The living room at home has never been my favourite room. It’s not overly generous in size, and the window is disproportionately small which makes the room dark even on a bright day. It’s also the main traffic area through to the kitchen from the front door, so it has too many doors in it! All things that are typical in today’s new-build houses. When we moved in we quickly gave it a paint job just to get rid of the builders magnolia, and I chose to paint two walls dark grey and two walls white. At first it worked okay. The new sofa was grey against the white walls, and the rug was cream wool so there was enough contrast and texture going on. Then we acquired a dog and the cream rug had to go in favour of a more practical colour. Grey. That was a mistake. The dark room, was now dark and dull, no matter what I did.
Cue, small changes, small budget, but a big impact.
Coat of Paint
Unbelievably this has had the biggest impact on the room. More than I could ever have imagined. I’m always advising others that a room can improve just with an inexpensive coat of paint, and now I have practised what I preach. The shade is Sulking Room Pink from Farrow and Ball and we’ve painted all four walls in it, which has effectively brought the whole room together, as well as warming it up. In fact it looks even more cosy at night when the lamps are lit and the colour changes to a deep coral.
I’ve been looking for a black glass-fronted cabinet for a long time but the price has always been out of my budget. I wanted one that was black on the outside with a white interior so that all of my precious holiday finds and family mementos would stand out. And I wanted one with a patterned design inside. So we made one. By we, I mean the BF naturally. So we bought a white cabinet from IKEA, painted the outside black and wallpapered the inside with leftover wallpaper from the kitchen. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know we hit a snag here because we didn’t have enough wallpaper, so it wasn’t quite as inexpensive a job as planned. It should have been as cheap as chips. The best laid plans and all that.
Change of Layout
Not a drastic change, but it has made a difference. Originally the sofa we bought was a corner sofa. It seemed a good idea at the time and it did suit the geography of the room. Until we quickly realised no-one ever sat in the corner. There’s no leg room for that seat to start with, and there’s nowhere handy to put a drink. So we split the two halves of the sofa, moved them apart and put a table and lamp in the corner. We’ve gained an extra seat and the room doesn’t look quite so much like a corridor. There where disadvantages to doing this. The sofa wasn’t meant to be split up so one half has a high side and one half has no side. I can live with that. We also had to sacrifice a cushion to use some of the fabric to cover parts that weren’t upholstered, but all in all it’s a big improvement.
This was just a personal thing. I played around with cushions on the sofa and decided that a palette of black and white worked best now there was colour on the walls. Luckily most of my other accessories (picture frames, corner lamp, side table) were already black so worked with this scheme. And the few existing metallic items (lamp, tea-light holders, another side table) give just the right amount of reflective sparkle.
So there you have it. The only items I’ve bought were paint for the walls, paint for the cabinet (and a roll of wallpaper, urghh), and two new cushions. But it’s now become a room that feels warmer, more sociable and more pulled together.