Wahoo! I can’t tell you how much talking all things ‘home’ makes my heart sing.
Ever since we moved into our new flat in February this year, we’ve been ALL GO on the home improvement front. It’s something Oli and I discuss, mull over and research on the daily.
This is the second home post I’m sharing with you from our new flat, and I’m SO excited to share our favourite room so far . . . our living room !
All products are listed at the bottom of this post.
Designing A Living Room We Love
The Room Layout
Ok, so first thing’s first.
We’ve moved into a Georgian property, which means we have super high ceilings and some amazing original features like ceiling cornicing.
The living room is the biggest room in our flat, and has an archway which sub-divides the room.
This creates a natural division of spaces, which has been a great way of defining different areas in one room.
There’s a large fireplace with a wood burner on the far right wall when you walk into the room.
And directly in front of you, as you enter, are two huge windows. These windows let in so much light, and I think ultimately are what completely ‘sold us’ on this flat. For years Oli and I lived in a flat which had really poor light, and I knew that our next place had to have LOTS of light.
OK, that’s a bit about the room layout.
You want to know about the pretty stuff now, right?!
When we first looked at this flat, it had carpeting throughout (even in the bathrooms) and there were multiple layers of textured wallpaper in every room.
The first thing we did was hire a team of decorators to strip the wallpaper, re-line the walls and paint. This cost a fair whack, but was SO worth it. There is no way we would have been able to pull off such a professional result/have the bandwidth for it. Updating the decor alone made a HUGE difference to the overall look and feel of the home.
It immediately felt more like ‘ours’.
We felt light we’d hit the jackpot when we found good quality wood flooring underneath the carpet in the living room, and immediately knew that we wanted to keep it exposed.
The decorators sanded back the flooring (after Oli had taken up the carpet) and stained the wood with a dark brown colour.
Keeping the floor dark meant that we created a ‘grounding’ feeling, in the otherwise super light and airy room.
For the paintwork throughout the flat we went with Farrow & Ball. We had a colour consultancy with one of the brand’s experts, and I can’t recommend doing so enough if you’re thinking of making a big colour change.
Kat (who now works at Farrow & Ball HQ) was the dream to work with. Kat was able to advise on so many elements we wouldn’t have otherwise considered.
The living room walls are painted in Pavilion Grey, a beautiful light grey colour with gentle blue undertones. I love this hue.
Although I had a battle on my hands, I knew that I wanted to paint our fireplace too, and I’m SO glad we did.
Our decorators created a custom paint blend of a Farrow & Ball grey and white to create a very very pale grey hue.
After we’d had the walls restored and painted, it felt like there was a HUGE blank canvas for artwork.
So far we’ve hung two pieces of artwork we absolutely adore, and we’re excited to keep adding to the walls with more art pieces. I can’t wait to get some personal photos up too.
The first art piece we acquired is a beautiful print from Irish artist Lola Donoghue. Oli had seen a print of Lola’s in a friend’s home, and after looking through her catalogue of work we knew we’d love to own a piece too.
We chose two prints in the end, one for the living room and one for our bedroom.
The ‘Gloaming’ piece which hangs above our fireplace compliments the soft colours surrounding it. We wanted artwork which fits seamlessly into the room, working with it rather than making a huge statement.
This piece is so soothing.
For the frame we worked with a local framing shop. I can’t recommend getting a print professionally framed enough. It costs a fair bit, but it’s elevated the artwork so much.
Our second piece of artwork is a custom-made piece from an AMAZING company called AttikoArt.
Mother and daughter duo, Michelle Belak and Melissa Tucker – an award-winning fine artist and an interior/graphic designer respectively, created AttikoArt to produce art works you love, which work harmoniously with your home.
Together Michelle and Melissa teamed up to create an array of contemporary art works which you can custom colour match to your home.
Once you’ve chosen your print design, you can then choose from a pre-created combination of colours. If there isn’t a colour-way which suits your needs, you can opt to create a bespoke colour edit which costs £75 extra (a bargain IMHO).
Oli and I went for a bespoke blend, as for the artwork we chose the pre-selected colour options didn’t quite work for our space.
Melissa was able to pick up on the khaki tones of our sofa, the greys in our walls, and the dusty pinks of our cushions to create the artwork as you see it now.
Have a look at the Posy Blush print, as it is on the website, and then take another look at our print. Amazing right?!
Oli and I were both SO excited to receive the artwork, and it looked even more incredible in person.
The whole process of working with AttikoArt was completely seamless. Melissa even created a mockup for us of the artwork hanging on our walls after we’d sent some photos of the living room to her before we ordered.
PLUS the framing is included in the price.
Sofas & Rugs
Oli and I bought our IKEA FRIHETEN corner sofa bed for our old flat. It’s served us SO well over the five years we’ve had it.
In comparison to a lot of other sofa beds we’ve looked at it’s so affordable, and we’ve lost count of the amount of people who’ve stayed on it.
We even slept on it ourselves for six weeks when we first moved in. Which btw was WAY too long to sleep on a sofa bed – ha!
We’ve actually just ordered a new sofa from Habitat, as our IKEA one is looking a little tired now, but we’ve gone for the same corner shape.
Opposite our IKEA sofa is a beautiful velvet sofa from B&B Italia. We were given this sofa by a great friend of ours, and it’s become ‘my spot’ to watch TV from.
By having two sofas facing one another, we created ‘an area’ within the room. This layout is perfect for entertaining as people can sit opposite one another and natter away. It also gives Oli and I our own ‘nook’ to watch TV from.
We also have a chaise long in the left hand corner of the room which is THE cosiest perch ever. Give me some streaming sunlight, a book and a fresh cup of coffee and I can be there for hours.
(Also – I am aware that there are packing boxes still unpacked and random bags under the chaise! Ha – real life!)
As for the rug? I still love ‘the La Redoute rug’ which I bought for our old flat. A rug is the perfect way to further define an area, and I love the way this one adds some lightness and pattern to the room.
Coffee Tables & Side Tables
Our marble coffee table is one of my favourite pieces of furniture EVER. Not just because it looks so nice, but because it’s had SUCH a journey!
The coffee table is actually made up of two elements we purchased separately: a base and a marble top.
You ready for a GAME CHANGING TIP?
Ask your local stone masons if they can use a marble off-cut to create a table top for you.
Often stone masons will have off-cuts from big projects like kitchens and bathrooms, which you can commission to be made into small table tops or other small items. We went for a simple large circular design and it cost us about £50 – SO much cheaper than it would have done if it was part of a pre-made table.
I’ve seen similar coffee table designs for £300 and upwards.
We’ve had the table top for years and used to balance it on an iron box, however . . .
. . . earlier this year Oli spotted two tables for sale on Facebay.
(Facebay btw is SO worth searching for in your local area – just type ‘Facebay + your area’s name’ into your Facebook account to see if you have a local Facebay group. It’s like a local in-person eBay.)
Our coffee table, and the longer side table, were for sale for £20 and £30 respectively. We LEAPT on them both, and now they are some of my favourite items in our home.
The other side tables in the room were all brought over from our previous flat.
The brass-topped ornate tray table is a piece we inherited from Oli’s grandparents and every time I look at it I think of them. I LOVE that table.
Knick Knacks & Lighting
My love for knick knacks knows no bounds. I’ve heard them called other things – ‘curiosities’ or ‘object d’art’ but I just think of them as ‘pretty home accessories’.
I pick up these bits and bobs ALL over the place. We have candle sticks from The White Company, a storm latern from Matalan Home, and lots of second-hand pieces I’ve found in charity shops or at car boot sales.
Oli’s parents host a regular auction, and so often have access to great trinkets. We’ve acquired so many unique pieces from them over the years.
I think these little details really make a home feel yours. Your curation will be completely unique. I also love picking up pieces when I travel for this reason too.
Friends joke that I have an obsession with cushions. And Oli has complained that I prioritise them over other home improvements.
And *maybe* I consider myself a professional cushion plumper . . .
. . . but really who DOESN’T love cushions?!
Updating your cushions is such an easy – and often inexpensive – way of styling your space.
There are so many great places you can head to for beautiful cushions. Some of my favourites include: H&M Home, Elizabeth Scarlett, The Hambledon, Matalan Home, Sainsbury’s Home (the best selections tend to be in store) and Anthropologie.
I LOVE having fresh flowers in the flat. They make me happy just to look at.
When arranging flowers I always think about the overall ‘look’ I’m going for, where they’ll be displayed and which vase I’ll use.
The vase in front of our AttikoArt piece is always filled with quite tall flowers in hues which compliment the artwork.
The other flowers in the room are more flow-y, and I choose arrangements based on what’s in season.
Things We Still Want To Work On
This room is so mammoth, we still have tonnes we’re looking forward to working on.
For one, there’s an area on the left hand side of the room when you walk in (not shown in these pics) which we’re planning on turning into a bar area. We already have a bar cart, and there is a built-in bookcase which I think will look amazing painted in a darker colour and transformed into a bar space.
I’ll share the update once it’s completed!
Oli and I are also planning on re-instating the ceiling rose which we believe would have originally been situated in the centre of our ceiling. We’ve found a local company which does this kind of work.
Once the ceiling rose is in we’ll be switching out the light fixture for a beautiful brass Flemish lamp we bought in an antiques shop. It’s going to look gorgeous!
We’re adding in some shelving above the TV, and possibly on the opposite side of the fireplace too so that we can create a log store.
Aaaand we’re adding radiator covers to the room too.
In general, we’re planning on putting more up on the walls, especially over the sofa area. It look so bare right now!
Any suggestions?! I’m all ears!
This room is the ‘cosy spot’ in our flat, and I know it’ll only become more so as the weather turns cooler and we can start to use the wood burner.
If we’ve learnt anything over the past eight months, it’s that doing up a home takes TIME.
Often we’re so impatient and want to get everything looking and feeling perfect right away, but that’s not realistic.
It’s EXPENSIVE, and so we’ve been doing things as and when we can.
I’m excited to keep working on this room, and continue to update it.
For now though, Oli and I are both VERY happy to assume our positions on the sofas and kick back watching the newest season of Ozark.
What’s Your Take?
It’s been so fun sharing another room with you!
I hope you enjoyed having a virtual peruse of our living room.
If you have any questions about the process of putting it together, or have any comments, I’d love to hear from you!
Love, Monica x
P.S. I’m in the running for an Amara Interior Blog Award! Today is the LAST day you can vote, so if you’d like to vote for The Elgin Avenue in the ‘best interior lifestyle blog’ category I’d be so appreciative. Click here to cast your vote.
Grey wall colour: Pavilion Grey by Farrow & Ball
Blue art work: Lola Donoghue, ‘Gloaming’ print, bought on Etsy
Pink, grey and khaki art work: AttikoArt, ‘Posy Blush’ print in a bespoke colour-way c/o
SOFAS AND CUSHIONS
Grey sofa: IKEA
Navy blue cushions with pineapple embroidery: Elizabeth Scarlett
Large dark khaki velvet cushions: Matalan Home (Old)
Embroidered zig zag cushion: Anthropologie (Old)
Small rectangular patterned cushion: La Redoute c/o
Grey and cream patterned cushion: H&M Home c/o (Similar vibe)
Khaki sofa: B&B Italia
Pink patterned cushions: Matalan Home (Old)
Large pale pink velvet cushions: H&M Home c/o
Large white linen cushion: The Hambledon (Old)
Grey pineapple embroidery cushion: Elizabeth Scarlett
Chaise Longue: B&B Italia
Large patterned rug: La Redoute
Leather pouf: India May Home
All thrifted, inherited or DIY
VASES & PLANT POTS
Large green vase: Long Barn Alresford
Small blue ceramic vase: vintage
Small plant pots: Long Barn Alresford