THE SCHEME FOR OUR LIVING ROOM

cushion

Having shared with you the beginnings of the scheme for our study-cum-snug, today I’d like to take you through my thoughts for decorating our main living room, where we spend most of our time, watching TV and loafing about. Unlike our study, where there’s a bit of a narrative around the concept, this room’s design is being dictated to purely by what’s already there, essentially a dark, country living room with a log burning stove. It would seem really incongruous to me if I were to start decorating it in a really modern style, or if I were to create a glamorous luxe pad or retro den, as the poor little wood burning stove with his old-fashioned wooden fire surround, would be sat there all on his own without any furniture mates to chat to about country life. I feel it would be much better to stick to the room’s roots, and keep it looking countrified. That way the house is happy; the stove is happy; and once I’ve put my own spin on things to spice it up, I’ll be happy.

The empty living room, before we moved the rest of our stuff in

The empty living room, before we moved the rest of our stuff in

The first thing I tackled was the layout. The previous tenant had a sofa where the armchair is, and the telly right at the end of the room by the French doors, which I thought was a really odd way to arrange the room. I know why she did it, she wanted to take advantage of the views of the fields at the back of the garden, but it just didn’t make for a good cohesive layout. Instead, I chose to condense the telly watching area into the main part of the living room by placing the TV to the left of the fireplace, the sofa on the opposite wall, and a chair for extra seating on the wall as you come through the door. This did mean that we aren’t able to take in the beautiful views when watching telly, but to counteract this, I decided to make the extra space near the French doors into a little seating area; a perfect place for Greg and I to relax, have a cup of tea or a glass of wine, grab a book or just watch the birds and squirrels playing in the garden.

The living room as it is at the moment, with randomly plonked stuff we already own, and the landlady's curtains

The living room as it is at the moment, with randomly plonked stuff we already own, plus the landlady’s curtains and light fixtures

Alcove duo

room now duoUnlike the study, we haven’t actually got any specific permissions of the landlady yet as to what we can and can’t do in this room. We obviously have to live with certain things, whatever happens, like the fireplace and carpet. But we are hoping she’ll let us paint everything and obviously change the fixtures and fittings. At the moment we’ve just bunged in a load of random pieces just to furnish the room, so when we finally get round to decorating, there will be a whole load of furniture we need to source, including a sofa that actually fits! But for now, while I’m still pulling the scheme together and we’re saving our pennies, it’s nice to know the layout so that we can slowly start sourcing.

There are a couple of pieces we already own that I will be placing in the scheme; one of them, the mustard chinoiserie chest of drawers, will need to be considered in the overall colour scheme:

lawyers bookcase

We’ll be moving this out of the study, as it’s always been too big and overbearing for the room in this position

mustard chinoiserie

And we’ve already bought some stuff specifically for this room; a pair of French armchairs for the French door seating area (these will need to be recovered), and a bit of taxidermy for my country feel:

French chair

owl

foxey

So, what sort of scheme am I going for? Until a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t really have answered this properly, because I still hadn’t found my starting point. And I know I keep prattling on about ‘my starting point’ but how can you develop a scheme without one? In the absence of an actual concept, like ‘Victorian travelling gentlemen’s study’ for our study-cum-snug (I know it sounds weird), my starting point needs to be a fabric or wallpaper that really gets me excited, that I fall in love with and just have to use. And up until a couple of weeks ago, that still hadn’t happened.

Bearing in mind that I wanted to stick with the room’s qualities, and keep my scheme ‘dark, country living room’, I needed my starting-point-wallpaper/fabric to be traditional in feel, but funky enough for me to love. I also knew that I didn’t want to go to the expense of wallpapering this room. It would cost quite a bit of money (we’re in a rental remember) and despite the room’s size, I realised there isn’t actually too much bare wall space to fill. I can’t bear bare walls (weird sentence huh? ‘bear bare’), it makes me feel all funny inside; hence my penchant for maximalism, and my tendency to want to fill walls with pattern.

However, I knew this room could look great with paint colour alone, with some gorgeous artwork. So I concentrated my efforts on finding a traditional yet colourful starting-point fabric, rather than wallpaper. And for a while it was this one, House of Hackney’s Artemis velvet in black. I liked the re-worked William Morris pattern and the modern colours that House of Hackney do so well, and knew I could develop a lovely scheme around it.

House of Hackney's Artemis velvet

House of Hackney’s Artemis velvet

Sadly, when the actual sample arrived, I was really disappointed by the colours, they just weren’t as bright and intense as they looked online; much more traditional in feel, which is what I was sort of trying to avoid. However, in the absence of anything else I liked as much, I was prepared to stick with it, and despite the colours being slightly less intense, it was still an incredibly beautiful fabric.

Artemis sample

And that was how things were. Until a couple of weeks ago…when I took a trip to London, visited Liberty, and discovered My New Favourite Fabric. This fabric, prettily called Lady Kristina, was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on (well, not quite ‘ever’ but definitely for a long time) and it was love at first sight. My excitement was too much, my longing too much, and I knew instantly that I just HAD to have it in my life. Within seconds, all thoughts of a velvet from House of Hackney had vanished; Artemis? Artemis who?? My mind was completely taken up with Lady Kristina and where exactly was I going to place this little beauty! And here lie-eth (?) the lesson: when it comes to the more important items of your decorating scheme, try not to ‘settle’ for something that, even if it’s lovely, doesn’t give you that excited feeling. Wait until you fall madly in love with something, and everything else will flow from there.

So, the armchair in the telly watching area is going to be covered in Lady Kristina Film Noir. This is a stunning velvet, and ideally would go on our sofa so I could see a lovely large expanse of it…but with two big dirty old doggies, this isn’t going to be happening any day soon, so it’ll go on the armchair that will hardly get sat on!

lady kristina film noir

The curtains are going to be in Lady Kristina Parasol, a gorgeously bright turquoise linen. Can I just say that I have NEVER used the same fabric in different colourways in the same room before, but I feel these are sufficiently different to each other to get away with it. Plus, I love them too much not to use them together:

lady kristina parasol 2

So far, the only other fabric that I’ve chosen to use in the scheme is Liberty’s (it’s a Liberty-Fest!) Ianthe Flower in Lasenby. This not only sits really happily with the two colourways of Lady Kristina, but it also brings in the mustard-ey colour of the chest of drawers, which I felt was really important. I don’t know if this will go on the sofa or the pair of armchairs yet, or maybe just as cushions:

Ianthe flower lasenby

Once I’ve fleshed out the fabric choices a little bit more, I’ll be able to choose the paint colour for the wall. At the moment I can’t decide whether it will be green, blue or red. But what I do know is that no matter what colour I go for, it will be dark:

Images taken from Pinterest

Left: via Dwell. Right: via West Elm’s Front + Main

And, if permission’s granted by the landlady, I want to paint everything the same colour…the walls, skirtings, dado, and fireplace surround; this will give the slightly dated room a more contemporary feel:

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

The final thing I’ve decided on is the style of artwork I’m going to go for. I want it all to be dark, slightly magical, a twist on traditional, and inspired by nature or mysticism. Here’s a selection of prints I want to go for:

by Christian Schloe

by Christian Schloe

Another print by Christian Schloe - I need to have this one as it references my taxidermy fox!

Another print by Christian Schloe – I need to have this one as it references my taxidermy fox!

By John Waterhouse

By John Waterhouse

By Daria Petrilli

By Daria Petrilli

So, there you have it…the beginnings of my living room scheme. I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about it and if so, keep visiting to see my progress! Later this week I’ll be taking you through a scheme for one of our bedrooms. And then that will be it for a while. No other rooms to plan. Just the actually cracking on with things (which is the hard part!).

Are you planning a room? Have you got a fabulous scheme to share? As always, I’d love to hear from you x

 

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