Every space in a home has some basic elements: flooring, walls, and lighting. If these elements look bad, pretty much nothing in the space will look good. Clean and shiny floors, freshly painted walls, and awesome lighting can really make a room. These elements work together to act as a picture frame. With a beautiful picture frame, almost anything dumped on the canvas can seem deliberate and look like art. So when I decided to renovate the attic bedroom of my pre-Civil War house, I began by focusing my energy on those three elements. My goal was to make the space bright, yet calming.
Layer upon layer of linoleum capped by a dingy carpet catapulted flooring to the top of my to-do list. At first, I was juggling with whether or not I should just cover it in wall to wall carpeting rather than tackle what might be under all that linoleum. In the end, I couldn’t stop myself.
I took a wrecking bar and ripped every last shred of linoleum up off the floor. That’s where I got lucky. The floor underneath was red oak hardwood in pretty amazing condition.
After a few, very long days of scrubbing off glue and grime with Goo-Gone, hot water, vinegar, and mild soap, the floor was clean. I put some Miniwax polyurethane coating down and the floor was not only clean, but shiny…the way a floor should be.
The walls had been blackened by soot after a kerosene heater mishap (don’t ask!) and of course there were the dings and imperfections that are present in every old home. I decided early on in the renovation process that I wasn’t going to do much to try to hide those imperfections. Smooth walls just seem so out of place in a house this old. Instead I opted for freshly painted walls, imperfections and all.
I can’t begin to express how much I love light fixtures. I didn’t really start noticing them until recently, but they truly are a key feature of any room. Unfortunately for me, my taste leans toward pretty expensive light fixtures, while my budget leans toward emergency candles. At any rate, I was able to get a light fixture from Ikea that I absolutely love at the low cost of $30. It doesn’t look cheap and it fits the space perfectly.
If you’re willing to splurge on lighting you should definitely check out some of the options at this website.
Anyway, with the walls, the floor, and the lighting done, I was able to focus on the details of the room: furniture (you can check out how I updated a hope chest here) , bedding, the window treatment, and I even made a simple headboard (check it out here).
As I always say, a little bit of inspiration and a lot of elbow grease go a long way!