Monday 22 January 2018

Our Living Room - Before and After*

When we first moved house, we decided that one of the first rooms we wanted tackle was the living room, purely because it’s the room most people will see when they come to visit. Saying this, we did the bedroom first and the living room got pushed back due to lack of funds as it needed a lot more work than we anticipated. Our living room is ‘L’ shaped and we only have a small kitchen so we opted for a lounge – diner design so we would have somewhere to fit a dining table. The room was wallpapered in yellow with a very floral 70’s style carpet which we knew we wanted to get rid of right away so out it came and we put up with awful tiled floors for a long long time.

The first step was to strip the wallpaper. Thankfully we borrowed a wallpaper stripper which made the job slightly more bearable but it was still a messy task. We had our electrics rewired too which left us with various holes in the walls. Some of the wallpaper had been put on top of wooden cladding style walls and some was straight on the plaster so it was interesting seeing what was behind the walls. This was a messy and stressful job in itself especially as we could not get behind the radiators and chunks of walls were falling off every time we tried to strip large sections of paper.  My dad then came round and put cement and bricks in any larger holes and it was then down to a plasterer to do the rest. It took us months to arrange a plasterer as they all seem to be so busy! We knew it was going to be an expensive job too so put it off longer than we needed. The plasterer made a start on the ceiling and noticed it had dropped, resulting in the whole ceiling needing to be taken right down to the rafters and new plasterboard put up. Eventually we got it done, we had the ceiling smoothed over which I think gives it a much more modern and fresh feeling and all of the walls were smoothed over. It was a big job which resulted in a weeks work! But I was so pleased with the results. It was like a completely different room.

Next up was adding coving around the tops of the walls to cover any gaps and imperfections. Once this was up we could then get everything painted in a white wash coat. Due to the room being covered in fresh plaster, we needed to do a white wash on all of the walls. It took a good few coats before it stopped sinking in, and then finally we could add some normal paint. We chose a shade of grey called Chic Shadow as it can go with anything. We have little yellow touches around the room and these can be changed if we want a refresh without having to change the entire paint scheme. We then had new radiators put on after what felt like the longest time without heating in the freezing November/December months. This room was very cold last year but now that we have a thicker plasterboard on the ceiling and brand new double radiators, this room warms up a treat.

We hope to one day add an extension in this room and we will probably then move the dining area into there. This room currently has a large front window and also a window at the back of the room which can let in a lot of light, however if you do not have this option in your own home you can always install a Velux Roof Window. There are a great selection over on VELUX roof window shop. A Velux window is a fantastic way of letting light into a room if your ceiling allows. They are great for loft conversions and extensions and will be ideal if we expand on this area in the future.

Next up was the floor and skirting. We spent a lot of time thinking about what floor we wanted and in the end we decided the best option was to have wood effect, as it is easier to clean. We chose some Quick Step Livyn floor which is essentially vinyl but with the appearance and thickness of wood. It is quite expensive but it is guaranteed to last years and years and is made from 5 different layers. Not only is it waterproof, it is sound reducing as well. I thought it would be great for the area next to the kitchen and where we keep our dining table but at the same time we wanted the floor to be cosy and a rug just wasn’t cutting it. In the end we decided to go half and half. We placed carpet on the side of the room where the sofa and coffee table is so that area is nice and cosy, and then put the quick step across the other high traffic areas where people would be likely to be wearing shoes or dropping food on the floor.  The previous owner left us these large mirrors with an ornate gold coloured frame. It seemed a shame to waste them so we decided to keep them and paint the frames to make them fit in with our own décor. This is not however on the wall yet as we are still deciding whether we need a bookshelf that side instead. We added some of our own photos and prints to the walls to liven the place up too. I really liked the grey and copper print that I found in Next, so tied that in with a few copper accessories. I put a couple of shelves above the table to give us a bit more space. I adore my family road sign that I got from etsy!

When it comes to furniture and décor, our items were from a variety of places. Our grey corner sofa came from Harveys and I furnished this with yellow cushions from BHS and striped ones from M&S. The grey and yellow light shades came from Wilko at a respectable £4 each! Bargain! I bought the coffee table in the Homebase sale for around £100. It was exactly what I was looking for and the coasters and cacti were gifts from friends. The TV stand is the Liatorp Ikea unit for £180, it’s the perfect size for what we need and we can fit all of our bits and bobs in the drawers. The curtains come from George at Asda. Our dining table and chairs came from The Cotswold Company and were a bargain, reduced from well over £1000 to a more manageable £400 due to there being some cosmetic damage which was easily sanded/painted over! Its massive, but I love it and we can sit at either end and throw each other the salt and pepper.

We also got a little chair for the end of the room to fill the space that was there. We didn’t really know what else to put here but I think it looks great and is handy for if people come over. The chair came from The Range and was £140 (wishing I still worked there for that 25% discount!) The cushion was a gift, as was the throw! The cat seems to have claimed this spot though!

Overall this room took just over a year to complete (and even longer to write this post!) It was a crazy amount of money, it doesn’t even bear thinking about and I am never decorating this room again. I am very thankful for all of the help we had with this room, it is so handy knowing many different tradespeople who helped to make this happen. The biggest room in our house is now complete bar a few little tweaks and furnishings and I look forward to starting the next one! (That might be a lie.)


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