Transforming a blank space one picture at a time.
Here’s how I transformed a tricky, ‘under stair’ space with a range of decorative items. Viola – magical, cosy corner achieved.
As some of you may know, I recently moved home so you may have experienced some interior spam via insta stories lately, and that, I cannot apologise for. When we first started moving, we adopted a lot of larger scale, DIY projects, such as dining room tables, barn doors and TV units (click here to read my Industrial Dining post) but those types of projects have come to a halt. For now. In recent weeks, we’ve decided to take a little break and enjoy our home at weekends, however, big DIY projects will start up again soon!
A little project that I’ve been working on, that didn’t involve heavy duty building, was transforming a tricky under the stairs space. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent on Pinterest, researching ‘best under the stairs transformations’ but it’s a lot! There are lots of transformations that involve heavy duty building, such as hidden wardrobe/storage spaces, exceptional libraries, cosy reading corners and even some dog living spaces, but I needed something a little less permanent as I’m renting my home. Although, I was set on having a dog living space for a while despite the fact I have no dog. (FYI, the pug below is not mine, even though I wish he was).
In the end, I decided that I was going to transform the space into a cosy corner, using decorative pieces. I opted for a gallery wall, a stand alone ladder-type shelving, ceiling-hung shelves and a decorative wooden box. I wanted to carefully fill the space with wooden and monochrome decorative pieces and add colour modestly, by using organic, natural items.
Let me talk you through it.
A beautifully set gallery wall is something quite special in my eyes. I love the images to be personal, balanced and complimenting of one another. For a while, I toyed with the idea of having my own images but wasn’t sure that I’d achieve the effect that I wanted using my own photographs. Also, after a long period of time decorative pieces can disappear into the background and aren’t as visible or noticeable as they once were. I certainly don’t like the idea of my most special memories fading amongst the decor. With this said, the images that I selected are personal to me and represent something in my life so they still remain special.
I ordered my prints from a company called Desenio. They specialise in affordable, Scandinavian inspired prints that are perfect for any home. They have a vast range of prints suitable for any room and also have very helpful guidelines to achieve a perfect gallery wall. I browsed the website for a long time before finally deciding on my prints. I mostly wanted cool monochrome images with a slight touch of earthy tones. Whilst browsing some positive and inspiring quotes fell in the basket too. It’s also worth mentioning that I purchased my cheap and cheerful frames from Ikea.
To visit Desenio’s website, click here.
Let me tell you, if you thought choosing the prints was difficult, you better brace yourself hanging them. I could’ve benefited from a swearing jar during this process – I would’ve saved a fortune! There are a few steps that I took that helped me along the way, and hopefully, my images will explain the process better than me.
First, I measured the space that needed to be filled and replicated the dimensions on the floor using some masking tape. Once the space was clear, I began to arrange the prints a hundred and one times before deciding on a final arrangement.
I drew around each frame and cut the dimension so that I had a paper replica of each frame. I placed the paper cut outs on the wall to make sure it looked just as good on the wall. It’s important to note that I was going to skip this stage, but was glad I didn’t because I did re-arrange the frames ever so slightly as it looked slightly different on the wall.
I used velcro strips to secure the frames. I would definitely recommend using velcro strips for one important reason: they’re easy to remove and fix mistakes!
I fussed about A LOT! “A little bit to the right”, “Now go up”, “Drop the left..NO! Back up! Not that way!”
A spirit level will be your best friend during this process, as will the handy velcro strips. They’re easy to pull on and off and make alternations when you haven’t got it ‘just right’. I really can’t imagine the gallery wall would have turned out as well as it did if I’d used nails instead of the velcro strips.
I liked the idea of having a decorative ladder with nice bits and pieces on, but as I filled the ladder with more and more trinkets it was too cluttered for my liking. I went for a simpler theme of glass fruit bowls that held a variety of citrus fruit. It adds colour in a modest way and is perfect for cold drinks. Winning in every way. To make it a bit fancier, I tied little fairy lights around the ladder so it would stand out in the evening. I purchased battery powered, rose gold lights from Typo and the ladder from Dubai Garden Center.
I can’t take any credit for this design, as Pinterest is the fountain of all my interior inspiration. I saw this design whilst scrolling on Pinterest and knew I absolutely had to have it in my house. I purchased the gold chain, and hooks from Ace Hardwear, and purchased the wooden cuts from Dubai Garden Centre (to read more about my potted plant choice, click here). I cut the chain to size using wire cutters and hung them at different heights to add another dimension to the design.
This wooden box was a ‘moving in’ gift from our lovely Dubai family (FYI, Dubai expats will often refer to their closest friends as their extended Dubai family as you rely heavily on your friends living so far away from ‘real home’). Originally I envisaged the wooden box to be perfect for outdoors, but we’re nowhere near completing a garden just yet. In the meantime it will lovingly remain in my living room, holding five brightly coloured sunflowers.
Like the ladder, I chose to wrap fairy lights around the wooden box so it would light up and add a little suminsumin’ to the space at night time and feel a touch magical.
I hope you liked this post. Please let me know how you’ve decorated/transformed tricky spaces in your home – I have a few more I need to tackle and would love some inspo.
Love, Amy X