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

living room makeover before and after
(Image credit: TBC)

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.

living room with grey designed wall brown sofa and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

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

living room with grey wall brown sofa and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

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.'

living room with grey designed wall brown sofa with cushions and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

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 with white round table and chair grey designed wall wooden flooring and white door

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

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.

dining area with grey wall wooden flooring grey and yellow shelves dinning table and chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

'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.

grey designed wall frame on wall and flower pot on grey table

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

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.

white window grey fabric with yellow trim to cover window

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

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

designed cushions on brown sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

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