Living room case study: a brand new look for under £6,000

Renovating your home on a budget? Take some inspiration from this incredible living room transformation

Colourful small living room
(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

Designing a new living room on a budget? Be inspired by this eclectic Edwardian living room – and check out all our room makeovers for more budget-friendly transformations. 


The owners: Vanessa Roberts, a corporate strategist for Aviva, lives here with husband Andy, an IT program manager
The property: A six-bedroom semi-detached Edwardian property near Harrogate, Yorkshire
Total project cost: £5,550

‘It was massive, drab and soulless, and we simply had no idea how to make it work,’ recalls Vanessa. ‘There were lots of beautiful period features, such as the skirting boards and cornicing, but they were lost because of the neutral colour scheme.’ 

The couple initially planned to repaint the living room, but after coming across local interior designer Karen Knox on Houzz, they decided to see what she suggested. ‘I immediately resonated with Karen’s sense of style and was over the moon when I discovered she was based near us in Yorkshire,’ recalls Vanessa. 

The beading on either side of the chimney breast was painted in Rustoleum Gold Metallic Paint, highlighting the geometric pattern in the wallpaper. The console table is from La Redoute, with a lamp from M&S. All four walls are papered in Ferm Living's Lines wallpaper in Dark Blue, from Cloudberry Living, with the area above painted in Farrow & Ball's Matchstick. Sofas, Cushions, H&M Home. Throw with tassels, Sainsbury's Home. Artwork, Andy Welland. For a similar gold pineapple, try Maisons du Monde

(Image credit: Jeremy Philips)

‘She was happy to come up with a new layout and design ideas for the room, as well as to source new pieces that would work with the Mid-century-style sofas and coffee table we brought with us from our previous house.’

A bright yellow Stockholm cabinet from Ikea adds a pop of colour and fun to the room and serves as a drinks cabinet. The mid-century sideboard and brass vinyl record rack are both from Ebay

(Image credit: Jeremy Philips)

During an initial consultation, the couple mentioned how much they loved geometric designs and warm metallic finishes, and then gave Karen free-rein to come up with a scheme. ‘She suggested a beautiful inky blue wallpaper with gold detailing in a geometric pattern, which I loved,’ says Vanessa. 

‘I thought she was suggesting wallpapering just the one feature wall, but when she said she meant all four, I needed some persuading. We would never have wallpapered an entire room ourselves, but I’m so glad we did.’ 

Vanessa and Andy painted the woodwork in Farrow & Ball's Stiffkey Blue, which blends seamlessly with the blue wallpaper. Metal frame floor-length mirror, M&S

(Image credit: Jeremy Philips)

Andy and Vanessa did most of the DIY and decorating themselves to cut costs, using YouTube videos as their guide. They even spent the hottest weekend of the summer ripping up their old carpet in preparation to rescue the old floorboards underneath. 


Windows: £2,000
Furnishings: £2,000
Interior design: £1,000
Decorator: £300
Flooring: £250

TOTAL: £5,550

‘It took two days to scrape all the decades of old bitumen from the floorboards, before sanding and then staining them,’ recalls Vanessa. ‘It was a nightmare at the time and we wished we’d never started, but it was all worth it in the end.’ 

Once the paintwork was tackled, they did invest in a professional decorator to hang the statement wallpaper. ‘We’d never wallpapered before and didn’t want to practice on such a beautiful design,’ she adds. ‘It was definitely worth paying a professional.’ 

Pineapples symbolise hospitality, so the brass pineapple from John Lewis is perfect for this home's living room - the social hub of the house. For similar, try Maisons du Monde

(Image credit: Jeremy Philips)

When it came to furnishing the space, they chose a mix of new, vintage and upcycled pieces, including a bargain £20 sideboard from Ebay, and a Nordium pendant light, which they spray-painted gold. ‘We didn’t set a strict budget, however, we definitely saved money by picking up second-hand finds and mixing them with Ikea pieces and bits we already had,’ adds Vanessa. 

The couple wanted to spread the cost of the project out in order to make it more affordable, and by purchasing key pieces for the room at the end of each month, they were able to push their budget that little bit further. ‘We were happy to splash out on the wallpaper as it was so special,’ adds Vanessa. 

Vanessa and Andy decorated their living room with vintage finds. Gold doll head planter, House Junkie

(Image credit: Jeremy Philips)

The whole room took about five months to complete, with the couple using their weekends to carry out much of the work. ‘It wasn’t too disruptive as we had the rest of the house, but we made sure to take a weekend off every month,’ Vanessa explains.

‘Now it’s finished, the room is a real show stopper and a great place to sit with a book or listen to music. We love having people over for dinner as it’s the perfect room for aperitifs, and also our favourite spot for gin o’clock!’

Vanessa and Andy's budget couldn't stretch to a new fire and fireplace, so they worked with what they already had - and it fits perfectly with the colour scheme. Rug, La Redoute. Floor lamp, Habitat. Gold-painted cage pendant light, Nordium. Ceiling rose, RS Restoration. Armchair, IKEA. Sheepskin, Hide Rugs. For a similar coffee table, try

(Image credit: Jeremy Philips)


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