Creating our cosy child friendly living room

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When we moved into our home back in 2016 we loved the layout and location, but we weren’t as keen on the cream carpets, pine laminate flooring, and wall to wall magnolia. So, ever since we have been waging a war against the bland décor.

What I disliked about the living room

When I think of a living room I think of somewhere cosy, where children and the occasional adult can comfortably play on the floor, a place which is warm and inviting, and somewhere that you can turn the lights down and watch a good movie.

South corner before and after living room decor

Our new living room was none of these things. The laminate flooring was always cold and hard, it was impossible to keep clean, and made for an uncomfortable place for Baby to learn to roll and crawl. The yellow pine colour was also way too much with the magnolia walls.

As the room is south facing with a large set of French doors taking up most of the southern wall, it tended to be either extremely hot, with the sun bouncing off the light walls and floor, or freezing cold, thanks to the laminate being placed directly onto concrete with only the thinnest insulation imaginable.

North corner before and after living room decor

In addition to these bigger failings there were also

a raft of smaller failings such as stains on the ceiling, a huge TV mount on the wall that we didn’t intend to use, cracks to several of the sockets, and a mass of old sky cables coming in from two different entry points.

Planning our new room

It was very important to us that we got the décor of our living room right first-time, so our first step was to spend hours hunting for the perfect wallpaper for our feature wall. I had only two requirements: that the paper didn’t contain pictures of trees, and that it wasn’t grey… As a result we obviously chose paper which is covered in grey trees!

Swatches for the living room colour schemeOnce we had our paper we set about choosing paints to match. This turned out to be a little trickier than we at first thought and we ended up returning to the DIY shop twice for tester pots before we found the perfect shades of grey. A dark one for the back wall and a light one for the side walls.

The final and most important design feature was the carpet which I absolutely insisted upon. We eventually chose one from Cormar Carpets Sensation range which was a complimentary shade of grey, extremely thick, and importantly, dirt resistant!

Clearing the living room before decorating

Changing the room

This living room was without a doubt the most involved room I have ever decorated. All told, it took about a week to get the room to a state in which we could start living in it again.

Baby assisting with the living room decorating

Our process was as follows:

Move all furniture into the centre of the room and cover it with dust sheets. We would be lifting the floor so although we did put some floor protection down, we weren’t too worried about it. We also removed the curtain pole.

Remove the old TV wall bracket. We decided early on not to use this as a TV lower to the ground feels cosier.

Dig out TV cables and remove socket. The previous homeowners had recessed their TV cables into the wall and also had a plug socket placed half way up the wall. We dug out as many of the cables as we could and removed the plug sockets, taking care to make the cables safe. We also removed all the old Sky cables.

Fill and sand holes. This speaks for itself, although we did have some more difficult holes to fill. Such as the one left by the removed socket and we had one outdoor hole which needed extra attention to make sure we didn’t have insects or bees finding their way in.

Painting the living room grey

Paint the ceiling. We decided to use up the white ceiling paint left over from the children’s rooms. In hind sight, we wished we had bought a paint which is pink when applied but dries white because we had a terrible time working out where we had and hadn’t painted.

Mask and paint the back wall. Using painters masking tape gives a perfectly crisp edge and takes the stress out of cutting in.

Mask and paint the side walls.

Remove the laminate flooring. We were expecting this to be a nightmare as Grumpy Dad had previously come across a floor in a similar house which had been glued down. Luckily this was not the case in our living room and the whole floor was removed in less than an hour.

Living room before the new Cormar carpet went down

Mask and paint the skirtings. There is nothing worse than faded, yellowing, or tatty skirtings for making a room look neglected.

Lay the new Cormar carpet. This was my favourite part as once the new carpet was installed the room felt completely different and much cosier even before it was finished.

Replace cracked sockets. This was a simple job, but it gave me a lot of piece of mind.

Hang the wallpaper. Grumpy Dad usually hangs the wallpaper as he’s very particular about getting it spot on. However, after struggling to wallpaper around 6 sockets, he was so stressed that he was willing to coach me while I hung my first ever sheets.

Re-distribute furniture.

Baby helping to lay the underlay for our new Cormar living room carpet

Remaining tasks

I wish I could say that the room is 100% complete but we still have a few small jobs to do.

  • The radiator on the side wall needs a radiator cover.
  • We need a new lampshade but I’m very picky!
  • Three large pictures of the children need to be hung on the back wall.
  • A selection of small photos need to be hung on the side wall.
  • Above the TV we will need a shelf to place a few important odds and ends.
  • We need a stand behind the sofa for our Google Home.

The verdict

Finished living room, south corner

Despite the remaining small jobs, we love our new room!

The Cormar carpet is without a doubt our favourite bit. I always say that a carpet can completely change a room and in this case it’s definitely true. Our living room is no longer the cold uninviting place it once was as the thick carpet and underlay prevent the cold rising. It has also opened up the floor as a place we like to sit, lay, and play. Best of all, it is fantastic for Baby as we don’t have to worry about her catching a chill or hurting herself when she falls down. When she learnt to walk recently, we joked that it didn’t matter if she fell as the carpet was so squishy that she’d just bounce straight back up!

Finished North wall of the living room

In addition to the change the carpet has brought, we also love the change in room colour. The greys are tinted with warm colours, so the room constantly feels cosy. We’ve added accents of leafy green and purple, to prevent the room being too grey but so far it’s a wonderfully relaxing room to be in (despite the gauntlet of toddler toys!), it’s also bright enough to be pleasant on cloudy days, while not being over-bright on sunny days.

Finished North corner of the living room

In short, our new living room is everything we wanted and I can’t wait to complete our last few finishing touches.

Find out how we turned a soulless magnolia room into a cosy child friendly living room.

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