Friday, 1 May 2015

Living Room Makeover: Redecorating On A Budget

It's been months of planning, painting, sanding, buying and arranging but our living room is finally finished! 

I live in a two-bedroom flat in the centre of Manchester, just outside of the Northern Quarter. Along with my fiancĂ©, Liam, I've spent the last 5 months redecorating the living room but on a tight budget (we are PhD students after all!). I'm pretty obsessed with interior design and anything to do with the home. I'm always looking for inspiration on themes and styles, on pages like this, or pinterest.  I constantly watch home shows, read design and interiors books, and love a bit of DIY, art and craft, so I've had a lot of fun redecorating and thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.

The living room is the very core of our home. It's where all our guest sit and spend time when they come around and, most importantly, it's where Liam and I spend every evening eating, relaxing and watching tele. So, it goes without saying that we wanted it to look nice, feel cosy and homely, but also reflect our personalities. We are both very happy with result, especially as we upcycled so many items and bought some gorgeous pieces that were a lot cheaper than they look. Every item has been chosen very carefully, which has resulted in a living room that we love.

First up, our dining area...

The dining table is my parents' old one that I (or rather, Liam!) plan on sanding down and waxing very soon (the final piece in the living room to be done). What is new though are these GORGEOUS chairs from George! I LOVE them! I think they really steal the show in this area and make it much more modern.

The clock is a simple yet chic statement on the wall and was a present from my auntie when we first moved in, and I think she got it from John Lewis. Below it is a fun art print that goes really well in the kitchen area and is in an IKEA frame

The wicker basket is from a hamper that my parents received for Christmas and houses all our tea towels and table cloths etc. The wire basket on top of it is from ebay and the jars, containing herbs and spices, are all just from old sauce/antipasti jars that I've soaked to get the labels off. On the windowsill is a lantern from IKEA and a beautiful white French jug, which was a present from my sister, and looks great with or without flowers in (although I do particularly love it when it's got lavender in it!).

The coffee table is from a charity shop that Liam sanded down and waxed. It took him ages as it had so much varnish on it, but I'm so grateful that he persisted with it because I absolutely love the effect.   It's been stripped back to it's raw state, solid pine, adding a rustic, shabby chic vibe to the room. The trayscape was an idea and gift from my auntie, who is amazingly talented at interior design, and again it's one of my favourite pieces in the room (I did a whole post on trayscapes here). The tray, hurricane vase and frame are from John Lewis and the cute little books were an engagement present from Liam's brother and his girlfriend.

The coffee table is standing on this very cool, retro cassette tape rug from George. I searched for ages to find a quirky rug and instantly fell in love with this one! 

The light shade was from Wilko and looks a lot more expensive that it was. I love the wire around it and the fact that it's cream means that it lights the room up well (we used to have dark shade and it made the light rubbish!). The chaise longue (similar here) was used as a spare bed originally, but as we've turned the spare room into an office and people generally stayed on the double airbed anyway, we decided to bring it into the living room. It had a beige and white check pattern on that didn't suit the living room so we bought a new black cover for it from ebay.

I have a slight obsession with cushions and can't help buying nice ones when I see them! (This has resulted in our bed being full of them which drives Liam mad!). I love this grey studded cushion from George at Asda (sold out right now but may get back in stock soon so keep an eye out, or look in-store). The white ones are from Primark (and may still be in store as I only bought them about a month ago) and the beige linen ones are from IKEA. The throw is from John Lewis and looks really  chic (and has just gone in the sale so grab yourself a bargain!).

The gallery wall is obviously the main talking point in this room and my golly gosh did it take ages to do! There was a lot of "To the right a bit, down a bit, left a bit..." and one grumpy fiancĂ© by the end!  I enjoyed it though and it's totally worth it seeing the results! It's a mixture of my DIY typography prints and art work, photographs and professional art prints/posters. The frames are from George, Ikea and Wilko, and charity shops that I spray painted either copper or grey.

The 'Romance of Rosy Ridge' print is my favourite one on this wall, and it's a very special print to us. When I marry Liam next year I will become Rosy Ridge (yes, I've come to terms with the fact that it sounds a bit like a Disney character!), and as an engagement present, some friends found out that this was on old movie starring Janet Leigh in 1947, so they bought the movie print and framed it for us. We had no idea it was a film and were gobsmacked when we saw the print! Best. Present. Ever.

The red chair is from Marks and Spencer's and the cushion is from Debenhams, both of which complement each other nicely to create a cosy little corner. I like to think it's my little reading chair with all my favourite books on the bookcase behind it, where I can sit sipping a cup of tea reading a book with the sun shining on my back. The side table is an old bedside table that I painted grey and the heart candle from George is one of those items that I think looks really expensive but it's actually a complete bargain. I know I'll never light it as it's too pretty! Finally, we got the Alcatraz print when we visited San Francisco last year (read about our trip here) and it serves as a constant reminder of how amazing that holiday was.

The box shelves are a great idea from George. We were going to hang them on our wall (and still might do in the future) but for now we like the way the light can shine through them from the window and really show off the objects on them. This copper fan from George is my favourite decorative item in the living room. I have a bit of a thing for copper and grey (as I'm sure you might have guessed by now!) and I love how rustic and shabby chic it looks. The shelf itself houses my art and coffee table books that are beautiful in themselves and great to dip into for a bit of inspiration.

The baby cactus is from Wilko and the pot is from Primark (still in-store). The sea horses belonged to my Grandma and Grandad and they always remind me of their old house where they used to sit on the mantle piece. They look really nice here as the sun shines through the glass. The hourglass from George ties in with the rest of the room as the sand is black, and I just think it looks really cool, especially alongside this little wooden quote block. 

The chest is an old wooden one from IKEA that we painted white and then sanded down for a distressed, shabby chic look. The suitcases are from antique shops and they house all my spare photos and cards. The frames are both from IKEA and contain some photos from when me and Liam first got together. The mat is an old one that I spray painted copper (Wilko have a great copper spray) and the rocks are from The Grand Canyon (blog post here) and Monument Valley (blog post here) from our visits last year. The bird is from a little independent shop in Bath.
The magazine rack is a converted wine crate and I love it! It was a present from one of my best friends/ bridesmaid and goes so well next to the white chest. Finally, The cd rack is from IKEA and just slots nicely into the corner.

The mirror is an old antique and it's an unusual red-brown leather, which I love. As well as quirky/ pretty items I like to have a few sentimental, personal items in our home, and there's quite a few on this shelving unit. The 'R & L' frame was an engagement present from one of my lovely bridesmaids and her husband. The R is a map of Glossop, Derbyshire (where I'm from) and the L a map of Ossett, West Yorkshire (where Liam's from), the & is a map of Manchester, where we live now, and the little heart is a map of Durham, where we met (8 and a half years ago now!). The dominos set is Liam's Dad's old one and is like an antique in itself. I like to think that guests can just randomly start playing it if they want to but that's yet to happen! The little Budda used to be my mum's and he's an incense holder! The busts are of Beethoven and Bach and used to sit on top of my Grandad's piano as they are his favourite composers, so they mean a lot to me. They looked very classical in his home but I like that in mine they actually look pretty quirky!

The cabinet was from IKEA and we painted it grey to, again, give it a French vibe. It took quite a long time to paint as it required 3 coats but I love the colour. It holds our DVD collection and Liam's books. I've also put some photos and typography prints on there. The quote from Gandhi is a great mantra to live your life your life by and having it there always reminds me to do so. I particularly love the little canvas, which was a present from Liam's brother, of me and Liam on a train trip about 7 years ago as it's such a natural shot. I also love the photo in the white distressed frame of my sister and I at Disneyworld when we were little. 

Wow, what a long post! You don't realise how much stuff you have in your living room until you actually write it down haha! I hope you like it as much as we do and that you're feeling a bit more inspired into redecorating your own home!

For great homeware items on a budget I'd really recommend: IKEA, George at Asda, Wilko, H&M Home, Primark and any charity shops- it's amazing what a lick of paint can do! Also, check out sites like Freegle to see if there's anything going that you need.

Rosy x

Some of the items in this post have been sent to me to review. Please see my disclaimer for further details. 


  1. That must have been a lot of work for sure, but it paid off in the end.

    LindaLibraLoca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  2. I saw this on Instagram so I had to come over and check it out. I love the collage above the couch, very awesome. It looks like there's cool stuff everywhere you turn, I especially love the bookshelves. Also natural light is everything so those large windows are lovely!


  3. Fantastic you have really worked hard and done a great job! Love the grey colour and the wall art especially.

  4. i absolutely love the decor! a lot of hard work went into that! i am in love with your gallery wall! x

  5. Love yours style, the gallery wall looks so good

  6. The decorations of your home is really lovely! Especially love the portraits of inspirational quotes, they are so uplifting and definitely make very meaningful and chic wall decorations!


  7. oohh the flat looks absolutely gorgeous! I love all your kooky ideas and the picture wall and bronze fan - definitely gives me some ideas! Caz B


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