There was no real budget to speak of for this project – not even to paint the walls. (Luckily, the walls were a neutral colour.) We had to work with the existing furniture and curtains and all added items were thrifted finds.
Although this living room is south-facing, it feels dark – especially the farther away you are from the windows and French doors, which are the only source of natural light.
Almost all of the furniture is dark brown, with added black curtains, light fittings and a mirror (all of which are unsuccessfully “softened” with silver touches). Although there are two mirrors on opposite sides of the room, they both have dark surrounds (one brown leather and one black with mottled silver).
Added to the uninspiring décor, the dining/kitchen end is also messy. There is no architectural focal point and, overall, it screams “lad’s pad” where the only activity that happens is TV viewing.
It is a three bedroom, three bathroom, ground floor apartment which could appeal to young couples (even with small children). Currently, however, it feels uninviting and more of a man-cave than a home or a potentially relaxing holiday base.
Firstly, we cleaned the windows and opened up the curtains fully to allow more light in, and cleared up the mess. Then we rearranged the furniture in the living area to make it more conducive to conversation and make it feel more sociable overall.
On the walls, we removed the dark surround mirrors and replaced one with a larger mirror with a light surround. The other was replaced with a large, colourful framed poster and several other pictures, creating a more interesting focal point above the TV. (Although we lost one mirror here, the glass frames – one of which is twice the size of the original mirror – help to reflect light in the room.)
We removed the very masculine soccer player picture and added another (more gender neutral) small gallery wall in the dining area. Although these images stick with the black/white scheme, the images over the TV do inject some much needed colour.
A small mirror was added to the south-facing wall inside the door and some colourful pictures to the plain and unadorned kitchen wall.
More colour (and texture) were introduced with a floor rug, throws, cushions and a bowl of fruit.
A standard lamp brings an additional light source in the middle of the room and a table lamp in a corner adds some cosy, atmospheric evening light. We also switched out the shiny chandelier-effect lights for simple drum shades.
A small side table placed beside the two-seater encourages viewers to envisage themselves sitting here enjoying a coffee and looking outwards to the south-facing deck (where we introduced some outdoor plants and a Buddha on a colourful shelving unit).
We brought in a table to place inside the door, with a basket underneath that can be used as a catch-all for items that might otherwise end up cluttering the space (and the bin that previously lived in that spot was moved out of sight to the cupboard under the kitchen sink).
Lastly, we introduced candles, plants and fresh flowers to inject a bit of life and vibrancy to the space.
Although the changes made were simple and minimal, they had a significant effect on the overall feel of this multi-purpose space. It now widens the appeal to target markets beyond single men wishing to share with a lodger or two, and estate agents could now feel confident also showing it to single women, couples and investors looking for rental properties.
If you need some help getting your home ready to go on the market, get in touch.