Style a living room challenge: the House that Bloggers Built

Last Summer I took part in a bloggers challenge to style a living room and dining room on a newly renovated house as part of the House that Bloggers Built (see more here). One Brighton house, seven bloggers, three weeks to design and style. What? Three weeks you say! Ok, no problem then. Except my biggest challenge was to create the whole scheme in three weeks with no budget. Meaning that all the products had to be loaned. It was a huge learning experience for me because while I have designed many spaces, I’ve never had to do it without a budget before. But I’m never one to shy away from a challenge, and definitely not one where the aim is to style a living room.

It was a fast-paced, constantly moving and changing design. This was as a consequence of pieces of furniture not being available or not being able to track down something suitable for a press loan. I spent an awful lot of time on the phone and sending emails. But a well-designed interior, with gorgeous furniture and furnishings and a complete property transformation in three weeks, was always going to need some design elbow grease. I just imagined it would be more of the drawing and mood board kind.

Style a living room, Styling Challenge, Living Room, interiors blog, the House that Bloggers Built, hellopeagreen, decor, blogger challenge, design board, yellow sofa, abigail bowenStyling Challenge, Living Room, interiors blog, the House that Bloggers Built, hellopeagreen, decor, blogger challenge, design board, mood board , colour paletteThere were elements that from the start I knew I wanted to include. I had my heart set on a yellow velvet sofa, but no one had one available for a loan. So I tweaked the design and searched for a yellow velvet high backed chair, I found a gorgeous one at DFS in their capsule collection. But alas it wasn’t to be. Finally, the lovely people at Rocket St George leant me a lovely gold tub armchair. It wasn’t the shape I was originally after, but I think it worked better in the end. Instead of the yellow sofa, I found an amazingly good value navy blue sofa from Dunelm. It became the backdrop to some rather colourful cushions. The teal coloured armchair wasn’t available and so teal slowly disappeared from the colour palette. Instead, I introduced small elements of pink.

Creating a comfortable and colourful contemporary living room with finds from the high street was my goal, but I also wanted to include some higher end pieces.  Two items particularly made a difference to elevating the scheme and quite frankly made this style a living room challenge.  One was the absolutely beautiful silk rug from Floor Story. It was the lynchpin of the design and really allowed me to play with colour. It was one of the items I wholeheartedly coveted when I was dressing the space. The other was by introducing original art which I sourced from Abigail Bowen, a local Brighton artist and a good friend. Her Slip painting had pride of place over the sofa. Abi wasn’t the only creative friend I asked if I could borrow pieces from. My friend Stuart Rodgers designs wallpaper, and although I couldn’t wallpaper the room (it had already been painted pale grey before I joined the project), we came up with the genius idea to create a wallpaper screen.  Stuart then built the screen for me from a kit purchased from B&Q with his wallpaper. Another friend Ali Mapletoft the designer for Age of Reasons Studio lent me the silk cushions for the sofa from her cushion range.

Style a living room, Styling Challenge, Living Room, interiors blog, the House that Bloggers Built, hellopeagreen, decor, blogger challenge, Floor Story Rug, Silk Rug, geometric patternStyle a living room, Styling Challenge, Living Room, interiors blog, the House that Bloggers Built, hellopeagreen, decor, blogger challenge, Rocket St GeorgeStyle a living room, Styling Challenge, Living Room, interiors blog, the House that Bloggers Built, hellopeagreen, decor, blogger challenge, Dunelm, Age of Reasons StudioStyle a living room, Styling Challenge, Living Room, interiors blog, the House that Bloggers Built, hellopeagreen, decor, blogger challenge, Vitamin Living Good value contemporary styling from the high street is there if you know where to look and are prepared to put in some research legwork.  There were some really amazing high street gems in my design. The one that shocked absolutely everyone I told, was that the two copper and mirror coffee tables that I styled interlocking, were from Argos. As was the mirror above the fireplace. Many of the accessories were from Abode a local store in Brighton including the faux plants, glass vases and the planters. Launched this year, new lifestyle brand Geometrie loaned me their prototype side table in birch plywood, which I styled with books, candles, vases and lots of plants.  Lighting I sourced from Rocket St George, Vitamin Living and my own Jelde yellow articulated Loft lamp.

I was also keen to incorporate scent into the room as I am never without a candle at home. While you can’t smell how good the scent is from the Melbourne based Scent of Home candles (stocked in Brighton at Workshop) I am sure you can appreciate how pretty the copper candle is.   Style a living room, Styling Challenge, Living Room, interiors blog, the House that Bloggers Built, hellopeagreen, decor, blogger challenge,Table styling, Copper & Mirror Argos table Style a living room, Styling Challenge, Living Room, interiors blog, the House that Bloggers Built, hellopeagreen, decor, blogger challenge, Rocket St George,Styling Challenge, Living Room, interiors blog, the House that Bloggers Built, hellopeagreen, decor, blogger challenge, Stuart Rodgers WallpaperNo self-respecting living room should be without a bar, I think it might almost be a rule now.  I just couldn’t style a living room without including one.  I wrote last year about the ones I spotted at the trade shows hereThere are a few elements that you need to consider to make sure a bar cart is not just practical but also stylish. It’s a great little space to show off your styling skills and always be cocktail o’clock ready. Firstly I added a few gorgeous bottles of alcohol, and yes I did choose them for how they looked. In fact, the lovely people of Brighton Gin lent me two bottles (empty….. I know, such a shame!) so that I could style them on the bar cart. Then some really lovely champagne coupes from Rocket St George, pretty glasses are absolutely essential. I always add something quirky to give it some personality, so I included the playful lamp and added my own vintage “legs” nutcracker which I found in a Paris flea market. I wanted to include either a vase of flowers or a plant and used one of the faux ones from Abode. The copper clock that started life on my mood board was another favourite piece which I borrowed from Rocket St. George and hung above the bar.  There were a couple of things that I would also like to have added – a cocktail shaker, a decanter, ice bucket, cocktail stirrers, paper straws, paper napkins and some mixers. Style a living room, Styling Challenge, Living Room, interiors blog, the House that Bloggers Built, hellopeagreen, decor, blogger challenge, Bar Cart Styling, Rocket St George, Copper clock Style a living room, Styling Challenge, Living Room, interiors blog, the House that Bloggers Built, hellopeagreen, decor, blogger challenge, Bar Cart Styling, Flea market findsSo what do you think? Any items that stand out for you? I’d really love to hear your thoughts.

Below is a full list of items and brands who contributed to this style a living room challenge:

  • Sofa – Belgravia button back sofa from Dunelm
  • Chair – Gallery Velvet Cocktail Chair in Golden Glow from Rocket St George
  • Rug – Northmore Rug designed by Flock for Floor Story
  • Coffee Table – Collection Round Mirrored top Coffee table by Argos
  • Side table – Collection Round Mirrored top Side table by Argos
  • Side table – Geometrie Side table in birch plywood
  • Bar/Console – Hello Storage table from Wireworks
  • Artwork – Slip by Abigail Bowen
  • Screen – Carnival Block Wallpaper by Stuart Rodgers
  • Pendant lamp – Pitch Pendant by Vitamin
  • Table lamp – Terracotta K lamp by Vitamin
  • Table lamp – Seletti Monkey table lamp from Rocket St George
  • Floor lamp – Mustard Loft D9406 lamp by Jelde (Mary Middleton’s own)
  • Silk Cushions – Silk cushion selection from Age of Reasons Studio
  • Velvet Cushions – Deva velvet cushions by Abode Living
  • Throw – Mustard Tana Stonewashed throw Mais by Abode Living
  • Blanket – Geometric blanket by Habitat
  • Vases – Various of glass vases by Abode Living
  • Champagne glasses – Vintage Style Champagne Saucers by Rocket St George
  • Faux plants – all by Abode Living
  • Candles – Grace Le Rose candle by SoH from Workshop
  • Brighton Gin bottles supplied by Brighton Gin
  • Books, Nutcracker, Alcohol, Mirrored tray – Mary Middleton’s own

A massive thanks to the brands that worked with me on this transformation. This is not a sponsored post. To see more about the House that Bloggers Built visit here.Styling Challenge, Living Room, interiors blog, the House that Bloggers Built, hellopeagreen, decor, blogger challenge, design board, mood board , colour palette Styling Challenge, Living Room, interiors blog, the House that Bloggers Built, hellopeagreen, decor, blogger challenge, Stuart Rodgers WallpaperStyling Challenge, Living Room, interiors blog, the House that Bloggers Built, hellopeagreen, decor, blogger challenge, Vitamin LivingStyling Challenge, Living Room, interiors blog, the House that Bloggers Built, hellopeagreen, decor, blogger challenge, Jielde Lighting, French Industrial Lamps

 

 

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27 Comments

  1. March 4, 2018 / 8:31 pm

    I love all the bright colors, especially the yellow lamp!

    • mary
      Author
      March 5, 2018 / 11:07 am

      Me too. I love that yellow articulated lamp by Jielde but then it normal sits beside my dining room table 😊

  2. March 4, 2018 / 8:42 pm

    Perhaps designing under those conditions makes someone more creative? It would certainly make you more flexible, resourceful and canny. Even without knowing your challenges, the room turned out beautifully!

    • mary
      Author
      March 5, 2018 / 10:58 am

      It was easier with the smaller props and liberating even, but the furniture sourcing nearly finished me off….. the rug though from Floor Story was the biggest triumph. From the moment I asked they were exceptional.

  3. March 5, 2018 / 11:51 am

    Blimey, what a project. How you managed to achieve that with no budget is so impressive. Such a lovely room design.

    • mary
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 10:03 am

      Thanks, Stacey. At the time there was lots of wringing of hands and furrowed brows. I look it now and think it needs more artwork, thick curtains and at least one more armchair to create a conversational grouping. I’d also like to have had a few more accessories to play around in the fireplace with….. Hindsight is wonderful, but the reality was that time and press loans were not necessarily on my side. A whole new appreciation for full-time stylists after this.

  4. March 5, 2018 / 1:47 pm

    What an amazing achievement. The room looks amazing. Great that so much of the project was sourced from high street shops too. I love Abi Bowen’s art.

    • mary
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 9:59 am

      Isn’t Abi’s work just brilliant? I have two small ones of hers in my own home, one was a gift from Abi for my birthday which is a cute exterior painting of my house. I’m saving up for a bigger one for my dining room, I particularly like her Turner-esq sky abstracts. They are so moody, yet calm. She’s immensely talented.

  5. March 5, 2018 / 4:50 pm

    A beautiful room, love your styling and especially the blue velvet sofa with those gorgeous cushions on top!

    • mary
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 9:56 am

      Thanks. My husband thinks I like too many cushions on a sofa, ours at home has 6 on it but my feet don’t touch the floor unless I’ve got cushions behind me! I think it’s a great way to seasonally mix up a room too. A sofa is a big commitment but changing cushions is relatively low cost and easy to do.

  6. March 5, 2018 / 7:43 pm

    What a gorgeous scheme! I can imagine it was a bit tricky though with the design having to constantly evolve as you found out the products you had in mind weren’t in stock! My sister’s looking for a sofa, I’m going to point her in the direction of the Dunelm one. How did the quality of the velvet feel?

    • mary
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 9:53 am

      Hi Hollie, the moving parts were very tricky. The rug thankfully was so colourful it gave me lots of options. The Dunelm sofa was a real surprise, it was comfy and the velvet was nice to the touch. It’s also a really good price. I’d never looked for Sofa’s with them before so I certainly learnt something.

  7. March 5, 2018 / 9:02 pm

    Great styling!! I completely agree with the high street, you need to look around to find somw stylish gems. Loving the bar cart too, so in need of one! 😊

    • mary
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 9:49 am

      It’s all the research you need to do. Also looking online can be deceptive sometimes, finish, texture and size not being what you expected. Everyone needs a bar cart! Because don’t we all knock up cocktails after we get home from work? It’s a very Mad Men concept but they look great

  8. March 5, 2018 / 10:36 pm

    What an amazing job, I have no idea how you find the inspiration I would not know where to start. Oh, and I discovered SOH candles at Workshop in Brighton last summer and fell in love with them, I bought one and still haven’t lit it simply because the scent is so amazing even without lighting X

    • mary
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 9:46 am

      Thanks so much. Isn’t Workshop such a great shop? It’s a real gem here in Brighton. My favourite SoH is called Agape and regularly sells out which then makes me a little desperate.

  9. March 6, 2018 / 12:12 am

    Such beautiful bold colours in this post. Gorgeous! Loving the bright yellow especially!

    • mary
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 9:44 am

      When a room is in a pale grey and can’t be changed I think there are only two options – scandi minimalism or lots of colour. I have a soft spot for yellow as most people are a little bit terrified of it!

  10. March 6, 2018 / 2:13 pm

    Wow I really love these colours on your mood boards and have you’ve taken them through to the final look in the room! Bravo!

    • mary
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 7:16 pm

      It was a shame to lose the teal colour but a little bit of pink went a long way. When I look at the pictures now I’d love to have had another armchair and a few more accessories and maybe some interesting plants pots. Hindsight is a wonderful thing of course. Some budget would have helped too…. 😉

  11. March 6, 2018 / 8:45 pm

    I love this! Some lovely use of bold colour. I especially like the blue sofa.

    • mary
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 8:49 pm

      Thank you Natalie, it was a fascinating project. Might just stick with those that have budgets from now on!

  12. March 6, 2018 / 10:49 pm

    oh my! This is so brilliant. To have done this amazing job under such a challenging condition is super extra ordinary.Your design is so gorgeous, I love this color combination. That yellow lamp is a killer, so beautiful.

    I love the monkey table land, the throws and faux plants.

    cheers and do more!

  13. Donna Ford
    March 7, 2018 / 10:44 am

    Love it Mary and enjoyed the insight into your process! I agree, I think when we are limited by budget/time etc. we can find a new source of creativity. Well done, love the colour and also love Abode in Brighton!

  14. March 7, 2018 / 4:59 pm

    What a fun project! I can totally imagine how daunting the lack of budget was at the start though… I’ve had to beg for things a few times too. The asking gets easier the more you do it hey! Absolutely love the scheme and palate – especially that rich yellow. Dreamy! x

  15. March 7, 2018 / 8:00 pm

    What a post – I was hooked! I wanted to skip to the photos but still wanted to read the whole story (and managed to do so, so well done me). But basically well done YOU Mary, what a beautiful, REAL ROOM you brought together. And I say REAL, because it is relatable and you can imagine someone living in it. Really liked your mood board and thank you for sharing the sources too, quite a few new ones for me in there. The wallpaper screen was ACE. As were the faux plants and candle, the Argos gems (who would have thought!) and the Dunelm sofa. Well done! Brilliantly colourful!
    “IT’S A YES FROM ME !”

  16. March 8, 2018 / 9:58 am

    This is just stunning 💕 I love all your ideas and the fact that you worked here with no budget is just mind blowing. Some brands I’ve never heard of so than you for sharing 😁 And this screen idea??!! So genius 😉

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