Before and after: A 'boring' neutral living room gets a glam and dramatic makeover

The owners took a risk and banished the beige...

‘This room was all shades of beige and brown,’ says the owner of this five-bed Edwardian house in North London. ‘I had been contemplating grey walls for this room, but got tired of seeing the colour everywhere.' After spotting the gold cabinet from Swoon, she planned a luxe look with dark walls and pink accents, instead.

She chose Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue for her transformative blue living room idea. 'I was definitely the right choice, but everyone else was doubtful!' she admits.

‘As soon as I saw the first coat go on, I knew we’d made the right choice. I don’t know how painting a room darker can make it brighter, but it has!’

a living room with dark blue walls, pink velvet sofa with fluffy cushions, a marble and gold coffee table and three framed artistic blue and gold pictures on the wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Georgia Burns)

‘At first, we weren’t planning that pink would be part of our scheme,’ says the owner. ‘I was toying with the idea of adding emerald green. However, a velvet sofa had been on my wish list before we even moved in.

'So when I found this one, I knew it would add opulence along with the gold cabinet and dark walls. The blush hue just ticked all the boxes in terms of the look we were after.’

a close up of the white mantle around the fireplace in a living room with dark blue walls, with two gold palm tree candlesticks on the mantle alongside a gold bird statue, with pot plants sitting on a gold unit to the left

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Georgia Burns)

‘I ended up painting the fire surround white, but leaving the rest – picture rail and skirting included – dark blue. Our decorators suggested picking out the picture rail in white, but I politely declined. I’m so pleased that I stuck to my guns, because the walls are a great backdrop for our furniture and accessories.’

This inclusive living room paint idea is especially brilliant in a small living room to make the look more cohesive.

living room with dark blue walls and wooden floor, with a fireplace surrounded by a white mantle, and a pink armchair with fluffy cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Georgia Burns)

‘Before, cabinets and shelves cluttered the alcoves, which made the room feel much smaller 
than it is, says the owner. ‘We are self-confessed hoarders and didn’t want to fall into the trap of having too many places to stash things we don’t need!’

close up of succulents and candle on a wooden tray on top of a marble coffee table in a living room

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Georgia Burns)

'We decided not to rush into buying furniture and accessories that might not suit until we'd let the colour settle. It was a pain not to have it all ready immediately, but it saved money in the long run.'

a gold patterned unit against dark blue walls with potted plants, books and a gold hand sculpture on top, next to a fireplace with a white mantle in a living room

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Georgia Burns)

Love them or hate them, dramatic walls do make spaces cosy – and they’ll never overwhelm in a big, bright room. Honey oak flooring cosies up all the cool blue, grey and pink tones, and brass and gold details have given the room a luxe feel.

a living room with dark blue walls, fireplace with white mantel, gold patterned unit, wooden floors with a rug and gold marble coffee table on top

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Georgia Burns)

'It’s been such an exciting project and has set the tone for the decoration in the rest of the house. I love sharing photos of the room on Instagram, @my_London_home. My dad is still unsure about the colour and my grandmother hates it, but you can’t please everyone!’

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.