Before and after: Inspirational bright and airy living room transformation

The owner combined soothing blues with natural materials for a fresh coastal feel in her living room
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • The owner and her boyfriend had lived in their two-bed flat for just over a year, and it’s the perfect location for them. The downside was that the interior needed majorly updating.

    Priority was the living room idea, 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.

    Coastal blue living room makeover

    coastal living room makeover

    Image credit: Future PLC/ 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 living room 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.’

    Painted fireplace

    white painted fireplace

    Image credit: Future PLC/ 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.’

    blue-coastal-living-room-makeover

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Olly Gordon

    A similar thing happened with the living room flooring idea. ‘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.’

    Alcove storage solution

    light grey living room with alcove shelving

    Image credit: Future PLC/ 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’ the owner says reflecting on the decor.

    ‘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.’

    corner of grey living room with round dining table and chairs with woven seats

    Image credit: Future PLC/ 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!’

    Grey shelf with books and decorative objects

    Image credit: Future PLC/ 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.’

    All the latest from Ideal Home