Living room makeover: ‘My pastel living room is full of character’

Take a look inside Beam's relaxing pastel living room, full of delectable tones and elegant swooping curves

'My pastel living room is full of character'

Using a pretty pastel colour scheme and adding fun touches and clever styling tricks, Beam Irwin has created a living area perfect for socialising and relaxing.

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Here, she tells us all about her makeover experience…

My living room makeover…

When we bought this house, we loved the spacious living room that extends to the dining area and overlooks the garden. The walls had been painted in neutral tones of creams and greys, which I was grateful for because it was a nice blank canvas for me to work with.

'My pastel living room is full of character'
Beam’s living room before the makeover

Before we even picked up a paintbrush, I spent a long time planning the room, looking at furniture styles and colour schemes for at least a month. Once we decided on the look, Christian and I gave the walls a fresh coat of paint before getting started.

Welcome to my home…

A bit about me I’m Beam, 34, a freelance props and interior stylist and maker of floral home decorations, which I sell on Instagram @bloomsbybeam. I live with my husband, Christian, 39, an IT specialist. Our home is a 1950s three-bedroom semi-detached house in Middleton, Manchester. I post home updates @aplacetogether

My problem living room Our living space had a good-sized open-plan layout, but it didn’t have much warmth or personality. I wanted to add lots of fun, happy colours to make the room more cheerful.

'My pastel living room is full of character'

Deciding where the TV would go was one of the major changes to the layout. Originally, it was near the window, which didn’t work because of the sun’s glare. It looks so much better placed behind the door, and with the empty wall, it’s the perfect place for the sideboard too.

Beam began planning her living room the moment she and Christian made an offer on their home. The first big buy was the rug from Next, which was the starting point for the colour scheme. The IKEA sofa and armchair were gifts from family and the MADE.com arch lamp was found on Facebook Marketplace. Beam dressed the windows with sheer voile curtains to filter the light
Beam began planning her living room the moment she and Christian made an offer on their home. The first big buy was the rug from Next, which was the starting point for the colour scheme. The IKEA sofa and armchair were gifts from family and the MADE.com arch lamp was found on Facebook Marketplace. Beam dressed the windows with sheer voile curtains to filter the light

It’s the little details that have made the biggest impact for me, like changing the curtain poles to a track system and placing them higher up to make the space look bigger. Adding a fire surround, which I got for free on Facebook Marketplace, and hanging my papercut artwork above gave the room a central focal point, which has made a huge difference.

A bit more about my home…

How I made it work We painted the walls and shopped around for furniture that would make the layout work better. I decorated the room with bargain finds from second-hand selling sites and I filled the walls with my own artwork. It took two years for me to feel that this room was finally complete.

My favourite part My fireplace. It’s very photogenic and I like that I can play around with it by changing the mantel decorations or the artwork above. I love how flexible it can be.

'My pastel living room is full of character'

Having a place that looks and feels restful was so valuable to us, especially during lockdown. Being able to plan and do tweaks to the space has helped keep me busy during the months we could only stay at home.

Beam wanted to bring the pinks of the living room into the dining area. She’s dressed the dining table with a handwoven table runner and placemats from her home country, the Philippines. A glass-fronted Billy bookcase from IKEA is used to store the couple’s glassware and spare kitchen bits
Beam wanted to bring the pinks of the living room into the dining area. She’s dressed the dining table with a handwoven table runner and placemats from her home country, the Philippines. A glass-fronted Billy bookcase from IKEA is used to store the couple’s glassware and spare kitchen bits

Now my living room feels like it reflects my personality and interests. The space is filled with my favourite pastel colours, pieces collected from my travels, as well as family photos. Transforming this plain white box into such a joyful room has given me so much enjoyment.

Style advice

Three simple tricks to try in your own home:

Clever distractions

A wall-mounted TV wasn’t top of Beam’s wish list, but it was one of her husband’s must-haves. With a few tweaks, she’s turned this space into a stylish corner. A cosy rug underneath a second-hand sideboard, originally from Swoon Editions, grounds the space while framed family prints and a table lamp add a homely feel.

'My pastel living room is full of character'

Leafy houseplants, set on different-sized stools – all charity shop buys – add extra interest and cleverly distract the eye from the flat-screen TV.

Style up your fireplace

Having never had a fireplace before, Beam was excited to make it a focal point. First, she painted the wall behind in Bon Bon by Frenchic and then painted the surround, a free find from Facebook Marketplace, white.

'My pastel living room is full of character'

A spare piece of skirting board was added to the top of the mantelpiece for extra display space, perfect for Beam’s styling to take centre stage. The framed art was made by Beam using up colourful pieces of leftover wrapping paper and wallpaper.

Find the perfect fit

Before the makeover, Beam carefully considered different pieces of furniture to make the most of the space available. These B&Q floating shelves, which her father-in-law put up, were the ideal fit for the tricky alcove space.

'My pastel living room is full of character'

Among the framed family photos and treasured trinkets, Beam has decorated the shelves with gardening and flower books found in 27 West Park, a favourite antique shop in Harrogate. Book spines that didn’t match the colour scheme have been spun around, with the aged pages adding to the vintage feel.

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Feature Maxine Brady. Photos Colin Poole Styling Beam Irwin. 

This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Home Style magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?