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Our Eco-Friendly Bedroom Renovation

vintage glass cabinet

We’ve carried out a bedroom renovation to make our space super energy efficient.  Want to have a peak?

First, here’s the back story.  In May, we started work on our bedroom renovation project.  The room hadn’t been touched in years and years.  When we moved in there was a huge hole in the wall from a (now fixed) leak at some point in the past.  The cupboard was off its hinges.  And the carpet was threadbare (and laid without underlay), so needless to say some refreshing of the decor was long overdue.

Our Bedroom Renovation Before

This is how it looked before the renovation, it was pretty awful:

It’s worth noting that our old bed had already been listed on Gumtree at this point!  I’d also started emptying the cupboard when I took these photos.  We didn’t store random rubbish in the corner (promise!).

And this was how it looked the day before the builder started on our bedroom renovation.  You can see our fantastic cupboard!

We lived in this state of disrepair for three years and a half years.  Which I feel deserves some explanation because I’m sure you’re thinking most reasonable people would have decorated this mess not long after moving in.

The Whole Sorry Tale

Although we had lots of plans for decor when we first moved in, we were hindered by undertaking any of them by the fact that the loft conversion, where our bedroom is, was carried out without planning permission.

We knew that there was no planning permission when we bought the house.  And we knew that we could work with the Council to gain retrospective planning permission.  At the time of purchase, we naively thought this would be a fairly straightforward process and it didn’t intimidate us.  How wrong we were.

We lived in our house for 10 months before moving forward on the retrospective planning permission.  In true Grand Designs style, I became pregnant within a month of moving into our house and was so ill that we just couldn’t contemplate doing anything until our littlest one came along.  Consequently, we put everything on hold, save for some renovations downstairs.

One of the good things about living somewhere for a little while before doing anything is that we realised an upstairs bathroom would be a very good thing.  So in early 2016 we employed the services of an architect to a) draw up the plans for the new bathroom and submit the planning permission request, and b) work on the retrospective planning application on our behalf. 

This turned out to be a very good idea.   Our architect kindly offered to cap his fee on the retrospective planning application, saying it wouldn’t be a lot of work on his behalf.  This also turned out to be a very good idea.

Through aerial photographs, the Council determined our extension was carried out in the early 1980s.  This meant the Council required us to carry out the remedial works on the property required to 1981 building standards.  The Council remained vague on what this meant in practice, so what followed was 1.5 YEARS of thrashing out between the Council and our architect about exactly what remedial works were required.  Thank goodness for that capped fee, otherwise, fees would have spiralled and we would have to have called the whole renovation works off.

Finally, at the end of 2017, after much wrangling, we had our planning permission secured for the extension and a building warrant granted for the extension and our remedial works.  Hooray!

Here’s What The Builder Did In Our Bedroom Renovation 

The work required was beyond our skillset, so we hired a builder for our bedroom renovation.  We certainly kept him busy – here’s what he did:

  • removed all the existing plasterboard walls and ceilings.
  • installed new flat roofs on the dormer windows (both turned out to be rotten, so this was an unexpected expense).
  • installed vents in our roof (part of the retrospective planning permission requirements).
  • fitted insulation to the walls and ceilings (there was no insulation previously, which is why all the plasterboard and ceilings had to come down.  The Council said we could have gone for 1981 standards, but we went for 2018 standards on the insulation. This cost us more but after a few years of living here we found the rooms upstairs are freezing in winter and boiling in summer, so this was money worth spending).
  • fitted Rockwool insulation under the floorboards
  • rewired upstairs and switched to LED lighting  (the rewiring was again part of the retrospective planning permission requirements)
  • fitted foil backed plasterboard for further heat retention in winter
  • plastered, painted, fitted skirting boards and new radiators
  • build a new cupboard for us

In short, everything in the bedroom is new save for the window and the floorboards!  It’s also incredibly energy efficient so should keep us a lot warmer in winter, and save on our heating bills big time.

The Decor

Decor-wise, it’s a tiny bedroom.  We opted for the smallest bedroom so our daughters can have a big room to play in.  Therefore, there isn’t much we can do with the space, so we concentrated on the basics for our bedroom renovation.

The Bed

Our biggest consideration when decorating the bedroom was our bed, as a double bed takes up two-thirds of the room.  Our old bed was a standard double bed.  Although you can’t see from the before photo, we stored our clothes under it, in storage tubs.  This meant, that due to walls on either side of the bed, we could only utilise the bottom half of the bed.  Losing all of this storage space meant we needed a separate set of drawers.  The storage boxes also looked a bit messy.

So, with the works complete, we gave the old bed away on Gumtree to a lovely lady.  Instead, we opted for a beautiful ottoman bed and fabric headboard, kindly gifted to us from Silentnight:

silentnight ottoman bed

Why An Ottoman?

Our ottoman bed is the bee’s knees.  We opted for a full ottoman, so this means we can utilise the whole of the under bed area for our clothes storage.  This frees up the need for us to have a chest of drawers. The mattress flips up and underneath we both have separate storage areas for all of our clothes.  As well as being incredibly practical for our small space, it’s a truly beautiful bed and headboard, both of which are handmade in the UK.

Why Silentnight?

As well as the made in the UK aspect of the bed, what also impressed me is that Silentnight holds a wide array of eco-credentials.  From receiving the Furniture Makers’ Company Sustainability Award for 2017.  To being an independently certified carbon neutral organisation. To having been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®).  And to be the first bed company to be accredited under the Furniture Industry Sustainability Programme, which aims to improve the furniture industry’s sustainability credentials.  There’s more right this way, but in short: It’s a lot.  This is on top of the fact that Silentnight diverts 90% of its waste from landfill.

silentnight eco comfort mattress

The Mattress

The mattress was also gifted to us from Silentnight.  We opted for the Eco Comfort Breathe Pocket 2000 in ‘softer’ from their newly launched Eco Comfort Breathe Range. Gosh, it’s good.  150 recycled plastic bottles go into each mattress’s polyester filling, diverting these bottles from landfill or the oceans, which is pretty impressive.

Whilst sleeping on plastic doesn’t sound the most comfortable, I can assure you, that we are getting some of the best night’s sleep ever around here.  The Eco Comfort Breathe mattress is incredibly comfortable and supportive.  Although we have the softer mattress it’s not too soft and not too hard.  It just hits the perfect sweet spot.  As a light sleeper, I used to get woken up when my partner moves because the mattress would move too.  Now, the mattress doesn’t move when he moves and I don’t wake up.

Meanwhile, unlike some memory foam mattresses that leave you feeling hot and sticky, the Silentnight Eco Comfort  Breathe mattress employs its special Microclimate sleep system.  This is a three-layer system for enhanced breathability.  This helps prevents you from overheating and helps wick moisture away from you.  Talk about feeling refreshed when you wake up!

silentnight double bed as part of small bedroom renovation project

The Blinds

Moving away from the bed, we used to have curtains in here.  However, they weren’t ideal – trapping damp against the walls on either side.  Instead, after our bedroom renovation, we opted for a made-to-measure blackout roller blind.  We sourced ours online and make no sustainability claims from the company we bought it from.  I found it too tricky to source ethically and sustainably produced made-to-measure blinds, so if you come across any companies do let me know!

under eaves storage as part of small bedroom renovation project

The Wardrobe

As part of our bedroom renovation works, our builder created our lovely built-in mini wardrobe for us.  Prior to the works starting the door was off its hinges and the cupboard wasn’t lined, so was a huge damp trap. The cupboard was previously much shorter too, losing a whole lot of storage space.  Therefore the builder opened up the space heightwise a bit more for us to be able to create a mini wardrobe. He also created some useful shelves in there too.  At some point, we’ll add a hanging rail, but we all know the greatest projects take time!

vintage glass cabinet

Storage

The only other storage unit we have in the bedroom is an old cabinet.  I picked it up over 10 years ago from Oxfam, for £15.  It’s a bit knackered, and cost us more to get it delivered than it was to buy it!  It was initially darkly varnished and didn’t have any lace on it.  About eight years ago I painted it (badly!) in Farrow and Ball eggshell paint and fixed some lace to cover the glass panels.  I know some people are completely against the idea of painting old furniture, but it never really fit in with our existing furniture. After painting it fits perfectly, so I always say do it if it feels right!

bedroom renovation

Other Items In Our Bedroom Renovation

Although we replaced so much of the room during the bedroom renovation works, we wanted to make the most of the items we already owned for the decoration.  The wicker laundry basket is an old one from John Lewis, and likewise, the mirror is an old one from Ikea, both of which we brought with us from the old house when we moved.  Our bed linen is also old, from Habitat.

What we did buy new was a wicker lampshade from B&Q.  I tried to buy a vintage wicker lampshade on eBay but I couldn’t find one that was small enough to fit the space.  It needed to be short, so we don’t bang our heads on it too much.  When I saw this 20cm one in B&Q I knew it was the one – although I would have preferred a secondhand one.

I’m trying to source an antique mirror for the bedroom wall, and I have some old lights to go beside the bed.  At some point, I’ll add a picture to the wall.  However, at the moment we’re not in a rush. We’re just content to live in the lovely space and work out what will be right for the walls.

The Floors

We’re not too sure what to do with the floors.  After the bedroom renovation, our builder sanded them in case we want to paint the floorboards.  However, I’m quite taken with the rustic look of them.  My partner wants to carpet the room, but I’m not convinced.  Again, we’ll live with it for a little while before deciding what to do!

And there we have it – our bedroom and probably what are the most words ever written on the tiniest bedroom in the world!

Home, Home and Garden

Would You Use Wool Bedding? | AD

the woolroom

This post on wool bedding is paid-for content in association with woolroom.

Would you use wool bedding?  Or do you associate wool with being a bit itchy?

The people at woolroom got in touch to see if I would be interested in testing out their 100% wool bedding set, and I’ll admit I was dubious about using wool on my bed.  Apart from a woolen blanket draped over our duvet to keep us toasty on cold winters nights it was something I had never considered.

When I looked on their website I was intrigued by the claims of better sleep (what parent of young children doesn’t want better sleep?), and the fact that they only use 100% British wool in their bedding.  Without the use of any synthetic chemicals, this makes woolroom products naturally hypoallergenic as well as naturally flame retardant.  The itch factor was also soon resolved when I realised that all of their products are encased in 100% cotton, keeping you itch-free.

Needless to say, I took woolroom up on their kind offer.  Soon a woolly parcel was winging its way to me, comprising of their mattress protector, an all-season duvet, and two pillows, and each encased in its own individual cotton bag.

the woolroom

woolroom’s Mattress Protector

The first thing I put on the bed was the wool mattress protector (which has a 100% cotton cover).  We hadn’t been using a mattress protector previously.  I have tried mattress protectors in the past and I found they had a tendency to bunch up or move and they got really annoying to adjust on a regular basis.  The woolroom’s mattress protector is nice and deep, so fits snuggly, and after four weeks’ trial, I can confirm it doesn’t move about.

I wasn’t sure what a mattress protector would do for us, as our new (to us) mattress is pretty amazing.  It’s a standard sprung mattress but is pillow-topped with a memory foam layer.  It is without a doubt the comfiest thing I have ever slept on.  What I hadn’t twigged was that the memory foam was reflecting my body heat, so I quite often woke up in the middle of the night hot and sweaty.  Since using the protector, I feel like I have been waking up less in the night due to being too hot, which I am over the moon about.

woolroom bedding duvet review

woolroom’s Duvet

The next thing we added to the bed was the all-season duvet, which again is in a 100% cotton cover.  The wool duvet is in two parts, one lighter one for summer, and one slightly heavier one for autumn and spring.  When the mercury drops in winter you can combine the two duvets via the poppers on each duvet to make one thick duvet for a toasty night’s sleep.

As we’ve been testing it out in August and September, we have only used the lightest tog duvet so far.  My first impressions were that it felt really thin compared to our old duvet. It didn’t feel as fluffy or snuggly as our old duvet, and I wasn’t sure how it would keep us as warm at night.  However, after a couple of nights, we were more than used to the lovely wool duvet.  Lovely and light, we’ve found on cooler nights it keeps us warm but not too warm and seems to help regulate our body temperatures on warmer nights, even though my partner and I like to sleep at different temperatures.

We have a double bed but my top tip is to size up – so we have a king-size duvet to avoid fights over the duvet!

woolroom review

woolroom’s Pillows

The last thing we added to the bed were the pillows.  woolroom claim you only need one pillow for a good night’s sleep.  My partner normally sleeps with three quite thick pillows, and I normally sleep with two fairly flat pillows so we were a little skeptical.  

I found that one pillow was fine (maybe a little flatter than I would prefer), but as suspected, my partner found it too flat for his pillow-based needs.  The good thing with woolroom is that you can order extra wool if your pillow is too flat. We did – I ordered one bag of wool.  I added three-quarters of the bag to my partner’s pillow and a quarter of the bag to my pillow. This did the trick for both of us.

The pillow is incredible – like sleeping on a fluffy cloud.  And if the pillow isn’t fluffy enough you can open up the pillow, and pull the wool apart to add more air pockets into the pillow.  It’s heavenly.  The filling is held in place in a zippered cotton case so there is no way the filling can escape.

All of the products are machine washable, and the place where I appreciate this the most is the pillows.  I have tried to wash pillows before and what has always happened is that the filling bunches up, with no way to adjust it.  With the woolroom pillows, the pillow zips open and you can adjust the filling after washing.

What Makes woolroom’s Wool Bedding A Good Choice

All in all, I love that woolroom products support British farmers. Wool is also an environmentally friendly choice over more synthetic options.  What’s more, wool is also a more ethical choice to down-filled pillows and duvets.  

And while our bed was already comfortable, it has made it even more comfortable. I do feel I have been sleeping better.  And, no word of a lie, the first night after putting all the bedding on the bed, I managed to oversleep for work the next morning.

If you find you don’t agree then woolroom offers a 30-day money back guarantee when you buy a bedding set. This is because they are so confident of the sleep-inducing powers of wool.  Now, if woolroom could do something about the small children that wake us in the night or early in the morning then we’d be completely and utterly sorted!

woolroom provided me with a bedding set for the purpose of this review and compensated my time spent writing this post, but all words and opinions are my own.