Before & After: A ‘So Very Beige’ Rental Apartment Is Now Unbelievably Colorful

Second-hand House

Before & After: A ‘So Very Beige’ Rental Apartment Is Now Unbelievably Colorful

When I moved into my home six years ago, it was so beautiful, but so very beige. And I tried so hard for the first two years to “be normal,” but as time went on, my urge for color felt like an itch that needed to be scratched. The first colorful piece I created was a bright blue Welsh dresser, which coincidentally was given to me by my landlord’s auntie. The dresser was varnished in a dark wood when I received it, so I borrowed a sander and went to town on my back garden.

I’ve since painted anything and everything and the color has just spilled out of my brain via my hands ever since. I’ll often attempt to sit down and watch TV but due to my wandering mind, I’ll have to rewind the program several times before I can focus. This is because I spend a lot of time looking around my house planning my next projects. The biggest impact is usually when my little girls’ friends come to visit for the first time. My home definitely gives the wow factor to anyone that’s seeing it for the first time.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I would describe my style as colorful and a little bit eccentric. I’m very daring with my choices and rather than follow trends, I do what makes me feel happy.

Inspiration: The ’80s era, including art, clothes, music, and interiors, are a really big part of my creative process. I find I feel so much joy when I’m experiencing anything from the ’80s. It was by far the most colorful era.

Favorite home element: This definitely has to be my painted kitchen floor. I had a brief vision in my head of what I wanted the room to look like but like many of my projects, inspiration hits during the beginning of the creative process. After painting the floor in a beautiful turquoise, I realized a neon pink detail would be a fantastic contrast, so I jumped on the trusty old internet, googled ’80s-inspired patterns and got to work creating freehand shapes as I pleased. I finished this project at around 4 a.m. It was definitely a slog, but a very therapeutic and satisfying one.

Biggest Challenge: I often wake up from dreams with ideas of what I want to change or create in my home. And sometimes I can go to sleep loving something in my home, then wake up desperate to change it. I overcome this by writing myself lists all the time. Lists of projects I want to complete. I figure that if it’s written down somewhere, I can let go of the impulse as I know I won’t forget the ideas. I’m also very indecisive at times, but when I’m feeling torn on ideas, I try to take a step back, and wait until I’ve made my mind up before I continue or begin. This means I don’t waste as much paint because I don’t have to change the design as often.

Proudest DIY: I think I have to choose the circular, symmetrical mural on my bedroom wall. I had originally painted on thick, colorful stripes, which took a while to sand back down. But when beginning the mural itself, I had no idea how I was going to do it. I watched some videos on Youtube with tips on how to draw out an even circle. I measured every part of it so it was centered and the circles were even. I also took inspiration from an Instagram friend @oxfordone and used a piece of cardboard as a giant compass to eventually draw out the circles. I used decorator’s tape to paint on the straight edges and I painted the circular bits on freehand, which I’m very proud of.

Biggest Indulgence: Definitely my IKEA BRIMNES bed frame and HOKKASEN mattress. To me, a good night’s sleep is so important. It sets you up for a positive, productive day and is a luxury that’s definitely worth the investment.

What’s your best home secret or advice? My biggest tip for saving money when decorating/designing your home is to look around. Utilize sales sites such as eBay, gumtree, and Facebook Marketplace. I once bought a vintage wingback loveseat for 99p, which I then proceeded to paint using emulsion and a fabric medium. I followed with a good wax and three years later, it is still going strong and resides in my mum’s house. Also, don’t be afraid to let friends on social media platforms know that you’re looking for something in particular. You’ll be surprised how much free stuff people are giving away. As for organizing, I try to do drawers, cupboards, and wardrobes out a couple of times a year and I have a routine for my cleaning.

What to people most get wrong about using color in their home? From my own personal experience, I remember the days when I used to try and cram all of my ideas, designs, and every color going into a room, wall, or piece of furniture. This can be perceived as a maximalist approach but sometimes, can look too much if that makes sense. I now prefer to first visualize my ideas, and plan out a design as best I can either on paper or via collages on my phone. I personally think that today, I have a pretty good idea of which hues will go well together, but a few years ago, I did some studying on color psychology, which I believe helped me get to this point.

What are the biggest tricks/secrets to using color in decor? I think an add-on approach is the safest way to begin incorporating color into your designs. I personally begin with one color choice that truly makes my heart sing. After this, I use paper or make collages on my phone to experiment with a secondary color and potentially a third. I use an array of hues in my designs but I usually try to stick to small doses of louder colors—either in artwork, furnishings, or accessories, and I like to use pastel colors as the backdrops in most of my designs. I feel this way is much less overwhelming for the eye and allows me to use a bigger array of color choices.

Favorite wall paint color of all time: My favorite paint colou–pictured on my dining room wall and in my bedroom is “Amethyst” by Home of Color at Homebase. They recently discontinued this in England but a close second would be Wilko’s “Lilac.” Light purples are definitely one of my current favorites and I also quite enjoy using the cheaper shop brands of paints. They usually cover well and don’t break the bank at all.



Valspar – Birthday Bouquet

Homebase (Home of Colour) – Amethyst

Wilko – Lilac

Wilko – Pink Harmony

Wilko – Marshmellow

Wilko – Mint Green

Wilko – Peach Blush

Wilko – Retro Yellow

Crown – Chatterbox

Annie Sloan – Henrietta

Rust-Oleum – Neon Pink multi purpose paint

Rust-Oleum – Neon Pink Spray paint

Rust_Oleum – French Lilac Furniture paint

Kobra – Fluorescent Pink Spray Paint

Ebay – Mint Green Masonary paint mied with Rust-Oleum All Purpose Green

Ronseal – Matt Finish Diamond Hard Floor Varnish


Chest of drawers was gifted second hand – Spray painted in this color from Amazon

Stereo was gifted second hand – Spray painted in Rustoleum

Night Ride Classic Car Poster – eBay

Frame for Night Ride Poster – eBay


Norsborg Corner Sofa — IKEA

Cushions — TKmaxx, Primark, eBay, IKEA, Aldi

Red Lips Cushion – IKEA

Pink Lips Cushion – eBay (second hand)

Throws & blankets – IKEA, The Range

Upcycled Fireplace – Painted in Crown Chatterbox with Black and white striped wallpaper – Wilko

Orange Rotary Dial Telephone – Wild & Wolf Series

FISKBO Frames – IKEA, sprayed neon pink

Over Sofa Irridescent Artwork made with – eBay

Blue Bucket Armchair – TKMaxx

EKENASET Armchair – IKEA (slightly darker color)

Loughlam Pink Area Rug – Wayfair

A3 Prints – Rachael Havenhand

A3 Frames – The Range

Other prints – Cherie Did This

Desk – eBay secondhand, painted in green masonry paint color mixed by myself. Neon pink detail is Rustoleum


FADO Lamp bulb – Amazon

Large Multi colored poster above desk – IKEA

RIBBA Poster Frame – IKEA

Vintage Fire – eBay secondhand spray painted in Rustoleum


Frames – Dunelm Mill

Table – Secondhand gifted

Dining Chairs – Secondhand Facebook marketplace


KALLAX storage unit – IKEA

KALLAX door inserts – IKEA (painted with tester pots and waxed)

Piano – Secondhand gifted and painted in Bristol Paint Ultramarine


Floor – Painted in a self mixed masonry paint and detailed with Rust-Oleum Neon Pink

Floor varnished with Ronseal Diamon Hard Floor Varnish – Wickes

Yellow Bin – Brabantia 30L pedal bin

Cupboards painted in Rust-Oleum Gloss White

Stainless Steel Handles Spray with Rust-Oleum Primer and Rust-Oleum Neon Pink

Pink Kettle – Dunelm Mill

Pink Toaster – Dunelm Mill

Cream Microwave – Amazon

Foil Curtain – eBay

Fruit Bowl from IKEA and a cake stand secondhand gifted both sprayed with Rust-oleum


BRIMNES Bed Frame with storage – IKEA


Cushions – TKMaxx

Floral cushion – eBay secondhand

Erin bedside tables – The Range

Bureau – eBay secondhand painted in chalkboard paint

Marilyn Poster – eBay

RIBBA Poster Frame – IKEA

A3 Prints – Rachael Havenhand

A3 Frames – The Range

Bedside Lamps – B&Q, spray painted in Rust-Oleum Candy Pink


Green Filing Cabinet – IKEA

KNAGGLIG Storage boxes painted in tester pots – IKEA

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