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The Big Interiors Battle Ep1:
Bedroom makeover

Injecting colour and creativity into every corner: transforming a blank bedroom into a playful and personal haven.

Last year, I embarked on a thrilling adventure as a contestant on Channel 4’s The Big Interiors Battle, hosted by the lovely AJ Odudu and judged by Dara Huang. This show brought together eight up-and-coming competitors, pitting us against each other for the chance to win a stunning apartment nestled in Sheffield’s vibrant Eyewitness Works development. The challenge was to transform our dream flat, room by room, with the ultimate prize being ownership of our beautifully designed space.

Eyewitness works
Eyewitness works
The rooms were also closely examined by the developers, who also had their say in the judging.
The developers - Tim Heatley and Adam Higgins
The developers - Tim Heatley and Adam Higgins from Capital & Centric

THE BRIEF

Crafting the perfect bedroom

The first week of the competition was all about crafting the perfect bedroom—a space that not only showcased our design flair but also encapsulated our personalities. The bedroom, being the most intimate room in any home, presented the ideal canvas to demonstrate our unique styles and design philosophies.

With a limited budget of £1500 for basic fit-outs and an additional £2000 for fittings and fixtures, we had 4 days (with one week of design, sourcing and purchasing prep) to deliver a room that was not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional and practical. The pressure was on to innovate and create a standout design within a tight timeline!

AFTER - My main bedroom (scroll down to see before)
AFTER - My main bedroom (scroll down to see before)
BEFORE - My main bedroom
BEFORE - My main bedroom

If you missed the episode, you can still catch it on Channel 4’s on-demand platform, experiencing firsthand the excitement and innovation that unfolded as we tackled this exciting challenge: Watch episode 1

KEY ELEMENTS

As we embarked on the challenge, the judge emphasized three critical elements that would be taken into account during the evaluation process:
  1. Bed Space Arrangement: How effectively we utilized the space around the bed, including the placement of a headboard and bedside tables.
  2. Lighting Ambiance: Our ability to set the mood using creative lighting solutions.
  3. Storage space: Crafting storage options that maximized functionality without compromising aesthetics.

MY APPROACH & INSPIRATION

Vibrancy, playfulness and heritage

Drawing inspiration from my signature style—vibrant colours, geometric patterns, and a mix of raw materials—I devised a bold plan for my bedroom makeover.

I drew inspiration from my personal quest to create a space that not only reflected my design aesthetic but also catered to my specific needs. As someone who struggles to wake up in the morning, I aimed to design a room that would energize and uplift me from the moment I opened my eyes. To achieve this, I focused on incorporating an abundance of patterns, textures, and colours that would evoke a sense of warmth and coziness while maintaining a vibrant and energetic atmosphere.

The initial plan of a sunny colour palette featuring shades of yellow, orange, and pink was intended to infuse the room with energy and positivity. However, during the execution phase, I introduced additional hues of blue to add grounding and tranquility, striking a perfect balance.
My original moodboard for the main bedroom
My original moodboard for the main bedroom

Creating a Cozy and Energizing Sanctuary

To transform the bedroom into a cozy and energizing sanctuary, I paid meticulous attention to every detail, aiming to evoke a sense of comfort and vitality. Soft, tactile textures played a crucial role in enhancing the room’s inviting atmosphere. From plush throw blankets and velvet cushions to woven baskets and textured wall art, each element was carefully selected to add depth and warmth. Layering textures not only created visual interest but also contributed to a tactile experience that made the space feel like a luxurious retreat.
Bedroom challenge episode 1
My little cozy and whimsical cocoon
As sewing is one of my hobbies, I infused the room with a bit of personal flair by crafting the throw blanket myself. This handmade touch added a unique and heartfelt element to the space, showcasing my passion for craftsmanship and adding a personalized touch that elevated the room’s overall ambiance. The strategic use of patterns, including geometric prints on bedding and curtains, added a playful yet sophisticated touch, reinforcing the room’s lively personality. This deliberate combination of textures, patterns, and handmade elements transformed the bedroom into a multifaceted space where I could recharge and start each day feeling refreshed and inspired.
Justine sewing The Big Interiors Battle
So much pressure as I was sewing my throw blanket

Embracing Heritage: Exposed Brick Walls

The Eyewitness Works development‘s historical significance as a former cutlery factory provided a unique backdrop for my design vision. When given the choice to cover or showcase the original brick walls, I made a deliberate decision to celebrate this heritage. The exposed brick walls not only added texture and warmth to the space but also served as a testament to the building’s rich history.

By integrating historical elements into the design, I created a harmonious blend of old-world charm and contemporary aesthetics. The juxtaposition of raw industrial textures with vibrant colours and playful patterns resulted in a dynamic and inviting atmosphere, transforming the bedroom into a personalized sanctuary that resonated with both the judges and viewers.
Exposed brick walls
Exposed brick walls of the former cutlery factory

Atypical bed space

Instead of a conventional headboard, I opted for a striking accent wall adorned with playful painted stripes that extended onto the ceiling, creating a whimsical cocoon effect and showcasing my passion for creating visual illusions with paint to play with the volume of the space.

Given that the ceiling height was not particularly high in the room, I strategically opted for vertical stripes on the accent wall to draw the eye upward, creating the illusion of taller ceilings and a more spacious atmosphere. The bold use of colours, including shades of orange, blue and yellow, added vibrancy and depth to the room while enhancing the overall visual impact. In addition to the painted stripes, I extended this technique to the blinds by incorporating diagonal stripes, further elongating the perceived length of the room. This thoughtful approach not only transformed the aesthetics of the space but also addressed the architectural limitations, showcasing the transformative power of design elements in optimizing the perceived dimensions of a room.
Prep before painting the stripes
Prep before painting the stripes
After having painted the stripes
After having painted the stripes
To infuse even more playfulness into the design, I incorporated painted geometric shapes around the mirror and shelf installed beside the bed, creating visual focal points that added depth and character to the room. This approach not only reflected my signature style but also transformed the bedroom into a vibrant and dynamic space that celebrated both modern design and historical charm.
Quirky shapes on the side wall
Quirky shapes on the side wall

Maximizing Light and Playfulness

Strategic lighting design was another key component of my approach. To enhance natural light within the room, I strategically positioned a mirror to reflect incoming sunlight, creating a brighter and more spacious feel. This not only contributed to the overall energy of the space but also helped alleviate morning grogginess by maximizing daylight exposure.

In addition, I incorporated playful elements such as painted geometric shapes around the mirror and adjacent shelf. These artistic touches added a sense of whimsy and creativity while serving as visual focal points that enhanced the room’s overall appeal.
Whimsical ceiling
Whimsical ceiling
Bed reflection in my quirky-shaped mirror
Bed reflection in my quirky-shaped mirror

Smart Storage Solutions: Maximizing Functionality and Aesthetics

Crafting innovative storage options was essential in optimizing space and maintaining a clutter-free environment without compromising on style. Given the challenge of designing a functional yet visually appealing bedroom, I approached storage with creativity and ingenuity.

I love to display my colourful clothes in my room to bring an additional pop of colour. So, I decided to install an industrial pipes wardrobe highlighting the historical features of the building while maximizing vertical space.
Industrial pipes clothes rack
Industrial pipes clothes rack
Industrial pipes clothes rack
Additionally, I transformed ordinary furniture into multi-functional pieces by assembling three chest of drawers to create a platform bed, offering concealed storage for linens, clothing, and personal items. This strategic use of furniture not only maximized storage capacity but also contributed to the room’s cohesive design aesthetic.
My plan for the creation of the bed
My plan for the creation of the bed
Hidden storage under the bed
Hidden storage under the bed
Furthermore, I integrated two decorative shelves into the room’s decor, providing stylish yet practical solutions for organizing smaller items such as books, accessories, and electronics. By seamlessly blending smart storage solutions with the overall design concept, I was able to create a bedroom that was both functional and visually captivating, ensuring every element served a purpose while enhancing the room’s overall appeal.
Decorative shelves
Decorative shelves

CHALLENGES & UNEXPECTED TWISTS

Despite meticulous planning, unforeseen challenges presented themselves throughout the makeover process:
  • Delays in deliveries resulted in essential items such as rugs and bedside tables arriving behind schedule, necessitating quick thinking and improvisation to adapt to the evolving circumstances.
My groovy painted rug
My groovy painted rug
Blue bedside table
Blue bedside table
Yellow bedside table
Yellow bedside table
  • One of the most memorable setbacks occurred on the day of judging when someone inadvertently damaged my meticulously hand-painted blinds, prompting a frantic and meticulous last-minute restoration.
Adding stripes onto the blinds
Adding stripes onto the blinds
These challenges served as invaluable lessons, reinforcing the importance of adaptability and resilience in the dynamic world of interior design. Each obstacle presented an opportunity to innovate and elevate the final outcome, ultimately contributing to the room’s unique charm and personality.

FINAL OUTCOME

After days of creative planning and meticulous execution, the culmination of my efforts resulted in a bedroom that surpassed expectations. The bold colour palette, featuring a harmonious blend of blue, orange, and yellow tones, infused the space with energy and vitality, making it an uplifting environment to wake up in each morning. The strategic use of geometric patterns on textiles and accent pieces added visual interest and personality, creating a cohesive and dynamic atmosphere. The exposed brick walls, a nod to the building’s industrial heritage, provided a striking backdrop that enhanced the room’s character and charm. Thoughtfully integrated storage solutions, including the custom industrial pipes wardrobe and platform bed with hidden drawers, maximized functionality without sacrificing style. The combination of soft textures, from plush throw blankets to velvet cushions, contributed to the room’s inviting ambiance, making it a cozy retreat to unwind and relax.

This meticulous attention to detail and innovative design approach not only impressed the judges, Dara, Tim and Adam, but also allowed me to advance to week 2 of The Big Interiors Battle, showcasing my ability to create captivating and functional spaces that resonate with both aesthetic appeal and practicality. Overall, the final outcome was a vibrant and inviting masterpiece that perfectly encapsulated my design vision and passion for interior creativity.
Dara surprised by the result
Dara and OJ blown away by the bedroom
Dara and OJ blown away by the bedroom

REFLECTIONS ON THE EXPERIENCE

Participating in The Big Interiors Battle was a transformative journey that pushed the boundaries of my creativity and tested my resolve. It underscored the significance of adaptability and resourcefulness in navigating the complexities of design challenges. Beyond the competition, the experience served as a reminder of the profound impact of thoughtful design in shaping our everyday environments.

In conclusion, The Big Interiors Battle not only provided a platform to showcase my design skills but also fostered personal growth and a deeper appreciation for the art of interior design. As I continue my journey in the field, I carry with me the lessons learned and the passion ignited by this remarkable experience.

RESOURCES

You’ll find below the comprehensive list of referenced items I incorporated into the room:

Basic Fit-outs

  • Flooring: BOEN Herringbone Floorboard Oak Adagio
  • Blue paint: Ultra Blue by Mylands of London
  • Yellow paint: Viking Yellow by Benjamin Moore
  • Orange paint: Tangerine Fusion by Benjamin Moore

Fittings & Fixtures

Furniture
  • Bed: Custom bed created by assembling three IKEA NORDLI chests of drawers
  • Clothes rack: Little Deer Interiors
  • Bedside tables: Originally planned as Mustard Made, improvised with painted IKEA EKET cabinets

Lighting

  • Pendant lights: MUUTO E27 pendant lamps in yellow, blue, and orange

Styling

  • Mirror: Irregular Pond by Leaner Mirrors
  • Shelves: Regular shelves from B&Q
  • Rug: Original plan for Liquid Swirl Abstract Pattern in Black and White Rug from Society6, improvised with hand-painted white rug using black paint from Colourcraft Ltd.
  • Blinds: Hand-painted with stripe pattern
  • Bedding: Yard Polka Tuft 100% Cotton Duvet Cover Set White from FURN
  • Cushions: Central cushion from ANYDAY collection at John Lewis in Auburn, additional velvet cushions from John Lewis
  • Throw: Hand-sewn using yellow and blue velvet from Ray-Stitch
  • Books: ‘The Power of Yes’ and thrifted blue and yellow books
  • Candles: Bubble Cube Candle from Le Contour and DW Home
  • Vases: Small carafe ceramic vases in yellow, white, and blue from Raawii
These carefully chosen elements were integral to the cohesive and inviting atmosphere of the room, reflecting the unique vision and personality imbued into the design. Each item contributed to the overall aesthetic, enhancing the space with thoughtful details and personalized touches, all while respecting the budget constraints set for the project. The combination of colours, textures, and curated pieces transformed the bedroom into a dynamic and inspiring environment, capturing the essence of my design philosophy and creating a space that truly reflects my style and creativity.

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