Living Room

Open house: A living room transformed

Converting two separate rooms into an open-plan living-dining area has given this city apartment a new lease of life
Simon Whitbread

The living space in this beachside Sydney apartment had plenty of potential – it just needed a little love and a few clever design tricks to achieve it. Originally the living room and adjoining sunroom functioned as two separate spaces, with a small doorway between (above). This prevented light entering the living area, leaving it dark and dingy, and made the sunroom – used for dining – appear small and narrow. Interior designer Victoria Waters was called in to address the problem.

(Credit: Simon Whitbread)

By removing the door and windows between the rooms and widening the archway, the space has been opened up. Issues with different flooring and levels were resolved by carpeting the dining zone, then matching the original wooden boards in the living area to new timber for the small section beneath the archway, and re-polishing the whole lot.

The main objective was to give the rooms a new look and open up the space, creating a chic and stylish living area. The colour palette – dramatic Dulux Blue Lobelia in the sun-splashed dining area and crisp white Dulux Lexicon quarter-strength in the lounge – were chosen to reflect the colours of the beach. The textured ‘Complexity’ carpet from Alex Bowen Carpet Court and the ‘Tårnby’ rug from Ikea introduce sandy tones. Painting the woodwork and window shutters in the same colour ensured the palette remained cohesive throughout. Graphic cushions, industrial lamps from Vixen & Velvet, and a quirky artwork by NSW Central Coast artist Tez, deliver a space that is liveable, smart and budget friendly to boot. 

(Credit: Simon Whitbread)

The use of colour has played a big part in this renovation, clearly differentiating the spaces and defining them as two zones The makeover also shows how a few simple design ideas can revitalise a room without blowing the budget. Sticking to just two or three colours can make a striking statement, while the use of symmetry within both rooms creates strong visual impact. Knocking out the old windows and door that linked the two rooms and creating the archway not only allows more light through, but also visually extends the living room. The plantation-style blinds from Global Shutters create privacy, blocking an unsightly view of a stairwell, but they also allow in light and are a smart finishing touch.

The striking dark blue adds a real punch of colour to the dining room. The circular wall mirror, positioned on the end wall of the sunroom, helps bounce light into the room, while replica Hans Henrik ‘Banana Leaf’ pendant lights from Matt Blatt add a chic feature element, as do the ‘Venus’ dining chairs from Freedom. 

For more inspirational living room transformations, have a look at this wonderful book-filled room, and this elegant living space.

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