Thursday, November 26

A Weekend Guest Room Makeover (and my best tips for a welcoming guest room!)

On a total whim, last week I painted the guest room. A room that was on my 'when I get around to it' list, rather than my 'must do it now' list, if you know what I mean, though admittedly, it had a few patched holes in the walls that I'd not got around to sorting after we moved Baxter into his new room, so it needed doing. I find it hard to ignore a painting urge, so paint I did.

When I painted Edie's room the week before (check out my plans for her room here), I didn't calculate at all miscalculated how much paint I would need, and ended up having to buy an additional 2.5L can to finish it, even though I only needed perhaps 600mls. Pretty annoying right?

I was feeling pretty guilty about that because I'd not used the cheapest paint around, and then I realised that I'd have more than enough left over for the spare room. Bingo - guilt appeased, and inspiration sorted to make it a more welcoming space for guests.

Guest Room Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

Guest rooms, at least in my experience, tend to end up being a patchwork of rejected and displaced items from the rest of the house, due to a change of heart or style or just pushed out due to new purchases taking preference. Full of things that you can't quite bring  yourself to get rid of, but you don't really love anymore either.

You know - the old pine bed frame that's hideous but rather useful? Keep it by all means, but you need to paint it. The ugly old desk piled high with 'filing', the ironing board, the fan that gets used four days a year at best, and the electric heater for boiler emergencies. Or is that just me? How about the ugly cushions that you once loved, and the vase that a relative gave you?

I'm not an organisation specialist, and certainly not even a neat freak, but I'm going through a slow process of clearing all the excess that we neither need or want. How you deal with your excess stuff is your business, but if you don't want to look at it, you probably don't want to subject your guests to it either, right?

Once I realised that this patchwork thing had happened, I decided to do something about it, which unfortunately at this point means that I moved it from one room to another. But I am planning on continuing to cull. Promise.

We decided against a sofa bed in our guest room because you can store quite a bit under a double bed, whereas you can't store anything under a sofa bed, and if you're anything like me, you'd fill all the floor space with other stuff and probably not even have room to pull the bed out when you need it, so a standard bed with space underneath seemed the better option.

We opted for an affordable metal framed double bed from Ikea, which now has the Christmas decorations, blow up bed for when we have several people visiting, and who knows what else underneath, but the point is, it's hidden. As long as you don't go snooping under the bed, you'd think this was a dedicated guest room, and definitely not a dumping ground, which instantly makes people feel more welcome.

I managed this makeover in two days, so depending on the room size it's easily achievable over a weekend.

So here are my top tips for sprucing up your guest room super-fast and super-cheap. Remember, get rid of, or hide that junk!

Paint. If it's the spare room it could probably do with a fresh coat of paint. Though I've gone for a pretty pale powder blue, because that's what I already had (and my conscience wouldn't let me buy yet another can of paint), a guest room is somewhere you can afford to have fun. So don't paint it white or pale grey - do something a bit different. How about a beautiful rich emerald or olive green, a dark dusty rose or a deep ochre? Yep, that's the cold weather talking. But my point is, why not choose something that scares you a bit? You could even go off-black. I dare you.
Guest Room Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

Bed Linen. Possibly one of the most important things when staying at a hotel, is also important in a guest room in the home. You don't have to spend a fortune - I bought some new linen for our guest room last year - some hotel style square pillows and cases from Richard Haworth (you can thank me later for sharing that Little Black Book secret with you), which are so comfortable to lean on when reading in bed in absence of an upholstered bed head.

I also bought a pure linen duvet cover and pillow cases in different shades of grey from H&M. Their linen is surprisingly lovely for the price (I also have it for my kids beds). A friend once described linen bedding as feeling like a big hug, and she was spot on. I don't think I'll ever go back to a cotton duvet cover, certainly not in the winter months anyway.
Guest Room Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

Bedside Table. I can only fit one small side table in (an ebay buy that I painted several years ago, and it used to be my daughters bedside table), but one is better than none. You could use a small stool, or if you're really tight for space, a small floating shelf works too. Somewhere to put a glass of water and a book other than the floor, will be appreciated.
Guest Room Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

Lighting. Our guest room is in the loft extension, which has low ceilings compared to the rest of the house, and therefore the rooms have recessed halogen lighting, making atmospheric lighting even more important. At the moment, I've put a lamp that I already had on the side table, but I may swap it for wall mounted reading lamps, which saves table top space and means there's a lamp on both sides of the bed, upping the cosy factor at night. You can find a huge range of good looking wall lamps online that don't cost a fortune.

Somewhere to sit. I've shoe-horned a chair into the corner of the room - it's nice to have somewhere other than the bed to sit and/or plonk your bag, so a chair, or even better an upholstered bench at the end of the bed if you have the space, is perfect.
Guest Room Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

Rug. If you can add a rug, always do! They add so much warmth and texture, and can really finish off a room. Because of the layout and space limitations of our guest room a rug won't work (it gets caught on the door), so a sheepskin by the bed is a great alternative. And oh so cosy on these cold winter mornings.

Art/Something for the walls. I've hung some vintage coat hooks that lost their spot in our living room in here and added a mix of natural and coloured baskets. I'd like to add a vintage floral oil painting or two to another wall, so I have my eyes peeled for something under £20.
Guest Room Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

'Shop-lifting'. Yes, that's right, go shop-lifting around your house. Grab a few things that you currently love to put in that guest room. Not only will it have the effect of making it less sparse and more welcoming, but it will make it flow better with the rest of the house - showcasing your current taste and style, and not the rejected stuff you used to love, but clearly don't anymore. I grabbed a bolster pillow, lamp, and a coral throw - things that I still love, but weren't currently being used elsewhere.

Greenery. I'm thinking about putting a hanging plant to one side of the window, but only do this if you'll remember to water it. If you rarely go into the guest room, maybe give it a miss. And yes, it does have to be real - nothing brings a room to life more than some living greenery.

The finishing touches for just before your guests arrive. Optional of course.

1. A small vase of fresh flowers on the side table.

2. A bottle of water and some tumblers.

3. Fresh towel/s.

4. If you really want to push the boat out, you could even pop a lovely soap, or some chocolate on top of the towels.
Guest Room Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog

Now you're a full blown domestic goddess. Or at least one in the making. Oh and I'm sorry if the wonky lampshade bothers you, but I quite like it that way!

This wasn't going to be a before and after post, but a side by side comparison is always fun, so here you go...
Guest Bedroom Makeover - French For Pineapple Blog






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Tuesday, November 17

Fab Five - Coffee Tables

I recently purchased a gorgeous, slightly-knackered-in-a-good-way, gold and glass 70's coffee table for our living room which I'll show you very soon. Just a few finishing touches to do in there first. Or maybe I'll show you the progress or it may never happen. Hmmm.

Out of the many, many coffee tables that I looked at, it won ultimately because it was the right price, the perfect dimensions and most importantly, it has a shelf, which for someone who likes pretty things and for things to look pretty, but can't have a styled coffee table because their nearly four year old son uses it all the time as a race track and general play and eating surface, is perfect - styled shelf underneath / empty top = happy Mummy / happy everyone!

I considered round, hexagonal and square, but rectangular works best with the layout and usage of the room, and much as I ADORE marble, we're not a coaster kind of house and I didn't want to be uptight about it getting stained or etched. Our coffee table is also our dinner table on Friday evenings, so glass is the safest bet for us with our lifestyle.

I did a LOT of looking around before I purchased, and I fell in love several times so I thought I'd share my favourite five with you. I know, I'm so kind.

Practical issues aside, any one of these would work beautifully in my living room, and I love them all. Perhaps one will work for you...
Fab Five Coffee Tables - French For Pineapple Blog

1. Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this Hex beauty from Next. It ticks so many boxes - hexagonal, smoked glass, gold finish.... What's not to love?! 

2. Adore this chunky brass and marble oval number from West Elm, who have a great selection of coffee tables. My friend Kimberly from Swoonworthy has this one, and I have big-time coffee table envy. The materials, the shape, ah, so much to love.

3. Another glass and brass finish (sensing a theme here?!), from Within Home. Love the Chinoiserie feel of this Halston one. Über glam.

4. The simple lines of this Gilmore Space coffee table at Fusion Living let that beautiful marble do the talking. I do love a simple box framed coffee table. They actually look great with (neat) stacks of magazines underneath too.

5. I couldn't resist throwing in a fantasy entry - a bit of window shopping never hurt now did it? This divine 70's piece from Talisman is a real timeless beauty. 

So it's safe to say that I only have eyes for brass (or brass finish), marble and glass when it comes to coffee tables these days. Totally irresistible.

Do they tick any boxes for you? Or do you prefer a more understated coffee table? I'd love to hear from you!
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Saturday, November 14

Little Girl To Tweenage Dream - A Bedroom Makeover (and finding the perfect pale blue)

Edie has been at me for months and months to 'do' her room. And she specifically requested a mood board too! That's my girl...

Honestly, it needed doing more than any of the other four rooms that I've redecorated over the last year in our home. It was feeling more and more like there was a grown up secondary school student living in a little girls room, which was exactly the case. I think I'd hesitated completely re-doing her room because she's at an age where she's growing up so fast and I didn't want to have to do her room again in another year - I wanted something that would last a good few years without her outgrowing it, and importantly without it being bland and boring.

The thing with kids rooms, is that their needs do change - much more than your average grown-up, and their rooms need to change with them. But this time, I wanted to make sure that her room could transition with her as she goes from tween (she turned eleven in July), to teen, which I know will happen in a nanosecond.

She'd previously chosen quite a bright lavender wall colour which was full of patched holes from where pictures and shelves had moved about as her needs changed over the last few years, that I'd filled but never got around to painting. I'm ashamed to say it was actually looking kind of depressing. 

Wall colour was an important choice of course - she originally wanted pale grey, so nice and neutral (I think the bright lavender was driving her nuts!), but then decided it might be a bit depressing (her words, not mine), and wanted pale blue instead.

Boy have we been through some tester pots to find 'the one'! I have to say that I find pale blues particularly tricky. They look great on paint charts, only to look completely wrong in-situ. For a while I had thought about painting the living and dining rooms pale blue, but I actually gave up finding the right one in the end. Too grey, too bright, too dirty, not dirty enough, too icy, not blue at all etc etc etc!

I had originally dismissed Borrowed Light by Farrow and Ball as too grey for her room, as I had for the living and dining rooms, but last week I decided to paint a larger patch on her lavender and blue patchwork walls and I'm so glad I did. Turns out it isn't too grey at all, it was being overwhelmed by all the brighter blues I'd plastered around it, not the mention the original lavender colour. It's actually the prettiest, softest pale blue with just a touch of grey and green - in fact EXACTLY what I'd be searching for, and it had been sitting right under my nose, discarded and overlooked, in my ever-growing, over-flowing tester pot cupboard for months.

Note to self: with more subtle colours, you need to paint a much larger test area (or buy a roll of lining paper, and paint some big pieces you can tape up, and you might also want to leave a white border around it so that the colour in question doesn't get overwhelmed by other stronger colours around it. I think this is what happened in the living and dining rooms too, though I'm completely in love with the colour we went with in there in the end.

Anyway, my young client agreed it was 'the one', and this week I started the job of transforming her room. Of course, it took a LOT more time than planned - way more prep than anticipated, and clambering around and over furniture is less than ideal. Still, it was worth it and I finished painting yesterday. Actually, I still need to do the window frame and floors but they're not on the top of my painting priority list right now.

Of course, it's not just the walls that need attention, I wanted to give her room a more pulled together and grown up look, that will last a good few years with perhaps just some accessories being changed as she gets older.

We're getting rid of her high-sleeper bed, and bringing back her off-white metal vintage hospital style bed that Baxter has been using. He's either getting bunk beds, or a mid sleeper from Ikea which of course I will have to paint. Or I might get him another metal bed, but I haven't decided yet. Getting rid of the high-sleeper which has a built in wardrobe, means she'll be wardrobe-less, but she hardly owns any clothes that require hanging, so for now, we're going to solve this issue with a free-standing full length Ikea mirror with a hanging rack behind it. Special dresses that barely ever get worn will go in our wardrobe. I just don't feel it's an essential item for her right now, when 99.5% of her clothes live in her drawers. And my mother will be over the moon that the house without a full length mirror, finally has one when she next comes to stay!

We bought the 'Flights of Fancy' House of Hackney fabric several months ago at their sample sale with her room in mind. Initially I thought I might try my hand at an upholstered headboard, but I've decided that I'm going to make a Roman blind out of it. I love that if you use a really amazing fabric for Roman blinds that they're like an art panel when down.

I would never have bought such expensive fabric for a kids room normally, but she loves it and at £20 a metre at the sample sale, I thought why not?  There will be some left over for a bolster cushion for her bed too.

So here's a mood board of where were heading with the overall look of her room - slightly dreamy and ethereal, but not over the top girly. Once we sell her bed, it should be a quick transformation since the painting is done and we already own nearly everything else - I've ordered some Cable and Cotton lights which I've always loved the idea of in her room, and I'm getting a similar set to the ones on the moodboard, but with the addition of a pale pink. I love that you can build your own set which is so great for bringing the colours of a room together.

And don't you just love that feather light shade?! £28 from B&Q. Yes, you read that right. I snapped up the last one at my closest B&Q last week, and it's already made her room feel cosy and inviting next to the perfect blue. I might want to move into her room myself!

I'll of course show you when her room is ready for the big reveal...

I know some of you are probably thinking, that's what you said about the living room, but there are a few little things that need to be finished first. But soon, I promise!! 

Tweenage Dream Bedroom Moodboard - French For Pineapple Blog


1. Flights Of Fancy Fabric - House Of Hackney
2. Feather Light Shade - B&Q
3. For Like Ever Print - Super Rural 
4. Brass Hooks - Relics of Witney
5. Oliver bed - Feather and Black
6. Zebra print faux sheepskin - Ikea
7. Knapper Standing Mirror - Ikea
8. Pale Grey Linen Bedding - H&M
9. Linen Pillowcases - bought on holiday try Linen Me for similar
10. Borrowed Light Paint - Farrow & Ball
11. String Lights - Cable and Cotton
12. Bunny Lamp - Next (no longer available - sorry!) try Atomic Interiors for similar


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