Geometric wallpaper, a sociable seating arrangement and cocooning colour created a living room for escape and relaxation
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“Give me a room I can drink gin in!” was the request to designer Karen Knox from the owners of this Edwardian house. Despite its fabulous period features, the living room at the front of the house was bland and empty-looking. With building work on the agenda and busy 9-5 jobs, the owners wanted a room to get away from it all – somewhere in which to take it easy and listen to music. A taste for geometrics and items of furniture they wanted to keep were also the basis for the high-style makeover.
Room at a Glance
Who lives here A couple
Location Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Property A semi-detatched Edwardian house
Size 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms
Room dimensions 5.4m x 4.3m
Designer Karen Knox of Making Spaces
Knox needed to incorporate two sofas the couple already owned and a coffee table into the living space, as well as the art that’s hung in the alcoves either side of the chimney breast, which had already been ordered. The furniture is relatively compact, and the room big, so this was part of Knox’s decorative challenge. “I wanted something that didn’t make the room feel too sparse and too cold,” she says. The rich-blue geometric wallpaper has done the job.
Ritchie sofa, Made.com. Blue and gold cushions, H&M. Artwork, Andy Welland.
A before photo shows the fireplace in its original context. The owners didn’t love it, but it was too good to take out.
As you can see in the next photo, Knox did replace the hearth with new tiles. “They are antique tiles sourced from eBay,” she explains. “We were looking for something in keeping with the period of the property, but something that also had the blue/yellow accents in it to tie in with the rest of the scheme.”
Want to read about the owners’ bedroom makeover? Check it out here
Knowing the owners’ liking for geometrics and their colour preferences, and with the coffee table in mind, too, Knox picked the rich blue statement wallpaper and wanted to use it all round the room. The suggestion met some initial reluctance, but the owners put their faith in the designer. “I didn’t want the ceiling to appear too high, so a horizontal design was perfect,” says Knox. A touch of glamour was a must as well, and the gold detailing in the paper fitted the bill. The gold also ties in with the coffee table.
Ferm Living Lines wallpaper, Cloudberry Living.
Browse wallpapers in the Houzz shop
The owners were keen to showcase the original features of the house, so they took out the room’s carpet and stripped the floorboards themselves. “They spent a week on them, but they were glad they went to the effort,” says Knox.
See 10 ways to transform your floorboards
A geometric rug reflects the graphic pattern of the wallpaper. “It adds lightness to the floor and connects with the ceiling, too,” says Knox. A warm, off-white paint was used on the ceiling and above the picture rail, and to make a tonal difference a brighter white was chosen for the coving. Meanwhile, a blue to match the wallpaper was used on the picture rail, skirting board, radiator and around the window.
Fedro graphic print rug, La Redoute. Ceiling and above picture rail painted in Matchstick; coving painted in Pointing; woodwork and radiator painted in Stiffkey Blue; all Farrow & Ball.
The sofas were arranged facing each other in the sociable, TV-free room scheme. A floorstanding lamp adds height and brings in the room’s golden yellow accents at a different level.
Euan floor lamp, Habitat.
The beading around the edges of the chimney breast – the original curved plasterwork – was painted in gold to match the wallpaper, and the detail was repeated either side of the window (see previous photo).
Knox included the owners’ existing accessories in the scheme, such as these gold-framed postcards.
“The room doesn’t get a lot of natural light, which is fine because the owners wanted it to be cosy and they use it in the evenings,” says Knox. However, she did want to introduce a reflective surface and this yellow cabinet does the job, as well as repeating the accent shade. The glasses inside sparkle in the light, too.
Stockholm cabinet, Ikea.
A sheepskin adds texture and a layer of cosiness to a chair opposite the fire.
Ekenäset armchair, Ikea. Sheepskin, Hide Rugs.
Pieces from charity shops and hand-me-downs were pulled together with new buys Knox suggested – such as the gold trays and pineapple – to accessorise the glamorous room.
Gold pineapple, John Lewis. Gold trays, H&M. Mirror (no longer available), Marks & Spencer.
Knox found a beautiful midcentury sideboard for the owners’ music for a bargain price on eBay.
Tribe shaded table lamp, Marks & Spencer.
The light fitting came from a local shop. “It didn’t come in gold, so we got a copper one and spray-painted it,” says Knox.
Cage pendant lamp (spray-painted in gold), Nordium.
Have you used a statement wallpaper in your living room? Tell us about it or show us in the Comments section.