Before and after: Take a look around this bright and airy living room

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  • The owner combined soothing blues with natural materials for a fresh coastal feel in her living room

    The owner and her boyfriend had lived in there two-bed flat for just over a year, and it’s the perfect location for them. ‘It’s just a 10-minute drive to Barnes and Putney, and our back garden opens onto Wimbledon Common, with fields, woodland and a stream.’

    The downside was that the interior needed updating, including the living room, which had stained and dirty walls, ceilings with peeling wallpaper and stained carpets. They also needed to redo the fireplace, and maybe build some cabinets and shelving on either side of it.

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    coastal living room makeover

    Image credit: Olly Gordon

    They began by sanding down all the walls, removing the old carpet and stripping the textured wallpaper from the ceiling. ‘We wanted a neutral wall colour and chose Farrow & Ball’s Dimpse, as it went so well with the coastal scheme we wanted. I love the clean, airy look of the Hamptons style, with lots of whites, blues, and natural materials like jute and rattan.’

    Get the look
    Buy now: Stocksund two-seater sofa, £425; footstool, £150; armchair, £295; Ingatorp dining table, £95; Vilborg curtains, £39; all Ikea
    Buy now: Ikat cushions, £49 each; large faux coral, £22; all Kelly Hoppen

    Image credit: Olly Gordon

    The wooden fireplace didn’t work with their new scheme, so they decided to paint it white, which made a huge difference. Builders fitted cabinets on either side of the fireplace, along with shelving, which gave them some much-needed storage and a place to display books and mementos.

    ‘We did have a slight issue though as we’d asked them to tile the fireplace surround using real marble tiles, but came home to see they had tiled it with marble-effect plastic tiles instead, hoping that we wouldn’t notice! We had to confront them about it, and ask them to use our original marble tiles instead.’

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    Buy now: Faux flowers; woolly alpaca; both eBay


    Image credit: Olly Gordon

    A similar thing happened with their floor. ‘The builders had put herringbone flooring down in a rather slapdash way, and it wasn’t aligned properly, was all over the place and made the floor look cheap. We had to ask them to take the floor back up, and lay it down again, and line them up properly! Aside from that, it all went smoothly and the whole process took around six weeks.’

    Image credit: Olly Gordon

    ‘We went for a blue-and-white stripe sofa and armchair from Ikea, as we thought they would suit the space quite well. The armchair is probably a little too chunky for the space, as it the footstool – if I had to choose again, I would probably go for a smaller design, or even a glass coffee table. Despite that, we’ve still managed to make the most of the space and have used the bay window to fit in a dining table, which can extend to seat eight people.’

    Image credit: Olly Gordon

    The dining chairs were salvaged from a scrapyard in Dorset, which were then sanded and painted. ‘I love visiting reclamation and scrapyards, and have found so many amazing things.’

    ‘When the room was finished, it felt amazing to put our new furniture in, hang up some new curtains, and install a TV. We hardly ever watch TV, but somehow having one installed and being able to watch the news in the morning made it feel like a real home, rather than a building site!’

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    Buy now: Knotted cord door knobs, £5.99 for two, Zara Home

    Image credit: Olly Gordon

    ‘I love bold, bright and colourful living rooms, but as we had quite a small space to work with, I think the calm colour palette works much better, and helps to make the room feel lighter and brighter. It has a calm and cosy feel, and it’s a lovely space to come home to.’

    Get the look
    Buy now: Faux succulents and cacti, from a selection, Stradivarius

    Want more makeover ideas? READ: Before and after: See how a narrow kitchen was transformed without an extension

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