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Office Makeover Planning

Office Makeover The Before Housewife Confidential

I have achieved the impossible in our cramped home: a room of my own in which to work. I feel like Virginia Woolf would pat me on the back.

In the last five years I have gone from the sofa to the attic to the bedroom and finally took over half of the playroom. And while I am happiest with the space in here the children were not impressed. My equipment made it impossible for them to get at their toys and having them play in here while I work is less than ideal.

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White Floorboard Makeover

Housewife Confidential Sitting Room Makeover Reveal

White floorboards bounce light into dark spaces and boy is our sitting room a dark space. When we made over our ground floor last year the varnished wooden floors stood out like a sore thumb. They were dark, shabby and bordering on orange. Something had to be done.

At the B&Q press day I was talking to the team about my dilemma when they introduced me to their new renovation paint. Family life can be tough on painted surfaces, the hallway and sitting room are the main thoroughfares of the house so there was no doubt that we had to find a paint which could withstand it.

You can see the before above and here is the after…

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Making Over a Dark Sitting Room

Back in the Summer we started work on redecorating our ground floor. We enlisted the help of B&Q and Valspar to bring colour into our spaces.

It wasn’t until I posted the photos for the initial post that I realised how lazy we had been over the decor in the heart of our home. While we managed to get wallpaper up early on the rest just happened with little thought or planning.

As it has taken us so long to decorate properly we spent a lot of time searching for the right elements to bring together. Through the secret Pinterest board we used it was easy to see that yellow, blue, pink and green were the colours we liked the most and so we have used them throughout the whole ground floor.

Of all the spaces we have transformed the sitting room is my favourite. It’s right in the centre of the house and where so much of family life takes place. It struggles for light as the kitchen extension took away its main window leaving it with a tiny slit window facing West. The bright light from our South facing kitchen somehow doesn’t make it all the way into here and maximising the light was a priority.

There is a linked list at the bottom of this post for specific items so if there is something you fancy head on down there.

Are you ready?

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Ta-da!

Housewife Confidential Sitting Room Makeover Reveal

I am crazy in love with this and after living with it and changing a few elements over the last few months I can tell you it works so well!

Firstly the wallpaper. Oh the wallpaper!

I have been a fan of this Julia Rothman print for Hygge & West for years. When I spotted the new colourway of yellow and sky blue it felt so right. It is definitely not a cheap option as on top of the price and shipping you can expect the import duty as well. This wall took three rolls to paper.

We stripped it right back to the plaster in preparation and then our decorator lined it before hanging the paper. Pro-tip from Jake the decorator: hang the lining paper horizontally and you’ll avoid weird overlap seam marks on the finished wall.

The wall colour is a slightly pink off-white (as Jake named it when we had it mixed) which when the sun floods in looks almost white but in the dark evenings is a warm pinky-purple. It took me by surprise how much the colour changed at first but the warmth in the darkness makes the room feel cosy.

Housewife Confidential Sitting Room Makeover Reveal

Housewife Confidential Sitting Room Makeover Reveal

Housewife Confidential Sitting Room Makeover Reveal

Housewife Confidential Sitting Room Makeover Reveal

As the wallpaper was going up we knew that our old brown sofa just wasn’t going to sit right in the room so we bit the bullet and ordered a sofa. The big squashy sofas on our wishlist were our of our budget but this yellow one from Made.com was eminently affordable. The old sofa was eBayed and the yellow sofa took pride of place.

I really appreciated those of you who gave us a heads up that a structured sofa might not be quite as comfortable, it really made us think. What we have found is that we sit differently on this sofa – no longer lounging and reclining but upright which has been great for my back.

This sofa is so well proportioned that we don’t really need cushions on it but I can’t resist a cushion! I love how the different pinks work together with the yellow in this arrangement.

We lived with a little while before deciding that it positively needed a rug in front. The floor seemed a bit vast and it’s nice for the children to have something cosy to sit on when they play in here. After much deliberation we settled on this souk style beauty from West Elm. It is scrumptious to step onto and the texture it adds to the space makes a huge difference. Cosmo the Wondercat can often be found wrestling the tassels or rolling in the pile.

Housewife Confidential Sitting Room Makeover Reveal

Housewife Confidential Sitting Room Makeover Reveal

Housewife Confidential Sitting Room Makeover Reveal

One of the biggest changes to the feel of the room has been taking the old bookshelf out and replacing it with these old metal shelves. I have had them for a while and as you can see in the before picture below we brought them into the room when we were prepping for decorating.

They probably won’t look like this forever (especially not if I learn the art of shelf styling!) but for now I’m enjoying their sparseness. The bust was bought in the Vatican on my 21st Birthday, it’s the muse Thalia, and she hasn’t had a home in recent years.

The rose gold paper bag is a sneaky way to hide the bits and bobs that accumulate and makes for a swift tidying spot when people come over. I have some sections of used scaffold planks on the wire shelves to give some stability, this may change but it’s working well for the moment.

Housewife Confidential Sitting Room Makeover Reveal

Housewife Confidential Sitting Room Makeover Reveal

Housewife Confidential Sitting Room Makeover Reveal

The lighting in this room is key. Often it is so dark during the Winter that we have the light on during the day. We chose this glass shade for its simple lines and to give maximum light in the space.

I added a blue flex to tie in with the colour scheme and used a Plumen bulb because they look great. It could probably do with being a bit brighter which is the compromise for a good looking bulb I guess!

The next phase of getting more light into the space is to paint the floor boards. The old varnish has worn through in many places and so we’re going to try white or light grey for both the sitting room and hall. I will update you once it’s done and our art has been hung (see all the frames under the blue sofa? We never do anything fast!).

This is the biggest transformation of this decorating project and I think you can see why I saved it for last. Giving some love to the room where we come together for has made a massive impact on our home. Not only that but tidying up has played a part in turning this into a relaxing place to be.

Here’s the before:

Housewife Confidential Sitting Room Makeover Before

and after

Housewife Confidential Sitting Room Makeover Reveal

What we bought:

Wallpaper: Daydream by Julia Rothman for Hygge & West

Paint: Valspar Custom Colour Mix

Lining Paper, Wallpaper Paste & Tools: B&Q

Sofa: Jonah by James Harrison at Made.com

Cushions left to right: Brigden Bayliss Made, Sparrow & Wolf, H&M, Habitat, Nikki McWilliams

Souk Wool Rug: West Elm

Side Tables: Habitat

Uashmama Rose Gold Paper Bag: The Future Kept

Pink Kenyan Basket: Decorators Notebook

Prismatic Vintage Pendant Light: Artifact Lighting

Light Bulb: Plumen

Coloured Flex: Urban Cottage Industries

Housewife Confidential Sitting Room Makeover Reveal

This project is a supported by B&Q and Valspar who provided the paint & materials we used for the makeover. Labour, additional materials and furnishing model’s own.

Is Tidying Up Life Changing or Magical? Really?

Kat Molesworth's Workspace

I haven’t bought the book.

Let’s not panic.

But I can’t say that its influence hasn’t been felt through friends. So many friends! Extolling the virtues of tidying, decluttering and finding sparks of joy. Which I watched with a little eye rolling and a lot of dread. Because I really, really hate tidying up.

I’m not sure if it stems from being sent to my room for the entire weekend and not being allowed out until it was tidy (which is why I was always in there for the whole weekend) or because I just don’t want to stop doing the fun things to tidy. Either way, tidying up is beyond the pale as far as I’m concerned.

Then this Summer happened. The playroom was filled with Blogtacular equipment and goody bags gifts for weeks on end. It was compounded when we tidied up for video shoots and the final nail in the coffin was moving everything for the decorating. When we came to put it all back it just didn’t fit. How did it not fit when I had spent hours sorting through the piles which had accumulated over years prior to the decorating? I was incredulous but the fact was, something had to be done.

This, my friends, is the worst part. Do look away if you’re sensitive. I tidied up.

I hit the clothes first. They had been living in washing up baskets on our landing. A cull of everything I couldn’t, didn’t or wouldn’t wear and a second chest of drawers tackled the overflowing baskets surprisingly quickly.

Several car boot sales and an online children’s clothing sale made a rapid dent in the playroom, baby gear and out-grown children’s clothes. What didn’t go easily was donated to a refuge or the local charity shops depending on the item.

Shelf___pegboard_installed_in_my_workspace._Happy_to_have_my_pens_alongside_me_once_more__

The knock on effect of gaining a chest of drawers was that my desk needed to move out of the bedroom and somewhere more practical. With all three children at school I staged a coup and took over half of the playroom. There was some dissent but as the room had been out of action for months including the whole summer holidays we all knew that losing a little of it wasn’t a problem in the long term.

We had the room re-painted and cleared a corder for my things. The desk moved down and the shelves were neat but behind me was a different story.

It looked like this…

The Messiest Room in The World

Piles of things to be sorted out, boxes of things to eBay, go to the charity shop and dump covered every surface. Which I could mostly ignore but it does creep into your consciousness.

This week with the impending arrival of a sofa (room tour soon) to spur us on we tackled the mountain. The dump and charity shop run was done, the eBay list was whittled down and will be listed this weekend (even if it is the worst time of year). For my part I spent a few hours organising my props and equipment into labelled boxes so I can find things easily and put them away with equal simplicity.

Dare I say it? It felt…. good. Nice to organise my things, great to see my shooting space opening up and a relief to imagine working here without the burden of mess all around me.

We have a way to go upstairs and everything is in flux with a bedroom move for the children. But it’s getting there.

Last weekend we cleared out the under stairs cupboard and among the baffling items we’ve held on to the winner was surely the cake boxes from our wedding. In 2004. If ever I needed a sign this was it. Still, we were running low on fuel for the fire.

So is tidying up magical? No, it still sucks. Is it life changing? Maybe. Is it worth it? Yes, yes and yes again; it’s all worth it. Perhaps you should try it.