Before and After: Our Swedish Summer Cottage Bedroom Make-over

This blog post is not sponsored. However, it does include some press items that I've received in the past and present (marked with *)! Thank you for supporting the brands that make My Scandinavian Home possible. 

Two summers ago we built a tiny cabin in the garden of Per's family's summer cottage on the Bjärehalvön coast, West Sweden. We love heading up there as often as we can, but this winter we had the perfect excuse: it was time to renovate the master bedroom in the main house! There was nothing wrong with the room per se, it just hasn't been touched for several decades and needed a major freshening up. But you know me, I can't really do things by halves, and this was definitely a case of 'in for a penny, in for a pound!'

I find winter is the perfect time for decorating - do you agree? Plus, Per and I love a project. So, back in October we cracked on in the hope that the room would be ready in time for spring. And it is! I hope you like reading about the transformation today!

The walls were covered in wood chip and since I had my eye on a wallpaper I loved, the existing layers needed to be removed - no easy feat! It was a gruelling, messy job getting rid of it all - but satisfying too! Underneath, we discovered that the century-old walls were also very uneven which meant we needed to plaster over them and then cover with a base wallpaper. 

The original wood floor is lovely but the varnish had slowly yellowed over the years, so we rented a sander to file the wood down, before adding several layers of white soap wash. Neither of us had done this before and the sander was a mighty machine! We had our heart in our mouths as we worked around the room - concerned that we might accidentally burrow down and wreck a plank! 

It all worked well in the end though and this is how it looks now: 

We'd also noticed that the ceiling was coming apart at the seams, and there was no outlet for an overhead ceiling light. 

Per added panels to cover the seams - which match the panels on the ceiling in the main room of the cottage. And we also gave the ceiling, skirting boards, architraves and door a fresh lick of white paint. 

We're willing to do most jobs ourselves (sometimes with the help of YouTube) but since we value our lives (and respect Swedish law!), we called in an electrician in to re-wire the room and add an outlet in the ceiling as well as power sockets to the wall! The lamp is called REGNSKUR from IKEA. 

We were keen to give the room a traditional cottage feel with a modern touch and a hint of green to match the rest of the cottage, so we looked at samples from Swedish Sandberg wallpaper, eventually settling on Karolina green*. 

We were a bit apprehensive about putting the wallpaper up but it was surprisingly quick and easy once we got going. You definitely need to be two pair of hands for the job - and pay attention to aligning the pattern down to the millimetre with each new section so nothing goes awry! Probably good to double check if it's the right way up to (my wonderful dad once learnt this the hard way!). 

And then the fun part began: decorating the room! 

We were keen to use as much as possible from what was already there. 

The bed is the same  but I added a simple headboard (115 cm high x 180 cm wide) and then added a white linen cover. The bed linen is from HM Home and the blanket and throw are old ones from home. The rug was already there. 

The windows are quite wide (measuring 197 cm) so I picked out the Mozart extendable curtain rod from Åhlens. I had some old-ish white linen curtains hanging around in the loft which turned out to be perfect for the room. You can find similar white linen curtains here

I don't go anywhere around the cottage without my well-worn Shephard slippers

The chest-of-drawers was already in place and the chair has always been at the cottage! 

Nothing says spring to me like a bouquet of Mimosa! it brings a little sunshine to the greyest of days, don't you think?

We re-hung the vintage mirror on the wall (it had been resting on the chest-of-drawers for years so it was nice to finally put it back up!). 

We also wall mounted two sets of simple wooden hooks from Swedish store Granit (I find hooks so useful in a summer cottage - they're perfect for hanging the few outfits you have with you, plus other essentials like a dressing gown for 'morgondopps' (morning dips) and a sun hat! 

The hooks also provide a great place for other items - including one of my favourite bouquet lamp* by Le Klint and a robe from Humdakin* (bringing a touch of Danish design to Sweden!). 

In this picture you can also catch a glimpse of the new dimmer switch* and power socket* (both from Corston). The electrician also added power sockets either side of the bed. 

The pine wall shelves had yellowed with age so I repainted them in Jotun Tidlös to match the wallpaper. I might write a separate post about this. It's amazing what you can do to give old pieces a new lease of life. Would you find that of interest?

The bedside table is the original one that was already in place. 

I hope you like the results as much as we do! 

Naturally, if you look very closely our DIY renovation it isn't perfect, but that comes with the territory of carrying out a project yourself, and I wouldn't have it any other way! 

If you have any questions, please do give me a shout in the comment section below and I'd be happy to help. 

Would you like to see a few other of my room makeover from the past? Check out: 

All a labour of love! 

Do you dabble in DIY too? 


PS I am starting a 30 days of Njuta challenge on instagram stories today, come and join me! #30daysofnjuta


  1. Loved this! Thank you!

  2. I love this refresh, the new look is so serene! I moved into a new (old) place just over a year ago and we haven't had a chance to do anything to the main bedroom, which hasn't been touched for 30 years and sorely needs this kind of attention. Hoping to DIY a bit this spring and seeing this before and after is so helpful!

    1. Go for it! We've really enjoyed the process (there's something about working with your hands) and feel an even greater connection with the cottage now. You won't regret it! :)

  3. Agreed! When doing the work yourself you become that much more tied to a place; physically and emotionally. The investment of time is always worth it. "I created this!" is one of the best feelings.
    The simple and spare (but beautiful) details you chose are so appropriate for a summer home. Filling it with items from around your environment, conjuring those wonderful memories from beach combing, picking wildflowers, hiking the forest, perusing a flea market, that special restaurant or event. Then every time you pass by, pick up to study, just stare at, or talk about that time you (fill in the blank). Priceless!
    Laura K, USA

    1. You are so right Laura, such a thoughtful comment! Thank you for sharing your observations and thoughts, I agree with everything you say!

  4. Such a lovely and fresh update, so thoughtfully and lovingly done. The wallpaper is beautiful!

  5. Beautifully done!! I love the wallpaper!

  6. Wow! You are truly a magician! The room looks so clean and refreshed.
    I love the linen curtains, I would maybe add a touch of green curtains to enhance the wallpaper, what do you think?
    The chest of drawers is really highlighted in this setting. Bravo!

    1. Fun you should say that as I was toying with the idea of green curtains and very nearly went for that as Ithink it could look really pretty - and as you say, bring out the green tone from the wallpaper. After spending time in the room during the renovation I felt it could be quite dark in there and I was concerned that green curtains might make the room feel even darker, especially if they obscured the window in anyway. But you never know, I might just make the change later on. I'll live with it for a while and then decide. Thank you for your input, I'm happy you like the update.

  7. Perfect! Beautiful!

  8. It looks so peaceful! Absolutely love it!

  9. I bet you feel like you're in a new home! While I don't have the energy to put up wallpaper, myself, I like living vicariously through others. Your choice is perfect. And yes, I would enjoy hearing about painting the darling wall shelf.

  10. Simple and soothing with notes that interest and please the senses -- all the things a bedroom can aspire to be. Wow do I admire your (and Per's) skills and industry!

  11. Beautiful job! I do a lot of DIY and have now fully renovated two bathrooms having never thought before that I would be capable. I would love a post about doing up old furniture and also to know what you applied to the floor boards after sanding them. Thanks! Amanda

    1. wow - bathrooms? That's a whole other level of DIY. I'm super impressed! I know what you mean though, with a lot of patience and help from other sources like the internet and DIY stores, it's amazing what you can get done yourself- and it's even more satisfying to use the room knowing you've made the change yourself!

  12. Doing renovations (or builds) yourself creates a connection with the subject at hands which is priceless and the imperfections just makes it perfect. Job well done!

  13. I've been contemplating redoing our master bedroom & this is great help! Much love from Minnesota!

  14. You are the best

    1. Thank you, I don't know about that, but we love to dabble at least - sometimes we get it right, but not always! :)

  15. What a difference! Love it. Post like this are the best.

    1. Thank you, happy you find these types of posts inspiring :)

  16. The wallpaper seems like the absolutely perfect choice for the room - just lovely! Would love a post on how you refinished the wall shelving. The color is a gorgeous match with your wallpaper. I’m considering painting dining chairs in a shade of blue and I am all over the place on what approach to use.

  17. I like the "after" better. :-) Very lovely.

  18. Hola! me encantaria una entrada sobre como dar nueva vida a muebles antiguos. Besos desde España!


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