#AD This living room feature is a collaborative post.
Are you inspired to refresh your living room?
You may have just moved home with your family or feel the urge to change the whole colour scheme, layout, fixtures or fittings. You may have been staring at the same living room wallpaper for 20 years. Investing a little time and money in redecorating your home is also a great way to add value. Just remember redecorating will always take DOUBLE the time you thought. Accept that you will live off gloss fumes and blind enthusiasm.
If your room is feeling a bit tired, or you are feeling tired of it – remember you can transform the space on a budget. Simple updates can make big changes.
Tackle one room at a time. For me, the challenge with our house is that we have no hallway. You walk straight in the front door into the living room. We don’t have the money to build an internal enclosure or stud wall so have had to be clever with the layout to create the illusion of space. As it is the first room visitors see and the most used, I put the most effort into its redesign, followed by Norah’s nursery and the accessories to match her room.
So, if you’re starting a decorating project, especially if you have children these essential tips could help save time and make life that little bit easier.
Make a budget and have a PLAN. Use Pinterest to help consider your colour scheme and inspire your furniture placement. Don’t just sell everything you own or go on a mass buying spree. Take the opportunity to de-clutter. What do you practically need, what would you like, what would work together well? What fits? Always measure your front door before making any purchases!
Consider the rooms activities. We wanted a comfortable space, that was welcoming, minimal as the more floor space for cartwheels the better, kid friendly, that was still stylish. Rethink what you have. Shop around your own home first. Fed up with accessories I went around my other rooms and picked candles, photos and books that would suit my lounge rather than buying new.
Physically get the room ready if you are going to paint. We recommend 8 must have tools for decorating your home. Remove furniture and cover floors (this is a good time to have a sort out of what you do or don’t like or need.) Wash down and prime walls with sugar soap prior to decorating. Alternatively, just use plain old washing up liquid. Hoover and dust rooms beforehand, otherwise you will end up with dirt and pet hair in your paint tin. Woof. Make sure a room is well ventilated. If you are working up high be sure that A-frame ladders are always locked in the open position, and that they’re placed on a stable, level surface.
The eyes of the living room.
Focus on your windows. Moulding will just about upscale anything and framing your windows is one of the most effective ways to boost your homes décor. Hand curtains high and wide to create the illusion of space.
Add or change the colour.
Painting walls and ceilings should be straightforward, and a new coat of colour is the most cost-effective way to update your homes decor. Be sure on your shade, you can test out colours on a room before purchasing and figure out how much you need. Pick a durable paint with added acrylic for high traffic areas.
Grey was the perfect choice for a statement feature wall for our South facing lounge and offers an on trend neutral backdrop whilst injecting character into the room.
Half painted walls give the illusion of higher ceilings. If you are looking for pops of colour but have limited resources (and patience) paint the edges of doors or sides of drawer. Use masking tape for clean lines rather than pads and cutting in brushes. Remove before it is completely dry. Use Vaseline as a barrier on nails and picture hooks. Before you close a tin of paint, give it a quick clean around the edge of the lid can with a cloth – this will stop bits of dried paint falling into the fresh paint when you open it next. Have baby wipes nearby for spills and cover the floor in an old sheet or newspaper. Don’t paint at night, you will wake up the next morning to a patchy wall. Buy magic white paint if you struggle to tell where you have been rolling with white ceilings, brushes that don’t lose their fibres and large, long handled rollers that can be suitable for high up.
Update your walls.
When I have the time and inclination for a mass repaint, I would prefer base walls to be white instead of magnolia for a chicer, cleaner finish.
Wall décor offers an impactual alternative to getting out the roller. Hanging a large statement work of art or gallery wall is a very popular and inexpensive design choice. We chose to use floating rail shelving to showcase favourite art and photos that takes up minimal room. It fits perfectly in the wall alcove. The coloured frames compliment the colouring of the room. Ours were from Argos. Where needed use safety goggles, gloves and a dust mask to fix to walls. Tape a piece of paper under where you are drilling to catch the dust.
Don’t forget the flooring.
Our living room was originally covered with chipped laminate. The beautiful wood underneath was water stained. Sanding and varnishing transformed the room. Clean up dirty carpets or consider stripping them entirely. Paint skirting boards with water-based gloss that dries quickly and does not yellow. If they are old or damaged, like ours consider replacing the skirting board entirely. As a tip but new in white MDF so you do not have to worry about painting! For a cheaper option Rugs can tie a room together and there are endless varieties to choose from. I love our shaggy pile pick from La Redoute. The mustard ties in with cushions, the pattern is simple yet versatile and it brings warmth to the floorboards. It is also comfortable for the children to play on and does not shed.
Choose your lighting carefully.
Professionals build layers of lighting to create interest, intrigue and variety. In a room where everything is lit evenly, nothing stands out. Lamps add ambience and a welcoming softness to a room. Decorative shades can be changed for an inexpensive change. Wires can be hidden in shower curtain rods, under rugs, or turn it into wall art! In our lounge the fireplace and the statement pendant ceiling light work together as a collective focal point, bringing your eye right to the centre of the room. From Dunelm the three light jar cluster suits the quirky, Victorian style of the house.
Originally, we had a narrow open fire which was not very practical with a toddler so fitted a small wood burner which has opened up the space dramatically! I love the industrial wall plug lamp which casually hangs off the shelves and out of the way of the children. Limit breakage potential!
You can also instantly create the illusion of light and space by simply adding more mirrors. Over fireplaces are great spots to hang them. We chose rose gold to match other accessories. Round mirrors offer a softer look than the traditional square and again to help to create a feature in your living space. Reflecting the size should have been bigger as it does look a little lost on the blank wall.
Fill a room with plants, hardy ones like succulents and cacti or invest in some fake ones if you have kids or pets. Plants bring natural beauty to our living spaces. We bought a cheap tripod planter from Matalan to tie in with the wood and metal finishes. It can also be easily moved if the children are having a playdate.
Less is more.
Resit overcrowding a living room with furniture. I prefer to pick mismatched pieces rather than a theme or sticking to one design or type of wood. Because of the limited space and odd proportions of the room we picked a space saver L shaped sofa from Wayfair. Make sure when you buy you check whether the cushions on the L bit don’t slide off constantly. Check out the sofa in my son’s room. Sometimes just moving things around opens up a room. When you’re rearranging, be sure to pay mind to visual weight. For instance, if you have one large item on one side of the room, balance it out with a similarly large item or a cluster of small items on the other.
Can’t afford a new sofa?
There are dozens of affordable, stylish cushions that change your space instantaneously. Keep clutter to a minimum. In small rooms put storage near the ceiling with white kitchen wall cabinets. Our bookcase doubles up as shoe storage! A wall divider from B&Q also separates the spaces to give the illusion of a hallway.
If you have invested time and money into a living room, make sure you have taken the time to get home insurance.
Then, it’s time to get down to the grafting, so roll up those sleeves and get painting! Redecorating your bathroom and need ideas, click here, designing a home office and want inspiration, click here. Also, why not check out our ‘4 budget ideas to overhaul your garden space’ as kerb appeal is important too!
Do you have any decorating tips? Or had any DIY disasters? Would you rather pay a handyman to do it?