This post has been written in partnership with Marks and Spencer Home
About ten years ago, Andre and I moved in together to a little attic flat on the top floor of a Victorian house in West Didsbury. With blonde laminate floors, leather sofas and a builder basic B&Q bathroom it was the height of luxury to our early-twenty-something eyes, having accustomed ourselves over the years to the horrors of rented student accommodation (a personal highlight for me being the shower that had one temperature only - inferno hot - meaning I had to psyche myself up to dash in and out of it once a day).
Here's the house itself - our living room was the little arched window on the top floor on the right. In winter we shivered under blankets, and in summer it was so hot we stuck to the (faux) leather sofa. But we loved our little flat because in our eyes, it was for just the two of us and so it was perfect.
All my books - arranged not alphabetically, or even by genre, but by the mood evoked in the reader. Fancy or what?
And the infamous sofa.
I don't do a lot of sponsored-type posts, but I liked the sound of this particular challenge set by Marks and Spencer Home, namely to spruce up an old living space with nice shiny new M&S kit. I decided to think not what would I buy now, but what would we have bought at the time had unlimited funds been available. Andre has more contemporary tastes than I do, and ten years ago I had no clue how to incorporate my personal taste for more eclectic items of furniture into the mix (and didn't have the space, knowledge or tools to do the whole eBay upcycling thing I love so much now) so all our stuff - most of which was from student-tastic Argos or Ikea - was your basic streamlined modern-ish laminate.
Here's what I'd do to create a lovely new contemporary living space for us:
We've always loved bright colours (do you see the modern abstract art behind the sofa in the photo above, painted by my artist Grandpa?) so I'd pick a turquoise Conran sofa and contrasting yellow and white kilim rug. The bookcase is a much nicer wooden version of the Argos-special that currently resides in our cellar, and I absolutely love the hanging cluster lights. It was a small room so rather than adding another sofa, I've chosen a knitted pouffe for extra seating. Obviously we need a new media cabinet (the old one - yikes!) and I've replaced the glass coffee table with a curvier version. I've also added a crazy Rococo-style photo frame to show my own more fanciful style starting to creep in.
The sunburst mirror would reflect the morning light that crept in through the Velux windows, and I added the side table just because I really love it. The turquoise and white of the zigzag photo frames remind me of the Greek islands where we often go on holiday, and the standard lamp would provide useful task lighting when curled up on the now non-sticky fabric sofa with a book. The yellow cushion picks up the colour of the rug, I chose the 'A' cushion for our initials, and the bunny cushion as it adds a quirky touch.
Ta da! My favourite piece is definitely the hanging cluster lights, which is naturally the most expensive :-) Meanwhile, work continues on our master bedroom - Andre has been busy plastering away while I've been typing this post. I've never been so happy to see brown walls before.
I was gifted one of the items in this post (no, not the cluster lights!) but all words, thoughts and layouts are my own.