A little off topic today, but I wanted to share our inexpensive greenhouse makeover. I wasn’t planning on posting this because the conservatory is actually a room in the house that I don’t like, but I get asked about it (cheap!) a lot since it’s where I take a lot of photos on my Instagram stories. Flooring, storage units, and cute plant displays. We’ve also just received planning permission to demolish it and build an extension, so we’d love to hear about this scary little conservatory and how we tried to turn it into a temporarily cozy and useful space on a budget. I wanted to leave a record!
Before we begin, let me explain why we wanted to convert our greenhouse so inexpensively. This greenhouse wasn’t permanent, so unlike the rest of the house, we didn’t spend a lot of time and money making it perfect. We always knew we would end up tearing it down to build an addition, so we left the greenhouse as is while we saved up for the real deal.
The house and greenhouse at the time of purchase
And now – but things like this won’t last long!
When Sam got the house key, he immediately tried to break the lock. I mean, look at this, it’s probably the ugliest eyesore you can imagine. It’s also one of those wasted spaces that isn’t big enough to put anything practical, but is too big and takes up a lot of space. And like many greenhouses, it’s too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. Literally, there are about 10 days out of the year when the temperature stays nice. But he knew this extra little space would be useful, so Sam agreed to keep it, if only for space for the builders to work while renovating the house.
I wish I had taken a photo earlier so I could see what it really looked like. There were ugly floors, piles of junk, mismatched furniture, and a large dining table that was never used!
For nine months, the greenhouse was used like a mini architect’s garden, during which time our house was stripped back to bare brick and restored. When we moved in, the greenhouse still looked like an architect’s garden, and I was a little reluctant to decorate it at first. We didn’t want to spend money on something that would (hopefully!) be gone within a year or two.
↑Kitchen under renovation
But after months of living in this ugly, cold room, I got fed up and bought some to spruce up my room. Four years later, I still have it, so I’m really glad I bought it!
We use this conservatory space as a large porch area with storage. Our front door opens onto the conservatory, so it’s the first thing people see, so it was a little embarrassing when it was so messy. The greenhouse is where coats, bags and shoes are thrown away when people come over, and where all the trash from households without a formal residence is stored. This is also where our dog, Louie, sleeps, and where the kids do all kinds of messy play like drawing, PlayDoh, coloring, and more. A mismatched room that has no purpose but is indispensable!
I quickly edited it and it looked like this…..
The flooring was the biggest change and biggest expense for this room. I once had a really old vinyl that was broken, so I replaced it with a brand new vinyl from CarpetRight (who knew such a thing existed!). It’s called ‘Platinum Almeria Blue Vinyl’ and this room costs around £170. I don’t normally choose such bold patterns for my home, but I thought I wouldn’t wear it for too long, so I took a bit of courage. I really love this room and can’t wait to get rid of this conservatory, but I’m sad to say goodbye to this floor. Sam installed and laid the floor, which CarpetRight said he would have done for £40, and Sam later said he should have paid an additional £40. It wasn’t difficult, but by the time he gathered it, bought the glue, and installed it overnight, he would have been better off paying someone else!
The second big change was the IKEA storage unit. Everyone has a KALLAX shelving unit, it may not be original, but it’s useful. He has two units, so he has a total of 16 boxes that he uses for everything from Tupperware to shoes and bags to dog toys and children’s toys, and one of his boxes is dedicated to “silly stuff.” It’s a box. Like, “Look at the crappy draw. There’s going to be her xxxxx.” The storage boxes were £2.75 each, so the whole unit cost £124. Now we have it. I can’t believe I lived without it!
The HEMNES coat stand was £50 and was a handy buy as the kids could reach the hooks at the bottom.
That lamp was an expensive purchase that Sam bought when we first moved. There was no particular place to put it, and he just bought it because he “liked it,” but he can’t remember where he bought it. He cost about 150 pounds no matter where he came from.
A tricky necessity in this room is a dog food storage container. With nowhere else to go, I bought a nice airtight container to keep the awful dog food smell from escaping. This was £25 from Pets at Home. It’s currently out of stock, but I’ll link it here in case it comes back in stock.
My favorite part of this room is the plant wagon. I was thinking of buying another one and using it as a drinks/cocktail trolley, but I’m currently pregnant and don’t really feel like packing alcohol into a trolley. This is the RASKOG trolley from IKEA, priced at £50, and it’s great for your plants as you can move it around outdoors when you need to water everything. I want a full-fledged garden conservatory and this is the closest I can get at the moment!
This mirror was bought second-hand from an antique shop called Bryn y Grog Hall, but it is not an antique by any means, and I paid £5 for it. Sam painted it blue using a free chalk sample of his paint that he received at an event on his blog.
This super cute personalized welly boot painting is from Not on the High Street.
And finally, one of the biggest changes to this room is that Sam added greenhouse roof insulation. I didn’t want him to do that because it would make the room pretty dark, but now it’s incredibly warm throughout the entire downstairs of the house. However, on really hot days or really cold nights you will still need an insulating curtain between the conservatory and the kitchen.
If you want to know more about our home renovation projects, check out these posts
What it was like when I bought my first home (I can’t believe I actually bought a house when I look at these photos!)
8 months after renovation work
travel themed kids room decor
Our attic converted bedroom
my blogger office