I never liked the lounge. It did nothing for me. We were battling textured wallpaper, dimensions that would make an architect weep and a rug that has seen more wee incidents than a changing mat. When we arrived I knew I couldn’t afford to have it re-plastered so we just made do but I never dug our most used space. Then BRAINWAVE time – ‘I had a white wall and I want it painted black’ (forgive me). I could paint the walls dark to hide the unslightly bumps, change up the art and create the sitting room of my dreams. And you know what? That’s just what I did. Get ready for my comprehensive low down of how.

black wall, grey sofa, art of goats, monochrome cushions, zig zag rug and coffee table
Oh sofa, I am into you. So very into you.

Getting the walls in order

How do you solve a problem like 70s wallpaper? You can’t throw colour at it for fear of compounding the problem. Cream just makes it look mucky. But you know what transforms it into a alligator-esque, chic wallpaper of dreams that makes art pop and that furniture fits against very well indeed? Very Dark Grey. Yes, I said that. I introduced a lot of grey into my home and not under duress. For a while I thought black was the one but after 30+ testers it became clear straight black was too dark. Dulux Almost Black however had a hint of something special. It’s a warm grey black with no blue undertones that looks equally ace with the banana leaf wallpaper, the new sofa and all our teak furniture.

grey sofa, monochrome cushions, lilac throw with computers and stationary all over
‘Can you feel the love tonight? The love for my Jacqueline Colley rug’. Please don’t sue me for the change of lyrics Elton John.

Setting the scene with the sofa

I needed rid of the my lovely mustard sofa. He looked the business but man alive he was more uncomfortable than a stack of upholstered bricks. He had to go, I could bear him no longer but what to choose? With the black walls I knew a bright might read a bit neon so I wanted something more tonal (yes, I just said tonal – who even am I). What I could do without in colour, I had to make up for in other areas so texture became king. I looked at, and I’m kidding you not, all the sofas on the internet. It was more stressful than a session on Tinder. And then I saw her, in all her grey glory (I KNOW THAT’S AN OXYMORON FOR ME). The Basketweave Scott sofa. She had it all. A fabric flecked with greys and whites that almost approach a tweed, a subtle mid-century shape that would fit with what we had without dating too soon and, crucially, some stuffing to keep my back happy! It was love at first sight and I hope we’ll be together forever.

bowie and abstract monochrome prints on a banana leaf wallpaper
Impossible to photograph Bowie corner

The obligatory eBay elements

There’s no way (Jose) that I was going to have a massive overhaul without trying to pick up some of the essentials off eBay. Step 1: replace the chevron eBay rug that Cilla has weed all over with… drumroll please… an almost identical eBay chevron rug that Cilla has not yet weed all over. I know what I like and I know what works so why change it up? The rug was perfection, it was just fact it’s marinated in urine that wasn’t. Step 2: I had cushions in my head that didn’t exist in real life. It happens all the time to me. There’s a whole fictional house made up of unobtainable wonders trapped in my old noggin. So I did what any reasonable person would do – I bought some Schumacher Aviary fabric from eBay and forced my long-suffering Mother-in-law to make them for me. Problem. Solved. Step 3. Create the ‘Robyn Chair’. I knew I wanted a statement chair. I knew I could in no way afford a statement chair. But what I could afford is one knackered chair of eBay upholstered in only the finest sage green flock material (vom). Then I hit up the unthinkably talented Sharon of Vintique Upholstery who covered it in the finest fabric and polished it up a treat. Bob’s your uncle (it’s not, it’s Bryan) the Robyn chair was born. Available in no high street retailers.

David Bowie,
Here is Dave, banished to the floor

Having an art overhaul

I get attached to my art like I get attached to cuddly toys. I cannot deal with moving it cos I feel like it will know it isn’t my favourite anymore. But a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do. And I’ve got to shift towards ‘adult pastels’. No, they aren’t a cheap and cheerful sex-shop bargain bin treat. They are pastels 2.0 and man are they powerful. As I’ve said before brights on black don’t do it for me. BUT a greyish lilac scene of gallivanting goat kids is right up my alley, and not just because of my family tradition of belting out Paddy McGinty’s goat at every opportunity. I wanted a grown up, AA Gill living room and that’s what these Ally McIntyre lovelies offered. They were not cheap, they are originals, I’m not going to blow smoke up your ass. My dad and Jamie bought them for my birthday as a joint present. I will have them forever so I see them as the greatest of goaty investments but you can definitely do this with prints. Check out King & McGaw’s awesome Andy Warhol for a similar vibe. Then there’s the palm wall. It needed a little razzle dazzle. You know what gives razzle dazzle? David Bowie. So I was jazzed to bits when Print Club London gifted me this incredible Aleesha Nandhra piece. It’s the perfect partner for all the black on white monochrome prints I got going on plus he bags me my Bowie art hat trick. Result. [plays Match of the Day theme tune]

side table wood top and fabric base with a plant and candle on top with a chevron rug behind and a grey sofa with cushions
A table AND a speaker – am I living in Back to the Future?

Putting the tunes in side table

I’ve got a confession… my coffee table falls apart like a cartoon car at regular intervals. It’s inconvenient. It’s a bit of a deathtrap, so we rely on plonking things on side tables. But my side tables were a bit whack. Dilemma-o-rama. That is until Steepletone stepped in with the finest side table of all time. You know why? Not only does the Tabblue table look glorious, all mid century vibes and functional minimalism but it’s also a damn fine bluetooth speaker system and even charges my phone. So now, all I need do sync up my Spotify and I can listen to real crime podcasts or Dolly Parton all day long. Bliss.

Yes they are the best cushions, thank you for noticing

Going all out on the accessories

So in my sitting room, cushions are king. I wanted a lovely graphic mashup so went for lots of textures, patterns and sizes. It all started with Jon Burgerman x Kirkby Designs cushion – it gave me the street art, 80s vibe I needed for the sitting room to remain an edgy feel. Then I did the old switcheroo and snaffled the Margo Selby x West Elm cushion for the sofa. But you know what I love more than anything? BLANKETS. I’m always in one. I live for the day they invent a stylish slanket. So I went to Jacqueline Colley, the grand dame of the statement blanket. And I found the Boss. It has it all. 90s iconography, strong feminist vibes, I want to wear it all the time so people know what a bad bitch I am but I’m scared it’ll get caught in the doors of the tube. Finally, my other chairs were feeling left out, as was Jamie so I did what any reasonable wife would do – I chose some beautiful cushions and told him I chose them just for him cos he REALLY likes the tube. The Northern cushion by Kirkby Designs x London Transport Museum was designed by leading British textile designer, Marianne Straub and was used between the 1970s and 1980s on the Northern Line so Jamie can wet his pants over that heritage fact (as do I if I’m honest) and crucially it pulls in the brown from the wallpaper behind. The Bakerloo number just makes the wood on the Robyn chair pop too so it’s all coming up cushions in Foxberry Towers.

grey sofa, saffron rug, patterned chair, brown cushion, plant and sideboard behind
The Robyn Chair – soon to be a part of the general lexicon just like the Birkin bag

So there you have it, the lounge makeover is here and I am LIVING FOR IT. Let me know what you think!

*Post contains gifted items from West Elm, Kirkby Designs and Steepletone.

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