'It was a complete mess and full of junk!' How a dumping ground for clutter became a stylish second living room

This transformative makeover has turned an unloved space into an elegant room scheme that's both calm and chic

living room with white sofa and pouffe with green wall panelling
(Image credit: @InsideSarahsHome / Frenchic Paint)

It's all too easy to have that one room that fills up with clutter – a place where we put things we don't know what to do with, or that we don't need day to day. Before long, tackling that room can seem daunting, and be put off for another day. 

If, however, you want to reclaim your spare room so you have a living room for entertaining, then you may want to take a leaf out of this homeowner's book… 

Spare room living room makeover

Faced with a front room that became somewhere to store junk, Sarah and her husband Jonny, who live in the North West, were determined to turn it back into a space that they used. 

'We moved into our four-bedroom 1920's house two-and-a-half years ago,' says Sarah, 'and it needed quite a lot of work doing. We prioritised the most urgent renovation projects first, including a new bathroom and kitchen, and then we worked our way around the house room by room based on what space we used the most. 

'The front room was initially a dining room which we never used,' Sarah recalls, 'so it was quite low on our priority list and just became a dumping ground since we moved in. It was a complete mess and full of junk so we just never went in there. It was a wasted space as it’s a decent-sized room. 

'We knew that we wouldn’t use this space as a dining room as we'd had our old dining table in it and only used it twice – we tend to eat at our kitchen breakfast bar – so we sold our dining table and chairs and decided to turn it into a second living room.'


living room with red wall and fireplace

(Image credit: @InsideSarahsHome / Frenchic Paint)

Having blasted through a decluttering checklist and ridding the room of clutter, Sarah and Jonny began to think about what they wanted for the room. On the wish list was wall panelling, as well as some storage in the alcoves either side of the fireplace.


living room with white sofa and pouffe with green wall panelling

(Image credit: @InsideSarahsHome / Frenchic Paint)

The room has been completely transformed. Gone is the orange pine and wine-red wall and in its place is a tranquil scheme with smart furniture and classic wall panelling.

'We panelled the feature wall ourselves,' says Sarah. 'It was a really easy process as we used a panelling kit (available at B&Q). The panelling was already cut to size so it just needed measuring out on the wall. I know wall panelling has become very popular, but it's the only panelling we have in our home and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. We have our framed wedding photos above it in black and white.'

living room with white footstool and fireplace with tv above

(Image credit: @InsideSarahsHome / Frenchic Paint)

Once the living room wall panelling was finished, Sarah and Jonny painted and wallpapered the room. 'We wanted it to be a cosy space for us to relax in, so we’ve kept the decor neutral and minimal,' says Sarah. 'The paint colour on the panelling is Breezing by Frenchic, and we also used the same colour on the opposite side of the room on our chimney breast.'

'It's not quite finished yet,' Sarah explains, 'as we're having built-in half-height cupboards with floating shelves fitted in both alcoves soon.'

check armchair with side table in window

(Image credit: @InsideSarahsHome / Frenchic Paint)

'We wanted this room to be where we host our guests, so we’ve made sure that there are plenty of seats for multiple people, including a sofa, a cuddle chair and some lovely wingback chairs in our bay window. This is Nala’s (our cat) favourite place to sit!'

We can see why the couple are so pleased with their new-look living room ideas – it's stylish, and serene and you'd never know it was once a junk room. 

Frenchic Paint has partnered with mental health charity Samaritans, to help raise money for the vital, lifesaving services.

Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at lauriedavidson.co.uk