Home Improvements: Living Room Makeover


When I shared an update on our new home renovations last October, I was frankly surprised and touched by the interest shown considering most of you tune in for stitching-related topics. So I felt it was only right to follow up with the end-ish result.

We still need artwork/paintings for the walls, a sideboard/cabinet for the alcove on the right and a couple of plants, but we're so happy with what we've achieved so far! Guys, we did A LOT to this room - you can refresh your memory over here if you like.


We had a particularly hairy moment when we painted our 'feature' wall Smurf blue...and I cried! We had to come back before work the next morning, paint it white again and go on the hunt for a classier colour. Which I hope you agree we found in the end!


The boyfriend took a lot of convincing that a mid-century / 60s vibe was a sexy way to go, but we managed to compromise eventually. Turns out compromising is really hard and not our forte! 





We searched long and hard for a mirror and originally we both had something much bigger and grander in mind. But we couldn't agree on the colour of the frame, the shape of the mirror and various other petty details. When I randomly spotted this 1940s (I think?!?) beauty in a local charity shop for a mere £25, my mind was made up. I text the boyfriend a couple of pictures and anxiously awaited his disapproval. Even then, I had to have her and sheer stubbornness meant I carried her the 15 minute walk home...all 10 kilos of her. My fingers were bleeding when I got back (she's mounted on solid oak), but I was elated. She fit right in and even the boyfriend finally agreed that she looked 'nice enough' and could stay in the living room. One small battle won...so many more to go!





Even though this was a really challenging process, I'm kinda hooked now and can't wait to slowly tackle the rest of the house. If you follow me on Pinterest, you'll see just how obsessed I've become. Sadly, the boyfriend doesn't share my taste for all things vintage and retro...so I fear many more compromises are on the horizon.  



So, there you have it...our new living room! Would you like to see more of these kind of posts from me in the future, or have you had quite enough now?

Also, if you've become an expert at negotiating and compromising with your partner when it comes to home improvements, please do share your nuggets of wisdom!

** Post-publication edit, since so many of you have asked about our sofas! They're from the Opal range at Harveys...an absolute steal in the sale right now! **

85 comments:

  1. I LOVE it!! Where did you get your armchair/sofas?

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    1. Thanks Camille! The sofas are from the Opal range at Harveys http://www.harveysfurniture.co.uk/products/living-room/categories/fabric-sofas.aspx?RangeDetails=opal

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  2. It looks great! My husband and I never fight over decorating, mostly because we've both got rooms we care about and room we don't! ;) He has full reign over his space, and I get all the rest to do with as I please... so basically, what I'm saying is, my advice doesn't count for much. He did say something interesting yesterday when I was asking him for input for a quilt I'm making us... I was asking about what colours to include, and if I should do an improv design or a pattern, and he said "I think you should do rainbow, because the colour represents you, make up the pattern as you go along, because the chaos represents me." Now that's my guiding principal for the quilt: make it chaotic, and he'll feel like it's his design too!
    Maybe if you an your guy each got to choose a few words to guide your design, it would be easier make design decisions? Like if he wanted it simple and bold, and you wanted retro and streamlined, then you could evaluate each desicion/puchase based on those keywords?
    Good luck! You've done great so far!

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    1. Thank you so much for the considered response, I love yours and your hubby's approach...I'm gonna try it!

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  3. I love it! Quite similar to ours with the midcentury nods actually. Where is the gorgeous armchair from? We're looking for new ones and totally can't find anything we agree on. Interiors is probably what we most fight over too! Men eh?

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    1. Thank you Katie! The sofas/armchair are from the Opal range at Harveys http://www.harveysfurniture.co.uk/products/living-room/categories/fabric-sofas.aspx?RangeDetails=opal

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  4. Looks lovely, that shade of blue, the mirror, and especially the sofas and chairs, just love it. Very fresh.

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  5. Wow it's looking really great! I love the blue furniture -- so cute.
    I don't have much advice on the compromising in this department, as my boyfriend has similar tastes to mine (thank god), but one thing I've found when we are at odds when it comes to furnishing our place is, if there's something he suggests that you don't love, but could live with, jump on it! Get enthusiastic about any little thing that you find you both like (even if you only like it a tiny bit), because it's awful to argue over taste and design aesthetic. Embrace any common ground. :)

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    1. Thank you Sue for such wise words! It does seem petty to fight over interiors!

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  6. I love your living room! The floor is gorgeous, the colours relaxing and the retro-vibe irresistable! I think it could go in an interior design magazine! I would love to read about your progress, as we are starting our renovations next week...

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    1. Wow, thanks for the super kind words Wendy! Good luck with yours!

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  7. Oh Marie! The hard work (and tears) paid off! It looks so chic and welcoming. I love your living room set! Cannot wait to see more. I so wish I had a knack for decorating but I can't see past hanging a photo :)

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    1. Aaaw, thanks Mela! I'm sure you're better than you realise...and...erm, I've never even tried hanging a photo ;o)

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  8. LOVE THE LOOK. I have sofa and light fitting envy. Where are the sofas from?

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    1. Thanks so much lovely! The sofas are from the Opal range at Harveys http://www.harveysfurniture.co.uk/products/living-room/categories/fabric-sofas.aspx?RangeDetails=opal

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  9. OMG your room looks amazing. Please come do my house next! We are so used to living like students (even though we've been out of grad school almost 10 years now ...) we have no idea where to begin with decorating. And honestly, we're reluctant to spend the money when we're not sure the end result will be something we love.

    Fortunately my husband and I have similar aesthetics ... sharing a decorating vision should be easy, but FINDING one seems a bit overwhelming as of yet.

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    1. Thanks Andrea! It was tough and tiring, so we're having a little break for now! If and when you're ready to tackle decorating (if you even need to that is!), then it's great that you share a similar vision ;o)

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  10. Oh, Marie, this looks amazing! I love love LOVE it! The color, the furniture, everything! The floors look particularly amazing, and the ceiling, too! I'm particularly jealous of the high ceilings and bright light! Can I move in???

    I hear you about the struggle to compromise with your partner-- when we moved into our last apartment, I made the mistake of asking him for feedback on paint colors, and we fought like crazy! I wanted a lovely, rich salmon, and he wanted... I don't even remember, but I hated it! We "compromised" on a yellow that we could both tolerate, but we both ended up hating it by the time we moved out! Now in our new apartment we're working on figuring out what we both like (bold stripes is the one thing we can agree on so far!), but it's not easy!

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    1. Aaaw, thanks! But you live in NYC and that trumps high ceilings, floors, furniture...the lot ;o) I love your story too...fingers crossed you find some common ground for the new apartment ;o)

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  11. Oh gosh I've got all this to come. If it helps you can show him all the comments on this post confirming your living room looks bootiful (cos its guaranteed there will be loads!)

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    1. Thank you lady...and it's exciting that you'll have a beautiful new house to make even more beautiful!

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  12. Sooo, this is where I'm sleeping when I come visit the UK, right?! :) It looks GORGEOUS!!

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    1. Abso-bloody-lutely! Come visit soon!

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  13. Your living room is absolutely beautiful!! We recently bought our first home and are right at the beginning of redecorating, thanks so much for the inspiration. x

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    1. Thank you and you're welcome! Congrats on the new home and good luck ;o)

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  14. Really nice! Looks like my Grandma's house, only more coordinated!
    In regards to working together on decorating: Compromise isn't about convincing him to like what you like. It is more about both of you making choices together and finding common preferences. Both should have a say and both should look around the completed room and be able to see things that were their choice/preference.
    Sometimes we take it in turns to have the final say, and sometimes I chose a top 3 that I'd be happy with and let him choose the one we'll go for.
    Perhaps now that it is done and you can live in the space, he could take control of the artwork decisions? Or he could be more in charge of the next room? Get him hooked on Pinterest!!

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    1. Hehe, I love a bit of granny chic! And thank you so much for the excellent advice!

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  15. So so gorgeous! Thankfully David and I are on relatively the same page when it comes to decorating. We both like the art deco/retro look with all of it's clean lines. I've even showed him my pinterest page and his comment was something like 'I'd like to live in your house'. When we eventually buy a house that is...sigh.

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    1. Aaaw, that's so cute! When you do buy a house, you'll have a whole load of fun to look forward to!

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  16. It looks stunning! What fantastic furniture!

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  17. This is lovely! And yes, please, I'd love to see more! The mid century look is what I really love, and fortunately so does my husband. I haven to say, generally I do get my own way,as I have better "vision" than him, and usually we try it and he ultimately agrees. However if he really doesn't like something, he will put his foot down. It drives me crazy, but fair enough, I suppose, it's his house too! I realise that's not helpful though! Nessa above has probably given some actual advice! I'd be inclined to say dig your heels in! Which will probably get you nowhere! :)

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    1. Hehe, thanks so much Helen! I am always tempted to dig my heels in, but it really does get me nowhere! So annoying, but I can't have my own way every time...apparently ;o)

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  18. Yes, I love it! And I think someone already asked, but I'd LOVE to know where the sofa's are from please. Just the sort of thing I've been looking for :)
    I have similar problems with 'him indoors'. We're total chalk and cheese. I'd live in a dreamy vintage/retro themed house, and he's be space age shiny. It's very tricky! xxx

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    1. Thank you so much and sorry to hear you're in a similar position! Stupid boys!!! The sofas are from the Opal range at Harveys http://www.harveysfurniture.co.uk/products/living-room/categories/fabric-sofas.aspx?RangeDetails=opal

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  19. i LOVE the black fire place against the blue wall. I love how everything looks together! I cant wait to see the rest of the house.


    chloe
    www.bythelock.com

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  20. I'm swimming in envy at the moment! I love the colours and how they all compliment each other. I haven't had the pleasure (if you can call it that) of working out colour schemes with my boyfriend yet but if our experience of buying items for the kitchen in our rented flat is anything to go by, we'll be having the same experience as you! We massively disagreed over a set of knives - he wanted silver handles and I wanted black. The best of it - he doesn't even use them!

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    1. Ahahah, love that story and how typical! I wish we could just stamp our feet and get our own way all the time ;o)

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  21. I love it. I recently finished a complete gut of our living room. I too, went with a mid-century modern look. I went with dove grey walls and a charcoal grey couch. I love the blue in yours though. Yes, please, more home improvement posts.

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    1. Wow, sounds like you've been a busy bee too! Love the sound of your colour scheme...yum!

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  22. "Babe, I have a project that I want to do, okay? It will cost very little I promise (*super excited face*)"
    "....Alright, sure."
    Then when you are done, be super stoked about it and make sure you point out all the things you are really proud of. It makes it harder for them to say they don't like it. :)

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  23. This is just perfect. It has a modern 60s vibe - the lounge suite is super cool and that blue is perfect. I am super jealous of your fire place, I always wanted a house with a fire place, but where I live is just too hot and houses don't have them.
    I am lucky, my hubby just leaves me to it when it comes to decorating, he has no vision and luckily knows it!
    I'm looking forward to seeing your other rooms

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    1. Thanks so much and lucky you ;o)

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  24. I definitely want to see more! The work you guys put into this living room is amazing! Now I need to go tidy my living room....

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  25. It's gorgeous Marie. I love the colours. We don't always agree on decorating but your mid century vibe is one where we do! Love that blue!

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  26. It looks fabulous! I love the cool, calm colours!

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  27. Oh Marie, I practically gasped when I saw that living room! I think the color you chose for the accent wall is absolutely perfect (with that fireplace you worked on, egads, amazing). The way you have everything setup is perfect, too. That's my favorite house vibe, vintage/retro with some modern thrown in, too. I love your color palette across the whole room and everything in it, I'm ready to move right in!

    Compromise is HARD when it comes to homes. We had a few knock down drag out arguments in the beginning but now we seem to be doing a much better job of working together. We'll see how that continues once we paint more rooms and decorate them more fully. ;)

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    1. Thank you so much, I love having your stamp of approval as I adore your style! And I've always enjoyed your home decor posts, especially that amazing bathroom renovation!!!

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  28. Looks fantastic! My husband and I rarely agree on decor. We have been married 20 years and moved into 4 houses during that time. Learning the art of compromise is what its all about. it is great to see the final project. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks so much and glad to hear you and your hubby have reached a good compromise!

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  29. ah this is so beautiful doll :) and I love the determination of the mirror episode. Literal blood, sweat and tears to make it your home. With all this effort I know for sure you will really reap the fruits of your labours this year when you're curled up on the sofa. These sofa btw are gorgeous xxx

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    1. Thanks so much Rehanon, you're a sweetie!

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  30. The room looks incredible. I love the furniture that you chose.

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  31. Oh my goodness! It's absolutely gorgeous! I love the jade green wall (the smurf blue made me laugh), the fireplace, the sofas... The mirror, what a find! It deserved to go up on the wall after you lugged it home. If I were the boyfriend, I'd just let you get on with it!

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  32. It looks fab! I love both colours :) The compromise when decorating usually comes from me, however I am putting my foot down for this home as we don't intend to move again. When it come to furniture we have similar tastes.

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  33. If it helps win over the BF you have impeccable taste. Your living rooms looks stunning. I'm a big fan of mid century modern too. Love the colours, sofas and the cute mag rack. Your tale about getting the mirror home made me laugh. I dragged a cupboard back from my local charity shop using a porters trolley. I got some weird looks on the way but was determined to get my booty home.

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    1. Thank you! To be fair to the boy, even though I 'dictated' the overall style he totally got involved with picking colours and soft furnishings etc. Hehe, talk about determined...love your cupboard story!

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  34. Marie this is amazing!!! Kudos to you for hauling back that great mirror - def a great find.

    I love that curtain rod that covers all of the windows - is that original to the house or did you hunt that down?

    Question: How did you go about stripping off the wallpaper & paint? I have to do the same thing soon and was curious what your steps were. (Vinegar solution, etc.)

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    1. Thank Liz, I'm so excited for you having all of this to look forward to and I can't wait to see your progress!

      I don't think the curtain rod/track is original, but I do think the lady before us had it custom made. It's pretty cool and we wouldn't have found anything more perfect...so we got lucky there.

      For stripping wallpaper/paint off the walls, we went for a simple and effective method. First we used a wallpaper perforator (a medieval looking implement with spikes pictured here http://www.astitchingodyssey.com/2013/10/trading-in-my-sewing-tools-temporarily.html) to punch little holes in the wallpaper. Then we used a wallpaper steam stripper. Perforating the walls first meant that the steam could get through the paint and under the wallpaper. We didn't add anything to the water, the steam alone was enough. I was doubtful about how useful the perforator would be, but we tested doing it with and without and it turns out it really does work!

      Hope this is helpful!

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    2. Thanks so much Marie! Good luck on the rest of your renovations, too.

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  35. Hi Marie, congratulations on your awesome reno! My husband and I are totally in love with your wall paint colour - would you mind sharing what the shade/brand of paint is? Love love love!

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    1. Thanks so much Li Ann, you're both very kind! The paint is 'Inky Pool 4' by Dulux. It was lovely to work with, as was the B&Q own brand we used for the grey walls too!

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  36. Great transformation!! I love these updates! Totally into house renovating!

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  37. Wow - it looks gorgeous! Lovely colors! So, when we need to make decisions, I am easier to please than my Mister. So for example, with a paint color I would gather all the swatches and get him to go through them first choosing his favorites, then I choose the one that I want/like out of those selections. I can't get excited over TV's/electronics etc., so Mister chooses all those. That means that I get final say on other things :) Every now and then I put my foot down - I wanted sinks that sit on top of the counter top in the ensuite - he didn't. So I reminded him of the other compromises that I had made . . . . and we now have sinks on top of the counter top!!

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  38. It looks so good!!! The colors are amazing and I LOVE the wood floors and your furniture. You did a really great job!

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  39. Wowzers! What a stunning transformation Marie. We're loving the feature wall and that mirror really opens up the room (I'm also personally quite jealous as I'm looking for a mirror to fit in our living room, without much luck!) - which rooms are next on your list? :-) Chris @ Harveys

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  40. Um... this is what my living room SHOULD look like...

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  41. We have ordered this sofa in mustard, can't wait to get it :)

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