Before & After: My Living Room. My haven.

Liz's living room after

The living room has perhaps been the most involved of our renovations so far. Thankfully we chose this as our first project when we were still very much in the honeymoon period of home-ownership (a brief period in which you have a relentless amount of enthusiasm for decorating and you don’t mind rolling your sleeves up after work and getting stuck in to a bit of stripping, plastering or painting and everything seems to progress so quickly – it’s just like the happy-couple, first-home, trying-to-flog-you-paint adverts. Honest.)

I had definite ideas for this room, and it meant starting from scratch, which in turn meant parting with a lot of cash.  So perhaps the biggest requirement of the revamp, was that whatever we created had to be timeless, it had to be something we’d never get tired of – we only wanted to be spending that sort of money once so it had to be right.

Here’s the results. If it were a painting I’d title it ‘A Victorian, with a Sage-Coloured Bonnet, Lost in Mid-Century Copenhagen.’

And it would sell for millions obviously.



Liz's living room before and after



Liz's living room before and after


Under the cut:
In detail how and what we managed to achieve, whilst still in the hazy throes of first home bliss…


Stripping back the old wallpaper revealed several hairline cracks in the plaster beneath, nothing too dramatic but unfortunately they were in pretty noticeable spots. I’d already set my heart on an above budget fireplace, so there was no way that we could justify getting someone in to skim or plaster the walls. Instead we filled in and sanded any cracks and opted for a lining paper alternative to help give us the smooth, but affordable, finish we were after.

It was extra labour (my boyfriends Dad, Eric, deserves a shout out here) but the results were great. I was a little worried that you’d be able to see the joining lines but unless you look really closely at the fireplace (the trickiest part to work around) you really can’t see any. And after having just painted my hallway – directly on to plastered walls – this was by far the easiest surface to paint and it does give a more even finish.

So yes, lining paper is great if your room isn’t too big (there was no way we’d be papering our ridiculously tall hallway walls) and you have a skilled ‘Eric’ equivalent at hand to ensure the rolls don’t overlap!


“Inspiration is all around you, and if you can’t see it, then you’re not looking properly.” – Paul Smith, fashion designer

Indeed. What he said. For the colour scheme my inspiration came from my bike. Honestly, I’m not kidding – take a look and I challenge you to spot the difference. Dulux Soft Moss 2  came up trumps as the closest match and not being one for ‘feature walls’ I decided to make every single wall a feature instead, painting the whole lot green. Incidentally after wildly over estimating the quantity needed we still have a spare tin of it should you fancy?




Living Room:

Liz's living room before and after


I LOVE IT. There, what more do you need to know? Oh, I bought it from Wisdom Fireplaces in Levenshulme. Honestly though, this was a purely stylistic decision, it’s not as effective at chucking out the heat as the previous fireplace but it’s a Victorian fire place in a Victorian terrace, what could be more appropriate?


We have the issue of our electric and gas meters being housed in the living room and it was really not worth the hassle and cost of up-rooting them elsewhere so instead we decided to try and make them a more functional feature. Employing the skills of a local tradesman, from Chorlton Carpenters, we created a small alcove cupboard which would hide the electric meter and double up as DVD storage and TV stand too. And with the addition of the fox-knobs from anthropologie, it worked out to be a rather stylish solution.

Alcove cupboard: after


I wanted a neutral carpet to counteract the bold green colour choice, so we opted for Sisal ‘tigers eye’,  a natural looking alternative to wooden floors (and believe me, unless your floors are already prepped put the sander down and head out and buy some yourself some Sisal, it’ll save you hours and possibly prolong your life. Sanding is horrid.) If you want the full story Kath has already blogged about our carpet buying antics here. It’s definitely worth considering, as long as you don’t mind your Dad making smart comments about how you’ve bought a giant doormat not a carpet…


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Comments: 2

  1. Jillian Says:
    January 28th, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Love the lining paper tip 😉

  2. liz Says:
    January 29th, 2015 at 7:08 am

    I know, it really is a good tip! Not sure where I gleaned such expert knowledge 😉 …

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