Photography: Eleanor Skan
I’ve teased enough on Instagram, but I’ve finally pulled my finger out in order to produce the definitive before and after post of our living room.
Are you sitting comfortably? Because this is a long one!
I’ll try to keep the waffle to a minimum, but first, some background, because context is always important! We bought our house towards the end of last year and moved in on December 21st. Totally sensible. The house may look it but it isn’t very old – it was built eight years ago.
Now, I have never lived in a modern house before and will admit that I went to look at it under duress. But moving from London, what we couldn’t ignore was the light, the space and the fact it was a completely blank (read: bland) canvas. (Other positives: it sits within a beautiful country setting, has a plethora of great primary schools and is less than ten minutes to walk to the main train station, which gets into London in an hour). In short, it ticked all our boxes.
When I started thinking about how to decorate, I had a really clear vision. It was big enough to really go for it – the room sizes and number of windows meant I could go mad with colour (something I couldn’t have done in our London home). I wanted the house to be vibrant, happy and provide the kids with an inspiring, fun and comfortable home.
Before you all ask, yes I do have the world’s most patient husband! He married me knowing that my idea of a great night in is ‘Location Location Location’ and the OK to buy a new lamp. Maybe a curry too if we’re REALLY going crazy.
But seriously, he knows how much I love interior design, so while I run everything past him (particularly the finances!) he knows that I can ‘see’ it, when he can’t really envisage how it will look.
The first room we completed was this – the living room.
So this is what it used to look like – and how the same views look now I’ve put my stamp on it.
Furniture and pieces: Sofa, the large ‘Bagsie’ by Loaf in Midnight Blue velvet | Grey Parker Knoll sofa, found on eBay and reupholstered in grey flannel | Mid-century console, West Elm | Tree top side table, West Elm (sold out) | Vintage Beni Ouhrain rug in front of sofas, sourced by edit.58| Beni Ouhrain style rug in above shot (just seen), La Redoute | Blue lamp base, eBay | Blue shade, Etsy | Gold lamp base, Graham & Green | Palm shade, Etsy | Blue throw, Snape Maltings | Gold reclaimed planter, Hythe Antiques | Fiddle fig, sourced by Conservatory Archives | Capiz shell ceiling lights, Spitalfields market (years ago!) | Green Dutch cupboard, eBay | Cloud print, similar available from Rockett St George
In terms of layout, it’s a large space, so the furniture didn’t need to be pushed against the walls – I really want to create little areas.
The first thing I wanted to do was remove the carpets and replace with real wooden flooring. As I knew we wouldn’t be having a sofa up against the wall, I asked the electrician to put floor sockets in so I could have a lamp table in between the sofas.
For the walls, we eventually decided on Juniper Ash by Little Greene Paint Company which, despite being blue, has a lovely, warm feeling. We also painted ‘out’ the radiators so they blended into the walls. We replaced all the window dressings with exactly the same shutters we had in our house in London, which I love because they’re so simple.
Buying a new sofa was a big decision, but finally we decided on the Bagsie from Loaf in a midnight blue velvet. The other grey sofa was a Parker Knoll I found on eBay and had reupholstered, but I am very tempted to move that upstairs and get this one from Made.
Dress, Beaumont Organic | Shoes, Marks & Spencer | Necklace, Chambers & Beau, smaller necklace, Accessorize | Green lamp base, eBay | Palm shade, Etsy | Blue plant pot, Wyevale Garden Centre | Drawers, eBay | Gold mirror, Amara Collection | Lavandou large glass hurricane vase, Amara Collection (sold out) | Bespoke ‘showtime’ knitted word, made by Seventy Seven84 | Log basket, TK Maxx
I’ve written about my love for eBay here, but I’ve found so many great pieces including this multi drawer unit, the green chest of drawers (in photos below) and the pair of chairs I covered in the banana leaf fabric. My top tip would always be to save your searches and check in every day, you can even set up alerts. So if you’re after a vintage haberdashers chest, search specifically for that and then regularly check in.
Sofa, Loaf, as before | White ceramic side table, La Redoute (sold out) | Small pictures on wall, vintage finds | Standard lamp, vintage shop | Mustard lampshade, Love Frankie | Rug, sourced by edit58 | Green velvet cushion, Rockett St George | ‘Rothesay’ floral cushion, Bluebell Gray | Yellow velvet cushion, Amara | Moroccan wedding blanket throw, bought in Marrakech | Vintage peach glass mirrors on the wall, collected over years | Green stair carpet, Roger Oates | Hall floor tiles, Bert & May | Yellow velvet cushions (on grey sofa), Rockett St George | Blue leaf print cushion, La Redoute
Console table, West Elm | Small linework honeycomb vase, West Elm | Tall linework honeycomb vase, West Elm | Tall ceramic parrot, TK Maxx | Bar cart, West Elm | Coasters, Sainsburys | Large cactus vase, La Redoute
Pair of chairs, eBay | Reupholstered in ‘Swaying Palm’ fabric, shipped internationally from Decorative Things | Rug, La Redoute | Table, a vintage one from my parents | Whatnot, a gift from a family friend | Standard lamp base, Graham & Green | Shade, Love Frankie | Raffia plant basket, La Redoute | Neon light, Bag & Bones | Flowers, Myrtle & Mint
I had seen an image on Pinterest that sparked the inspiration for dividing up the room into sections, with large built-in bookshelves creating this reading corner. They were an investment, but I absolutely love the character they have brought into the room. Painted in the same colour as the walls, they look as though they’ve always been there. We went for fretwork at the base, as the two walls on either side of the doors have radiators mounted on them. So we boxed them in as part of the design but the fretwork means the heat can still circulate.
The chairs have been well documented on Instagram – and I love that so many people made suggestions for the piping of them! The chairs were from eBay and I had them reupholstered. While I love the House of Hackney ‘Palmeral’ fabric, it actually worked out cheaper sourcing the classic Beverly Hills Hotel ‘Swaying Palm’ fabric and having it shipped from the US. I found a great upholsterer locally and since they came home, they have made me happy every day!
So there you have it, our living room revealed! I hope you like it – please let me know what you think in the comments section, would love to hear!
I have absolutely loved sharing small areas of it on Instagram and love that so many of you are such like-minded decor nuts.
We have still got PLENTY of rooms to decorate, so this House Files project won’t be stopping any time soon.