Decorating the living room

by Gill Deeks
24th October 2010

The lounge feels like our final frontier. Because we had made such great progress with the kitchen, study and utility, I was surprised when I got a bit of designer’s block with this room!

All the others had been relatively easy to choose fabrics and paints for, but here in the lounge I was unsure about my wallpaper choice, so I just couldn’t get started.

Thankfully, after a couple of sleepless nights and several drawings, I got some inspiration from a photograph in an old magazine showing different sized panelling.

Seeing that picture was my Eureka moment. From then on, I was away. I abandoned the wallpaper, chose a wonderful muted colour (Shaded White from Farrow & Ball) and drew the panelling on the wall in pencil.

Then, armed with tips from Tom, the carpenter that Potton recommended, Barry and I went shopping for architrave and some magic wood glue. Barry made up 24 frames in three different sizes and stuck them on to the wall.

Meanwhile, I got on with choosing the fabrics for the curtains and blinds. Once the panels were on, I stained the oak flooring with something I had mixed, hoping to give the wood a nice light English oak colour.

It has turned out perfectly: the stain brings out the colour of the wood beautifully and – thanks to the three coats of a satin, water-based varnish – it has a good hard surface too.

I chose plain white blinds from IKEA that stop us from being overlooked yet still let in loads of light. In fact I am so happy with them I have used them all over the house.

The curtain material came from the Curtain Fabric Warehouse in North Finchley. I have been going to them for years because I know that I can get great designer names, like Designer’s Guild fabrics and Laura Ashley, at a fraction of the cost.

We already had the gold couches. We bought the two blue comfy arm chairs at the beginning of the build and kept them hidden covered in plastic in the centre of all the building work, waiting to be unveiled.

We picked up the carpet in front of the fire at auction for £15 and it’s that, coupled with the cushions I made using old remnants, that really pulls everything together.

The finishing touch in any room is the lighting, which in fact we had to decide on fairly early on. As well as the spots, I have wall lights with dimmers and lovely table lamps around the room to mix and match.

We’re both thrilled with the overall effect. Even though it’s a formal room, it’s still cosy and the kids, who are usually a good barometer for these things, love it too.

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