Please could I ask for advice on decorating dd's small, dark attic room?

(38 Posts)
Devora Sat 02-Jan-16 23:59:30

dd is 10 and has a small attic bedroom, north-facing. She is under the slope so there is little height or wall space. She currently has a mid-sleeper with room underneath for storage or a slouching area (beanbags). The room is painted white with a beige carpet. I've deliberately kept it neutral so I can easily change the colour scheme through cheap accessories. Currently the bedding, bedside table etc are blue/green.

dd really wants an overhaul and the room could do with it, but I'm a bit stumped on what to do. She isn't a girly girl and won't want pink/purple but is not expressing a view on what she does want. I don't have much of a budget. Any advice on colours etc would be appreciated, but I'd particularly like to ask:

- ideas on how to store clothes when there is nowhere to put a wardrobe (we're currently just folding them into white crates on shelves)?

- ideas on seating for dd and friends - small sofa, or are bean bags better?

- views on whether I should keep the room white/pale neutral, or is there something to be said for accepting it will never be a light spacious room, and decorating dark with white accents?

MoonlightandMusic Sun 03-Jan-16 22:46:04

Would something like this work? Keeps storage under the bed and allows some hanging space too.

There's this sort of thing either, and for hanging space then you'd need to find some v.nice hooks and dot them around the walls - could be useful for adding colour but keeping the background neutral.I think if the room's small then, rather than adding in a sofa/bean bag type sitting area I'd be more tempted to have extra cushions that would allow the mid-sleeper to be turned into a day bed. Alternatively, if possible, you could add a cushioned bench seat (with drawers, rather than a lift-up one) either by the window or at the end/under the bed and would then have extra storage too. Looks like it's certainly possible to [[http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/60297220/ hack the Ikea Hemnes wall shelf (plain) (hacked) to make a seat.

MoonlightandMusic Sun 03-Jan-16 22:48:56

Unjumbled links below - sorry. blush

Ikea Hemnes unhacked

Ikea Hemnes hacked (sample - don't think the finished article shown would necessarily suit your DD)

WorkingBling Sun 03-Jan-16 22:55:52

Personally, I would prioritise lighting. Get really good quality lighting- you can get those daylight ones that mimic sunlight - then you can do what you like with the colours etc

Backingvocals Sun 03-Jan-16 23:00:33

I think a dark room that's kept white for the light just ends up looking drab. Dd also has a small dark attic room but she's got pretty white furniture (like your situation, no room for a wardrobe, but she has a cabin bed with drawers under for clothes and one small chest of drawers)

We also papered one wall in something pretty - as its only one small wall (not full height) it didn't cost too much even tho the wallpaper was expensive. Look was something like this despite not having such a pretty room to work with.

Devora Sun 03-Jan-16 23:19:24

Thanks so much for these great ideas; they've really got me thinking. Moonlight, those links are very interesting - I'm thinking that I could just move an Ikea shelving unit we've already got under the bed, and use the bit of space at the end of the bed for a small curving wardrobe rail (will have to be custom built, I think). Shoes can then get chucked in that corner and as it's dark will hardly be noticed.

Backingvocals, I've never ever used wallpaper - I'm just a plain wall kind of person. But I think it would actually work really well in that room, just on one wall. And if I get dd to look through the wallpaper direct website I'll get a clearer sense of her taste.

I think I'll also put one or more of those Ikea wall cubes up where she sleeps, which will probably remove the need for a bedside table and so free up more space.

WorkingBling, you're so right about the lighting. It's a bit crap at the moment (spotlights and an inadequate Ikea wall light that's too childish).

Thanks all, you've got me started smile

daisydalrymple Sun 03-Jan-16 23:25:54

You could try shades from the dulux light and space range. They're light reflective type paints, and great for small and or dark spaces.

MoonlightandMusic Mon 04-Jan-16 21:39:47

Of course, you realise you are going to have to come back with a photograph once you've finished now! grin

Devora Mon 04-Jan-16 23:01:35

I absolutely will - before and after grin

Devora Mon 04-Jan-16 23:03:12

I'm actually going to do her sister's as well - but that's a conventional square room with a high ceiling and a window onto the garden. I'm quite relishing the challenge of the quirky room, and a girl who isn't into pink or purple.

Gonna build my kid a quirky palace...

MoonlightandMusic Mon 04-Jan-16 23:41:00

You are definitely braver than me (am really good at finding ideas, but somewhat less good at actually carrying them out). blush

Craig and Rose do some indoor metallic paints (but you do have to buy from their site I think), as do Valspar, if you want to go the regal route...grin

LeaLeander Mon 04-Jan-16 23:51:08

A bohemian garret theme with wicker furniture/storage, art nouveau prints, a fun wallpaper and perhaps a darker red or green floor covering could be fun for a young girl. And adapt to teen years as well. Incorporate some antiques vs ready-made furnishings perhaps.

Devora Tue 05-Jan-16 00:12:21

Hmmm interesting, LeaLeander. I'm quite taken by an art nouveauish wallpaper with dragonflies on, and I'm feeling faded petrol blue as a dominant colour. She already has some Lloyd Loom wicker furniture in there (a chair and a sewing box/stool. My house is a bit retro-tastic, and most of our furniture is from skips or car boot sales, so the poor kid is unlikely to get any new furniture smile

LeaLeander Tue 05-Jan-16 00:38:11

Wicker trunks to store clothing? Wicker or faux Tiffany lamps? Would be a fun room to grow into. I do think a darker floor will help at some point.

Devora Tue 05-Jan-16 00:47:26

You're tempting me to go wild - I could go REALLY eccentric, like a 1940s Parisian showgirl's attic room. I think my dd would be up for that, but worry that she'd be crushed when her 'friends' (yes, we're having problems there) would go 'eww, your room's so wierd'. Do you think 10 yos care about such things?

LeaLeander Tue 05-Jan-16 01:01:24

If she is 10 i think you could start less wild -think Jo's garret in Little Women with some boho thrown in - and amp up the theme and sophistication as she gets a bit older.

Friends would probably be envious!

3point14159265359 Tue 05-Jan-16 01:04:13

I'm really not following you around MN Devora, I promise.

My DD's small pokey under the slopes room is a lovely bright primrosey colour. I chose it because I also think white ends up looking drab without much natural light and I was told she was a very girly girl but I couldn't stomach the thought of pink.

So this way, we've made it pink with hello kitty stickers and bedspreads and stuff and I think it should transition quite nicely into a more grown up room when she wants it to by changing those things rather than needing to repaint.

We used the same colour for DS and added blue quilts and lime green furniture so I can confirm it goes with anything. (He redecorated with crayon though so probably won't be living with it through his teenage years...)

It's also very cosy looking with a bedside lamp.

3point14159265359 Tue 05-Jan-16 01:11:50

What about cube bed chairs for seating? Can be bounced on without breaking and used as beds if she ever has friends sleeping over. They also stuff in cars easily if you ever need to take a bed with you anywhere...

3luckystars Tue 05-Jan-16 01:28:46

My sons room has a weird angled roof, similar to an attic room. I read in an interiors magazine that you should paint the ceiling the same colour as the walls in this case, to make the room feel bigger and not draw attention to the ceiling being lower in some areas.

Anyway, I asked dh to paint walls and ceiling the same colour, cream and he thought it was weird not to paint the ceilings white but did it anyway. It worked! The room is much nicer and brighter now.
Obviously this would only work with light colours though.

Looking forward to seeing the photos.

BertieBotts Tue 05-Jan-16 01:49:20

LED light strips are really cheap now and you can stick them to the back of furniture to cast light onto the wall in a kind of futuristic way, that looks cool and will help illuminate things.

Very different from your boho chic idea, though smile

Devora Tue 05-Jan-16 10:06:48

Hmmm, futuristic..... now I'm torn. Will consult dd and report back smile

Cube beds is a great idea, 3point - that would work very well and we desperately need guest beds. (Could also be disguised with a boho chic throw or scarf...). I'm also quite tempted by primrose, but an aged vintage primrose rather than anything too bright and sunny. Vintage primrose is very Parisian garret, I think? With a vintage wallpaper on one wall, a big gothic mirror, a fringed lampshade...

The big spoiler is that mid-sleeper, of course. I'd love to replace it with an iron bedstead. But I don't think we can lose the storage space underneath. Hmpf. It's currently white - do you think it would look better if I painted it dark grey or black, or would that just make it stick out like a huge lump of black wood?

BoboChic Tue 05-Jan-16 10:11:53

Paint it grey to absorb the grey tones from the northern light and use multiple mirrors (junk shop) to create light and an illusionist of space. Place lighting on the floor and at mid height in various angles to create warmth. Don't use any overhead lights.

Devora Tue 05-Jan-16 10:23:37

Bobo, you sound like an expert! So can I ask: will a cool pale blue have the same effect? Or is grey the point?

I didn't know that about overhead lights. At the moment there's spotlights (hate them) so I'd be very happy to go for alternatives. It's a small room so I reckon a floor-standing light and one side lamp would do it.

BoboChic Tue 05-Jan-16 10:29:54

Grey is the point because northern light is grey and only grey will absorb/neutralize grey light. You can consult a paint specialist on this if you want more confirmation! I live in Paris in a north facing apartment and grey has revolutionized my decorations - along with mirrors that reflect light. Mirrors add instant glamour, if they have pretty frames, without being overly girly.

Lighting has evolved hugely since the advent of energy saving light bulbs. Take a look in a shop or two and keep a very open mind. A good lighting shop will provide advice.

You really need to consider paint color, mirrors and lighting as a single project to get the right effect.

HanSolo Tue 05-Jan-16 10:32:33

There are lots of attic rooms under children's rooms on Pinterest, I'll try and post some of my favourites later when I'm on a laptop.
Bold colours work well, as the wall pace is small, I agree extending paint onto ceiling is a good idea.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now