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The Kiwi Living Lounge Goes Boho

We've moved into a new home but boy does it need some work! This week Melissa and Dion will show you how to turn an empty, uninspired, boxed-in room into a zone of Bohemiam style and relaxation.  

For Melissa, who is a lover is clean lines and modern day chic, this project is quite the challenge. Good thing she was up to the task along with our builder extraordinaire Dion. 

The Idea:

Melissa and Dion's projects included painting a black feature wall, installing window furnishings and carpet, painting doors and installing new hardware. Fitting light shades, creating a DIY coffee table from a cable reel and creative art for the wall using canvas and fabric. 

Melissa's Tips:

  • A black feature wall is unexpected but will create mood and pop the colours in the artwork. 
  • The curtains are hung high so the room will appear bigger.
  • When layering and/or putting patterns against patterns, you have to ensure they have some kind of relationship, either in colour or print. There is no need to layer over layers as it can feel messy - keep things uncomplicated for the sake of simplicity and style.
  • When mixing things together that you normally wouldn't, go for pieces that are bigger and stronger in design and colour rather than lots of chaotic little pieces. 
  • The types of accessories that lend themselves to Boho chic are interesting vessels, throws, rugs, candles, lanterns, colourful art and use of plants - pieces that look sponaneously yet beautifully thrown together. 
  • Put thought into plant choices to tell a 'Bohemian story' for example, Philodendron and a hot pink cyclamen for its colour. 

Dion's Project: Making a coffee table using a cable reel

A cable reel is perfect to use as a coffee table because:

  • They are wasily available at electical merchants and are generally turfed out.
  • They come in many different sizes so you can pick the right one to suit your needs.
  • They are solidly constructed and will stand the test of time.
  • You can apply paint or stain it with minimum prep work.
  • They can be used outside with a good waterproof product applied.

Material and Tools Required:

  • 1x Timber Cable Reel, perfect size for an average coffee table is 750mm diameter x 400mm high
  • Electric jib saw with a sharp woodcutting blade
  • Electric sander will save time but hand sawing would do the job
  • 100 grit sandpaper
  • Battery drill
  • 1x jar 30mm zinc square drive screws
  • Builders square
  • Pencil

How to jazz up your cable reel for the perfect coffee table:

  1. Cut bottom base smaller than top diameter just so it doesn't protude out as far.
  2. Cut about 100mm off using an electric jig saw, mark 100mm using pencil and a builders square.
  3. Use an electrical sander to sand the cut edge and also sand all sharp edges.
  4. Sometimes depending on the condition of the cable reel the timber will delaminate specially if left exposed to weather. Good trick is to drive a few screws in from the underside so they are not seen.
  5. Dion and Melissa paint (white, Mitzi to pick up, yes it has been ordered).

DIY Canvas Art:

Materials Required:

  • 2x 1.5m by 1m Canvas
  • Staple Gun 
  • Glue
  • Iron


  1. Cut fabric to size to fit the canvas, ensuring you leave an extra inch or so to overlap the back of the canvas.
  2. Before you begin gluing iron your fabric swatches. If you try and skip this step you'll end up with creased fabric on the canvas.
  3. Apply one thin line of glue to one edge of the canvas and affix fabric. Hold for 30 seconds.
  4. Apply another line of glue to the opposite side of the frame, and stretch the fabric across the canvas. Affix the fabric and hold for 30 seconds. Ensure the fabric is smooth and crease free.
  5. Fold the fabric at the end of the canvas like you are wrapping a gift. Glue into place. Repeat at the other end of the canvas. Allow your fabric to air dry. 

Products Used:

  • Carpet: Guthrie Bowron Collection -- Atlantic 5kg. Colour: Mackerel
  • Underlay: SpringTred Ultimate Plus from Dunlop Flooring. Thickness: 11mm. Density: 120kg-m³
  • Curtains: Design: Jaipur from Warwick. Colour: Black
  • Sheer curtains: Design: Cavalier from Pegasus. Colour: White
  • Curtain track: Type: Double square profile track from Windoware. Colour: Black
  • Paint used for feature wall: Dulux Wash&Wear, Low Sheen. Colour: Blackwood Bay from the Dulux Colours of New Zealand range
  • Paint used on three walls and cable reel: Dulux Wash&Wear +Plus Super Hide, Low Sheen. Colour: Okarito from the Dulux Colours of New Zealand range
  • Paint used on windows, door and trim: Dulux Aquanamel, Semi Gloss. Colour: Okarito from the Dulux Colours of New Zealand range
  • Fabric used on canvas: Design: Verve from Pegasus. Colour: Berry

Click here for more information on the Guthrie Bowron products used for this room makeover. 

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