Before & After: A Fantastic IKEA Hack in a Cozy, Cocoon-Like Bedroom

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Malcolm’s bedroom had seen better days. He decided to strip away all of the ’80s chintz and adopt a look more in keeping with the home’s Victorian roots. After putting in the work on a super impressive IKEA hack, going with a dark wall color and uncovering one gorgeous detail, he has a dramatic yet cozy bedroom.

From Malcolm: When I bought the house, a three bed, two reception, Victorian Terrace in Aberdeen, Scotland, the first thing that grabbed me was how much original detail remained, even down to the old keys still in each door. The house obviously hadn’t been decorated since the 80s (at the latest!) and was in dire need of some TLC. The bedroom in particular was a beautiful space with so much potential. I decided it had to be the first space to be decorated, a haven away from the mess downstairs…

Once it was cleared of the previous owner’s belongings, it was obvious that this space had great potential. A bay window flooded the room with light, and it seemed like there may even be a fireplace hidden underneath some very tired looking built-in headboards. The dated decor had seen better days and I couldn’t wait to lift that worn pink carpet, to see what was beneath and to demolish the ugly louvre doored wardrobes.

When I first saw the master bedroom, I knew that I wanted to go dark. I wanted to create a warm, sophisticated space, with a cocoon-like feel. As the only storage was a sad, dated built-in wardrobe, I had to come up with a plan to maximize the space and create more storage… but on a budget. I had used IKEA PAX wardrobes in a previous apartment, so considered undertaking my own hack. It certainly paid off in the end!

The first job, after ripping the room apart, was to lay the new solid oak flooring. I then set about renovating the Victorian mantel and grate. This was a very messy but relatively quick process. The most time consuming (yet satisfying) part of this project, was the wardrobes; an IKEA hack on a grand scale (for me!) that risked wasting a lot of money. Two PAX wardrobes were used to create the built-ins. One had to be cut diagonally to fit under the eaves, and doors hinged in the middle, so that they can open, whilst the other was simply clad in 6mm MDF strips to create the panelling. Decorative moulding finished off the ‘built-in’ look. All-in, this process took me three days, not including painting and cost around £700 (about $900), including the wardrobes and internal drawers and fittings.

To save even more money, I constructed the bedside drawers and headboard myself too, using scrap wood and offcuts from the wardrobe makeover. Once the hard work was over, all that was left to do was paint and accessorize the room. We opted for a dark greige called French Pavilion, by Valspar. This was lightened up by lots of light natural fabrics, such as the wool throw and a few faux and ethically sourced sheepskins.

If I had to pick my favorite part of this room, it would be the fireplace. What a find! I absolutely love the color of the tiles. Second place would definitely be the wardrobes, they’ve really made the most of the awkward space under the eaves. Customs would have cost thousands. I’m really glad that I listened to my partner’s suggestion of painting the ceiling dark. The ‘cocoon-like’ effect is so cozy in the evenings, yet doesn’t enclose the space during the day.

Malcolm’s words of wisdom: My advice for anyone undertaking a ‘hack’ of this proportion, is to measure twice (or more!). Any mistakes made would be expensive. I would totally recommend to anyone on a tight budget, to consider customizing rather than buying bespoke. But only if you are confident with a saw and a screwdriver!

Thank you, Malcolm! You can see more on Malcolm’s blog, designsixtynine.