We moved into our home back in late 2015. It was very much new in that it had only recently been built. Buying a new house has it’s pros and cons; on the plus side you can pick your kitchen and bathroom tiles, which saves a lot of effort. On the down side, every room is painted a charming shade of magnolia and you can’t redecorate for the first year (the house needs to dry out).
Since Autumn 2016, we’ve been slowly redecorating, first the kitchen, then my craft room. Over Easter this year we tackled our bedroom, and so next on the list is the Living Room. This has been a slow but steady makeover, making lots of tweaks, putting up shelves and pictures, changing the curtains, and generally trying to declutter. We finally repainted over the Bank Holiday weekend but it feels like there is still a long way to go.
My initial vision for our living room was to create a calm, airy, space that reflected our love of mid-century furniture. Style-wise, I’m very much inspired by mid-Century style. One of my favourite TV shows is Mad Men, which I love for the style just as much as the storylines and writing. I’m hoping for a clean, sleek, airy, yet practical space. Colour wise, I’d pick a mixture of greys and yellows mixed with lots of white. My Pinterest board gives you a good feel of what I’m hoping to achieve visually.
As we set about starting to plan the next steps for the room, we have a new twist to consider, Baby Makes is due in October. Initially, I thought that my plans for a Mad Men-inspired space would go out the window, but I’m now on a mission to maintain my vision, albeit with some tweaks needed to ensure that it’s completely child-friendly too.
So what is the room currently like? It’s small, but perfectly formed, and with patio doors along the longest wall, it is really bright, especially in the afternoons. The walls are now painted a pale grey colour (Polished Pebble by Dulux), which is a definite improvement on the magnolia. The main area for improvement is furniture.
Our current furniture set up is a mixture of cheap pieces from various high street stores, mainly bought for our last home. As I envisage us being in this house much longer, I’ve begun looking at other retailers where I can invest in classic pieces. West Elm is a furniture lover’s dream, and I’ve been in love with their products since first visiting their UK flagship on Tottenham Court Road.
To give you an idea of what I want from my furniture, these are my main goals:
- Maximise storage. It’s not the largest space; therefore we need to use storage wisely to make the most of the room.
- Be child-friendly, but a space that can equally be enjoyed by Mr Makes and me when the little one is in bed.
- Reflect my love of mid-century style.
- Include lots of greenery through plants, and other objects that reflect our personality.
- Overall, be as good-looking as it is practical.
West Elm are currently running a competition with Blogtacular to win a room makeover, which is perfect timing! They have so many pieces that would fit our design brief perfectly. So, what items would I pick if I had the chance?
Storage really is key to us. To maximise the space, in place of a media unit, I’d pick a sideboard where I can store all of our DVDs safely away, there’s also an added bonus that it also lifts the TV up higher, away from little fingers. I’m coveting the West Elm Mid-century sideboards, which as well as looking amazing, also have a hole at the back for wires meaning we can stash away our electronics out of sight (goodbye ugly PlayStation).
Although we don’t have the biggest book collection, it’s important to show them off in style with a good-looking bookcase. I love the mid-century bookcases, which remind me of furniture from my Grandparents’ house (in the best way possible!). The slightly taller version with hidden storage at the bottom is another opportunity to keep things tucked away.
In addition to picking the right pieces of furniture, I’d make use of lots of storage baskets to easily be tidy away toys at the end of the day, but ensure that they remain accessible during the day.
Currently we have a small three-seater sofa, and a cuddle chair. Although comfy, for the space they take up, they don’t actually have that much seating space, meaning that we struggle when we have visitors. The Crosby range is both practical and fits with my mid-century vision. Smaller arms mean that we get more seating space and the dark grey colour is practical as that it won’t show too many stains. The space underneath the sofa means I can easily hoover below/recover small toys!
As well as the sofa, I’d like to introduce more seating with a statement chair. The corner of the room would be perfect for a West Elm Luna seat, which would be placed next to the bookcase. Also next to a radiator, this would provide a lovely little reading nook for us to sit and read stories to the little one, especially with a big blanket to cosy up under.
When we moved into the house, new carpets were installed as standard. Although they are not the prettiest (basic beige), they are really good quality, and at only 18 months old, I can’t justify replacing them.
Instead, a big statement rug will help brighten up the floor and bring it in line with the rest of the room. A busy pattern would be perfect to provide both a pop of colour, and for it’s ability to hide stains a bit better than something plain!
We already have a wide range of decorative items that we’d like to keep. The first is a wooden lamp from my Grandparent’s house that is perfect with the mid-century theme. We also have a number of cushions that I’d like to incorporate, including my favourite Nikki McWilliams biscuits, and some wall art.
Although we have some pictures, there is still room for a lot more. I’ve been quite restrained with adding artwork to the walls so far, and as such, the room can feel quite plain at times. I’d definitely incorporate more white frames with bold artwork to add more character.
Plants are also beginning to feature more in our home, and I’d like to increase the number we currently have. Both the West Elm turned wood leg table top planters and the metal hanging planters will help raise the plants out of the reach of little hands, but still fit with the overall look of the room.
I love designing new rooms, and our living room has a lot of potential. I want the room to be the heart of our home, the space where we spend quality time together. With the items we have so far, and some carefully picked furniture, I’m sure that we can create a space our whole family will enjoy for many years to come.
If you’d like to see more about my vision for this room, head over to the Pinterest board I created.
Disclaimer: This article was created as an entry to the West Elm x Blogtacular Room Makeover competition. Photos within this article are from the West Elm UK website and remain the property of West Elm.