Arthur strives to balance aesthetics, functionality, and quality with costs when planning DIY projects in the home and garden.
The main objectives of this project are to:
- Modify the electrics for more convenient use of electric sockets, and to decommission redundant wall lights.
- Redecorate and paint the walls and ceiling.
- Replace the old painted skirting board with new wood varnish stained skirting.
- Modify above wardrobe storage for easier maintenance and use.
- Upgrade fixtures and fittings including curtain rail, mirrors and hairbrush rack.
- Upgrade the carpet.
Modifying the Electrics
Before I started on this project there were only two wall sockets in the bedroom, a single socket just above the skirting by the door and next to the radiator, and a double socket by just above the skirting board by the bed; neither of which in a convenient place.
Not only did I want to relocate the existing sockets, but I also wanted to add a third electrical socket, to be located on the other side of the bed; and also for the new sockets by the bed I wanted sockets that also incorporate USB charging points into them.
In the UK, although you can do your own electrics, any work you do must be approved and signed off by a fully qualified electrician before it’s connected to the mains.
The other task I planned to do was to remove a couple of bedside wall lights that we never use.
The reasons for relocating the single socket by the bedroom door were that:
- It required bending down to plug appliance in.
- It was behind the bedroom chair, making access difficult, and
- When using it for the iron the lead would trail across the floor in front of the bedroom door, causing a trip hazard.
In its new location the socket will be higher up the wall, making access easier, and on the other side of the door so that it’s no longer a trip hazard when the iron is plugged in.
The reasons for relocating the double socket by the bed, and adding a second one on the other side of the bed were:
- The existing socket was too low for easy access, and
- To use appliance on the other side of the bed required having an extension cable running under the bed from the first socket.
The reason for removing the wall lights is that we never used them so they were superfluous.
Relocating Single Socket
Step by step guide:-
- Cut a hole to size in the plasterboard where the new socket is to be located. The first exploratory hole revealed a wooden beam in the way; so I cut a second hole a little lower and slightly more to the left.
- Lift the floorboards to access the cables; it also required cutting access in one of the floorboards which is later patched.
- Prepare access point for feeding the cables through the wall behind the plasterboard.
- Use electrical tape to tape the two electrical cables feeds together, so that they can be feed together behind the wall, ready for wiring the new electrical socket into the ‘ring main’. Ring Main being the electrical system used in the UK.
- Feed the cables behind the wall; though the hole cut out for the new socket, until they appear at the access point at the bottom, and then pull them through until you have sufficient cable ready for connecting to the ring main (see images below).
- Feed the cables though the back box and wire to the socket in accordance with the electrical regulations.
- Then screw the new socket to the wall, ready for when it’s wired into the ring mains.
Replacing Bed Side Socket and Adding Additional Socket
Relocating and replacing the bedside socket, and adding an additional socket on the other side of the bed was a little trickier than the single socket because by the bed the walls are brick and not plasterboard.
Step by step guide:
- Remove the old skirting board, for easier access to the floorboards when wiring up to the ring mains. If I wasn’t intending to replace the skirting then I would have worked around it; but seeing that I was replacing it, it just made the job that little easier.
- Drill and chisel out a hole in the brickwork large enough, and deep enough, to fit the back box for the new sockets; and create a channel below for the cabling.
- Cement the metal back boxes in place, remembering to add the required rubber grommets to protect the cables from risk of damage from the holes in the metal case.
- For the new socket the floorboards butted against the wall, therefore to be able to get access for the cabling I used my sonic saw to cut the end off of part of the floorboard directly below where the new socket was going to go.
- The following day (once the cement had set) I made good around the new sockets with plaster.
- Once the plaster had set, I turned off the power, lifted the appropriate floorboards and removed the old bedside socket; and then
- Feed the cables through for each new socket, ready for connecting to the ring mains.
- The cabling fed through to the new sockets.
- Both sockets are then wired in place and screwed to their back boxes on the wall.
- Conduit is then fitted over the cable leading from the sockets, and
- Then the conduit is plastered over to make good.
Old Meets New
Prior to 2004 the colour code for electrical wiring in the UK was red (live) and black (neutral); then the new colour code became brown (live) and blue (neutral). So as shown in the image below, the new sockets are wired into the ring mains using a combination of new cable (where the two new sockets are connected to each other) and old cable where they are in turn linked to the ring mains.
Also, under current regulations, where metal back boxes are used, all sockets and light switches have to be earthed to their metal back box.
Decorating & Painting
Normally I’d clear the room as far as possible, work around any heavy or essential furniture, moving it around the wood as required, such as oak cupboards or the sofa, and do each phase of decorating and painting in order e.g. strip the walls, paint the ceiling, hang the lining paper, hang the wallpaper and paint the walls in that order.
However, the bed was too big and bulky to easily dismantle and store elsewhere, and to keep moving it around the room wasn’t easy, and if I had dismantled it we would have been without a bed for the duration of the project.
Therefore, I decided to keep the bed intact, and to paint and decorate each wall separately to minimise the frequency of having to move the bed around the bedroom. It added a couple of weeks to the project, but the wait was well worth it.
So the ceiling and room was painted and decorated in four phases, recess wall, window wall, radiator wall and bathroom wall as follows:-
Replacing Skirting & Making Good Floorboard
With the room decorated and painting the next phase was to repair one of the floorboards that had to be cut to give access to the cables when relocating the single wall socket, and to fit the new skirting board in place.
To patch up the piece of floorboard that I had to cut out to give access while wiring the new single socket I cut to size and screwed together two pieces of 18mm (¾ inch) plywood to create a lip so that one side would sit on a beam and the other side could be screwed into place as shown in the photos below. In the third photo, the screw in the centre was just temporary, and used as a handle to pull and hold the patch piece in place while it was being secured with screws.
At the start of the project I bought enough skirting board to replace all the skirting in the bedroom; and in advance applied three coats of light oak coloured flooring varnish, lightly sanding before applying the last coat to give a smooth finish.
After removing the old skirting, any damage to the wall was patched over with plaster.
Then when it was time to fit the new skirting I cut each piece to size and glued into place with no-nails adhesive.
The new skirting was 10mm (½ inch) taller than the old skirting, so to give a proper fit by the door I used my sonic saw to trim of 10mm of beading around the door frame.
How To Use a SoniCrafter
Modify Above Wardrobe Storage
The wardrobe was originally a free standing wardrobe that a friend gave us because he no longer required it; and I used it to create a built-in wardrobe in front of the old chimney breast in our bedroom (which is the subject of a previous article I done). In reconstructing the wardrobe in front of the chimney breast it left a large recess on the left which was too deep for storage and too far back to reach for redecorating. Therefore, for easier maintenance, during this renovation I decided to block off the back above the wardrobe with a wooden panel that would be maintenance free.
I used 10mm (½ inch) plywood, and glued it to the back wall with no-nails adhesive; and then trimmed the top and side with wooden architrave and beading.
Fixtures and Fittings
The fixtures and fittings which I removed before renovating could now all be refitted; these were mirrors, curtain rail, shelving unit and hairbrush rack.
I didn’t alter the shelving unit in anyway, and most of the mirrors went back to where they originally were. However, I did upgrade the curtain rail, and replaced the two bedside mirrors on either side of the bed with long thin made to measure mirrors to fit on either side of the recess. I also remade the hairbrush rack, which will be covered in more detail in a separate article.
Finally with all else done, the Pièce de résistance was treating ourselves to having an Axminster carpet fitted. Axminster and Wilton being the most luxurious and most expensive high quality carpets you can buy in the UK.
Axminster Carpets Introduction
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Arthur Russ