Color Month

Before and After: A Bold Paint Choice Brings Out the Best in This 1930s Living Room

published Jul 3, 2023
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About this before & after
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Vintage mirror over fireplace in light colored living room with pink sofa and carpeted floors.

Sometimes the built-in features of your home seem to call for a specific decor style. Maybe an exposed brick wall feels just right for industrial-style decor, or a room with giant windows calls for something that feels like a blend of indoor and outdoor. At Hayley Fellows-Prior’s (@flippedbyhayley) U.K. home, the large living room with high ceilings, crown molding, picture and chair rails, and a big limestone fireplace “felt like it was calling out to be a grand period room,” she says.

While the before looked nice enough, it was also pretty neutral — not Hayley’s typical style. “I love using color in my home,” she says. “You won’t find much white or gray in my house!” Hayley wanted to bring some of that style into this space and make it feel as cozy as possible.

The first part of this was dividing the large living room into two spaces, creating a separate dining room with new wood floors in both spaces. Once the walls were plastered, Hayley turned her attention to the high ceilings, which she felt could handle a dramatic paint choice.

A coral-red overhead (Lick’s Red 03) casts a warm glow on the rest of the room, and carrying the paint down to the picture rail helps the ceiling feel even higher. That wasn’t without some sweat equity from Haley and her husband, Chris Prior, though: “It required three coats and our arms were definitely aching for a while afterwards!” Hayley says. The rest of the walls are a soft pink (Farrow & Ball’s Pink Ground).

Hayley incorporated more color with her other decor choices, adding in a 1940s console she found on the curb and repainted a deep green. (Total cost: £20, or about $25.) She added in fresh jewel-toned seating, too. A gallery wall across from the fireplace reflects in the vintage mirror above it and brings even more personality. “The gallery wall was a first for me and was a real labor of love!” Hayley says. “It took several months to source and piece together the artwork in a way that worked well in the space.” Now that it’s there, she loves that it’s easy enough to change up the art whenever she feels like it.

“It’s so much cozier now! It’s an amazing room for relaxing in — especially on summer days, as the natural light seeps into the room and just gives a gorgeous golden-hour glow, all year round,” Hayley says. “Rather than just being a room you have to use because the TV is in there, this is now a room you want to use.”