A Norwegian Bedroom Gets a Budget Make-over

Welcome to the second post in the before and after mini make-over series in association with Builders Bay (a builder's little black book for all things needed to renovate your home). In the first we looked at the fabulous transformation of a Miami penthouse (I'm still dreaming, are you?!).  But of course not all renovations need to be on this scale, sometimes you simply want to pep up a room without investing too much time and money, right? So today, I thought we'd go a little closer to home: and take a look at the beautiful bedroom of  blogger, photographer and visual storyteller Katerina Dima in Oslo, Norway. Katerina was looking to add warmth to a fresh white room and allow the history of the 1850 building to sing - all on a shoe string budget. I caught up with her to get the low down!

Who lives in your home?
Me (Katerina Dima), my husband and our cat Milo (who is largely undocumented on my social media because she sleeps and rests in the most ridiculous and unflattering positions. If I was running a comedy instagram account I think she would be a total hit.

Sounds to me like he could be a #CatsofInstagram star?! The  interiors you show in your blog are simply stunning, do you work in the world of interior design?
I am a trained architect with a masters in renovation and restoration, although now I work full time as a freelance photographer / visual storyteller for brands in association with my blog Only Deco Love and instagram

Ah, what great skills - do you find that you're constantly updating your home as a result?
We are renting but have carte blanche on any renovations. This was the reason I was allowed to completely change the look of the bedroom and skirting boards plus paint the windows.

I see you have great bones to work with?
If I am not mistaken, the building was built around 1850. It's a really funny story, one of the most convenient things is a small and remarkably beautiful storage room right by our stairs (our apartment is the only one on the floor), and I thought, I was really lucky to have it. It turns out that in the 19th century these buildings had no toilet (our floor was made up of many smaller apartments) and the 'storage under the stairs' was the common bathroom. There's no evidence now this was a bathroom but I have the most elegant storage ever - I really shoot in it but it is super cold!

What were you looking to achieve with your bedroom renovation?
When we moved in, the owner had painted the entire apartment white. It is a beautiful old apartment with ceiling rosettes, very high ceilings, big windows and original floors that were painted grey - and I guess white made perfect sense as a neutral palette. However, no matter how I tried to style the bedroom specifically, it always felt unfinished. Really tall ceilings can have that effect. I didn't want to overwhelm it with furniture and decorations in order to impart some life into it, I prefer my living space minimal and clean, yet welcoming and warm. The solutions was to create layers with paint and skirting boards.

How did you envisage the paint to make a difference to the space?
The layers of paint would provide interesting transitions that would fit the old apartment and define the space between the floors and ceiling, but without making it too heavy.

How did you choose the colour?
I knew I needed to offset the grey-blue floors with beige, this way the resulting tone would be warm (blue hues give cooler results and I'm not a fan of cold hues in the bedroom). I am a big fan of the Jotun Lady beige palette, especially the darker colours.

What other renovations did you need to carry out to create your vision?
I installed new skirting boards.  

Did you have any challenges with these?
I knew I would have to do everything on my own (with my husbands help), or else it would be too expensive, and our budget was in fact our biggest challenge. Buying the big pieces for the new skirting boards/panels I needed was not an option after all due to the enormous price, so instead we opted for DIY. In Oslo we don't have the equipment to create our own panels (another obstacle), and this is where the idea came to me to buy simple small and relatively cheap skirting boards, and create the panels I wanted by means of an illusion. I  added the small boards 30cm above the previous one, nailed them to the wall and painted the old skirting boards on the floor the new board and the wall in between the same color . This creates the illusion of a single but quite bigger panel which gives the room an added desired layer while it brings a palatial feel, exactly the result I wanted! And honestly you can barely tell even when looking at it up and close. We painted 5 times over and over again so the wall looked exactly like the wooden boards, and that was the only difficulty. We used a saw to cut the boards in the length we needed and a plastic guide that we found in the same hardware store in order to cut the corners of the boards in a 45 degree angle. 

FYI - you can source different size skirting boards on Builders Bay here

 It looks beautiful! So calm! What colours did you use? 
I painted the skirting boards and the windows the same colour (Space 10678 from Jotun Lady in Supreme Finish Matt for wood panels) to give a sense of community, but also because darker windows appeal a lot to me lately. I painted the walls in a light beige / grey colour (Sommersne 1928 Jotun lady, super mat). The colour is described as not quite grey, it was exactly what i was looking for. I debated whether to paint the whole space the same colour along with windows and skirting boards but decided against it. I wanted to add layers and introduce interesting transitions. This is also why I didn't paint the wall all the way up to the ceiling, leaving a ribbon on the top in the previous color that matched the ceiling (white).

I love the effect of not painting the walls all the way up to the ceiling, can you tell us more?
Because the ceilings are so high I wanted to create layers so there would be interesting transitions making the room feel warmer.  I decided to create a bottom layer with the panels/skirting boards, a middle layer with the wall painted in a different colour, and finally an upper layer that stayed the same colour as the ceiling. This way there would be a natural transition from the white ceiling to the wall as there is no decorative ribbon, making the design feel deliberate rather than incidental.

 How long did the renovation take?
The whole room took us two days from start to finish after we had decided on the plan ( the boards took us about two hours to cut and nail to the wall, then filled any holes with a special white glue that gives a smooth finish ), and this was mostly waiting for the paint to dry. The costs were very minimal, and I feel if we did it, anyone can!

How would you describe the final look?
The style is very minimal and combines early century with contemporary Scandinavian accents. The building was built in the Neo classic era with modernist yet romanticism architectural influences, I wanted to keep the feel of it but also bring it into this century. I think the colours helped me achieve that, but also the details I chose to use in the form of art and furnishings.

And finally, do you have any tips for anyone looking to do the same?
If you want to lightly renovate a room on a budget, painting and creating “faux” panels is a great way (if it matches your spaces original architecture), and it can completely transform a room beyond your imagination. Come up with a plan and create a moodboard to help you out, but I would say my key learning  to be able to adapt your plan on the go while trying not to stray too far away from it. Also if I learned anything from this is that these things are much easier than they look , you will be surprised by how much you can achieve on your own and in a short time! So go for it :)

What a beautiful space. I love how the clean, calm look allows the period features of the building to stand out, how about you?

In case you're curious about any of Katerina's carefully curated pieces - here's a quick guide:

Get The Look

1. April 02 Poster
2. Skagerak - Georg Desk
3. Skagerak - Edge Pot
4. Mobil 100 pendant - Monika Mulder 2016
5. Spade Stool Black
6. Snowball Floor Lamp
7. Skagerak - Reflect Wall Hooks
8. FRAMA Adam Stools

Thank you so much for sharing your renovation with us Katerina!

You can follow all of Katerina's latest projects over on her beautiful blog Only Deco Love and instagram

Have a lovely day!

CREDITS: Photography and Styling: Katerina Dima / Only Deco Love

 * All words are my own, and I only ever work with brands and services I feel are of interest to my readers. Thank you for supporting the businesses that make My Scandinavian Home possible.


  1. What a great job with such limitations! Although I prefer the bed from before, looks much more inviting to me.

  2. I can appreciate the hard work that went into this and love the clever skirting board illusion. However, the overall effect, although pristine, reads 'cold' to me rather than calm and serene. I prefer the 'before' bed too – the way it's made now (and the not quite to the ceiling painted walls) give the room a 'sanatorium' vibe. Maybe it's just me. ;-)

  3. I preferred the before - I don't think it looks that great with the bed shoved under the window. I would never position my bed that way.

  4. It's a good idea to add new skirting boards in order to create more texture. Personally though, I would go for a bolder and darker hue (more inky) and make the windows stand out like framed paintings since the bed's position changed. The central focus automatically switched towards the wall with the windows with the bed repositioning, so why not go an extra mile and make them stand out! ;)

  5. The "after" room is very tidy and calm but I agree with earlier posts - it is antiseptic. In my mind, those long cold nights of winter require some warmth and coziness! Either with color or softer fabrics.

    Also, I would feel very uncomfortable walking around in my nightclothes, or changing clothes, with no curtains and no privacy. Also, with cold weather, those windows are going to be generating cold air into the room as well. I would want heavy drapes to close for winter nights and, at least, something like lace or sheers for summer time - even to soften the rectangles. I would not want to waste money on heating fuel.

  6. Simple and full of light, decoration. So beautiful, words can not express its beauty of praise.


Post a Comment

Privacy Notice: We do not share personal information with third-parties nor do we store information we collect about your visit to this blog for use other than to analyze content performance through the use of cookies, which you can turn off at anytime by modifying your Internet browser's settings. We are not responsible for the republishing of the content found on this blog on other Web sites or media without our permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

Subscribe To My Scandinavian Home

Subscribe to My Scandinavian Home

skovby ad


site by ANAAR

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.