Before and after: small changes have made a big difference in this Parisian-style living room

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  • Having met her boyfriend in the City of Love, the owner set out to create a vibrant character-filled scheme to remind her of that special time and place

    ‘Apartments in Paris, where we lived before, are small, with zones for eating and little terraces,’ says the owner. ‘And that was what I was hoping for when my French boyfriend and I moved to London for his job.’

    This flat in north London grabbed the couple right away, with the terrace, French doors and views onto an old walled garden. It’s on two levels with a compact kitchen, so the living room is the main space. ‘It was a good size, but with a beige carpet and walls, it was so dull,’ they say.

    With a limited budget, the pair thought hard about how to make the living room their own. The old carpet was grubby so it was the first thing to go. For a touch of luxury, the couple splashed out on a rich wool-mix one in charcoal grey, then complemented it with a Berber rug to break up the space. The walls were next on the agenda, as the owners hate beige. ‘We wanted to bring in some pale greys for a softer look, with accessories in red, orange, blue and pink,’ they say.

    After living room SAH May 17 p84 Robinson

    The owner’s furniture suited the space so they didn’t need to buy a lot for the new scheme. ‘The leather sofa was good-quality and we stuck with the wooden blind,’ they say. ‘The coffee table is inherited, so we kept that, too.’

    Coffee table SAH May 17 p84 Robinson

    The couple also already had the dining table and chairs, but they bought a new shelving unit to go with it. ‘It’s great for displaying the china, pictures and books that had been in storage,’ they say. ‘We also had some lovely fabric made up into a runner and cushion to add colour to the table.’

    Living room from other side SAH May 17 p84 Robinson

    The one piece of furniture the couple were lacking was a decent armchair. ‘We were given this gorgeous velvet chair as a present,’ they say. ‘It’s something we probably couldn’t afford ourselves, so we really love it.’

    Armchair 2 SAH May 17 p84 Robinson

    With the interior sorted, the couple started on the terrace, using some basic furniture and benches they already owned. ‘One weekend, we painted everything pink, orange and blue,’ they say. ‘We love to eat and drink outside as much as possible, and the colours make it feel sunshiney, no matter the weather.’

    Garden SAH May 17 p84 Robinson

    The new scheme has a very bright, fresh feel that the owners love. And the bonus is that they didn’t have to change the layout, or even their furniture. ‘We’re so pleased with our little piece of Paris,’ they say, ‘and we can’t wait to have people round to enjoy it with us.’

    Get the look

    Buy now: True Velvet carpet, £59.99 per sq m, Brintons

    Buy now: Berber Nile rug (160 x 230cm), £259.95, The Rug Seller

    Buy now: walls painted in Farrow & Ball Cornforth White Estate Emulsion, £43.50 per 2.5ltr, B&Q

    Buy now: Antique brass lever arm floor lamp, £55, Dunelm

    Buy now: Loki bookcase, £225, Habitat

    Buy now: Antique brass lights, £28 each, with Vintage glass lightbulbs, £10 each, both That Lighting Shop

    This living room originally appeared in Style at Home, May 2017.

    Image credits: David Giles

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