Thinking of giving your alcoves a makeover? Join us as we take a look at how Fionnuala tackles her tricky space read more
Thinking of giving your alcove a makeover? Join us as we take a look at how Fionnuala from Three Sons Later tackles her tricky space.
Alcoves, landings, halls and corridors can be very difficult to style. Done well, they can look stunning and lift a home to a new level. Such nooks are ideal spots for storage. That said, storage in itself tends to lean more towards function than form. A little creativity is all it takes to make a dull alcove into a stylish storage solution.
On our landing, there is a triangular space that was left when the previous owners added a plasterboard wall in order to make two rooms out of one. The solution with the two rooms suits us since it provides us with the extra bedroom we needed. The odd little triangle of space with three doors leading off it, well, not so much. For years it is simply been a space to walk through on the way to bed. After our holidays it is where the cases get dumped. The vacuum cleaner has often been found there, in one of the three corners. It was a space with no real purpose but not without potential. So, when I spotted a glass-fronted cabinet with the perfect measurements selling second hand for €20, I grabbed it and looked for inspiration.
I had a look at the Laura Ashley site for paint – my go to plan for old furniture is to paint it – it suddenly struck me that wallpaper could be just the solution. I ordered one roll of Queensbury Midnight Wallpaper. The darkness really appealed to me because of the contrast with the off-white coloured cabinet. I added the Sorrento brass wall light with an ivory coloured shade to my basket too to brighten up this tricy space.
To wallpaper the inside of the cabinet, I needed a measuring tape, pencil, wallpaper paste (I used a ready-mixed one in a tube), a scalpel, scissors, a metal ruler, a brush for the paste and of course my chosen wallpaper. The first step was to remove the shelves. Then measure the inside dimensions of the back and side walls of the cabinet. Using the measuring tape I measured the width and height of each of the three sections, left, back and right walls.
The next step was to cut the wallpaper to size. The roll of wallpaper came with some handy instructions, ideal for someone like me who has never hung wallpaper before. For the back panel of the cabinet, I wanted the seams to be as invisible as possible so I chose to centre one panel of wallpaper on the back wall, equidistant from the corners. I measured and cut this section and then measured and cut the panels for the remaining part of the back wall as well as the left and right sides.
The important thing to remember here is to line up the pattern properly so that you have a continuous pattern across the inside of the cabinet. Allow yourself plenty of time and space for rolling out your wallpaper and measuring correctly. It will save you a lot of bother once you being to hang the wallpaper.
As I was using ready mixed paste, I followed the instructions on the tube for applying it to the wallpaper. The central panel for the back wall of the cabinet was the first one to be hung. Using the metal ruler I smoothed it down the length of the cabinet, making sure to avoid capturing air bubbles. The difference to the cabinet was immediate. The dark wallpaper with its striking pattern took the cabinet from basic to elegant straight away.
Lining up the pattern exactly took patience. Panel by panel I smoothed down the wallpaper, taking extra care at the corners to avoid wrinkles and tears. Using the scalpel and the ruler I trimmed the edges of the wallpaper to give a neat finish and left it to dry. The time you allow here depends on your wallpaper paste. Mine was a quick drying one, which is great because I love to see quick results in a project.
The shelves of the cabinet were in perfect condition and didn’t need any touching up with paint. All I had to do was to insert the shelves at the correct heights and decide what to place in my new upgraded cabinet. After half an hour of faffing, I had styled my shelves with my favourite shoes, some treasured photos and print and a gorgeous bunch of faux peonies. The splash of pink is a beautiful contrast to the darkness of the midnight blue wallpaper.
On the opposite wall, I fitted the brass and ivory-coloured wall light. The inner lining of the shade is a golden colour, lending the room a newly added warmth. Even off the light adds charm to a previously unloved space. With two of the three walls in this triangular space re-purposed. I no longer look on this as a dead space to walk through to the way to bed. It now had a proper function and looks good too.
Do you have an awkward alcove that you need to tackle? Let us know how you go about giving it a makeover below or @LauraAshleyUK.