Rockabilly on a budget: room makeover

Design project

As a give-away price on Facebook last year I offered to create a free design for someone’s room of choice and I was delighted to be asked to come up with ideas for a living room in a wonderful old house Laurencekirk. High ceilings, lots of character – and a very inspiring interior already. The owners, artists and musicians, had already decorated their home in a fabulously creative way, colourful and full of vintage finds, including a vintage radio collection and a 1960s record player. I found it quite a challenge to add to this! Probably the most eclectic room I have done so far, I decided to mainly focus on storage and making the room look a bit more ‘together’, using the pieces that were already there. I also wanted to change the wall colour to give the room a bit more wow factor without losing the wonderful bohemian vibe that was present in the house.



  • Colours: duck egg/teal and red (‘vintage rockabilly’)
  • Shelving in the alcoves around existing fireplace.
  • New sofa, table and possible accessories.
  • Storage for kids toys and books.
  • Piano, rug and fireplace artwork are staying.

Have a look at the Pinterest board and what I came up with: Pinterest board


The budget was very low, more like next to nothing, so I had put my upcycling and second-hand buying hat on and do my best to come up with cost-effective solutions. As their old Ikea sofa was really on its way out, I managed to source a gorgeous vintage leather chesterfield sofa in the process for an absolute bargain, which is now taking pride of place in the room. The shelving in the alcoves are going to be scaffold planks. The walls in the design are painted a duck-egg/teal blue and on the wall at the far end I imagined a nice red floral wallpaper, as a contrast with some heavy blue velvet curtains. A wooden crate on wheels holds toys, with a soft sheepskin rug to play on and a couple of knitted pouffes as additional seating, that can be moved around the room. A slim drawer unit fits in between the piano and the sofa for additional storage and to put a plant or table lamp on. The artwork above the sofa could include a changing exhibition of kids drawings, framed vintage fabrics, photographs or prints.


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The beauty of midcentury modern sideboards

Midcentury modern sideboards are timeless classic pieces that add sophistication to any interior. Most sideboards are produced in teak and teak veneer, but sometimes you come across some beauties in Rosewood too. The warmth and look of rosewood can look incredible against a minimalist decor.



Midcentury modern sideboards are popular additions to interiors from people who are design-conscious and are looking for something with style as well as a story and a bit of ‘soul’. Well known brands from the 1950s and 1960s are G-plan, McIntosh and the more upmarket manufacturer Troeds of Sweden.

Books on midcentury modern furniture

Modern Originals : At Home with MidCentury European Designers.50,50 €

This gorgeously photographed volume features the under-published private spaces of both the icons and unknown vanguards of European mid-century architecture and design. In keeping with the functional beauty of mid-century design, Handcrafted Modern: Europe presents the innovative homes by some of the most compelling and influential European mid-century designers, including Le Corbusier, Robin and Lucienne Day, and Gae Aulenti, to name a few. BUY

midcentury modern furniture

Mid-Century Modern : Interiors, Furniture, Design Details. Bradley Quinn 27,58 €

The 1950s house was a scientific triumph. It had been designed in a laboratory and tested on inhabitants of all ages before being built for the masses. Never had the home been so contemporary – antiques and period styles were banished for an entire decade as householders concentrated on achieving a complete ‘look’ for the home. Mid-Century Modern explores the interior decor of this time, concentrating on all aspects of a home’s decoration – walls, flooring, surfaces, lighting and, of course, furniture. BUY


Upcycling project: a vintage display cabinet goes oriental

I don’t have much time these days to work on furniture as much as I did on this upcycling project, but I think it paid off. I found the old display cabinet in a charity shop and it immediately caught my eye. It is always a guess what you come across in these places, but I just knew that this one had potential. And for 30 pounds, it was a steal.

seeing the potential

The vintage cabinet had gorgeous carved detailing around the edges, original, rippled antique glass panels and a design on the doors that reminded me of Japanese patterns. Japanese patterns, I thought? I think I have just the thing for that. Time to breathe some life into this treasure.

upcycling project graphite chalk paint


Repurposing vintage kimono silks

It was a smelly old cabinet.  The first thing I did was rip out the old vinyl lining paper from the back wall. It had obviously been stuck on in the sixties. I considered sticking some kind of patterned paper back on, but then I remembered a patchwork I had been sewing ages ago. I once ordered a batch of vintage kimono silk remnants and been trying to turn them into a blanket. As with many projects, it never got finished. How about I try and line this display cabinet with it? That would be perfect!

graphite chalk paint for the upcycling project

I chose a graphite chalk paint to cover up the dull dark brown varnish on the wood. I lightly brushed some dusky pink over the floral carving on the edging to make it stand out more. The inside I painted with the same pink. A wax and a bit of elbow grease gave the cabinet a nice sheen without becoming too glossy.

The cabinet is beautiful, unique and I am proud of the way it turned out.

It is so satisfying to bring an old discarded piece of furniture back to life and I think that whoever owned it in the past would be pleased to see it being loved again. I hope the future owner will treasure it forever.

upcycling project graphite chalk paint

upcycling project graphite chalk paint

upcycling project graphite chalk paint
upcycling project graphite chalk paint
upcycling project graphite chalk paint
upcycling project graphite chalk paint
upcycling project vintage kimono
upcycling project vintage kimono