A Small Lounge Makeover

December 11, 2015
small lounge makeover

I always thought interior design was something of a finite process. You had a room to decorate, picked a colour scheme, painted, bought cushions and BOOM – done.

But apparently that’s not how it works in my world.

I moved into this house two years ago as a ‘stopgap’. I’d been living in a Buckinghamshire village which I really enjoyed, and to be frank I thought to move into Milton Keynes proper would be a bit of a step down. I couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to live in this concrete city of roundabouts and redways and saw my move here as a time to reflect on where I ‘really’ wanted to live.

As such our stopgap home is smaller than what we were used to. We had a four bedroom/three bathroom place in the old village and, while gorgeous, it was a pain in the arse to heat and clean. This place felt tiny in comparison with only two bedrooms and the whole downstairs area open-plan.

But I’ve loved this house. It’s been the house I’ve enjoyed living in the most, made even more special by the fact it’s been my first on my own, the first I’ve been able to decorate with as much pink crap and fairy lights as I like. It’s warm, homey, safe and ours. I see us being here for a long time to come.  

This summer I decided it was about time we knuckled down to making this stopgap home of ours more to our (my) tastes. I’ve been on a mission to live minimally, with less stuff to leave us feeling cluttered and tied down, and I wanted to introduce solutions to our home that would reflect that. This meant streamlining, looking at storage options and thinking closely about how we used each area of our home.

The first was the living space.

Our living space is an L-shape through to the kitchen, with defined areas for lounging, eating and cooking. The lounge area is probably where we spend most time as a family: reading, cuddling, watching TV. Here’s what it looked like before:

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The sofa was an old faithful Karlstad that had seen me through two newborn babies and, to be honest, desperately needed replacing. It dominated the room:

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I always felt the room was so busy that it looked untidy even when it wasn’t. Though stored neatly all our stuff seemed to be on display all the time and I hated having to look at it. Stuff was piled upon stuff and the whole room just had far too much going on.

First I swapped out the old chevron rug in the spring to this one (from IKEA but now discontinued) and then I had a few priority areas. One, was to swap out the old armchair bought for the old nursery and create a reading nook for me to curl up in of an evening. Two, I wanted to find a new television unit that would hide much of the clutter that was on show and three, I needed a sideboard for crafting materials and toy storage.

Mission one; my chair.

I searched and searched and searched. My very first chair crush was on a now discontinued ‘Mr Bright’ from John Lewis but at around £1000 that was always a no-go. These can now be found second hand on eBay for around £700 but still I thought this was a bit out of reach.

small lounge makeover

The chair of dreams was found on MADE. I’d never bought such an important piece of furniture online before and was terrified it would look different in person. I worried to death in the 12 weeks it took to arrive but was over the moon when it finally did. I love it and this is where I can be found in the hour after the kids go to bed, book and glass of red wine in hand. .

small lounge makeover

Kubrick Wingback Chair in Scuba Blue, £379, MADE.

In the name of minimalism I decanted toys from an old wicker basket that now lives next to my new chair and in that you’ll find books, magazines and a cosy blanket for when it gets nippy. Perfect.

Next up was the TV unit. Again I searched high and low for what I wanted: white, with clean lines, draws or cupboards and some cubby space. I found this in IKEA and, though it was one hell of a mission to get the thing in and out the car and then finally build it (it’s HEAVY), build it I did and it hasn’t fallen apart since so I must have done something right!

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RAMSATRA TV Bench, £160, IKEA. I also liked the MOSTORP and BESTA.

I’m still coming up with a storage solution for the hundreds of kids books we have – some of which are underneath the TV. I’ll let you know ;)

Next up was a sideboard. I toyed with the idea of keeping the space empty but I still thought we needed the storage. Once the TV bench was up I was on a roll and again searched my favourite spots for inspiration but this steel cabinet from IKEA came up trumps. It’s lockable so I keep my important paperwork and messy craft equipment in here far away from little hands. There’s also space underneath for baskets which I picked up from IKEA too, Elfie and Hux have one each for their own toys as well as one for toys they share. This way of storing toys is great for speedy end-of-the-day pick-ups.

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I still have a box of paperwork that I couldn’t bear to throw out at the side of the sideboard – my minimalism is a work in progress!

IKEA PS Cabinet, £70. KNARRA baskets, £7 each.

Finally, it was time to look at a sofa. Habitat contacted me to ask if I fancied taking a look at their range of slimline couches, and as a long-term fan of theirs of course I blimmin did…

I loved the addition of the deep blue from my wing chair which originally came from the blue accents in the rug and so tentatively decided to stay with the same colour scheme. As I was going off online photos again I was worried the two pieces of furniture might be completely different shades but it was a risk I was happy to take. Though I have to admit I wondered how the room would have looked had I gone for the bright pink Kubrick chair: the ultimate in girly decor. Maybe next time?

The sofa I chose was a good 5cm slimmer than my old Karlstad and, with no footstool, I knew it would open up the room and give us more space to play and enjoy the room.

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Habitat Hyde three seater sofa, £600. 

I love how modern the sofa makes the room feel. It very much has a Scandinavian aesthetic and its beautiful lines and deep colour really compliment the rest of the room. I have to admit, I kept my old IKEA sofa in the garage because I was kind of emotionally attached to it, but that’s where it’ll be staying. I really love the cosy transformation of the deep blue.

small lounge makeover

small lounge makeover

It’s amazing just how different a few key pieces of furniture can make a room look. There was no painting, no messy changes: just storage, a couple of pot plans, the re-positioning of an old rug (the pink one, from Greece) and re-arranging my beloved books.

It’s still a moveable feast, though. I’m not quite happy with the cushion situation (sidenote: why are all the best cushions fifty quid?), there will be a new reading lamp arriving to my nook in January, the gallery wall will be added to and I’m toying with an antique mirror going above the sofa… stay tuned.

Thank you so much for Habitat for collaborating with More Than Toast. 


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  • Reply Adele December 11, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Gorgeous, simple makeover! I really want to re-do ours and we’re hoping to manage it next year. It’s amazing what a difference you’ve made to your space.

    • Reply alice December 12, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Thank you so much Adele!

  • Reply Alison December 11, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    I just spent far too long absolutely pouring over these photos, comparing them, working out what has changed etc. Love what you’ve done. The new sofa makes it look so much bigger! Got my eye on similar sideboard/units but my interiors shopping list is so long I’ll never get through it all ;)

    • Reply alice December 12, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      I spent yesterday evening doing the same – I love the way you can see such a difference when you work so hard on a room!

  • Reply Candy Pop December 11, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    It looks amazing, you must be so pleased! I love the sofa, chair, white cabinet, I could go on and on….

    • Reply alice December 12, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      Thank you so much!

  • Reply Carie @ Space for the Butterflies December 12, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Oh that deep blue is amazing, like properly dark night skies and it looks like a very cosy spot to curl up in. It’s a very grown up sort of makeover if that makes sense!

    • Reply alice December 12, 2015 at 9:37 pm

      Thank you Carie! I love it and yes, it really does feel quite grown up :)

  • Reply Kerry December 12, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Love the furniture! I also love your rug :) x

    • Reply alice December 12, 2015 at 9:37 pm

      Thank you Kerry! x

  • Reply Jess @ Along Came Cherry December 13, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    It looks great! So much more space, we have a corner sofa and would have so much more room without the corner on it but I love to sit with my legs up in the evening. I absolutely love that pink chair too, I would have had to have gone for that one! It looks like such a cosy room, lived in but not messy. A look I haven’t quite managed ;) x

  • Reply laura redburn December 13, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    really loving the sofa and chair! i especially want to get comfy in the chair with a good book.

  • Reply Kathryn December 13, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Wow, both that chair and sofa are heavenly – love the deep blue colour! I do love habitat but am yet to pop my Made cherry but I love the concept. We’ve just given our lounge a bit of a makeover too (mainly Ikea!) and it’s nice to have a refresh before the xmas break! xx

  • Reply Molly December 13, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    The deep blue works so well in the room and those pops of colour really help to make it feel bigger (along with your new storage too, obviously!). What a lovely room to kick back of an evening. x

  • Reply Jo December 14, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    Girls do indeed run the world – I am very envious of your house at the moment, looks lovely.

  • Reply Rosie Parsons December 17, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Loving your style! :) the blue looks incredible!

    • Reply alice December 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm

      Thank you very much Rosie :)

  • Reply Claire December 28, 2015 at 8:09 am

    The chair in the corner looks so lovely and cosy definitely a place to unwind with a good book :-)

  • Reply Claire January 14, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    I think it looks amazing. Could I just ask what colour you have used for the walls as I would like something similar in my living room? Thanks

    • Reply alice January 14, 2016 at 8:38 pm

      Thanks Claire! I really love the colour, too. It’s a Wickes own brand colour called Duck Egg.

      • Reply Claire January 21, 2016 at 7:45 am

        Thank you for this I will go and see if I can find a tester pot. Thanks again

  • Reply Claire January 14, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    I think it looks amazing. Could I just ask what colour you have used on the walls as I would like something similar in my living room? Thanks

  • Reply The Pink Sofa | More Than Toast April 12, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    […] month was one of the most enjoyable parts of the move. I wanted to keep my wonderful workhorse of a Habitat sofa, but with a bigger living space I knew I’d want the additional seating that a new 3 seater […]

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