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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.

Pink Kitchen Makeover

Housewife Confidential Pink Kitchen Makeover with B&Q and Valspar

The kitchen is where most of our family life takes place. From meals to homework and art; we’re in there the majority of the time. Given that it can be seen from the hallway and is open to the sitting room it has a big presence in our home.

As you know, magnolia just wasn’t cutting it for us, and the bluetack-marked and chilled wall of our kitchen was getting us down. I say wall as the rest of the space barely has any other walls. A pillar here and the top of an arch there but the majority of exposed wall space is concentrated on this one wall alone. The remaining walls are all painted a Slightly Pink Off-White (it’s official name – you get to name your colours at B&Q!) which we have used throughout the house to bring spaces together. What’s interesting about the shade is that it’s hue is very different from room to room thanks to the big differences in light. It ranges from a subtle off white to a pale lilac-grey.

Once we had settled on a colour combination I took our reference pieces to the Valspar desk in B&Q to have it mixed. I knew that I wanted something that would pop out, so rather than settle for a colour from the selection on offer I went for a super bright pink.

Housewife Confidential Pink Kitchen Makeover with B&Q and Valspar

The first few days of living with the pink wall were jarring. Where once the wall had faded back it was now jumping out every time I caught a glimpse. My initial nerves melted away and the warmth of the space reflects the heart of our home.

The next phase of the makeover was to tackle the woodwork. The kitchen shelves are home to my 1,001 cookbooks (still on vacation in the attic) and vintage plate collection. Ordinarily this whole area is a tip but I tidied up just for you!

The joy of a bright colour is creating a clash alongside it. Previously the shelves and dresser were both this pale green but I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Antibes Green to liven them up. As soon as I have a clear day I’ll be transforming the dresser in the same colour. Despite my love of creating I don’t do a whole lot of painting in the house but I find Annie Sloan’s paint easy to use and am gradually being converted.

Mr Kat used both the Annie Sloan and the Valspar paint on the shelf supports so they wouldn’t stand out as much. Do you think they work or have too much of the Lord Bath about them? I’m hoping it won’t be as noticeable when the books return.

Housewife Confidential Pink Kitchen Makeover with B&Q and Valspar

Housewife Confidential Pink Kitchen Makeover with B&Q and Valspar

In terms of other work which needs to be done in the kitchen, the gentleman’s wardrobe (art cupboard) and table will stay as they are. I’m considering painting the Ercol chairs although I’m not sure what colour would work in here.

The big issue with the room is that now, more than ever, I want to replace the tiles and worktops. Green faux-marble and random coloured tiles really aren’t to my taste. Of course, that’s a far bigger job but a girl can dream!

It’s amazing how far a few cans of paint can take you. Within a couple of days the whole feel of this room has been transformed. When people come into our home their eyes are drawn through to the kitchen and without fail they exclaim “I love your pink kitchen!”. Me too, me too.

Housewife Confidential Pink Kitchen Makeover with B&Q and Valspar

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

 

Hallway Makeover: Colour After Magnolia

Hallway Makesover with B&Q and Valspar at Housewife Confidential

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Do you remember back in the summer I shared our plans for decorating? Well the decorating has been completed and gradually we are getting the house back in order. Today I’m showing the smallest room which has possibly the biggest impact: our entry hallway.

As our home is an Edwardian workers’ terrace our hall is very narrow and only as wide as the front door. It doesn’t take much for this high traffic area to feel crowded. I would love to have somewhere to store our shoes but the position of the radiator and electricity meter make it impossible.

When it came to banishing the beige in our hall I knew I needed to keep in mind that it was North facing. With this in mind, one side of the hallway has white walls to bounce light. The main wall which runs all the way up to the top of the house is where we concentrated the colour. I chose a shade of blue a touch darker than that on our front door and had it custom mixed at the Valspar desk in B&Q.

An aside on colour mixing: my decorator, Jake (who is incredible, if you’re near Winchester get in touch for his number) was really sceptical about colour mixing, insisting it would only be approximate matching. We took our samples and before we went for the full pots the woman who mixed our paint let us test and dry them all to check they matched. I’m pleased to report that they all made a perfect match and he had to eat his words!

Hallway Makesover with B&Q and Valspar at Housewife Confidential

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As Jake was painting the first coat I got the wobbles. I suddenly felt that it was too dark and looked way too strong. It took a few days of living with it to get over the magnolia and settle into the colour. And what a beautiful colour! We have loved this on our front door and extending it into the house feels great.  Don’t you think it looks fantastic?

I wasn’t going to do the woodwork but Jake convinced me that if we left it the whole space would feel shabby. He was totally right, the fresh white paint makes such a difference. You really don’t notice how yellowed (and chipped) paint gets over time.

Hallway Makesover with B&Q and Valspar at Housewife ConfidentialHallway Makesover with B&Q and Valspar at Housewife Confidential

Thankfully there wasn’t too much purchasing to be done as it’s such a small space. The box shelf and mirror are Habitat pieces that we’ve had since our first home (we’ve had a lot of small hallways!).

This lampshade was my one buy for the space. We used to have a paper globe here which was very bashed about thanks to it hanging at head height at the bottom of the stairs. I spotted this simple lace shade on the Rice stand at a trade show and headed to Sisters Guild to make it mine. It works so well in this spot. The plate & cord need to be replaced and I’m thinking of buying some yellow flex to tie in with the front door – what do you think?

You can wash Valspar Premium Wall & Ceilings Paint Easily - great for those muddy finger prints!

Of course when living with children it is impossible for such a busy space to escape grubby hands and this weekend a trip to the river resulted in a set of muddy handprints. Knowing that this was inevitable we used Valspar Premium Walls & Ceilings which cleans very well and is staying strong following my scrubbing. It’s nice to have been able to make this investment in decorating without having to worry about it looking trashed after a few months.

Of course now the walls and woodwork are freshly painted the scuffed orange floorboards are crying out for some action. I’m yearning for white, what do you think?

Hallway Makesover with B&Q and Valspar at Housewife Confidential

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The migration from magnolia has been a happy one. The bland familiarity of lightly yellowed walls can be hard to let go of but life beyond beige is so much more cheerful!

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