When we bought this house over 6 years ago we were hoping it was to be our family home, and just a week after getting the keys we got the wonderful news that we were expecting our first child. Although we were quick to banish the terracotta walls and huge amounts of stripped pine, our choices for this house were inevitably ruled by budget and practicality. We chose dark brown leather sofas, and I’ve always been glad of this choice as they have had all manner of sticky and crumby substances thrown at them over the years! Even though I felt we managed to keep baby paraphernalia to a minimum, there was of course a lot of clutter – bouncers and changing mats, soon replaced by baby gyms and play mats, ride on toys and trikes as well as a huge toy box filled with everything imaginable that flashed and squeaked.
These days are gone too soon though, and our youngest is now approaching four. Our family is complete and we have folded up his buggy for the last time, sold the cot bed and taken the majority of the baby toys to the charity shop. All of a sudden there is space in the house that I have literally never seen before, and all the things I’ve been tripping over for years are gone.
I think all parents probably find this transition away from the baby phase a tricky one (although maybe the Dads see a rosy future of more lie ins!) and my antidote has been to make the most of this new found space and turn our living room into the space I always dreamt it could be. The dark brown leather sofas are gone and replaced by the fabric one I would have loved to have chosen years ago but feared would have been disastrous with young children. The grubby fingers marks on the walls have been repainted, we had the floors re-sanded and whitewashed, and most of the toys have been moved into the children’s rooms.
When Laura Ashley contacted me asked me if I’d like to choose a few pieces from their homewares range, it coincided perfectly with my living room makeover and was a great chance to treat myself for our newly refreshed living space. I have tried to optimise the lovely light in the room from the large bay window and have gone for a fairly spacious and minimal look, so I wanted to add some cosy textures to the room to balance the whitewashed floors and minimal furniture. The Nigella Duck Egg Square Velvet Cushion and the Parker Dove Grey Cotton Knit Blanket were the perfect additions.
In Summer our back door is always open until bed time, I love to hear the birds singing and have the scent of the jasmine and roses from the garden drifting through the house. There’s nothing better after a long day with the kids to curl up on the sofa and snuggle under a cosy blanket despite the cool evening air. This gorgeous one is made from 100% cotton and it’s as soft and itch free as can be. The chunky knit means it drapes beautifully and has a lovely weight to it. I love pieces that work anywhere in the house and this blanket can easily find a home as an extra layer on a bed or over the arm of any chair in the house.
This velvet cushion comes in a range of beautiful colours which I honestly could have chosen any of, but the duck egg blue is particularly lovely in this room. I love sumptuous texture of the velvet and the way it reflects the light, it feels so luxurious and definitely rather grown up! It balances the other textures of wool and sheepskin in the room, and it softens the colour of the sofa perfectly.
My final choice was the wonderful Set of 2 Kubu Trunks. The children both have recently had new cabin beds, and with heaps more storage space in their rooms it seemed to make sense to move the majority of their toys upstairs. Now only books remain in the living room, and a handful of other toys such as the wooden train set. These beautiful Kubu trunks have a lovely muted colour (not the bright orangey yellow I used to associate with wicker!) and I think they are the perfect solution for adding some stylish storage to any space. When the kids have finished playing and snuggled up on the sofa to read or watch TV, its really quick and easy to gather away the toys and tuck the boxes back into their place. Again it’s great to have pieces that are versatile and will work anywhere, and these will not only suit any room in the house but they have a multitude of uses from toys boxes, to blanket boxes, to doubling up as a handy side table for a cup of tea.
It’s amazing how a few simple and beautiful pieces can really make a room, adding soft colours, beautiful textures and real comfort. I’m so glad I have made these little changes to this room, and as a family we are all really enjoying this fresh, cosy and clutter free space.
A big thanks to Laura Ashley for sponsoring this post which first appeared on their blog here.