I have a confession to make, I’ve never been a fan of built in wardrobes in the bedroom and when we moved into our new house, my first thoughts were to rip them out!
One of the main reasons we loved our new house was because the size of our new bedroom was nearly double the size of our last bedroom.
The large master bedroom has an en-suite, 3 built in wardrobes and a balcony with amazing sea views.
This meant we could finally invest in a super king bed.
We desperately needed one as my 6-year-old Son likes to sneak into our bed in the middle of the night and a super king bed would mean we wouldn’t lose any sleep due to an elbow or foot (seriously children, why must you wriggle so much at night ) in our faces.
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But we quickly realized what a fantastic use of space the built in wardrobes are!
I could fit all my clothes in and do away with a stand-alone wardrobe. Just my clothes though, Mr B’s clothes are confined to his own separate little wardrobe in his office!
Deciding that the built in wardrobes were here to stay, I started researching how to update them.
They were custom made wardrobes built back in the 1980s and were not an original design to the house.
The doors were painted in magnolia and they were hanging off and vintage-style wallpaper still adorned the back of the wardrobes.
They are quite a prominent part of the bedroom so I knew I needed to integrate them with the rest of the décor in the room.
I wrote about our bedroom makeover plans here.
The built in wardrobes themselves were fine. They are sturdy, are a brilliant space for storage and don’t take up too much room, so I decided all we needed to do was change or upcycle the doors.
There’s been a few people recently updating their wardrobes so I started taking a little inspiration from them.
As I was painting the rest of the room one colour, I wanted to add a bit of pattern and eclectic design to the fitted wardrobe doors.
This is when I came up with the idea of adding wallpaper to make it look like they were windows to the outside!
How we created our new built in wardrobes!
To begin with, we had the old fitted wardrobe doors from the built in wardrobes removed and we asked a carpenter friend to make new doors for us with a panelled frame.
Once these were fitted, I set about finding the perfect colour and wallpaper for the doors.
I knew I wanted to paint the rest of the room a dusky pink shade and had settled on Faded Rose by Zoffany.
I decided to match the doors from the built in wardrobes with the rest of the room.
I painted the fitted wardrobe door frames in this Faded Rose and found a tropical wallpaper print to put in between the panelled frames.
This would give the impression that we were looking out to a palm tree landscape.
I love wallpaper, but I always find it so hard to choose a design because I want them all.
Ilovewallpaper.co.uk got in touch with me asking if I would like any wallpaper for my new house and when I looked at their amazing designs, I settled on Jungle Escape Mural Green quite quickly.
It was the perfect tropical print that had dark green tones that would match our Jade headboard.
It also had underlying pink tones which would help it integrate with the rest of the room.
Tools for the job
- Wallpaper paste (I prefer to paste the wall)
- Paint rollers x 2
- Wallpaper smoother tool
- Wallpaper cutting knife
- Sharp scissors
Upcycling these built in wardrobes was quite an easy procedure, but as with everything when it comes to DIY, prep is key!
As the doors are made out of MDF, it is extremely important to use a primer first. MDF is incredibly porous so any paint you put directly onto it would be soaked up.
Avoid using a latex primer as this will cause the MDF to expand. Try and find a solvent-based primer and be prepared to put on a few coats.
I used Valspar Wood Primer & Undercoat
Paint the frames
As wallpaper will be going in the panels, you only need to paint the frames and around them.
I used Zoffany Faded Rose and because the doors were primed, the paint went on evenly and only needed two coats.
I used a roller to do the frames and a small paintbrush to do the joins.
Wallpapering the panels
Once you are happy there is good and even coverage of paint on the frames, you need to paste the wallpaper to the doors.
If you have put enough primer on the doors, the paste should work easily. If you find the paste just sinks into the MDF, you need to apply more primer.
It is easy to apply the paste with a small roller.
The Jungle Escape Mural Green comes in sections so it is easy to cut the strip up and then line them up to the door.
I wanted this to imitate a window, so I made sure the wallpaper continued as if it was under the door frame.
I held the wallpaper up to the panel and positioned it until I was happy, then using my wallpaper smoother tool, I pressed the wallpaper into the edge and corners of the frame so it gave me a rough edge of where I needed to cut.
I then cut about an inch around the indentation on the wallpaper and pasted the door.
With the cut bit of paper, I pressed it back into position and used my smoothing tool to make sure there are no bubbles or creases, like when I’m wallpapering a wall.
If it didn’t sit straight or there were creases, it’s really easy to peel it off and try again.
Once I was happy with its position, I used my smoothing tool again to push the wallpaper into the frame and used my wallpaper-cutting knife to trim off the edges.
And that’s it really!
I had to repeat this process for all the panels and it took me about 2 hours in total. As soon as the first panel was in, I knew I was going to love it and I wasn’t wrong.
It has absolutely transformed these built in wardrobes!
It really does give you the impression that you are looking out into a tropical paradise.
The final piece was to choose some handles for the fitted wardrobe doors.
I went with gold handles from Amazon. The gold goes really nicely with the pink and green and is the perfect choice to finish off these wardrobes.
There’s still a lot to do in this room.
I have to panel the wall behind the bed, paint the rest of the room, and new window and patio door fittings, the floor needs to be sanded down and varnished….
I could go on and on!
But these bespoke fitted wardrobes are pretty much what started the whole room scheme and I am so pleased with them.
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I love it, what a great way to personalise and update a space PLUS it’s fun ! x
Thank you Louise, they’ve turned out better than I hoped!
Absolutely stunning, Mel! I need some built in wardrobes now to try this out on
The Velvet Home | UK Interior Blog
Haha, thanks Tasmine! And to think I nearly ripped them out! x
I have old sliderobes with mirrored bits in the middle they are curved inside oh god they are awful but do you think something like this could work on them?
Hi Sonya, yes absolutely! Pattern and paint can work on any piece of furniture, the bolder the print the better I say!
This looks stunning, thanks for the inspiration. Will this work on Ikea wardrobes ?
Yes! Ikea wardrobes are perfect for upcycling 🙂