There’s no turning back, autumn is here. I’m holding back the tears as summer is my fave season and the thought of packing away the yellow dress, white sneaks, sunnies and straw hat is just %&^$£@*! (stamping feet & angry face). I hear you laughing, summer in Edinburgh, really?! Okay okay, it’s not quite the sultry locale, but autumn, we rock autumn. I say bring on the hot cocoa, cosy sweaters & bursts of the most lush burnt oranges, deep reds, ochre yellows and every shade in-between.
So, can you guess what’s happening here? Change of seasons means just one thing. We are in planning mode to “freshen up” our living room (aka the lounge). This isn’t going to be one of those pricey revamps where every single item in the room is updated or changed. No, this is a simple, affordable refresh. I hear you … “Is that even possible?” The simple answer is – Yes.
There are so many bits of our lounge that I love and will 100% stay put – those dark moody Farrow & Ball Manor House Grey walls, the brightest white trim, the vintage midcentury dresser and the colourful statement pieces (like the sexy orange Adler chair). Then there are bits that I think could use a touch of va-va-voom (like our Edinburgh Press shelves) yawn, they are just crying out for some attention and while I’m a master at the “art lean”, our bare walls just feel naked. Then there are the bits that are best ignored – like the boring beige Ikea sofas that brings the whole room down. You might have noticed on my Insta feed that I’m masterful at keeping those sofas out of shot or disguising them with loads of cushions. Well the sofas are staying because we just can’t afford to replace them .. but … no more boring beige. Spoiler alert: say hello to colour.
Are you thinking about changing things up too? Unsure where to start or what to do? Here are some helpful things to ask yourself …
- What type of change are you looking to make?
- Do you want to keep a similar vibe or a radical change?
- Are you willing to get hands on?
- How much do you want to spend?
I’m not just asking for the sake of being nosy (although I totally am), I find its helpful to set boundaries, otherwise things can get crazy (and I don’t mean in an Ibiza beach party type of way).
Now, here’s the fun part … time to pick the type of “REFRESH” you are after … would you say …
1 Your room “Just needs a wee boost”: This is the simplest type of “refresh”, there are no radical changes, there are no tears over DIY gone wrong and your bank account generally stays intact too. Phew. I’d start with 3 main things — cushions + art + plants. Let’s just call this the “magic 3”. These are instant mood lifters, they can quickly change the vibe of a room from bland to lust worthy. It’s the finishing touches or va-va-voom pieces that really bring a space together. You can always beg-borrow-steal from other rooms in your home too (eek, I’m so guilty of doing this).
Who does it well: Geraldine of Littlebigbell is masterclass at mixing things up with cushions. Scroll through her feed to see how she constantly changes the vibe of her lounge. Natasha of Pebbles & Peanuts rocks a cosy monochrome vibe with the perfect mix of textures, patterns, and layering. Sharon of Hornsby Style effortlessly blends art and plants to create a boho eclectic vibe. Whereas Ciara Elliott brings the outside in to create an elegant rustic vibe – the mash up of cushions shows she’s a rule breaker.
Want some ideas for “the magic 3” … keep on reading … I’ve pulled together some oh la la lust worthy cushions + the hard to kill jungalow greenest plants + the drool worthy art that’s just begging to become a gallery wall. Oh yes, it’s a “shop the look edit” below.
2 Is your room “Crying out for a statement”: This can still be relatively simple if you are handy and don’t mind taking on some DIY. We all know the best way to save money is to roll up our sleeves, but let’s be honest, you only have yourself to blame if it goes horribly wrong. It might be time to recruit your handy friend over for wine night & ask her to show up a few hours early. Not that I’ve tried this, wink wink.
There are so many ways to make a statement – wallpaper an alcove, the chimney breast, one wall – or – upcycle a piece of furniture – or – create a gallery wall – or – paint the mantel or a door. There are so many lush wallpapers out there from big & bold junalow designs to delicate prints to fabulous florals to geometric gems to neutral textures. There are equally lush paint colours too, especially the new colours from Farrow & Ball, Little Greene Paint Company and Sanderson 1860. Don’t forget to ADD the magic 3 – cushions + art + plants to complete the room.
Tip: All the wallpaper and paint options can get overwhelming, so I recommend getting some samples and hang them in the space. Try RebelWalls for Murals and Feathr for more unusual wallpapers. See below for more ideas.
Who does it well: Ella of MorningsinMorningside has created a drool worthy space by breaking the norm. She’s painted all of the woodwork in a punchy green and paired it up with soft pink walls (WANT). Lisa Dawson is total masterclass when it comes to the statement gallery wall and here all eyes are drawn away from the TV to her masterpiece above the sofa. Amy of LittleHouseInLondon takes a subtle approach by simply adding texture to her space with Cole & Son wallpaper above the mantel. Melanie Lissack is my DIY icon, she literally does it all and is super inspiring. In what seemed like a few minutes, she updated this space by ripping out the old wallpaper and putting up warm dark green with gold bees behind her alcove shelves. Sarah of NudeandtheNovice creates serious oh la la drama with monochrome wallpaper combined with bright red unit and contrasting pink mini gallery.
3 Is your room shouting “Show me the love”: Fear not, there are still some simple ways to bring some love to a room in a big way. The biggest impact is to paint the entire room yourself, yes, I said it. I’m still surprised how a couple cans of paint can completely transform a room from boring to bright & lively, from lifeless to oh so moody, from dull to charming. Everyone seems to think that painting a room is risky, its NOT. It doesn’t take much effort to slap a new colour on – so go for it.
After the walls, I’d have to say furniture is next on the list of big impact items. Don’t scream. Don’t cover your eyes. I know, replacing furniture is everyone’s dream but let’s be real, it is usually not an option. Has your sofa or statement chair seen a better day? Spilt wine (yes), random marker art from the youngsters (yes), scratches from pets (yes) — I didn’t consider it in the past, but it makes total sense to go on the hunt for covers! It’s cheaper than getting new furniture and its much simpler than learning reupholstery. As with above, don’t forget to ADD the magic 3 – cushions + art + plans to complete the room.
Tip: Get some sample pots and put up on the walls so you can see how the new colours look at different times of day & light. Also get fabric samples for the chair/sofa covers and see how it compliments or happily contrasts your decor.
Who does it well: Aupetitsalondesign brightened up her space by covering her dark grey sofa with a new soft pink cover. Fashion blogger Hellovalentine‘s lounge has a luxe glam vibe by pairing green, black and gold – these too are new sofa covers. Nicola of The_girl_with_the_green_sofa instantly made us all jealous when she panelled her walls and then painted it a lush dark green. A typical afternoon of DIY. Speaking of DIY, Malcom of Designsixtynine tackles just about every DIY task imaginable. During the last RevampRestyleReveal, he create this light & happy space with a bold paint choice. Check out his Insta feed & you’ll see why it was a bold choice. Jenny of Seasonsincolour just refreshed her lounge & completely transformed the space with these warm spiced honey walls, its actually wallpaper.
So where does my lounge refresh fall – probably somewhere between “cry out for a statement” and “show me the love”. I’m saying this because when the lovely folks at Comfort Works asked if I was interested in a collaboration – I thought about it for all of 10 seconds before jumping on the opportunity. Okay, I kid, I went to their site, read all about their replacement sofa covers, I stalked their Instagram to see who else has used their products and I wanted to get my hands on some actual samples. I’m talking velvet, 100% cotton, and denim. I’m talking blues, greens, blush, and of course a couple greys too. It also gave me the push I needed to the make the changes I’d been thinking about for 18 months.
Ta da … here’s a simple moodboard of my plans, I’m bringing blues into the room. There will be some deep dark moody blues, some bright energetic blues and some soothing blues. I’m taking the plunge and putting up a gallery wall. I’ll be wallpapering the Edinburgh press. And I’m going to keep a few surprises for the big reveal. If you look closely you can see the magic 3 – art + cushions + plants.
The blues mood board clockwise includes Also Home UK Chusho embroidered blush & lime cushion, Farrow & Ball Aranami wallpaper in St Giles Blue, Soo Burnell ‘Nothing to See Here’ print, Comfort Works Kino Denim custom sofa cover, Kitty McCall Hockney cushion, Jing Wei Mallorca print available at Room Fifty and succulents.
What do you think? Yay or Nay? Thumbs up or Thumbs down?
Before I sign off, it’s time to indulge in a few “shop the look” ideas for “the magic 3” … here are the oh la la lust worthy cushions + the hard to kill jungalow greenest plants + the drool worthy art that’s just begging to become a gallery wall. See below for sources and prices.
That’s a wrap for today. Watch this space later in the month as I reveal the fresh new vibe in the lounge. Don’t worry I’ll be blabbing all about it on Insta stories & Insta posts too. I can’t wait to hear all about your plans too – just leave a comment, send a DM or tag me in your posts. Enjoy the weekend,
Also — It’s important to say – this post is entirely my own ideas & words. The “shop the look edits” take time to research and pull together. Please share!
Shop the cushion edit:
1 – The Curious Department £100; 2 – Designers Guild £39; 3 – Heals £49; 4 – Cox & Cox £45; 5 – H&M £19.99; 6 – Laredoute £30; 7 – Zara Home £11.99; 8 – Age of Reason £65; 9 – Habitat £15
Shop the gallery wall art edit:
1 – Joanna Srokol; 2 – Soo Burnell; 3 – Leah Bartholomew; 4 – Sarah Mazzetti via Room Fifty; 5 – Marcus Walters via King & McGaw; 6 – Soo Burnell; 7 – Hatti Pattisson; 8 – Simon C Page ; 9 – Vintage Sign; 10 – Leah Bartholomew; 11 – Tishk Barzanji; 12 – Gayle Mansfield;
Shop the jungalow plant edit:
1 – Birds Nest Fern £7.95; 2 – Arrowhead Pixie Plant £6.95; 3 – Cacti Snake Plant £16; 4 – Monstera 36.95; 4 – Cast Iron Plant £29.95; 5 – Polly Elephant Ear £14.99 ; 6 – Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree £69