It will be a surprise to absolutely no one that I am anticipating Christmas and the cosy winter months.
I mentioned on instagram recently that ever since the cold crept in this year, I've been feeling the urge to create the cosiest, Christmas-ready living room, and with mere days before December, we're well on the way!
After we moved in, the first year was all about styling a light and airy bedroom. This year I set aside a little time and money to tackle the living room. As usual, we're working with a limited budget, and we rent which means we have to work around the exising design choices that were made for our home. Usually this means I choose decor that straddles affordability and longevity, with a little bit of practicality thrown in, but I am also a sucker for a trend, as you'll see throughout the post!
We live in a terraced house, which means we're working with a long, narrow space. The whole downstairs is open-plan, which has been great for the light, but is a little trickier to style without making your house feel like one long corridor. What's more, with the TV bracket already mounted on the chimney breast, there's only really one place for the TV and the sofa to go. If Pinterest is to be believed, designing your living space around the TV is a Cardinal Sin, but sometimes ya girl just wants to watch How I Met Your Mother upon an evening without craning my neck at a 90° angle. Sue me.
Since we moved in, I've been a bit unsure what to do with this space. We moved from a tiny (2 room) flat, and all we had to put in here was an armchair and a teeny sofa. So small infact that it's a "compact" size - that's smaller than "2 seater"!
the living room "before"
I'd started to fill things out by choosing us a fluffy berber rug, and securing us a dining table to, y'know, actually eat our dinner at, but it's not until recently I've had the inspiration to start creating a little cosy living corner in this room. You can imagine my face (pure joy), when an email from DFS dropped into my inbox asking if i'd like to try something from their So Simple range. I'd bought our existing sofa from them already, so I knew I could rely on anything I chose to be good quality and more durable than a certain sofa-leg-snapping-trendy-online-brand-that-shall-not-be-named. I mean, who hasn't heard of DFS?
The So Simple range is focussed on style and affordability - perfect for us Generation Rent-ers
...and is designed to make your sofa search... yep, so simple. Just choose from one of 8 styles, pick a size and fabric, and you're away!
Knowing we needed a roomier seating arrangement, but that still worked in the narrow layout of the room, I opted for the Max in 3 seater - big enough to fully stretch out and snooze on, with a classic shape that should carry my fickle heart through many a decor trend, but compact enough to leave some space in our teeny living room. I was tempted by the selection of velvets (hello antique mustard velvet) but I opted for Wool Look in Natural Earth, which I think help adds a little warmth to a very "renter's white" kind of room.
When the Max was delivered, I was super relieved to see that we'd be able to shuffle the sofas around and squeeze both into this room - seating for all! - but I was also relieved when the delivery drivers brought it into the room, assembled the legs and took away all the packaging with them! Speaking as someone who has assembled virtually every item of furniture in our entire house, I can't explain the joy of not having to scramble around on the floor with our 260th new allen key, trying not to break my new furniture before it's even assembled.
I styled it with a faux sheepskin across the back cushions and a few new fuzzy and velvety throw cushions to give it a natural, textural and cosy feel. I am very into the "beige" decor trend at the moment, so I chose natural, soft and earthy colours. I also snuck in my gold star Christmas cushion because you know what I'm like. 'Tis the season. Can't resist it.
The colour scheme tied perfectly with my botanical blooms prints, so I chose two of my favs to fill some of the blank space above the sofa. I had dreams of a feature mirror or a gallery wall, but unfortunately this is a no-nails-allowed wall, which also doesn't take to Command Strips very well, so I stuck to 2 prints and decided not to push my luck with the gravity gods! I finished off this side of the room with my beloved cheese plant, Chlauss, who's taken up new residence in a basket to make his height a little bit less... imposing, and I dug out this little George at Asda coffee table from a few years past, which is essential for tea and snacking on the sofa.
In the evenings, this corner can get a little dark, so we finished off the look with a brass lamp to tie in with the other gold elements, and that fringey velvet lampshade adds a bit more interest to that huge, blank wall.
For our existing sofa I freshened up the colours with some deeper coloured cushions and this lovely knitted throw
... as I envision this as the ultra cosy, snuggly spot. The deeper pinks match with our existing velvet footstool, and my little H&M lamp, because honestly, how can I resist pink velvet? I love having it here underneath this gorgeous built-in shelving which I really had not been taking full advantage of. I spent a good day giving them the styling-love they deserved - my favourite hanging Pothos plant, a few prints, a pretty gold basket to tidy away any random crap - and voila! I feel so much happier with this spot now things are feeling a bit more colour-coordinated! And yes, those are indeed the Nutmeg Wall Art window stickers from my 10k giveaway, and they will absolutely be staying up until Christmas!
Securing some small-space storage..
Next I opted for a bit more storage and something to help separate "living room" from "dining room". We have built-in cupboards which look pretty, but inside they're not that convenient for storing things other than the Virgin Media box, so I found this little rattan cupboard a perfect place to store lesser used dining-room things like candles, cake stands, serving plates, etc. I had to hunt high and low for a cabinet that was small enough to not completely drown this room - I was looking for something measuring only around 1 meter wide, which is suprisingly hard to find! This one fit the bill perfectly, but was probably the splurge purchase for this room.
I styled it with this lovely macrame wall hanging made by my friend Harriet, a glitzy gold mirror, a velvet lamp, and one of my new PEACE christmas prints because, well, I brought it down here to shoot some product shots, and I just couldn't bring myself to put it away again. The first signs of Christmas are creeping in, and they're here to stay!
The little gap between the cupboard and the fireplace meant I finally had somewhere to put my Pampas grass, that actually looked like it was supposed to be there. I am a big fan of propping prints rather than hanging, too (especially in a rental!) and one of my La Peche prints needed a home so it hangs out here, next to the pampas. I think the colours of the print, frame and pampas just work together so prettily.
From this last snap, you can really see the sheer teeniness of our living space, and I'm feeling pretty happy with what we've achieved! I'm hoping this space will serve as a bit of a "blank canvas" that I can cosy up for Christmas, and cool down when Summer rolls around. I'd like to find a small-but-perfectly-formed coffee table to keep in the middle of the room, but Martin is still not sold on that idea, so that just means more space to sit and wrap presents and eat chocolate in the meantime!
So what do you think? I am feeling very ready to decorate for Christmas, and am so grateful to DFS for providing me somewhere to snuggle in front of Arthur Christmas this year. I've got the Celebrations and the Mulled wine in, now just to decide where we'll put the Christmas tree! I share interior snaps pretty regularly over on Instagram, so if you want a peek at my Christmas decor when it goes up, be sure to join me there!
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