So here's the before photos, when we first moved in to our house. I give you the tangerine dream:
As you can see, every single thing in the room was orange. The walls? All different shades of orange. The woodwork? Orange. The curtains? Orange? The lampshade? Orange. And the ceilings and radiators? A fetching shade of nicotine yellow. Also, please note the fetching 1970's bar fire, and the lovely door and glass panel.
This room was the first room we decided to tackle as it was in the biggest need of some TLC, and I'll admit it was all kinds of daunting. We had never decorated before, let alone renovated a whole house, and it was hard to know where to start.
Here is how it looks now:
We left the floor as it was because it was fine (and we didn't want the extra expense of doing the floor), and we left the VELUX® roof window as it was as it was in great condition, but apart from that everything had to change. The very first thing we did, in the first week of moving in was replace the large window. The before photo shows the new window, the old one wooden framed once (also covered in orange varnish) was letting in water, hence the damp underneath it. We then ripped out the gas fire. When I say "we" I mean the registered gas engineer, because hey, it's gas! It's dangerous if you get it wrong! Then I stripped every square centimetre of the orange paper off of the walls. Which took some amount of time owing to the numerous coats of orange paint the paper had seen in it's 20 year lifetime. Then a joiner came and took out the glass panel, plaster-boarded it up, and replaced the old door with nice new one. Then we got an electrician in who took out the wall-lights, added in some extra plug sockets and installed a new light-fitting. Then we got a plasterer in who plastered all of our walls and ceiling. And then we started painting. And painting. And painting some more. Fresh plaster takes in an awful lot of paint. And orange varnish takes a lot of painting over.Then we papered the wall. Big mistake - we hate it. And we put a shelf up above where the fire used to be.
We had lots of little jobs still do but we stopped work on the living room. The reason being I got pregnant and suddenly we had a kitchen, a bathroom and a nursery to decorate in less than 9 months, so all of the little jobs that needed doing in the living room took a back seat.
We are looking to put our house on the market within the next couple of months so we have just got round to finishing off little jobs, like deciding what to do with the gap in the wall where the fire used to be. We have repaired the skirting board (although it isn't painted yet...), laid a hearth (two sample slate tiles - total cost £3.44!), covered up the hole with a blackboard, and put a chimnea there in lieu of a fire. We haven't quite decided if the chimnea works or whether we just look like crazy people with a garden chimnea in their living room, but for now we're going with it. We don't light a fire in it, by the way (carbon monoxide poisoning alert!), though we sometimes light a few candles in it after E has gone to bed.
We were on a super tight budget when doing this room as we still had all of the other rooms in the house to do, including the expensive renovations like a new kitchen and bathroom, so most of the furniture in the room was free - the tan sofa was an old one of my parents; the folding table in the corner is a story not worth asking about; the blue table belonged to the parents of a colleague that I repainted; and an old chest that is out of shot was found in my mister's parent's barn when they moved in to their house. The rug is an off-cut of carpet we laid on the stairs. The only things we purchased were the Ikea shelving unit (recently, to house a burgeoning collection of toys and books) and the brown sofa bed under the window to sleep overnight guests.
Although the wallpaper isn't to our taste (bought in a moment of madness) I really do love our living room. It's a good size compared to the rest of our house (for a comparison of scale, our living room is in the attic - downstairs two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a hall fit into the same amount of space), it's nice and cosy, and it gets a lovely amount of light, thanks to our large window and VELUX roof window.
My favourite area in the living room is my area under the VELUX roof window. I have my brown sofa, where I always sit, and my blue table full of lovely things here. It used to have more lovely things on it but with a curious toddler I have had to move them for now! To be honest, I hadn't appreciated this area too much until I was pregnant, when all I wanted to do was sleep. I would drag myself up the stairs to the living room and then collapse on the brown sofa under the window. The spring and summer of 2011 was particularly wet, so I quite often fell asleep to the "tip tap tap" of the rain hitting the window above me, which was especially comforting. And once E was born, if she was having a particularly rough patch of sleep, my mister and I would take turns on sleeping on the sofa bed to ensure one of us had a good night's sleep. Sleeping under the roof window is particularly amazing - on rainy nights you get that lovely sound of the rain hitting the window, but on clear nights you can lie there and watch the stars and the moon. Take it from me, star gazing under a cosy duvet until you fall asleep has to be one of the most relaxing ways of falling asleep ever.
What is your favourite area of your living room?
Other renovations: our kitchen / our bathroom
* this is a sponsored post from VELUX - you can visit their webshop www.veluxblindsdirect.co.uk. All thoughts, opinions, words, and hard work in renovating the living room are my own!