LIVING ROOM MAKEOVER | BEFORE + AFTER
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Following the installation of a wood burner last November and a major spot of New Year redecorating, I'm finally able to bring you some before and after pics of the living room makeover!
January and February were spent decorating, replacing furniture bit by bit, channelling cable into walls, moving lighting points and replacing radiators. As for the other eight months... I have no excuse for not sharing the makeover before now! Apart from maybe being too flat out busy and procrastinating on the things I know I'm not great at, i.e. interior photography.
Before we get on to my fledgling efforts below, the fun part was going back and digging out the "Before" pics that I hurriedly took the day before the wood burner was installed. Having been sitting in this bright, white space for almost eight months now, it's slightly weird seeing it as it used to be.
Don't get me wrong - we loved it as it was. With the exception of a new television and a few licks of paint, it’s been this way for the entire time we've lived in the house together, which is coming up to fifteen years. We always kept the walls neutral and I took great delight in swapping around cushions, rugs and accessories according to the seasons. Orange for autumn, red for winter and green for spring and summer. You know me and my obsession with embracing the changing of the seasons!
Our overall main objective was to make the room lighter. We get the sun streaming in from morning until midday but by the time the afternoon arrives, it's moved to the front of the house leaving the living room feeling pretty dark. Another aim was to clear all the crap out of the bookcase - and boy was there ever a lot of crap in there as you can see from the photo above. I spent many a happy hour sorting, removing jackets from books and arranging them in order of colour of their spines. I know. Don't judge.
From the moment we installed the woodburner, the need to completely redecorate became pressingly obvious. Having opted for clean minimal lines of a Jotul stove, we both felt the room needed to be in synch with it’s newest addition. Whilst it took us to two years to get our heads around the cost and finally commit, now we wouldn't be without it and it’s turned out to be one of the best investments we ever made.
All the technicalities about heat output in relation to the size of the room were carefully considered and calculated by Patrick... and he’s taken to his newfound Man Make Fire role like a duck to water! He’s now in the throes of a full on log gathering, drying and seasoning, wood chopping obsession and as for me, I seem to have developed an unnatural attachment to all things wicker and wood burning related from Garden Trading Company *.
So without further ado, here’s my first efforts at a spot of interior photography. Maybe just like those first outfit posts I'll look back and wince in five years time but I consider it to all be part of the creative journey…
I work in our living room meaning that I usually spend most of my day here. So I wanted the space to feel calm and restful and be one where I can sit at my desk and (fingers crossed), let the creativity flow. The white glossy dining table *, which by the way has come into its own when it comes to Instagram shots, often serves as a bit of a workspace overflow but I ensure I always tidy my surplus paraphernalia away at the end of the day. The Hudson Compact desk by Dwell was something we’d already invested in a couple of years earlier and it’s stood the test of time really well, despite various knocks and bumps from certain four and two legged family members who shall remain nameless.
Having now minimised the dumping ground factor of the long suffering bookcase and found a way to hide all the bits and pieces that need to be at hand (plastic boxes from IKEA, I think I love you!), I do fear for the safety of anyone who dares to leave anything on it. Although if you look closely, you can see the one shelf that’s given over to Patrick’s random stuff that for some reason, never seems to find an alternate home. I try really hard everyday not to look too closely at that shelf.
Rearranging the books and making space for a few decorative items was intensely satisfying and I still keep going back and moving things around. Vignettes are a constant work in progress - aren’t they supposed to be? At least that’s what I tell myself in order to justify the continual faffing.
Whilst coming up with ideas for the replacement sofa, I did have some initial concerns when we ordered our modular corner layout from Next *. I wasn't sure about the fact that it would effectively divide the room into two, but seeing it now doing just that, I really like it. Our old brown leather sofa and armchairs were divvied up between a local barbershop and the British Heart Foundation and once the new sofa was in, the only issue since has been who gets the longer section that comes with feet-up privileges!
Pinterest, Instagram and other interior blogs have lead me to more than a few obsessions for this room. Prior to becoming a blogger I’m not sure I would have been such a sucker for tray styling, shelfies and all manner of decorative objects including copper pineapples *. But using these platforms for inspiration teaches you what you do and don’t like.
The infamous Guide to Manhattan print seen all over Pinterest was tracked down here in Sweden thanks to fellow blogger Claire and due to a plethora of Insta shots featuring oversized, chunky knit throws, I finally ordered one from Lauren Aston Designs *. Both of these have become my favourite things in the living room.
And it was a visit to 16a in Winchester that was responsible for the copper plumbing pipes used as curtain rods. Even our plumber who installed the new radiators (and I wouldn’t have had pegged him as interiors buff) was impressed!
Vitra Eames chairs * were soon crossed off the list due to budget restraints (one day!) - but some similar to these at John Lewis & Partners * were snaffled in the Boxing Day sale for £15 each and throwing a sheepskin * over some of them makes for a cosy feel.
And last but never least, my very favourite thing about the living room? My constant companion on four legs… despite the fact that it wasn't ever supposed to adopt the large sheepskin rug as its own…
I loved the whole living room makeover process as much as the end product. The room has become a calm and cosy living space but not only that, having the wood burner on in mid-winter when its really cold and it's just me, the dog, a Nespresso machine and Spotify definitely makes this hands down the best office I've ever worked in!
Now I'm tapping my fingers and looking around the house wondering which room is next...