Renovating our Living Room | Before and After Home Transformation

Your living room should be a space where you feel comfortable, want to spend time, entertain family and friends – your sanctuary. My living room was all of those things, but absolutely not to my taste. It was outdated and in dire need of a refresh!Renovating our living room was a project I always had in mind, but I never got around to starting. Probably because I knew it would be a huge project and require a lot of work. Then, 2020 happened and I was spending significantly more time at home and it seemed the perfect opportunity to take on this refurbishment. My goal was to create a modern yet eclectic space, that was a luxurious hideaway from the outside world.

The Transformation

I wanted to completely transform the room and knew this would be a monumental task. We decided that we would have a contractor come in and remove all of our previous decor. This is due to the fact we wanted to remove EVERYTHING, including the brick fireplace, skirting boards and dado rail. The room also required a full re-plaster, so it was more logical to have a contractor complete this and give us a fresh base to work from.We went ahead and removed all of the furniture from the room, the curtains and their rail, along with ripping up the existing carpet ready for the work to begin. Unfortunately, only a day before they were due to start work the contractor told me they had a shortage in supplies and would have to push back our work by another 3-4 weeks.Eventually, once their work was complete we were ready to bring my vision to life. We worked rather slowly on this project, partly due to our work schedules and partly because we experienced a lot of delays with materials and furniture.The paint I selected was Dulux Trade Supermatt Emulsion, I tested a lot of different whites (who knew there were so many?) and finally decided on this one. I knew I wanted a neutral wall colour, as this gives us the opportunity to experiment with colour, texture and prints throughout our furnishings. The white also creates a bright, light space that makes the room feel airy and spacious.

Once we had painted the room, we were ready to have the flooring installed. When I envisaged the updated living room I had wooden flooring in mind. It creates a sleeker look than carpet and the ease of cleaning was what truly won me over – I have a miniature dachshund, so keeping the floor hair free is much easier.

I began researching what type of flooring would be most suitable for the space. Laminate flooring was the clear choice for us, it’s easy to keep clean, soft underfoot as it is installed over a foam underlay and it’s simple to install – you could definitely save money by DIYing this job if you prefer.

However, not all laminates are made equal and I wanted a quality floor that would be durable, but also beautiful. This is when I found Lifestyle Floors they have a huge selection of luxury laminate flooring. I really struggled to pick which was my favourite, as there was so much choice! I finally landed on the Chelsea Extra in Loft Oak, it’s a very light grey with an oak style finish. The process of ordering was simple as they are available at hundreds of retailers around the UK, it was quickly delivered and ready to be installed.Once the floor was down, I could really feel the transformation happening, it made the room feel more complete and added a timeless elegance to the space. The oak style finish on the flooring is very realistic and I’ve had many compliments, not least from the contractor that installed the flooring.With the flooring being such a neutral colour, it gave us freedom to play with different materials in the furnishings, without the concern of clashing. I highly recommend going for a more premium quality laminate, it really makes all of the difference. 

Styling the space

To create the kind of modern and eclectic style that I felt would suit this room and create a look we would enjoy for years to come, we went ahead and refurnished the entire room.

I felt we had the freedom to be more daring with the colour choices and textures of the furnishings as we had kept the decor neutral.

I’d been lusting after a bright pink sofa for such a long time. Surprisingly, it’s quite difficult to find this exact shade, luckily I stumbled across the ‘Enchanted sofa‘ on the DFS website. I didn’t even see the product in person before ordering! This is quite a risk, but the design was exactly to my taste with a luxurious and cosy fabric in the perfect shade of pink – I had to go for it.The Details of brass on the sofa inspired our furniture decisions as it creates a coordinated vibe, it’s interesting how style evolves as I was never a fan of brass or yellow gold and now it’s a huge part of our colour palette!We wanted to maintain the existing dining area in this room, as it’s a great use of space and perfect for when we have people over. A contemporary style dining table which has a dark wood table top and geometric style stand was the perfect addition. A pop of contrasting colour is added by the navy blue dining chairs.The placement of a rug really helps finish the space, it clearly divides the living space from the dining area. The celestial style creates a cohesive look as it incorporates all of the colours in the room and adds a contemporary feel.The accessories we chose for the room really help complete the look. I am OBSESSED with this incredible Gleaming primrose mirror we placed in this corner of the room. It’s more traditional style contrasts with the modern style sofa and adds an element of interest. I love how it creates more depth in this space – this is potentially my favourite area of the room to relax.The gallery wall adds a great focal point to the room, it’s a great way to add personality to your space. Of course, I went for colourful travel themed images, choosing different sizes and playing around with the composition was a lot of fun – I love the end result.These floating shelves add such a unique detail and a touch of luxe to the room. I added interesting accessories, my favourite being the mask which I purchased in a market in Burkina Faso. Details of brass and the plant leaves complements the colour palette.Lighting is such a key element to every room. I wanted to incorporate the natural light we are fortunate to have in abundance, hence the placement of a large mirror near the window – to reflect the sun rays and brighten the space.

I then added a table lamp, which coincidentally matched the ceiling light. We went for a very modern semi-flush ceiling light, this is perfect for rooms where you don’t have high ceilings. It gives the same drama as a chandelier but without taking up too much space.

We added an arc lamp over the sofa, to add a soft glow to the area with the opal glass shade and marble stand.Finally, in keeping with the quirkiness of the space, I went for a neon sign over the dining table. It glows bright pink and I love the positivity it provides in such a playful way.

I have to say, there are many things I wish I had known before taking on this project:

  • Plaster takes an incredibly long time to fully dry out.
  • Painting is tedious and you will need to do at least two layers on fresh plaster.
  • Contractors are unreliable, you really should follow up with them to ensure they are still planning to come.
  • Your project will take longer than you expect, always.
  • Furniture will either arrive the day after you order it or six months later – there seems to be no in between.
  • It’s worth investing in quality items that you will enjoy for a long time, rather than spending less but having to replace them sooner. If you’re looking to make savings, perhaps DIY some of the easier projects.

Needless to say, I love the end results. All of the delays and effort were worth it. This space is exactly how I envisioned it and we enjoy spending our time in our lovely new living room.Let me know what you think of the transformation!

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12 Comments

  1. November 30, 2020 / 1:40 pm

    I love what you did! It looks a thousand times better and it appears to resemble some of what I believe is your personality. Well done!

    • December 6, 2020 / 8:54 pm

      Thanks Anna! It definitely shows more of my personality now 🙂

  2. December 27, 2020 / 11:22 am

    this article came right in good time as I am redecorating my flat for 2021! you gave me a good idea on how to display the pictures thanks! xoxo

  3. December 29, 2020 / 12:19 am

    Gemma, what a brilliant transformation!!! I love your choice of home decor too! I have done quite a few and I also sell my own photos for home interior design projects, and I really know how difficult it is to get to this result!!! Brilliant!

  4. December 29, 2020 / 4:10 pm

    Love home transformations and it was definitely a good one! Love the colours and style you were inspired by. 🙂

  5. December 29, 2020 / 4:31 pm

    wow! your living room looks absolutely perfect! I would so have it as well. the big mirror, the color scheme, lamp – perfectly nailed. Masks are wonderful as well. And cuddles to your pup

  6. December 29, 2020 / 6:37 pm

    I love how you kept that wood feel with the TV stand. The floor looks amazing

  7. December 29, 2020 / 7:04 pm

    You have done a fantastic job of this! It’s gorgeous and such a big difference. Congratulations!

  8. December 30, 2020 / 2:54 am

    I love this transformation.Your living room looks so inviting and comfortable with beautiful interior after the renovation.Nicely matched colour tones and furniture…

  9. December 30, 2020 / 2:58 am

    LOVE seeing these transformations. Decor on pointe, and congrats on this mini DIY project.

  10. December 30, 2020 / 5:34 pm

    It looks amazing! Wow hats an amazing transformation! Congratulations!

  11. January 2, 2021 / 4:56 pm

    I love the transformation! And your pieces of furniture are so chic! I love the wall accent quote too! 🙂

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