life: a living room makeover, part 2

Last month I posted the beginning of our living room makeover.

You can find that post here – where I showed you our new palm prints and blush velvet cushions (you read that right, only £12 too!). Today, I wanted to share the next area in our living space to get an overhaul. Our living room-come-dining room is a sort of L shape – with a cubby hole for the sofa, and a larger space for a table and chairs, and a small armchair. Previously, we’d had handmedowns in place – my Grandad’s old pine table and chairs, with rather fetching cream patterned seats and Sam’s Grandpa’s wingback arm chair, which although is fab, was a little on the big side. We also had a mismatch of mirrors and prints on the walls, which caused no end of chaos and far from a relaxed ambience in the room. There was a particular IKEA dining table set we’d had our eye on since we moved in –  Scandi style black legs with a cork table top which my sister and her husband also had. Sod’s law, when the time came to buy something new, the collection at IKEA had ended and we were left debating what kind of thing we wanted. As I mentioned in this post, our taste is an odd hybrid of Scandi-mid-century meets Palm Springs Miami (I’m well aware Palm Springs isn’t in Miami, as Sam so kindly pointed out after my last post – but I think their vibe is similar). We just couldn’t find anything that fitted, and fitted our budget, let alone agreed on. So we opted to keep our table, which is a standard pine four seater, the legs of which we’d already painted a light charcoal grey. Sam got to work on the table top, which we agreed to teak to match the rest of the darker wood in the room. We picked up two chairs and (at last!) I got my bench from IKEA to replace the chairs we had, and again Sam teaked them so they matched the table. I couldn’t believe when I got home from work that day what a difference it had made – even down to the bench opening up the room so much more, as the previous high-backed chairs had created such a barrier to the rest of the room. I’m pleased we kept the table as it’s really great quality and can be repurposed in our next house for sure – it’s well loved and has been so useful!

We swapped in our old wingback armchair for the IKEA one you would’ve seen everywhere, and although I would’ve loved something a bit more unique, the price was perfect. The pale grey ties the room together, and our new curtains, when they’re up, match perfectly. As we were on a spend up (the best day to go to IKEA? Your birthday. You get your own way on pretty much everything), I cajoled Sam into finally agreeing to my sheepskin. On the bench, on the chair – I can’t make up my mind but I know I adore the look and was forever drooling over them in Copenhagen on my visits. It also makes what’s a hard wooden bench pretty comfy!

Table – Upcycled | Chairs, Bench, Mirrors, Picture shelf, Sheepskin – IKEA
 Bear print – Society6 | Magnolia print* – Desenio | Clock – Next (old)

To finish off that corner, we attacked the walls. Previously we had a pretty but not inkeeping circular mirror, and although I loved the shape, it was a shabby-chic style – an off-green with bronze detailing. We really struggled with what to do for a mirror, I wasn’t sold on a straight forward rectangular one, and Sam wasn’t on another round one. I have to give credit to Victoria for this one – whose blog I’d just started reading that week. She linked me on Twitter to some beautiful ideas for mirror set ups and it inspired what we went for – I would’ve loved copper frames but money wise, our budget didn’t stretch that far. Instead we went for black frame square mirrors from IKEA, just £15 each! I would’ve loved four in a grid but with our little house, it would’ve been too much. Oddly, they get the most compliments out of everything in the room and I think they really do bring alot of light to the space. And finally, we attacked our picture ledge which had been getting itself in a bit of a muddle as we’d added adhoc to it over the last two years. We played swapsie around the house, to avoid any new purchases, bringing my favourite bear print into the limelight. The little pot of greenery was something a bit different, and again, we swapped the clock for the bedroom one to bring in the copper element, that was also in the lampshades (swapped for the hallway!) and the table lamp which we already had.

Overall, I am so pleased with how the living room is looking now. We managed to really take our time and make sure we were 100% happy with the direction before committing. Having a little bit more cash to spend helped, but none of this cost the earth. As I say, we moved things around within the house (swapping the grey and yellow we had in the living room into the bedroom – waste not, want not!), and only buying what we really needed. Staining our existing furniture as well as the IKEA chairs and bench gives a little twist to the mass-made Swedish pieces, and I love how they look. The copper tones, dark wood and black frames throughout the room offset the stark white walls and pale flooring (I’m thinking of writing a tips post for making a new build your own – let me know if you’d like to see that?) and I’m so pleased with how things have turned out! Next step, shelving… Until then!

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  • Megan Blanchard

    Where was your ceramic jug from? I’ve been looking for one for ages! xx