MAXIMISING THE USE OF OUR SPARE ROOM WITH A FEW SIMPLE CHANGES

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A long time ago, in a blogging galaxy far far away, I thought it was a good idea for us to convert the rarely used spare room into a full on dressing room. 

Several years into blogging as a business, I was clearly high on outfit posts, both Sex And The City movies, a lot of clothing gifting and one too many Closet Space Makeover pieces from well-dressed American women. If you fancy delving into the psyche of all this, you can do so a little more here. If not, I don’t blame you. Stick around and we’ll talk stripping back, decluttering and creating a calming workspace instead.

Fast forward a few years, numerous edits and the dismantling of two walls of wardrobes later and I feel like we’re finally making the best of the spare room space. It still serves as a place to get dressed - my clothing storage is here instead of being in our bedroom.

But it’s also now a workspace, somewhere to escape to and sit in the occasional afternoon sun during the colder seasons, a place to take photographs and on the occasion that we have guests to stay, with a quick couple of tweaks it becomes somewhere to sleep too.

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The room is at the front of the house and so gets the glorious afternoon and early evening sunlight. During the darker winter months you would usually find me lugging things to be photographed upstairs and into the spare room - at just the right time - generally between 2:00 and 3:00pm. But even then, the over crowded space and odd greeny/grey shade that we’d ended up with on the walls still meant the light wasn’t great.

As part of the ongoing plan to rid the house of Artex ceilings, in early summer we had three more of them skimmed and then employed a decorator with instructions to “paint everything white”. After three weeks of disruption from having the living room, upstairs landing and spare room all done at once, I was able to “move into” the spare room. And I absolutely love it!

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It feels calm, uncluttered and clean and I think we’ve utilised the storage space in the most efficient way possible without it feeling totally overcrowded as it did before. I’ve put enough “worky” bits in to help fuel creative inspiration and yet it still doesn’t feel too much like an office. Because the light is good and there’s a sofa, generally with a certain Labrador sprawled on it (nothing is sacred), it feels like a space to retreat to as well as somewhere where I can focus. I’ve even started getting my yoga mat out on weekday mornings once the house goes quiet at 8:00am. A Yoga With Adriene video selected and on full screen mode and away I go… Biscuit is the new Benji!

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Here’s How We Made Best Use Of The Space In The Spare Room...

One wall of the wardrobe storage stayed and one was replaced by a long and low MALM six drawer chest from IKEA. This appears to open up the room a lot more and I love being able to faff about with displaying bits and pieces on the unit, as well as having my work stuff close to hand. 

Proof that you can gather a lot of shizzle that you really don’t need was provided by my emptying a narrow chest of desk drawers (that H has now commandeered) and getting everything I did actually did need into the MOPPE mini chest of drawers and one storage box tucked away elsewhere.

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The blank wall called for some pictures and these were provided when I teamed up with Desenio for a recent Instagram post gifting collaboration. I selected four framed prints to hang in the space and it’s amazing how much they change the look and feel of the whole room - weeks later, I still keep glancing up at them in admiration whilst I’m working.

I kept the large IKEA mirror that I used to lug around the room with me depending on where I needed to take photos and have now fixed it to the wall between my desk and the drawer unit. It helps to add an illusion of space when I catch a reflection from where I sit when working. 

We took away the two sets of floating shelves in the alcove spaces and replaced them with some hook racks from ARKET * and an IKEA picture ledge. The other ledge sits above my desk and serves as a mood board and extra storage.

The light shade had to be grey to pick up the rest of the accents and I fell in love with the Murguma Pendant light I found at Urbanara *. This, together with the desk lamp I already had will be enough to provide cosy light on the dark winter mornings. Because I know they’re coming!

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The room is directly above the garage so I know that in winter it’s going to be chilly but I have enough cardigans, blankets and fingerless gloves to keep me toasty. As with all our upstairs windows we get really bad overnight condensation in the winter due to poor ventilation so we’ve just had trickle vents put into the tops of the windows to help combat this. It’s a cost we could have done without but having spent hours cleaning off mould and the fact that we’ll have had to replace three blackout blinds by the time we’re through, it’ll be worth it.

And one of the absolute plus points has been having my desk out of the living room and out of sight come the evening. More later on what we’ve used the extra bit of space for in there but not having to see a desk and screen out the corner of my eye once the work part of the day is done has been such a game changer. I now feel I have closure on the day once I step away from the desk and having the separation factor between work and the evening feels like freedom.

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We had to think about the positioning of the desk in relation to the window. I say we… I mean Patrick. I was all ready to have the desk against the wall where the drawer unit is but as he pointed out, I’d get a lot of window reflection on my screen. Plus having the drawers where they are means that we were able to choose a wider and deeper unit for extra storage.

When the sofa bed is needed, the Mac is unplugged and desk gets moved across in front of the wardrobe for the night. The whole process takes five minute and so feels like a great compromise that allows for maximum space usage the other 95% of the time.

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And that’s it - with a few simple changes it feels like the room has been given a new lease of life. As a workspace it’s perfect and I love the calm feel of the room whatever the weather or light is doing. Add in a Spotify playlist, a scented candle and coffee and the spare room has become my everything room!

STYLE CREDITS: Hudson Desk by Dwell | Chair from Cult Furniture | Grey Sheepskin by Milabert | Chunky Knit Blanket by Lauren Aston Designs *

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