Second-Hand Sitting Room

Over the past month we have been working on redecorating our sitting room. As we have now decided not to sell our cottage we are concentrating on a) maximising the space we have and b) updating and repainting rooms (ie doing those jobs we have put off over the past few years)

Ever since we moved into our house thirteen years ago we have been keen to remove this old 1930s fireplace:

updating fireplace: before


We knew that there was a larger fireplace behind it, judging by our neighbour’s and the age of the houses (dating back to the 1780s). However money was always a factor and, as we had more pressing jobs to do, this project was left on the back burner.

However last month we decided to bite the bullet and arranged for the fireplace to be removed and knocked through. This is the result:

updating fireplace: during

We live a stone’s throw (if you’ll pardon the pun) from the city of Bath, which is famous for its honey coloured stone. There is definitely evidence of Bath stone having been used for our original fireplace but, sadly, its condition was not good enough to leave as it was. So we decided to plaster over the chimney breast and then paint it. I have to say,  I am pleased with the results:

cottage fireplace

The next task will be to find and install a woodburner as an open fire doesn’t work well enough. I’m not sure when we’ll have saved for this but, in the meantime, I think the lights add a warming focal touch.

updating fireplace: after

As we had knocked out the fireplace (and created a lot of mess) the next job was to repaint walls, which hadn’t been touched for ten years, and buy a new carpet. Then there were other fittings and fixtures to add BUT I’m pleased to say nearly everything else in our sitting room is second-hand.

second-hand furnishings in cottage sitting room

The lamp was bought for £30 in our favourite Dorothy House Electrical and Furniture shop in Chippenham. The armchair was – literally – picked up from the street for free about nine years ago. The electric organ has replaced our piano to generate more space in the alcove. Once more it was bought from Dorothy House (with stand) for £35.

The bookshelves were made by both my husband and myself over the past twenty years, all from reclaimed floorboards. I made the top two when I was still a student and my husband made the rest. As you can see I haven’t been so good with decluttering our bookshelves but it’s nice to see all the family’s books on display. This has become a proper reading nook and, at last the children, can have easy access to all their books. We are now working on bringing down all our books from storage in the loft and, if they don’t fit on the shelves, we don’t keep them.

This is another view of the sitting room:

second hand sofa, chair and lamp in sitting room

The sofa is second-hand, bought earlier this year (after our sofa saga of being without anything to sit on for a month!). The cushions and red throw were recently picked up in a local charity shop, as were a couple of the black picture frames hanging on the wall.

I’m really pleased that we have been able to keep within budget for this project and feel that the blend of new and old work well together. With some research and hunting around I think it is as easy to buy second-hand furniture and fittings for any room. I don’t care that the sofa has a few marks on it, or that the lampshade isn’t quite to our taste. In time we can replace this. I do like the fact that these pieces are bought from charities, have saved us money and also have a story of their own to tell. And we haven’t had to make any trips to Ikea for this project!

4 thoughts on “Second-Hand Sitting Room

  1. Looks really nice! Love that colour blue, and the lights.
    We’ve got rid of two of these 1930s fireplaces in two different houses over the years. I’ve never found any redeeming features to them. They are exceptionally heavy aren’t they.

  2. I can thoroughly recommend the woodturner – not cheap, and we waited a few years before getting ours but we love having and using it, and it makes a huge difference on days when its cold and we don’t want to heat the whole house.

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