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How can i make my room look pulled-together? (With pics)

(47 Posts)
oxcat1 Sat 11-Feb-17 13:10:45

Inspired by the earlier bedroom thread, i realise that my room looks quite student-y and a little mismatched. Please can you people with some style help me to work out what's wrong, and how to sort it cheaply?!

I have recently separated and am living in a rented basement flat, so limited light and limited scope for big changes. I have been keeping myself occupied with lots of craft, so there is a handmade quilt on the bed, the pom-poms, plus i upcycled the chest of drawers and the sewing table/desk (aiming at a slightly retro look...). The curtains were from a charity shop, but because of the length of the windows, there is not much choice within my budget.

I am just not sure what sort of colours I should be working with, as i seem to have too many?! And what sort of rug, as the one of the floor has definitely had it!

Any suggestions? I would really like to know how ot make it looks stylish and not just old-fashioned!

oxcat1 Sat 11-Feb-17 13:13:56

Close-up of curtains...and of the table and chest of drawers, to show the huge number of colours and styles i seem to have acquired!

Ohyesiam Sat 11-Feb-17 14:29:50

The thing that makes it look student is the curtains. Not sure if it's Just the length. blinds, especially slatted ones, would look more modern.
I sorted the light in a darkish room with a couple of IKEA lights that are oblong cubes of frosted glass. I like your upcycled wooden furniture.

Ohyesiam Sat 11-Feb-17 14:30:53

Nice feel to the room though.

Flipthebirdy Sat 11-Feb-17 14:38:03

I really like the chest of drawers. How about getting a light grey rug to complement it and brighten the space up??

mineallmine Sat 11-Feb-17 14:39:55

I agree that the curtains are old fashioned looking. Could you reuse the lining as you're obviously good with the sewing machine -lovely quilt!- and go to idea and get the long plain coloured ones? I love what you did with the wooden furniture. I'd also go for a rug in idea when you're there- the geometric ones in grey or yellow and match them with the new curtains and that lovely quilt.

FlaviaAlbia Sat 11-Feb-17 14:44:03

If you can't get new curtains, could you shorten the current ones? If they reached the floor but didn't sit crumpled, it would look better.
I love the chest of drawers!

Cakingbad Sat 11-Feb-17 14:47:51

I love your room. It has character and warmth.

oxcat1 Sat 11-Feb-17 15:34:30

Thanks for all the comments - especially the unexpected compliments! I only picked up the curtains yesterday so I will certainly shorten them, but curtains of this length are so expensive - especially heavy 'posh' lined ones - that I don't want to do anything to them until I am sure.

I had wondered about a light grey rug, in something like a chevron design, to try and pull the grey out of the curtains (and tone down the brown!), and to make it seem a little more modern. Should I push ahead with 'grey' do you think? Not sure what colour my room scheme is, if you see what I mean? Everything is secondhand - charity shop, family or eBay, so not a lot of choice.

Do you think there is anything that I can do to make the curtains look 'retro' rather than 'dated'?! Funky tie backs or something (assuming they are the right length...). I don't think I can afford blinds, sadly, especially not nice ones. My room has been so cold (15 degrees yesterday, and lower at night) before I got the curtains tat I am reluctant to lose them.

Thanks again for thoughts and ideas.

RaisinsAndApple Sat 11-Feb-17 15:36:10

I would defo shorten curtains - lighter coloured ones and a lighter coloured rug would look nice although I like the curtains - have a blind in the same fabric.

I would also replace the shelf unit to the left of the first pic with a wardrobe or cabinet of some sort so that the clutter can be hidden.

Love the drawers and desk.

I hate to say it, since it looks lovely and handmade but I don't think the quilt colours compliment the room.

RaisinsAndApple Sat 11-Feb-17 15:38:43

You can shorten the curtains without cutting them, just tack them up. I've done it with lots of mine - adds a nice weight at the bottom.

What is the dark thing hanging on the chimney breast?

quirkychick Sat 11-Feb-17 15:44:10

Oh, I think it looks lovely and quite eclectic, in a good way. Agree with the pp who said it has character and warmth.

AdaColeman Sat 11-Feb-17 16:02:56

I like the curtains, it's a William Morris fabric isn't it? I wouldn't shorten them, just tie them back, or tack up a double hem. Who knows where you will move to next, and perhaps be glad of a long heavy door curtain for instance.

The room does look a bit studenty but that's because it's fulfilling several different functions at the one time. Maybe a bit more storage would help you.

Is there room at the foot of the bed to put one of the tables or chests? That would free up some wall space and make the room seem larger, at the moment everything is around the walls, a bit like a waiting room style.

If there is any greenery outside the window, try to get a mirror opposite the window for an illusion of space.

The quilt is lovely, well done you, it can be difficult to be creative when you are in the middle of life changing events. thanks

oxcat1 Sat 11-Feb-17 16:18:35

Thanks again. Outside my window is just the stairs coming down from ground floor level, and they are pretty grotty, and the wall is green with mould - probably not the sort of greenery you had in mind!

I only have one other room in my flat, hence having lots of functions in this room, and given I also have 24 hr carers (I am disabled), it's nice to have somewhere to retreat to, but not just to sleep.

I hadn't thought of putting stuff at the bottom of the bed, but that is certainly a good thought. Most of the clutter is from crafts - the small bookcase beneath the window is full of fabrics, and most of the boxes on the bookcases contain sewing or painting paraphernalia (all my books are in the other room!). A chest or something would certainly be tidier, but it might be harder to access all the stuff? There is also a problem with getting anything large down the stairs, hence the lack of proper wardrobe.

I shall keep thinking on everything you've said, thank you.

AdaColeman Sat 11-Feb-17 17:12:11

Looking at the room again, I've noticed that you have quite a collection of photos/pictures scattered around, and I think they contribute to the studenty look.
Try collecting them together and putting them up all together in one or two large informal groups on a wall.

JustSpeakSense Sat 11-Feb-17 17:24:51

I absolutely love the curtains, but they definitely need to be shortened.

What about picking out one bold colour from the curtains and painting a feature wall?

Also think the rug looks a little dated (it is quite 'busy' as is your quilt and curtains) I would suggest a plain, more modern rug.

RaisinsAndApple Sat 11-Feb-17 17:27:55

Oh god - I'm sorry about my comment on the quilt. Please ignore it - it is beautiful - I'm just going to crawl under a rock now... blushblushblush

JustSpeakSense Sat 11-Feb-17 17:31:52

Bookshelves like this (ikea) hide an enormous amount of stuff, I have them and the top half are neat books and photo frames, but hidden behind the doors is all my clutter!

FlaviaAlbia Sat 11-Feb-17 17:55:18

I'm not sure a cheveron rug would work with the curtains but only because it's such a different style if I'm thinking of the right thing...

Out of pure nosiness, what's the picture on the wall over the chest of drawers? I like it.

oxcat1 Sat 11-Feb-17 18:11:41

It is quite a cool picture, isn't it?! It is a limited edition print of my old college, Somerville, in Oxford, and was painted in the 70s by an artist Nicholas Barnham. I found it in a charity shop, still in the original frame, but sadly it does seem to have got quite a few damp marks on the paper around the print. Sorry about the weird angle of the photo - it was the only way to avoid the light reflecting. If you Google his work, he's still about, but mainly doing coastal stuff from what I remember.

The pictures are prints - all different types and styles, from one done when my brother was 7 (!) to a really cool retro-style silhouette of my old pets. There are also several felt pictures that i have done (landscapes), and one other picture (a bronze tree that i made) so I not sure that they would work put together as the styles are so different? Plus if I group all my cat pictures then I really will have descended into crazy cat lady territory....

I would certainly like the room to be less busy, but am not really sure how? So you think perhaps a plain grey rug would help? I do want the room to look more modern, that is exactly it. I want to retain a slightly eccentric/eclectic/retro look, but with a bit more calmness and less clutter. Not at all sure how to achieve it though as I really spend a lot of time in this room, doing one thing or another, so it does need to serve many masters.

I have just spent a couple of hours tacking up one curtain - and it's still too long! I turned up 70cm (leaving 230cm of drop), and they're still slightly pooling. I'm not sure that I can face unpicking it ad doing it all again - still got one curtain to go ad they really are enormous. Almost as wide as they are long. I don't dare try a feature wall as the landlord is quite particular.

[update: I tried to upload both a close-up of the Barnham print and a photo of my shortened curtains but MN won't let me. Sorry!]

oxcat1 Sat 11-Feb-17 18:15:46

And Raisins, please don't worry about the quilt comments! All thoughts much appreciated, and you are probably right! The top is the side you can see, and it features lots of fabrics of significance to me, including some scraps that I found on eBay of fabric From my parents' bedding when I was growing up in the 70s/80s. The reverse is much simpler, with just dark green fleece (from the front), two wide white fleece stripes, and one central grey blanket stripe, so I can always reverse it?

I think the grey works with the curtains etc, as I think the background is grey (although maybe it's brown?), by pretty sure the green doesn't work.

oxcat1 Sat 11-Feb-17 18:25:06

Something like this would be A Very Bad Idea, presumably? Don't even know that i like it (much prefer flat cotton rugs), but just wondering....
https://www.rugzone.co.uk/rugstore/funky-piazza-rugs-in-terracotta-orange-browns-and-cream.html

daisypond Sat 11-Feb-17 18:27:11

Instead of tacking the curtains, you could just trying using pins and pin them. The pins are likely to be really unobtrusive.

FlouncingInAWinterWonderland Sat 11-Feb-17 18:29:02

I love the quilt and the curtains. They have a common yellow/ orange thread going on. The piece of furniture that stands out to me as slightly different style is the small table (but I do like the addition of colour on it).

Could you make a big patchwork table cloth from the curtain trimmings and maybe a colour toned cover for the sewing machine.

I'd also curtain around the bottom few shelves and use storage boxes on the upper ones to keep the area practical and tidy.

As I'm in a house of children who spill (eldest is severely dyspraxic) I loose cover all my furniture so covers can be pulled off and thrown through the wash. Your comfy chair and stool would be lovely pieces to loose cover - you could go with the yellow/ orange theme and maybe even have seasonal colour change covers. - bright yellow for welcoming spring.

Flipthebirdy Sat 11-Feb-17 18:34:33

I love the way things in your room have a story behind them.

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