Nurse revamps ‘drab’ room with bargains from Aldi, B&M and more

A nurse has managed to create her own swanky dressing room on a budget.

Having a dressing room to prepare for nights out sounds like a privilege reserved for celebrities, but thrifty Kim Heslip managed make use of a drab spare room and give it a glamorous glow-up.

Kim, 42, from Leeds, is a nurse, dog walker and blogger. She told money-saving community : “I wanted to create a dressing room that felt like a changing room in a glamorous clothing boutique. I wanted it to be fun and positive and put me in a good mood when I get ready in the morning or before a night out.”

Kim got the idea for the transformation during lockdown.

Get the top stories straight to you inbox by signing up to one of our free newsletters

She said: “I decided to decorate this room on a whim when the lockdown was announced after Christmas. I wanted a project to keep me going through lockdown and somewhere to escape to for a bit of headspace in between homeschooling and work. There wasn’t much of a budget and I largely reused and upcycled items we already had.”

The space Kim decided to work on was functional but plain. With a wooden dresser, matching mirrors and a wicker basket for storage, the overall effect – combined with faded blue walls – wasn’t particularly inspiring to her.

“The dressing room already had fitted wardrobes and a dressing table which were good quality, just a little drab for my liking. I could see the potential to give them a revamp and bring some fun and style into the room so the design was really based around working with what we had and injecting my personality into the space.”

Kim upcycled items and bought second hand items to keep costs low
Kim upcycled items and bought second hand items to keep costs low
(Image: Press handout)

As with any DIY project, the first step was planning. Kim said: “We already had plenty of storage in the room, but there was also an awkward wasted space over the steps between the dressing table and the wardrobe. I decided to build some extra storage there to make use of it.

“I also wanted a seating area so I could have a friend join me for a chat and outfit advice whilst I’m getting ready. Plus I wanted somewhere to plan outfits, so I added the hooks on the wall to hang things up and see what works together.”

While buying supplies, Kim did her best to reduce costs where possible. “All of my paint came from my local decorating store. I got Johnstone’s Matt Emulsion for the walls and Bradite One Can for the wardrobes. Both shades were colour-matched to the shade Middleton Pink by Farrow and Ball, and the total cost was £80.

“The wallpaper on the wall is called Bond Girls in black and white, and I got it from Wallpaper King for £45. The wallpaper used to upcycle the dressing table drawers is called Trio in pink and came from for £20 in the sale.”

Supplies for the worktop were also sourced online, with Kim getting a second hand worktop for £20 off eBay and marble effect d-c fix for £12 on Amazon.

Room decor was next on the agenda. Kim added: “We have had the full length mirror for about 10 years – it originally came from John Lewis. There is a plant hanger and jewellery hanger from Sass and Belle, and the oval mirror above the dressing table was a charity shop find.

Kim Heslip's spare room before the transformation
Kim Heslip’s spare room before the transformation
(Image: Press handout)

“The prints on the wall came from a number of small businesses: Dyl and the Gang, Modern Print Studio, Blossom and Bloom, Punkhaus, Staying in Studio, Iamfy, Signhive, and Worldly and Wild. They cost between £5 and £25 each, and several were won in giveaways.”

Kim also got some bargain buys. “The wire “hello” on the wall came from Rosewire Designs for £5, and some of the wall shelves are from Home Bargains priced at £2.99 each.

“There is no natural light in the room so the plants are all faux and came from Home Bargains and B&M stores for £20 in total.

“The dressing table chair was originally from Ikea – we’ve owned it for about 15 years – and the black and white plant basket was an Aldi SpecialBuy for £14.

“The zebra rug came from iRugs and cost £79 in the sale, while the bench was given to me by a friend so I upcycled it.

“The zebra wall hooks were £60 and made for me by my friend Zoe from Morton Shaw Interiors. They used to be in my hallway and are made from an upcycled floorboard.”

Kim wanted to include positive and inspirational quotes in the space
Kim wanted to include positive and inspirational quotes in the space
(Image: Press handout)

Once all of the supplies were ready, it was time to begin. “I started off by painting the walls, wardrobes, dressing table and woodwork. Then the handles on the wardrobes and drawers were removed and re-sprayed gold.

“The original dressing table top was removed and used, along with some leftover MDF from a previous project, to create some new shelves over the steps between the dressing table and wardrobes.

“The new shelves and drawer fronts were decorated with the wallpaper from Made and the wall at the end of the room was decorated with the Bond Girls wallpaper.

“The second hand kitchen worktop was cut to size and fitted, extending the dressing table all the way to the side of the wardrobes and over the new shelves. It was then wrapped with the marble effect d-c fix.

“I added a bit of yellow paint to an old Ikea dining chair and recovered the seat pad with some black and white cow print upholstery fabric, which was left over from another project, to create the dressing table chair.

“An old cream bench that my friend had given to me was cleaned up and painted yellow. This was the first time I had tried painting upholstery, but with a bit of internet research and advice from my friend Zoe I found it was easy to do.

“I gave the bench a good clean, then I sprayed each section with water before adding the paint in thin layers. It was then left to thoroughly dry and given a good sanding between coats.

“I added wallpaper to the wall shelves from Home Bargains to give them a bit of wow factor before hanging them on the walls. I use them to display my vast collection of perfumes and vintage perfume bottles.

“The wall hooks were moved here from our hallway and hung on the wall.

“Then it was a case of faffing around with prints, faux plants, wall hangings and cushions to dress the space up. The prints are all fun, using positive typography to provide a feel-good atmosphere when I’m getting ready.

“It was a pretty straight-forward makeover, although I had originally planned to paint the wardrobes and skirting boards an off-black shade. There was a mix up with the paint and I ended up being given full black paint. It was someone else’s order who had a similar name to mine.

“The decorating centre realised their mistake and offered to replace my paint. At this point, having painted some of the wardrobes and skirting boards black and realising that it just didn’t work, I decided to opt for the same pink shade as the walls instead. As you can imagine, it took a fair few coats to get them pale pink after being painted black.

“I am fairly confident when it comes to DIY and there was nothing too taxing involved in this project. My rule of thumb with home renovations is if I can do it, then I do it. That way I save money to spend on the jobs I cannot do such as electrics, plastering and building work.”

Tom Church, co-founder of, said: “Kim’s transformation is stunning – she clearly has a knack for interior design. She has proven that anyone can create a celebrity-worthy dressing room with some savvy sales shopping and creativity.”

*The total cost for the renovations was £414

Liverpool Echo – What’s On