Before and after: paint and wallpaper have totally transformed this living-dining area

The structure of this large living space worked perfectly for the owners, but they knew the time had come for some serious redecorating

The living/dining room is a space that the owners use all the time, as the kitchen isn’t big enough to eat in. However, a few years after they last decorated, the couple were beginning to tire of the scheme. ‘For the last few years, it had been a boring pale blue and nothing matched, which was starting to irritate us,’ they say.

When the pair originally painted it blue, they had also bought two velvet sofas from eBay and a French-style table, chairs and sideboard. As those pieces were still in good condition, the owners decided to keep them and ditch everything else. ‘We wanted new flooring, walls, blinds, cushions and throws – a whole new look on a budget.’

One thing that the couple had never liked was that the walls were cut in two by a dado rail. They’d always painted each half in a slightly different colour, but they felt it looked very dated.

‘We’re pretty handy at DIY,’ say the owners, ‘so our first job was to remove the moulding, which made the wall look a lot better and let us install vertical radiators.’ And having kept the grey sofas and off-white furniture, they knew that the base colours for the scheme would be these two neutral shades.

After living room SAH April p80 Tarling

Three of the walls were painted in a soft grey, which provides a calming backdrop to the furniture and accessories.

Sofa SAH April p80 Tarling

The longest wall was kept free for wallpaper. ‘We’d been looking at designer wallpapers for ages, but it’s a big wall and, as we needed four rolls, they were too expensive,’ say the owners. ‘Then, one day in Laura Ashley, we spotted a delicate grey and white design that was just right. Even better, it was in the sale for only £9 per roll, so we grabbed four of them and rushed to the till.’

View to dining room SAH April p80 Tarling

Finding new flooring was the next task. The pine-effect laminate was looking very scruffy, so the couple chose high-quality wood-effect vinyl that fits together, and they laid it themselves. ‘The one we chose was a washed-oak look in grey, so it fitted in perfectly,’ they say.

Dining area SAH April p80 Tarling

Wanting somewhere to display their pottery, the owners bought a large shelf unit from eBay in dark mahogany for £40. They then got to work on it with chalk painting, choosing a grey base, but painting the outside bright yellow to add a pop of colour.

Yellow storage unit SAH April p80 Tarling

‘We echoed this with all our other furniture choices, painting them the same grey, but adding a drawer or a knob in yellow,’ say the couple.

Flowers SAH April p80 Tarling

A silver fabric was chosen for the new blinds, and a yellow pompom trim was glued onto the bottom to tie in with the other yellow accents in the room.

Blind SAH April p80 Tarling

Not everything is yellow, though. This painterly cushion add a bit of contrast.

Now that everything is in place, including the accessories, the owners are happy to kick back on their comfy sofas and enjoy the benefits of all their hard work. ‘It’s so peaceful and calm in here now,’ they say.

Get the look

Buy now: Cornforth White Estate Emulsion (on walls), £43.50 for 2.5ltr, Farrow & Ball

Buy now: Josette wallpaper, £34 per roll, Laura Ashley

Buy now: Palio Clic Arezzo flooring, £26.81 per sq m, Karndean Designflooring

Buy now: Ricochet radiators, £180 each, Ultra Finishing

Buy now: Opulence Silver Roman blinds, from £63.10 each, Tuiss

Buy now: yellow trim on blinds, £1 per m, Frumble Fabrics

Buy now: Paris Grey and English Yellow chalk paint (on furniture), £18.95 each for 1ltr, Annie Sloan

Buy now: artwork cushions by Sue Fenlon, £14 each, Leekes

Buy now: for a similar chandelier, try the Connie, £160, Bhs

This living room originally appeared in Style at Home, April 2017

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