life: a living room makeover, part 1

Living room or lounge?

Either way, ours is changing and I wanted to document it here. We moved into our house in 2015, pretty much exactly two years ago. I wrote about our experience of the Shared Ownership scheme here, which might be useful to some of you. We live in a 2 bedroom new build, and our living space consists of a dining room come living room. When we moved in, we had all sorts of hand me downs. We had a lot of stuff from my Grandad, as it was only a few months since he had passed away. We inherited his tumble drier, washing machine and his dining table set. We agreed there were three things in the house we wanted new and everything else could wait –  a new fridge freezer, new wardrobes and a new sofa.

The sofa we bought from what was SofaWorks, now Sofology. We opted for something with a touch of mid-century to it, knowing that was the style we liked at the time and actually, that hasn’t altered. Our taste is mid century/skandi meets Palm Springs/1980s Miami (what a hybrid hey – it’s a compromise!), so the dark wood legs of the sofa still work two years on. We got it in grey (thank god!), and it’s aged well – we toyed with a brighter colour and I’m so glad we didn’t go for anything too dominating as now we’re looking to change things up, having a neutral sofa is key to letting us move on with our tastes. This is our sofa in fact, The Cricketer 3 seater  – it’s now available in 17 colours but at the time, there were only around six to choose from. We opted for Lavish Pewter, which definitely does have a blue tinge but not quite as much as the website would have you think. Our original intentions with our colour scheme were grey and yellow. It was something a bit different, a bit retro, something we both agreed on. We also knew that should we want to move away from the yellow at any point, we still had the grey as a base.

As the house is new, we have white walls and plain, pale carpets. The perfect starting point! With our new grey sofa, we picked up some accessories to add pops of yellow – mainly in our John Lewis curtains (here), and an assortment of cushions (much to Sam’s disgust – any other fellas out there that hate cushions?). Sam fashioned an IKEA hacked mid century sideboard, and we were also given a dark brown leather wing back armchair from his Grandpa. The room slowly came together, although to me it never felt done – the pine, old fashioned dining set plagued me and the walls felt bare. In time, we picked up a cirular mirror and some box shelving units for above the sofa. We had good intentions, and after we sanded the table and added some matte grey paint to the legs, I still never felt content. Bearing in mind this was all done on a new home owners budget, neither of us could place what wasn’t right.

I think we thought we wouldn’t be here long – we got 3 years on our fixed rate, and planned to move house and off the scheme at the end of those three years. Those three years are now up in just 11 months and we’ve actually decided to stay put and buy the other percentage of the house out – meaning we finally felt the relief to try again with the interiors and move that step further to making it a home. I guess you could say we halted before, not wanting to do too much to a house we might not stay in. Now that decision has been made, we’ve finally set about updating the lounge. So, what first?

We agreed we were both tired of the yellow, but not quite tired enough to give away our (expensive) curtains and beautiful throws and cushions we’d acquired. With the window being the same size, and cheaper curtains currently in situ, we decided to migrate the yellow to the bedroom to make use of what we already have. Taking away the yellow leaves us with a lovely neutral space with just the grey to contend with. On a trip to IKEA, we passed a beautiful blush pink crockery set. I joked that I’d love it, and Sam, amazingly, agreed. He’s got a penchant for the 1980s, and Miami Vice is very much his scene (he picked our flamingo shower curtain afterall). Somehow, we agreed that blush pink would be our new colour – and since then, we’ve worked slowly to assess exactly where it is we want to get to with our new pink and grey living space. For a while we talked about adding in a rich, dark blue but decided soon after that our interior skills weren’t quite up to juggling three colours and so eventually settled on our core of grey with touches of pink and splashes of natural greens from some house plants – bringing that Palm Springs exterior/interior vibe to Hampshire. That’s the plan anyway…

 I’d spotted some beautiful cushions in Matalan – large and bouncy, and blush pink velvet. The best part? Just £12. I won Sam over on the promise they’d be the only ones, and we eagerly awaited their arrival back in stock. Following that, it was a slow process to try to get rid of a few bits we didn’t want anymore – a pale green floor lamp (a beauty, but just not right), our shelving units above the sofa and a few other bits to raise some cash for the room. The space above the sofa had always been an area of controversy – living in a small house, we need functionality and storage but I so want our living room to be a relaxing space. The shelves that lived above the sofa for two years were originally intended to be artistically displayed, but of course they became a dumping ground (and a nightmare to dust) and it was anything but a relaxing space. We bit the bullet and took them down, debating for a few weeks what to replace them with. We talked about other shelving options, but I was never sold. I was itching for something statement and simple – I had some persuading to do, but I’ve learnt Sam is much more likely to be visually coerced into something, rather than we me explaining what I want. Enter, Desenio. The website of beautiful prints and posters. I spent hours trawling, saving and bookmarking options. I searched for prints with hints of pink, and some with just monochrome vibes. There was so much to choose from and I knew I had to strike strategically to get Sam on board. My vision was two large prints, framed in black, directly above the sofa. Bold and simple. I finally made my decision, which you can see from my photos. No pink, just beautiful rich green leaves in basic but effective black frames. I couldn’t be happier with them! I think they’re the perfect mix of light and dark, the contrast is so eye catching and I like to think the muted colours will be fairly timeless. It’s made such a difference to that area of the living room. And if I’ve sold Desenio to you (as if I even need to – the selection is stunning), you can get 25% off posters (except ‘handpicked’) with the code “25katherine” between 25-27th April 2017. Let me know if you get anything – I just want more every time I look!

So what’s next, in part 2 of our living room makeover? We’ve finally agreed on some floating shelves to the side of the sofa, to house some of our books and a few house plants. We’ve also spotted a new armchair we’re keen on, and are having the ongoing debate surrounding dining table furniture! I’m enjoying taking it slowly and seeing it take shape exactly how we want it. I’m looking forward to updating you on part 2 soon!

Visit Desenio here!
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