It's hard to believe this fresh, bright space was once a grubby, nicotine-stained flat with questionable carpets. Thankfully, such decor didn't put off its current owners, a tech manager and interiors stylist; they were able to spot the potential the minute they walked in the door of this two-bed flat above a shop.
Once the sale went through, and with their possessions in storage, they to set to work decorating. But with just three days before the removal men arrived, time was tight.
The quickest and easiest solution was to paint the whole flat in white and light grey tones and then set about adding character with furniture and accessories.
Without cumbersome furniture in the way, it was easy to refresh the walls and this instantly made the rooms feel bigger and friendlier.
Against such a blank canvas, the owners started adding colour and patterns. Much of the furniture was second-hand or sourced on eBay, but they were able to transform it with a riot of shades.
1/9 Living room
Here in the living room, blue floral fabric sits next to an abstract orange design on a footstool, all underpinned by a monochrome striped rug. 'You can never have too much pattern,' says the owner, an ethos she extends to the rest of the flat.
The owners wanted to put their colourful collection of crockery and glassware on display in the kitchen, so opted for open shelving. Using scaffold planks and simple brackets, they cost a bargainous £30 and allow useful items to be kept to hand and bring character to such a small space.
Cups and bowls
With space at a premium even the tightest corner was utilised and given character. This cooker was chosen to fit snugly into the alcove with bright glass used behind as a splashback. Again, quirky accessories were picked for their eye-catching colour.
These two chairs prove that style needn't cost a fortune. The owner bought one chair in a junk shop, painted it white then added gold detail at the top. The other one she discovered in a skip and carried home. After treating it for woodworm, it was painted in white and light grey, with a brilliant flash of bright neon paint added at the bottom.
The walls, floor and furniture are painted a very pale grey making this a calm place for sleeping and a neutral backdrop for coloured accessories. A bright blanket, cushions and a monochrome rug bring contrast and the owner has offered a unique touch by mis-matching the knobs on the upcycled chest of drawers.
Snowman trade paint
6/9 Office/guest room
The last room to be finished, the second bedroom had acted as a storage space while the owners were completing the rest of the flat. Turning it into an office and guest room, they built a desk in here using a door from Wickes and a set of trestle legs which can be easily packed away when guests are staying over.
It was important to keep the entrance to the flat neat and tidy, so shoes are stored in a plain box while vintage-style hooks keep coats and bags off the floor. The walls are painted white at the top and light grey at the bottom to tie in with the colour scheme of the rest of the property.
Similar coat hooks
As the suite was in good condition, the bathroom required little more than some TLC. The walls were painted white and the old grout scraped out and replaced with a smart grey. Blue towels and accessories were used to lift the monochrome scheme.
9/9 Living room
Details are important and having pale walls means they can really stand out. The owners have an ever-expanding collection of books and ornaments and chose them in punchy colours and ecelctic styles to make their space homely. 'It's a great feeling to have friends and family to visit and share the fruits of our labour,' they say.
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Heather Young has been Ideal Home’s Editor since late 2020, and Editor-In-Chief since 2023. She is an interiors journalist and editor who’s been working for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines for over 20 years, both in-house and as a freelancer.
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