Abandoned forest

Abandoned Forest

One of my favourite marketing images is when the beautiful girl wakes up on her bed in the middle of fairytale forest. I don’t care if you are selling fabric softener, cheap perfume or odor eaters – when this image is used I think the product is cool and I want it. Several bottles of fabric softener later I thought this might be a good theme for our bedroom.

I wanted to have that feeling when you are dosing between dreams, in the twilight of dawn or dusk, and in the half light paintings and surroundings can seem real. I wanted to add visual cues that could be seen from my pillow that would prompt my subconscious to bring me to an empty quiet forest. I wanted this room to be calm and minimalist. Back in reality, what this really meant was that I wanted trees, flying birds and great blank spaces. The colour inspiration came from a trio of paintings of a tree which I bought in Next years ago on sale, with nowhere to hang them, I bought them just because I liked them – this is the way to pick artwork for your home.

I started with the ocean of calm and painted all the walls white. Then on the only wall without a window or door I painted trees in a contrasting pallet of green, yellow and grey. I’m not a wonderful artist so I kept things simple. The trees I painted are bare and recently cut-back. Shorn and bare; minimalist and simple; no unnecessary flourishes.

Forest Trees

Then over the wardrobe in a contrasting lime green I painted a flock of geese in flight.

Flock of geese

On the door, I repeated the design of the trees and named the room.

Painted Door

To paint I obviously removed all furniture and furnishings from the room. I added back only what was necessary. No curtains, no bedside lockers, no ornamentation. This room was an experiment in minimalism. I allowed only what was needed to make it a bedroom. I put in the bed. I tacked a green valance to the underneath to hide any clutter or storage below. This valance was lime green to tie in with the colour scheme.

I tied fairy lights to the headboard to act instead of the reading lamps.

Reading Light fairy lights

I hung two antlers heads (which I got from Next, now out of stock I am afraid) either side of the headboard and hung two ‘shelves’ above them (which I got in Heatons, again now out of stock). These shelves measure 3cm x 10cm and are literally only big enough to hold glasses or a phone and a cup of tea.


The room has a built in wardrobe, and I converted the ensuite to a walk in wardrobe last year, so there was plenty of storage for both of our things. That was it. Minimalist. No clutter.

For a while that was all that was in the room. But we hit a snag. I had nowhere to put my makeup or brushes when I was getting ready. I started throwing it on the bed, but it wasn’t ideal. I crumbled and got a writing desk to act as a makeup table (from Oxfam, repainted). I felt because everything was contained within it, it conformed to my minimalist ideals.

dresserI also added a black leather chair (Ikea) for the clothes discarded before being re-hung or going to laundry.

Ikea tirup-swivel-armchair-black

That just left me with my trio of paintings of the tree. Somehow, even thought they were the inspiration, their store bought, manufactured format no longer suited the room. So I decided to cut them up and nail them over another store bought painting (Dunnes) I no longer liked, but liked the contrasting colour and movement in the Dunnes picture when compared to the Next trio.

trio 1

I unpicked the canvases of the trio from their frame. The way they were designed was to have the painting be duplicated so that the sides of the canvas were not blank (this style was very popular in Homewares in 2006ish). This meant the canvases over lapped and added to the visual confusion of this image. I cut all the canvases into inch wide stripes – getting a rough edge by tearing it with a knife.

trio 2

I discarded any duplicates that upset the image of the tree too much. I then nailed and pinned the torn canvases to the Dunnes picture. It gave me one painting, original and unique, but much better than I could paint myself.

trio 3


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