Styling a very small house – the master bedroom

We’ve now been living in our very small, beach cottage for almost three years, and when I say small,  I really do mean small. Not so small as to be classed as a ‘tiny house’,  but small enough that furnishing and decorating has been a challenge. There’s been lots of trial and error along the way, but I’m pleased to say we’re getting to the stage now where we’re happy with it.

 If you’re interested in taking a look at some of the progress so far, grab yourself a cuppa and settle in for today’s instalment. A lot of changes have happened to get us to where we are now, so I’ll need to divide the house into sections to show you the progression. If I wrote it all in one post, it’d be a bit of a book rather than blog post chapter, and I suspect I’d lose you along the way. Today, I’ll show how we’ve managed to make our master suite liveable.

the master suite – Before

When we bought our little house, sight unseen, the master bedroom was painted in three different shades of blue.

Two different blues on these walls
And a brighter blue on the other two walls

The carpet was stained and dirty, and the very blue en-suite had dull white, musty smelling cupboards. The hand basin had been painted, and although you can’t see it in the photo, the paint was peeling off. Yes, it was dreadful!

The very blue bathroom

The first changes

The first job was to paint the walls and re-new the carpet. Along with all rooms in the house, a coat of warm white paint went onto the walls. We then had all the bedrooms fitted with neutral grey, wool carpet.

We purchased a second time round queen sized bedroom suite, and of all the second time round furniture we purchased, I think this bedroom suite is one of the only things that we’ve actually kept. Bed sizes differ depending on where in the world you live. In Australia a queen bed is 153cm x 203cms and is a size bigger than a standard double bed. In the UK I think a queen bed is smaller than their double bed. I’m not sure how the US bed sizes compare. Anyway, it’s a good sized bed for two adults and a small dog to share. It was custom made for its previous owners out of a light coloured hard wood (Tasmanian Oak I think). It’s solid, and the drawers are roomy and practical.

Painted warm white, and new carpet – note the big lamp shades and dark coloured lamp bases


However a bed frame took up more of the room than an ensemble mattress  and base would. This year we ditched the bed end and frame and replaced it with a latex mattress and base ensemble. Paul fixed the bedhead to the wall. I’m not sure if the photos do justice to the additional space this little change made. It gave us approximately 10 cms (4 inches) of extra space on either side of the bed, and the same at the end of the bed.  10cms doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re very limited for space every little bit helps.

A little bit more space now without the bed frame

The small three doored built in robes had hinged doors. We’ve had these replaced with sliding doors, and Paul’s added a couple of additional hanging rails, and some shoe racks to help keep things neat and tidy.

Next we added mirrors above the bedside cabinets. These serve no practical purpose. My grandson is astounded at the amount of mirrors we have. Most, have been fitted purely to add more light, and a feeling of added space, and these two in our bedroom are no exception. It works. From the minute we fitted them, the bedroom appeared to be larger.

Mirrors to create an illusion of space

The latest addition is plantation shutters. Whilst I actually liked the pastel floral curtains and pelmets that come with the house, they had  definitely seen better days. The shutters fit right back into the window space and add a streamlined, coastal look to the room.  By doing away with the curtains and pelmets A further 8 – 10 cms of space has been gained.   The jarrah (West Australian mahogany) window sills would probably look nice painted glossy white, but I think I’d lose that battle with the Mr of the house.

A more streamline look with shutters replacing the curtains and pelmets (note the white ornament on the left of dressing table)

I’ve painted the dark brown base on our crystal bedside lamps (purchased from a garage sale in Tasmania), and we’ve changed the shades from the big, old fashioned, pleated cream shades to a smaller, more modern white drum style. I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at replacing the shades on lamps. We found the shades on their own to be very expensive. We ended up instead buying new lamps from Kmart, throwing out the lamp and just using the shade. It cost us $50 for two, as apposed to $60 each for just the shades from a lighting shop. There’s a difference in quality, but we’re a bit over buying excellent quality in home wares. The fashions change to often and then we find we get stuck with something we’d rather not be stuck with, just because we paid a premium price for it. The mind set becomes that it’s to good to throw out.

Re-vamped lamps with the base painted with white chalk paint, and smaller shades fitted

I’m now on the look out for two feminine coastal prints to go above the bed between the mirrors and the centred, above bed light. I’m thinking something feminine with shells and pearls. I have seen some on line that feature polished Trochus shells with a strand of pearls, but I’d prefer to see them in real life before purchase. They’ll turn up one day, or maybe we’ll get creative and make our own.

Weve done a minor re-vamp of our en-suite, with a new toilet tank, a  faux marble  bench top to replace the previous blue one, a new basin, and new gloss white drawer and cupboard fronts. Paul painted over the blue header tiles. It’ll keep us going until we get around to the planned complete bathroom refit. We’re thinking maybe a sliding entrance door, and a frameless glazed, hobless shower. With careful planning, and with the bricked shower wall gone, I think we may fit in a double vanity, and still manage to keep the internal width of the shower the same. Perhaps with a sliding door we’ll be able to get the shower diagonally shaped out towards the entry, which will give us slightly  more shower space too. That’s all still in the planning stages at the moment though – next years project perhaps.

A minor re-vamp with some of the blue gone. It’s to small to get in to photograph properly. Two cupboards are visible, but there is a set of three drawers as well to the right of the cupboards, so although it is small, it’s bigger than it appears in the photo

Thats the changes to the master suite. As you can see by the photos the bedroom’s small, in keeping with the small house. It’s only 3.5 metres  x 3.1 metres (approximately 3.8 yards x  3.5 yards), and without  extending,  I think we’ve done a reasonable job of creating more usable space, and giving the room the illusion of being bigger. There isn’t room for a bedroom chair, or a blanket box, but we can manage without those. There’s certainly no room to spare, nor is there any wasted space. It wouldn’t suit everyone, but it works for us.

You may have noticed one of the ornaments, previously on one of the bedside cabinets, but now on the dressing table. The bronze colour didn’t work in our colour scheme, so I attacked it with white chalk paint. I think Paul’s a bit frightened to stand still for long for fear he’ll get painted from head to toe too.

Watch this space to see how we’ve managed to furnish our guest room, other spare bedroom, and some small changes to our guest bathroom……

32 thoughts on “Styling a very small house – the master bedroom

  1. Hi Chris, this looks great and you’re giving me ideas for our mini en-suite that badly needs renovating. I love the ideas of the mirrors adding that illusion of space too. All looks really stylish. Well done.


  2. I love the way that you tackle everything with the amount of centimetres gained. I look at our smallish house the same way and the caravan even more so. You’ve done a great job, keep up the good work.


    1. I have small houses before, but never quite this small. Furniture seems to have grown over the years too, no doubt to fit the ever growing houses. I can’t deny it’s been a challenge, but one I’m enjoying.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great job. Looks really nice. I’m in the middle of a kitchen remodel at my sister-in-laws house. I forgot how much work that can be. Fortunately, they live on a lake and we have a boat at our disposal for lots of breaks.


    1. Yes, I have quite a few pieces of Jasper Blue. I leave a few pieces out, but most are packed away in a box waiting for collectables to come back into vogue. I’m not one to collect, or hoard usually, but each piece of my Wedgewood was given to me with love. It’s about the only I keep that’s not in full use.


    1. Perhaps a budget hotel, it’s to small to be a posh one, and thanks for the compliment.I do love decorating – perhaps I should have been someone who stages houses for sale purposes. It’s a job I would love, and there’s quite a market for it now. Do you ever miss ‘home making’ during your travels?


      1. We don’t miss it but occasionally chat about ‘what ifs’ and how we might live. Always discuss what we would do when we’re staying in a new place.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was like that when we were on the road full time, and we’re doing a house sit. I’d mentally plan what ‘I would do if this was my house’, but I never really missed having a house. Paul did though I think. He struggles with possessions, and living a caravan meant he could have very few. I think he’s happier to be in a house where he can hoard ‘stuff’.


  4. This is so creative and of course, beautiful! I love the shutters and that touch to the base of the lamps and the ornament looks totally different in white! Your room looks calm and the love you have put in, shows .


    1. Thank you. I do love white in small spaces. I’ll be posting some more before through to now shots of other rooms in the house over the coming weeks. Some of the colours it had been painted when we bought it were a nightmare. No matter what the fashion, the colours had no place in such small rooms.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. The lamps themselves are beautiful Bohemian crystal which we picked up in a garage sale of a closing down guest house. The shades were getting old, both in style, and condition, and I didn’t like the dark brown. I’m happy with them now.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic and creative ideas on a budget, Chris. You should add these to a Pinterest board. It would be popular! Love the shutters, they are really in at the moment, hey? And if they open or slide they’re so much easier to clean than the old Venetians.
    The piece d resistance in your boudoir is the mirrors. Such a clever idea! It all harmonises together and looks great.


    1. They open, and yes are much easier to live with, and to clean than Venetians. We’re thinking we’ll replace the Venetians in our living area later in the year. Ha – I had to look up what, ‘piece d resistance’ meant. And yes you are right. – the mirrors are certainly worthy, as are the shutters actually. They’ve made a huge difference to appearances. I’ll have to look at how to add a page or two on Pinterest sometime.


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