bed I managed to pick up from Gumtree for those drunken stop overs after a girls night out on the tiles. It was then home to Gemma Button for a couple months but since then it has become a hybrid room which housed a bed which takes up the majority of space and is never used, a floordrobe, beddrobe, an office space and hideaway of anything that didn’t have it’s own place.

Don’t judge me for these pictures, but this is my spare room in its raw non retouched, nothing tidied away state. I didn’t want to tidy up for the purpose of photographs. I wanted to shame myself into doing something about it because I have no excuse for the sheer amount of clutter and unhomed and unloved state other than my messiness (and inability to stop buying clothes/shoes/more crap that I don’t need).



When Hillarys selected my spare room based on these pictures for a bedroom makeover with a £100 budget* I jumped at the prospect of a kick up the backside and some decor inspiration. What was design expert Joanna Thornhills expert advice about my bedroom?

“This is my spare bedroom at the moment. I suppose it’s more of a hybrid room – in between a spare room/walk-in wardrobe/dumping ground!”

Joanna Thornhill’s Recommendations:

1. You have bedside tables in your alcoves but as this is only a spare room, you could afford to lose these and install some storage which completely fills the alcoves, be it wardrobes for excess clothes or bookcases/built-in shelves. 2.You could then invest in a couple of small fold-up tables or stools to act as temporary bedside tables when you go have guests to stay.

2. You could then invest in a couple of small fold-up tables or stools to act as temporary bedside tables when you go have guests to stay.

3. Your desk looks like a lovely vintage piece and a handy spot to house a home office, but going by your living room style, perhaps a fresh lick of white or cream paint would make it more in-keeping with your style? You could then opt for simple white furniture in the alcoves too, creating a blank canvas to add in pink and white soft furnishings, rugs and artwork, to finish off the space.


A lot of the advice that Joanna gave were all things I had wanted to implement for a long time.  The double bed definitely needed to go as it was taking up much needed space and my beloved writing bureau which I picked up at a car boot a few years ago was desperate for a lick of paint and some TLC.  It was originally being used as a home for a desktop PC but when the clutter surrounding it began to pile up it didn’t provide the most serene place to get my Carrie Bradshaw on.

A messy room does not make for a tidy mind after all. 


Upcycling with Spray Paint 101.

1. I took apart apart the unit as much as I could, meaning removing all the furnishing such as locks, nobs, and handles and taking out the drawers to ensure I there was no nook or cranny left unpainted.

2. I then gave the wooden surfaces a light sanding all over to give the paint a key to stick to and to remove and small blemishes or bumps that may show through the paint.

3. Next up – spray paint! As ever with spray paint I ensured that everything in the room was well covered, that the room was well ventialted and that I was wearing a mask, and then gave the unit two coats of spray on primer to give an even base colour (like an undercoat) and to make the surface ready for painting.

4. Now its time for the finger… the spray paint finger, DUH! Hold the can away from the surface and spray in long and even sweeps to ensure an even coverage. If you get too close the paint will drip and cause a bit of a mess (I learnt this the hard way).

5. Leave to dry for the recommended time (usually a couple of hours) and then apply another coat until you reach the desired opacity.

6. Then simply reattach your furnishings, add some decorative nobs (I opted for these sparkly numbers from eBay which were a bargain at £6 for 8) and pop the drawers back in.

7. My writing bureau had a red leatherette section of the fold down desk area which was pretty beaten up and marked. I’d have loved to have been able to salvage it but alas, it was beyond repair. In its place I decided to get my decoupage on with a paint brush and some PVA glue in a homage to my favourite city, Venice.





I replaced the double bed with a single day bed with under bed storage which I picked up from Gumtree for the bargain price of £30 (it was black and I painted it white! Upcycle baby!) and I got print and accessory heavy once again with a selection of canvasses, wall hangings and prints from the like of Ikea, B&M and Poundland. A couple of my favourite accessories are the old fashioned style sweet jars filled with lipsticks and nail polishes and framed greetings cards from a local vintage shop 32 Town Road.

After picking up a couple of prints on the grey/silver palette (mainly that “Love” print from Ikea) I decided to stick to that colour scheme and stray completely from the pink and purple theme that runs throughout the rest of my house. The newly painted white furnite also lent itself perfectly to the muted grey tones and provides a relaxed and airy feel to what can be quite a dark room.




I probably (most definitely) went over my £100 budget by a few pounds but that was mainly down to be not budgeting for how much paint I’d need and the extra cost for the daybed and mattress.

Now to find a home for all of the clutter that’s currently living in my actual bedroom. That’s an other project entirely.

You can check out some more blogger bedroom makeovers on the Hillarys website.

  • It looks lovely, I love the bed, our daughter has a day bed they’re great aren’t they? And the bureau looks lovely too, I’ve never up cycled anything but I’d love to give it a go :) it looks great, really lovely xxx

    Zoe ♥ MammafulZo