Monday, 29 March 2010


Once upon a time, in a land far far away (when My So-Called Life and Animaniacs were the best things on TV and you could still buy something for 10 cents) I used to have my own large magnificent room that I ruled over. I spent many of my days residing in this room, relegating myself to a comfortable seclusion. Then I moved out and went to London, and the Bank of Mother re-possessed my lovely room and sold it at an auction, to the only bidder being my youngest sister. Upon my return, I received news that I no longer had my own sleeping quarters and had to share with me sis which was all part of a secret parental ploy to get us to move out.

Anyways, for this month’s challenge, and as a tribute to the 28 years I’ve been on earth, I’ve decided to give my life a makeover. One of the aspects in my life that needed a makeover was this room I share with my sis. We’ve been discussing it for months, just waiting for the right opportunity to knock on the door. We both agreed that whatever makeover we decided upon had to come cheap… because there’s no sense is spending large sums of money on a room we both don’t intend on staying in forever. With the probability of moving out on the horizon (for both of us), we decided that it would be best if we got creative, and spent as little money on our creativity as possible.

Since we both had very difference ideas and couldn’t come to an agreement with regard to a colour scheme, we eventually decided to go with a sober, more "adult" black and white template, broken up with bursts of colour. And in no time, the project took on a life of its own and everything just flowed and came together almost effortlessly. Tired of the clutter and keeping in mind that we may need cheap storage units for all our crap (including all our reading material acquired over the years), we decided to go with a clean, clinical chic look and this here is the result...

BEFORE: I didn't take any before pics really... just one or two pics while we were working. This is just a semblence of what it was like before. Dull and drab (only because it's taken without the flash) and very cluttered.


Thanks to enthusiastically tapping into my crafty side... and a couple of hours later...

These were just pieces of wood when we began. Thanks to alot of paint, they've become art-deco-avant-garde-y-abstract pieces of art to brighten up the room. Nothing says "the world is my canvas" like an empty frame.

This chest of drawers got more than just a lick of paint. We decided to experiment a little too...

We've kept the template black and white ie. all the basic furniture and accessories. The room is dotted in splashes of colour with purely decorative pieces. The only piece of furniture with colour are the drawers above, and even so, the entire canvas can be painted over in either white or black. The method behind this madness is that the room could alter it's decorative state according to the colours and accessories that are in fashion or according to changing tastes... without having to alter the entire room. The basic black and white is the foundation.

These stow-away boxes are somewhat kitsch, but they're nifty and added to the room's template. But the primary reason we decided to get them, aside from fitting into the template, they were so cheap.

Another cheap accessory in the form of a bin for the room.

A white lamp stands in the middle aside two storage units which holds books, candles... the usual stuff one keeps at the bedside.

This cheap rendition to the Damask trend is reversible ie. this print is white on black and on the reverse side it's black on white. The same with the printed pillowcases. The red fleece throw is super comfy and breaks the black and white nicely me thinks.

There are alot of elements here, texturally speaking. There's porcelain, wood, paper, glass, ceramic and metal... all of which are either decorative or used to house our clutter. The handles on the drawers were replaced and the counter-top painted black. The basket on top of the drawers was painted orange adding some warmth to the room.

The room's curtains. Initially we were skeptical about going with the black lining, but the white one did no justice to the white floral print. The next pic shows how it looks during the day, when the curtain lining is opened to bring in the light.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience and didn't cost us more than R1500... which is just over US$200, EUR150 and GBP135. For more on the crap I keep inside these decorative boxes, go here.


  1. I dig what you guys did with the frames.
    I'm a big fan of boxes. They're the only way I can maintain the semblance of tidiness. Most of the ones I have in the study don't even match, but I like the idea of their functional chaos.

  2. This is really lovely. Right up my alley :) I do like the print work on the duvet. I'm a sucker for print and patterns.

    Boxes are always awesome. I recover my old boxes and always find new ways to use them. They come in handy when you buy bulk from Makro ;)

    Way to go Azra :)

  3. Blue - Thanks :)

    Saaleha - I like the ida or random mis-matched boxes in all sizes and colours. Actually I love my boxes too... a little too much. The tins beside the lamp and the ones stacked on the shelf are actually biscuit tins. But they're were too cool for biscuits ;P

    Fatima - I love prints too. They have boxes in bulk at Makro? I think I'll be paying Makro a visit :)

  4. slms...
    i love what you did to your room! if you are a box freak-like me- you Have to visit Mac's wholesalers... theyve got gorgeous boxes at factory prices....not to mention oodles of cheap novels.
    (its on the same road as china mart/african trade centre..)

    another great+cheap idea for adding pops of color is to get some nice prints/fabrics/decoupage pieces and stretch them over canvas pieces... or even line the back
    of your shelves. its easily removable and still looks classy:)
    as a bona fide commitment phobe... i like things that can be easily changed!

  5. pserean - thanks for the heads up on Mac Wholesalers and your ideas! Will definitely look into it ;)