Home Projects

Before and After: See This Frumpy Living Room Go Cozy-Modern

updated Nov 25, 2019
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Credit: Hatty Parker

Hatty Parker describes her UK living room‘s “before” style as “full-on granny chic.” And from the old, patterned carpet to the old, patterned wallpaper, she’s not wrong—the space had definitely seen better days.

“We bought the house off a family who had lived there for 50 years,” explains Hatty, and the place hadn’t seen many changes in that time. “The whole house needed gutting, and this was just one of the rooms we worked on.”

Credit: Hatty Parker

One of the first things that Hatty and her husband, Alex, tackled was those previously mentioned walls. “We spent a lot of time stripping the wallpaper on the walls and then filling in the holes to get a smooth finish,” says Hatty. “We couldn’t afford a plasterer, so this was a painstaking process.” Once they made it through, they painted the happy, new walls with Farrow & Ball’s Peignoir.

Credit: Hatty Parker

The pair was super fortunate to find workable floorboards under the carpet. They sanded those down and gave them a white-wash look with an Osmo oil tint. “As this is a North-facing room, it was really important to have light-reflecting floors, and this was a budget-friendly way for us to do this,” Hatty explains.

They also widened the doorway between the kitchen and living room and installed spotlights, creating even more of an open and bright feeling.

Credit: Hatty Parker

The couple’s big splurge was their wood-burning stove, which they spent months saving up to buy. It was 1,000 percent worth it, according to Hatty, who says it brings character and a focal point to the room, and also keeps the pair warm and cozy during cold British weather.

Credit: Hatty Parker

Hatty ballparks the cost of the room’s makeover at about £5,000 (or roughly $6,500), including the wood burner, two new windows, curtains, and furniture. And she says it took around three months in total to make all of the changes.

Credit: Hatty Parker

To anyone else living through a long renovation process, Hatty says to try to be patient, as tough as that is, because it will make the result that much better.

“Although one of the most straightforward rooms to complete in house, it
has taken the longest to get just right,” Hatty says of her living room. “It takes time to live with things, and to realize what the room might be missing. Keep experimenting, and don’t be afraid to change things up once in a while! It’s amazing how little changes here and there can make a huge difference.”