Living Room Revamp

When I was a teenager I knew a boy called Gonna. I didn’t know his actual name because everyone just called him Gonna. When I asked his friend one day why that was his nickname, his friend replied “because he’s always saying “he’s gonna do this…” and “he’s gonna do that” but he never does so we call him Gonna. The name stuck and now I’m thinking this could be my new nickname when it comes to the styling of our home, because for nearly two years now I’ve been saying I’m “going to” do the living room. It’s not even like I need to do a huge amount - it really just comes down to some new sofas and a rug and a bit of reupholstering. So why has it taken me this long to figure out what we should do? In fairness I decided on the rug a year ago. That’s right. A. Year. Ago. But I still haven’t bought it. Partly it’s that I get busy with work and other people’s homes and then can’t be bothered to do our own - which basically amounts to laziness - and partly it’s because I love a few different styles and find myself being swayed in different directions depending on the day.

So, with a new year underway and no good excuse to not just make some decisions and get on with it (and some small measure of fear that friends are going to start calling me ‘Gonna’), I have finally pulled together a mood board for approval by the home committee.


It’s out with the charcoal sofas and the grey and white (now decidedly grey and beige) chevron rug. And in with a clean palette of white, earthy tones, a touch of grey and a new artwork piece (at the moment we have two Cameron Bloom artworks on the wall which I adore so they might stay in the living room and move to a different position - or they might move to a new room…we’ll see - artworks always have to be figured out last). And the existing cushions will also find a new home somewhere else.


Lots of pieces will stay - the marble coffee table, the black Hay tray table, the black marble Bethan Grey side table, as well as the Armadillo & Co petunia rug, the Joshua Yeldham artwork, the Moller bench and the Martine Emdur artwork - these are all keepers. Other pieces are staying but being updated - the two square ottomans will be recovered (one in leather and one in velvet) and my favourite Hans Wegner chair also needs a reupholster (it still has the original mid-century fabric and is looking decidedly gross).


The pendant light. This one I’m not sure about. I think I would like to change it but I’m not sure I’ll get it through the committee (something along the lines of “what’s wrong with the one that’s there?”). Fair point. Nothing is wrong with it as such but I think I’d like something less…Hamptons-meets-tropical vibe. Take a look below at the two mood boards and tell me which you prefer…(I understand that for most people this difference will be so minimal as to not be worth bothering to respond to, but humour me…)

our living room.001.jpeg
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  • Start by considering what can stay - what do you love and what is in good condition? Hopefully you have some good classic pieces that can stay and fit with any new ideas you have.

  • Take a look at what you can keep and refresh. If you have furniture items that are still in good condition but are just looking a little tired, consider reupholstering them instead of buying new. If the furniture item is timber and you would like to give it a new look, consider repainting it professionally. Don’t paint it yourself. A professional paint job will make all the difference - trust me (you don’t want this to be BBC’s Changing Rooms circa 1996 where your neighbour takes a can of turqouise paint - at the direction of Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen - and transforms a perfectly good piece of furniture into something ugly and cheap looking). Last word on this - hire professionals.

  • Once you have a shortlist of furniture items to keep / and or refresh - start considering what you need new.

  • Gather ideas from Pinterest and Instagram and start refining your style direction

  • Then create a mood board. I use Keynote to create simple mood boards like the ones above. You can also use Powerpoint. Both are pretty straightforward to navigate.

If you would like to come and learn how to style your home, I am teaching our Styling the Home workshop at The Assembly Hall in March - to read more or book your spot, head to the website.

Now…woven pendant or white George Nelson bubble pendant…?


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