Before and After: Bold Pops of Color Transform This “Gray Box” London Bedroom

published Oct 13, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly

It’s no secret that color can make a huge difference in a space’s overall energy and coziness, but so can other factors, like a room’s layout and decor. DIYer Janine Genower (@houseofedencourt) witnessed the power of color — and more — in a space firsthand when she renovated her “gray box” of a bedroom in her London home. 

“It was a cold loft at the top of the house,” Janine says. “We loved the space, but it felt very impersonal and lacked warmth and character.”

The new layout and accessories were key.

Although vibrant paints were the star of the show, rearranging and accessorizing also did a lot for the space, Janine points out. 

“We moved the room around several times until we came up with the perfect layout,” Janine says. “[It just needed some color and personal items added — plus the plants! The biggest change was moving the bed so you could see more of the room when you walked in.”

As far as the colorful accessories go, the wall lamps are from Anglepoise; the rugs are finds from Etsy, travel, and local boutiques; and the yellow chair is from Bean Bag Bazaar.

Painting was time-consuming — but worth it. 

And as for paints, Janine used four Graham & Brown colors: The white shade (Angel Dust) brightens the entire room and maximizes its natural light, the green (Tipi) complemented the plants and the fireplace’s vintage tiles, and the yellow shades (Lioness and Tuscan Sunshine add a bit of cheer. 

The entire painting process was a learning curve for Janine, as it took her a long time to land on bright colors that would work in the north-facing room and a long time to do the physical work. “It’s a huge room and took a couple of weeks,” Janine says. 

After lots of painting throughout the whole room, she recommends investing in quality painting tape. Janine used Frog Tape, which she made sure to seal before painting. “Paint with the original paint color to seal it,” Janine explains. “Then, once you’ve painted the color you want, remove the tape when it’s wet.” 

Factoring in paint, which Janine was gifted, the entire renovation process cost just under £800 (roughly $974).

The historic fireplace got some TLC.

Janine says painting the fireplace — a first-time project for her — was probably the most challenging part of the redo. (Painting the green door was also a DIY “first” for her, but luckily she used the right primer and filler there.)

 “I used the wrong primer on the fireplace surround, so I had to redo [it] as the paint just peeled off,” Janine recalls. “Prep is key!” Janine also prepped by giving the original tiles on the fireplace a good cleaning, which helped her land on her exact right shade of green. 

“I love the green on the fireplace and [am] so happy we spent so long deciding on a color that matched the original tiles,” she says. And in general, she’s proud of all the grunt work that went into making the space feel new again. 

“It’s full of warmth,” Janine says. “It’s much more us.” Her favorite spot is the sunny yellow reading nook, which she calls “a fabulous corner where you can relax.” Here’s to more fabulousness and more relaxation — a double win!