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Kicking off the New Year with my long overdue cottage living room makeover that’s seen a bit of modern vintage glamour thrown at it. It’s been a work in progress for most of last year which saw us stepping out of our comfort zone on lots of different levels. It has, I’m pleased to say, been worth every moment.
Ready to take a look around…
Our English Cottage Modern Vintage Glam Living Room Makeover – The Before…
Having bought our thatched cottage just over a year ago, we have been slowing renovating and bringing back some much needed character to what is nearly a 100-year-old property a stone’s throw from the sea. To be fair our living room wasn’t that bad in terms of decor. It had elements of green, which, if you’ve read previous posts happens to be one of my favourite colours. Apart from that this space was pretty bland and boring to look at let alone spend time in.
Bland, Boring & Erm No Character…
Unlike our south facing Garden Room where we spend time during the day due to its sunny disposititon, our living room faces East and only receives a sprinkling of morning sunshine before it becomes somewhat overcast with shadows and dull light. Winter months had also proven that this room remained even more dismal with grey skies and shorter day light hours.
Design Tip: It’s important to take into account how much daylight a space receives as it can effect your colour choices and how they look. Always use paint/wallpaper swatches around the room to see how it will look at different times of the day.
Our English Cottage Modern Vintage Glam Living Room Makeover – Embracing Our Living Room’s Dark Side…
Our living room is primarily used to spend our evenings curled up on the sofa or by the fire. It was destined to become a cosy, warm retreat with an additional touch of vintage Hollywood glamour to ensure our evenings were spent in good company with each other.
We could of course done what most would have and that would have been to try and lighten/brighten this room up with lighter colours and more reflective surfaces. In fact, I can’t begin to tell you how many visitors (when we were allowed them) said it needed brightening up. It’s a natural reaction to darker spaces. Me being me, (and never one to be told), went with my heart. My natural instinct when it came to redesigning this space was to do the opposite. I was intent on embracing the darker side of our cottage and working with it rather than against.
DESIGN TIP: Not all dark spaces need to be lightened. Decide on how you are going to use the space, as well as the length of time spent in there and more importantly how you would like it to make you feel.
Our English Cottage Modern Vintage Glam Living Room Makeover
With 2020 mainly spent apart from our loved ones and friends, we needed to have an escape from the realities of this new and uncertain time in our life, like so many others. We found indulging in what makes you happy is definitely an essential part of living these days especially when it comes to our homes which have become more of a retreat from the outside world.
Go with your heart and rest assured everything will come together to create a unique and personal space. On the plus side with no one visiting anytime soon there’s no-one to sway you into doing anything other than what will bring you joy.
Embracing Colour & Pattern
Considering we have wallpapered our other main living areas from our Garden Room and more recent earlier 2020 lockdown project, our master bedroom, it went without saying that we would use this decorative medium in our living room.
I’d had my eye on Wisteria wallpaper by Pearl Lowe ever since I wrote about Woodchip & Magnolia’s wallpaper collections a few years ago. In fact, this will be the third design I have used from this fantastic wallpaper company. The quality, colour pigmentation and ease of putting it up means that they will forever be my go-to choice for wallpaper when it comes to decorating. Woodchip & Magnolia also have the most amazing array of designs to choose from. Which, if you’re like me, has led me down the proverbial rabbit hole of wanting to wallpaper everywhere. Although truth be said, after a year spent slowly redecorating our cottage, I’m going to have to pace myself before springing the next project onto the poor unexpecting Hubs.
Having narrowed this beautiful Wisteria design down to two colour ways, it was really a matter of deciding how we wanted the room to feel. As it is a room we tend to spend time in the evening and as, I mentioned before, quite dark, I opted for the Noir version.
Another reason for choosing the Wisteria wallpaper is that we don’t have tall ceilings in this room. The Wisteria pattern cleverly helps guide the eye vertically creating a sense of height when there is none.
DESIGN TIP: If you have a dark room think of it’s functionality (what you use it for and how long you spend in there) before deciding whether to try and brighten it up. It may be that you embrace the cosiness and darkness by enhancing it with rich textures and reflective metallic surfaces.
Wallpapering Is Easier Than You Think!
Wallpapering our living room was definitely more of a challenge than our previous projects. With our living room I’d decided to adorn most of our walls with the Wisteria wallpaper. This included corners and the recess of our double doors to our garden room. Both of which we had never attempted before and to top it off I had chosen a patterned wallpaper. I well and truly put the Hubs through a few challenges with his decorating skills. I’m pleased to say that a few Youtube tutorials later we overcame our fear of the unknown. And I’m happy to report, would quite happily wallpaper an entire room now. It really is a lot easier than you think.
Matching Paint Colours to Wallpaper
If lockdown in 2020 showed me anything it was trying to work out what paint would go with my wallpaper choices was, I dare say, a complete and utter nightmarish experience. Call it luck in the case of our living room. When Craig and Rose paints sent me their full-size samples and they turned out to be the perfect match with Woodchip and Magnolia’s Pearl Lowe Wisteria in Noir wallpaper. Definitely worth noting if you intend to adorn your homes with this beautiful wallpaper design.
Rose Pink Ceiling…
Much to the I.E. Hubs initial horror at my mentioning painting the ceiling Rose Pink, I did manage to win him round. The result was all that I could have wished for and in my husbands words the most perfect paint he’d ever used.
In fact the Hubs has decided that he’d quite happily paint the rest of our cottage’s ceilings pink! Which has me wondering whether he’d be up for wallpapering them too haha! Although, I’m not quite sure he is ready for that yet…
Unearthing Original Parquet Flooring…
Not long after we moved into our cottage, we made a tantalising discovery of it’s original flooring. Underneath heavyset carpets sat the nearly 100-year-old exquisite original parquet flooring.
To be honest it wasn’t an easy decision to pull up the carpet as we had only exposed a small amount of the original flooring. If ever there was a game of chance, ripping up carpets is one I could name. We were fortunate with the hallway but when it came to the living room, we were mortified to find pieces of mdf where the previous owners had carried out works to the hearth and radiator area. That said, we couldn’t be happier with what we discovered. For us, it’s as much about giving our thatched cottage by the sea back some of it’s original character and heritage.
We were very lucky to employ a local company LH Flooring to restore our floors. The transformation and actual process was amazing to watch and I did feel like a bit of a stalker peering in and taking snap shots at every opportunity. All undertaken with Covid safety measures.
The end result, a beautiful original floor that would have cost us thousands to have replaced. And considering each block had been handmade and pinned unlike today’s parquet, it’s truly a work of art.
Up-cycling & DIY
One good thing that has come out of 2020 for us personally was trying our hand at diy and upcyling skills. It started with our bedroom makeover and I extended my new found skills to our living room.
Our living room makeover entailed replacing our dated furniture from our old house whilst keeping to a strict budget. I decided to up-cycle a mirrored sideboard I found on a local selling site on Facebook. The hubs, I’m afraid to say wasn’t in favour but went along with it just the same as basically he had little choice.
As it turned out, it was one of my most popular posts on Instagram where I documented our living room makeover. You can check out my quick reel below showing the process.
UPVC Doors Upcycled
You may also recall may post here on painting our double doors that lead to our garden room. I’m so pleased I painted them black using Frenchic’s Alfresco Blackjack paint. To be honest, they would have looked awful if we had kept them white.
Shop Your Home…
One of the things we can all do during lockdown is to shop our home for existing pieces that may work in other rooms. For us, it was a hallway mirror that had seen better days. I decided to give it to a refresh with some leftover Frenchic Blackjack alfresco paint. A quick sand and wipe down was all the prep it needed to transform it into a centre piece in our living room.
Lighting is so incredibly important to any space and the best way to introduce it is to layer it throughout a room.
Our living room is used as a walk through to our garden room which means that this room has no central lighting pendant. Add low ceilings into the equation and your basically left with wall lighting and table lamps. Fortunately, we have five sets of wall lights operated separately which allows us to light/dim different aspects of our living room.
Finding lights that took into consideration the decorative wallpaper and the fact that I wanted to add some original character back into this room, I discovered these beautiful pumpkin glass wall lights with antiqued bronzed rose wall fittings from Pooky Lights. I love their simplicity whilst adding detail to the walls without competing for attention with the Wisteria wallpaper.
You may recall my visit to Sofology last September when I got to try out their new Autumn range which I wrote about here.
As part of my collaboration with Sofology, I was kindly gifted their Alchemist chair, side tables and table lamps. This exquisite chair not only has all the looks, it’s also extremely comfortable. It goes without saying it has become my favourite place to sit and spend time reading.
Our English Cottage Modern Vintage Glam Living Room Makeover – The Finishing Touches
You may recall one of my favourite designers is the incredibly talented Debbie from Alijoedesigns. I’m pleased to say my collection of vintage plate designs are growing in our home and I bought this pair for our wedding anniversary. Like Debbie’s other designs I own, I have framed this pair using leftover Wisteria wallpaper to hang either side of our fireplace. They add a bit of fun to this room and more importantly put a smile on our faces. Something we can all do with right now.
You might have spotted a few of my feathered friends around our living room. From parrots to peacocks to this beautiful Lovebird iBride tray from Lime Lace. They are my personal indulgence and I absolutely adore them in all their forms.
There’s also nothing like a cosy throw or two to snuggle up with like this 100% New Zealand Wool throw in a wonderful emerald green that lifts this darker corner of our living room.
Our English Cottage Modern Vintage Glam Living Room Makeover
Nearly a year down the line and the living room is almost complete (I’m still after a large enough rug to fill this space). It is our personal retreat and somewhere we can sit back and relax and enjoy the fruits of our labour. I hope you’ve been inspired to create your own personal spaces that will bring you as much joy as ours.
Until next time, thank you as always for stopping by!