October 21, 2016

Living Room Makeover | Before + After

Following the installation of a wood burner last November and a major spot of New Year redecorating, I’m finally able to bring you some before and after pics of the living room makeover!

January and February were spent decorating, replacing furniture bit by bit, channelling cable into walls, moving lighting points and replacing radiators. As for the other eight months… I have no excuse for not sharing the makeover before now.

Apart from the main reasons of being too flat out busy and procrastinating on the things I know I’m not good at, i.e. interior photography.

Before we get on to my best fledgling efforts below, the fun part was going back and digging out the “Before” pics that I hurriedly took the day before the wood burner was installed.

Having been sitting my in bright, white space for almost eight months now, it’s slightly weird seeing it as it used to be.


online stylist living room makeover beofre

Don’t get me wrong – we loved it as it was. With the exception of a new television and a few licks of paint, it was this way the entire time we’ve lived in the house together, which is coming up to fifteen years.

We always kept the walls neutral and I took great delight in swapping around cushions, rugs and accessories according to the seasons. Orange for autumn, red for winter and green for spring and summer. You know me and the changing of the seasons!


One of our main objectives was to make the room lighter. We get the sun streaming in in the morning but by the time the afternoon comes, it’s moved to the front of the house leaving the living room quite dark.

Another was to clear all the cr*p out of the bookcase – and Man was there a lot of cr*p in there as you can see from the photo above. I spent many a happy hour sorting, removing jackets from books and arranging them in order of colour of their spines. I know. Don’t judge.



From the very beginning, the decision to install a wood burner was totally to blame for the entire living room makeover. Turns out it was one of the best choices we ever made. Whilst it took us to two years to get our heads around the cost and finally commit, now we wouldn’t be without it.

We wanted something modern with clean lines and so opted for a Jotul stove. All the technicalities about heat output compared to the size of the room were carefully considered and calculated by Mr OS… and the boy did well.

He is now in the throes of a full on log gathering, wood chopping obsession and I have developed an unnatural attachment to all things wicker and wood burning related from Garden Trading Company. Well suited apparently!

And so without further ado, here are my first real efforts at a spot of interior photography. Maybe just like those first outfit posts I’ll look back and wince in five years time but hey, it’s all part of the journey


wood burner white pumpkins for autumn and log basket

white office space in a minimal living room

labrador on a sheepskin rug

online stylist workspace

I work in the living room meaning that I spend most of my day here. I wanted the space to feel calm and restful and be one where I can sit at my desk and (fingers crossed), let the creativity flow.

I would happily have meetings here at the white glossy dining table, which by the way has come into its own when it comes to Instagram flat lays! We’d invested in the Hudson Compact desk by Dwell a couple of years earlier so that fitted very nicely into white world as its now known.

Having the wood burner on in mid-winter when its really cold and it’s just me, the dog, a Nespresso machine and Spotify makes this hands down the best office I’ve ever worked in!

white gloss dining table with flowers and copper accents

white flowers reflected in the mirror

bookcase obsession!

shelf styling

West elm decorative object styled in a bookcase

Having now minimised the dumping ground factor of the long suffering bookcase and found a way to hide all the bits and pieces that need to be at hand (plastic boxes from IKEA in case you were wondering), I do fear for the safety of anyone who tries to leave stuff on it!

Although if you look closely, you can see the one shelf I let Mr OS just stack random stuff on. I try really hard everyday not look too closely at that shelf.

Rearranging the books and making space for a few decorative items was intensely satisfying and I still keep going back and moving things around. Vignettes are a constant work in progress but I think that’s my obsession as it should be.

monochrome living room with grey corner sofa

book stack and cactus on a side table

sheepskin rug, foot stool and wood burner corner

vignette tray styling with books and a gold vase

Whilst coming up with ideas for the replacement sofa, I did have some initial concerns about ordering a corner section layout. I wasn’t sure about it dividing the room into two, but actually, that’s what it does do and I really like it.

The old brown leather sofa and armchairs were divvied up between a local barbershop and the British Heart Foundation and once the new sofa was in, the only issue has been who gets the long section with feet-up privileges!

Pinterest, Instagram and other interior blogs have all lead me to more than a few obsessions. I’m looking at you tray styling, bookshelf obsession and all manner of decorative West Elm objects and Oliver Bonas copper pineapples!

Then there was the infamous Guide to Manhattan print seen all over Pinterest. This I tracked down here in Sweden thanks to fellow blogger Claire – to who I am eternally grateful!

Due to a plethora of Insta shots featuring oversized, chunky knit throws, I made up my mind to finally order a Lauren Aston version in the heat of the summer. I found mine at Not On The High Street when it had 20% off and so opted for a cushion to match too.

A visit to Hannah’s B&B in Winchester was responsible for a copper plumbing pipes as curtain rod obsession, which, even our plumber who installed the new radiators was impressed with!

copper accents

monochrome prints on a white picture shelf

grey sofa monochrome soft furnishings and copper lighting

copper pineapple ice bucket

Vitra Eames chairs were soon crossed off the list due to budget restraints (one day!)  – but some that are very similar to these were snaffled in the Boxing Day sale for £15 each and they make me very happy!

And last but never least, my very favourite thing about the living room…despite the fact that it wasn’t ever supposed to adopt the sheepskin rug as it’s own…

golden labrador laid by the fire on a rug

I’ve loved the whole living room makeover process as much as the end product and I know that blogging and my bordering on obsessive Pinterest and Instagram habits have really helped in bringing it all together.

Now I’m tapping my fingers and looking around wondering what’s next…

Have you embarked on a major room makeover recently and where did you find all your inspirations and ideas?

Here are a few of my favourite places to scour for homeware and accessories:

AmaraAnthropologieH&M HomeHabitatJohn LewisMade.comOliver BonasThe White CompanyUrban OutfittersWest Elm



6 comments on “Living Room Makeover | Before + After”

  1. Oh Amanda, I love it. You’ve done a fantastic job, a real transformation. We did something similar with our lounge last year and it’s amazing how a monochrome, clean Scandi feel makes everything feel lighter and brighter. Love it xx

    1. Ah thanks so much Kat – so pleased you like it! I love the whole monochrome Scandi thing – the light feels so much better and with textures and plenty of cosy bits strewn around, it doesn’t feel cold at all. The wood burner helps too! Now I just want to go monochrome in the kitchen and bathroom but that may be a while yet! Happy Friday Lovely! xx

  2. Looks so beautiful- and exactly what I want to recreate in my living room. Can I ask what shade of white you used?

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