Living room makeover: 'From ugly and dull to a riot of bright colour'

Take a look inside Charlie's impressive navy blue living room

Charlie has grounded her colourful room with navy blue walls, and grey and vintage wooden furniture, so the space feels well thought out. Painting the stairs white, and giving the back wall a splash of lighter blue, stops the room from feeling too dark
Published: February 23, 2022 at 4:55 pm
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From watching TV, working from home or getting stuck into a craft project, Charlie Daniels’ vibrant living room is a multi-tasking space.

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Here, she tells us all about her home makeover experience...

My living room makeover

When we were looking to buy a place together, everyone said finding your house is like falling in love; you’ll know when it happens. Although this place smelled of cat wee and was a bit of a wreck, we both knew it was ‘the one’!

Charlie has grounded her colourful room with navy blue walls, and grey and vintage wooden furniture, so the space feels well thought out. Painting the stairs white, and giving the back wall a splash of lighter blue, stops the room from feeling too dark
Charlie has grounded her colourful room with navy blue walls, and grey and vintage wooden furniture, so the space feels well thought out. Painting the stairs white, and giving the back wall a splash of lighter blue, stops the room from feeling too dark

As soon as we walked in, I had a vision of knocking down the wall in the narrow hallway, through to the living room to create one beautiful open space.

Luckily, we had a month left in our rental, so we got all the messy stuff done before we moved in. The wall came down and the builders installed an I-beam. Then my dad ripped out the ugly gas fire, which we replaced with an electric log burner. Although I would love a real one at some stage, this is pretty convincing.

‘I wanted a neat, streamlined fire surround, so I bought a cheap bookshelf, attached it with budget wooden brackets, and then painted it the same colour as the wall for a modern look’
‘I wanted a neat, streamlined fire surround, so I bought a cheap bookshelf, attached it with budget wooden brackets, and then painted it the same colour as the wall for a modern look’

We lived with the room as it was for a year while we did the rest of the house, which worked in our favour as it gave us thinking time to work out what we needed in the space. We designed a wall of storage, using IKEA units and shelves, and then made a media unit out of Bestå cabinets.

‘I love vintage furniture and the history it holds, and this cabinet, which was left on the street, was a great find. I was on my way to work, but I thought, if it’s still there on my way home, it’s meant to be! I love seeing our things on show; even the edges of the records have fun colours, so we embraced the idea of open storage to showcase all our colourful collections and accessories’
‘I love vintage furniture and the history it holds, and this cabinet, which was left on the street, was a great find. I was on my way to work, but I thought, if it’s still there on my way home, it’s meant to be! I love seeing our things on show; even the edges of the records have fun colours, so we embraced the idea of open storage to showcase all our colourful collections and accessories’

I wanted a dark blue living room and I spent a long time choosing the right shade before finally settling on Mythical Nights by Valspar. I decided to paint everything the same colour, including all the woodwork and shelving, to give the room a modern, bespoke feel. And as I love displaying all my colourful trinkets, prints and candles, I knew they would really come to life against the blue.

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I feel really excited by colour and it’s a real mood changer for me; this room feels so happy and welcoming now. It brings me so much joy.

My style advice

How to disguise home tech and gadgets

Charlie's navy living room

‘These wall-hung cabinets look like bespoke, fitted furniture, but they are simple IKEA drawers that I painted. They hide away all of Tom’s ugly PlayStation equipment, and all the TV wires and controllers, which I hate being on display. I’ve surrounded the Samsung the Frame TV with colourful prints so this looks like a gallery wall when the TV isn’t being used.’

Choose multifunctional furniture

Charlie's foldaway desk

Charlie works from home three days a week and was fed up with working at the dining table, so this versatile unit was the perfect solution. The drop-down table acts as her workspace during the week and doubles up as a crafting table the rest of the time. It also makes separating work from home life a bit easier. ‘I can push my laptop to the back, fold the unit away, and switch off at the end of the day,’ she explains.

Clear clutter

Charlie's blue hallway

The open-plan space makes the downstairs light and airy, but it means the couple have to be extra tidy. The budget IKEA Ivar cabinet hides away all but day-to-day footwear, which lives on the shoe bench next to it. The vintage cabinet keeps letters, post and paperwork tidy and the fun, colourful hooks are perfect for bags, scarves and hats.

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Photos David Giles.

Authors

Lisa Moses is an interiors shoot producer, stylist and writer

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