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Room Tour: A Dull, Beige Bedroom is Totally Transformed

A large-scale wallpaper inspired a gorgeous guest bedroom scheme that celebrates period features, too

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When it comes to decorating, a large room can be as much a challenge as a blessing, especially when it isn’t going to contain many items of furniture. With a spacious, high-ceilinged guest bedroom – leading to a new en-suite bathroom – to transform, and a brief to retain the lovely period features of the Edwardian house and create a distinctive and luxurious scheme, designer Karen Knox thought hanging wallpaper was the way to go – but size mattered. “We needed a large-scale wallpaper because there wasn’t going to be a lot of stuff in there,” says Knox. She was given free rein, and an impressive flower and foliage design became the foundation of the fabulous guest quarters.

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Room at a Glance
Who lives here A couple
Location Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Property A semi-detached Edwardian house
Size 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms
Room dimensions 5.8m x 4.3m
Designer Karen Knox of Making Spaces

The hanging rail to the right of the chimney breast had already been earmarked by the owners for the guest bedroom, and with that “black popped into my mind”, says Knox. “Initially they’d not thought about wallpaper, but they were bowled over by the effect.”

Upper Brook Street wallpaper, Little Greene.

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A four-poster wasn’t the first thought as a bed. “We were going to go for an upholstered headboard,” says Knox, “but when we found the wallpaper there was no point in having a big solid piece of furniture in front of it.” A large bed was still required to suit the dimensions of the room, though. “This one seemed to tick all the boxes,” she says. “It doesn’t fight with the wallpaper, the colour works, and it frames different aspects of the wallpaper as you walk around it.”

Goa bed, Maisons du Monde. Charleston bedspread, Made.com.

Browse four-poster beds in the Houzz shop

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Rich velvet chairs were on the owners’ wish list and Knox sourced designs with upholstery in a shade to complement the wallpaper. There’s a coffee machine in the room, so guests can make their own without going downstairs and sit in the alcove created by the bay window to drink it.

The velvet curtains were made by a relative using fabric bought on eBay. “The owners did a lot of work themselves and by saving money on trades they could splurge to make the room look pretty special,” says Knox.

Frame armchairs, Made.com. Bay window alcove painted in Shallows, Little Greene.

Ways to introduce velvet into your home

Before Photo

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A before photo shows how even a large bed looked small in the space.

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The owners wanted the room’s cast-iron fireplace to stand out, and it’s now framed by the wallpaper. The picture rail, skirting board and cornice were painted black to pull the original features into the scheme.

Skirting board, picture rail and cornice painted in Jack Black, Little Greene.

Before Photo

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This before photo shows an old separate bathroom, which intruded into the bedroom floor plan. This has been reworked as an en suite to the room, with a new doorway further along the right-hand wall.

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Painting the room’s floorboards was a money-saving strategy. “They’d sworn off floorboard work, but when we’d gone for the wallpaper the best idea was to get the floorboards repaired and carry the black through,” says Knox. A rug was laid on top to add warmth and avoid an echo. “We didn’t want a pattern but to let the wallpaper do the talking,” she says.

Adum rug, Ikea.

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The bay window area wasn’t wallpapered as it would have involved too much waste. Big foliage plants here and elsewhere in the room were always part of the look the owners wanted, and complement the wallpaper’s theme perfectly.

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The pendant shade was also a design the owners had their hearts set on. “It’s like a fluffy cloud floating on the treetops,” says Knox. “I swagged it across so it hangs centrally to the fireplace.”

Vita Eos shade, white domed porcelain ceiling rose and Sheffield Steel twisted cable, all Dowsing & Reynolds. Soknedal mirror, Ikea.

What to consider before hanging pendant lights

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Accommodating the room’s period features meant losing the top of the wallpaper. “It fades to a light colour equivalent to Little Greene’s Shallows, so we used what would have been the top of the wallpaper’s colour as the ceiling colour,” says Knox.

Ceiling painted in Shallows, Little Greene.

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“When the hanging rail arrived it had feet in blond wood so we painted the feet gold,” says Knox. The metallic tone was repeated throughout. “It warms the space up,” she says.

Agama coat stand, shoe tidy and coat rack, La Redoute.

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The trunk commemorates the couple’s wedding. “It seemed to fit nicely at the bottom of the bed, and bedding and towels can go in there,” says Knox.

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Coral accents on the bed were colour matched to the wallpaper. The coral cushion covers were found on eBay, while the grey ones were made from fabric left over from the curtains.

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The knobs that came with the bedside tables were changed to continue the warm metallic notes in the room. The light switches and sockets, meanwhile, were exchanged for black versions.

Hemnes bedside table, Ikea, with Futurist brass knobs, Dowsing & Reynolds. Rita table lamp, Made.com.

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The door to the en suite was given a coral accent to link it to the colour scheme.

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The couple had already chosen the en-suite floor tiles when Knox was called in. “They wanted to know how to make everything come together, so I suggested the artwork, the brassy accents and the wall colour,” she says.

Bathroom walls painted in Shallows, Little Greene.

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The colours of the art in the bathroom repeat those in the bedroom. “The couple had bought prints from the artist before and he’d done a Chanel print but the colourway wasn’t going to work, so I asked him to do it in bespoke colours,” says Knox.

Artwork, Andy Welland.

Check out our Get the Look guide.

Have you created a dramatic bedroom scheme? Show us or tell us in the Comments section.
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