If you need a few ideas for a small open-plan living room then look no further. This renovation project made a huge difference and gave a tired old property a new lease of life. Despite having a really small budget we were thrilled with the results and you could hardly believe it was the same house.
As I said before there are a lot of very small properties in the Netherlands. Our little house is no exception to the rule.
Whilst we don’t physically have a lot of square meterage the design and open plan layout of our kitchen/living room surprisingly feels quite roomy.
When we bought the house luckily we were able to see beyond the dated brown decor.
We did all the basic stuff ourselves (with a lot of help from the family) and left the more difficult stuff like removing the false beams, re-plastering the ceilings, and spouting the walls to the professionals (we hired a ‘stukkador’ to plaster the ceilings and also spray the walls with a sort of textured paint).
Open Plan Living Room Before Makeover
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Renovating The Floor
The house had real wood floors and because our budget was pretty tight we decided to keep the flooring.
The only thing we did was to insert some large grey floor tiles in the kitchen area to give a clear divide.
The chimney breast was quite a strange shape, rather wonky, and had a horrible and really thick textured finish that I really hated.
So our handyman suggested that the easiest option would be to square it off with plasterboard and then resurface it to match the rest of the room.
This gave it a much more modern look which I was really pleased with.
Open Plan Living Room After Makeover
There was nothing actually wrong with the old kitchen apart from being outdated.
It was in fact a really good quality kitchen and was in a very good state.
Old Kitchen Units
I decided to move the old kitchen into the little utility room which is situated next to the kitchen.
I did this so that I could use it for the laundry and it could double up as a sort of mudroom for the kids
We fitted the old kitchen into the utility and gave the room a quick lick of paint.
Although this is now very functional it is still not very pretty – this is still on my to-do list.
The kitchen was an ex-showroom model that we got for a fraction of the original price.
I made my other half trail around 10 different kitchen showrooms as I felt it was a really big thing to choose the right kitchen for the space.
We actually ended up back at the first showroom we visited and bought the first kitchen we had seen.
My other half was not best pleased with me 😉
L-Shaped Kitchen Area
The kitchen is slightly larger than the one it replaced but I fell in love with the design. It had all the mod cons and top-of-the-range appliances. These included a built-in dishwasher, fridge, combi-steam oven, and my fabulous coffee machine!
I think the modern design fits perfectly with our open-plan living area.
As we had left most of our furniture behind in the UK we needed to replace quite a lot.
We only actually bought a few things new and the rest was second-hand furniture.
Friends and family actually gave us quite a lot of stuff and the rest we were able to find for a good price on Markplaats which is more popular here in the Netherlands than eBay.
You bid on items the same as eBay but you have to be prepared that the bids are not binding and a lot of people let you down and mess you about. That being said if you want to buy second-hand furniture locally it is really handy.
I also used the Kringloop a lot which is the name of a Dutch charity shop or thrift store.
This table was one of those pieces. I love this table but it is a little oversized for the space.
I think the one thing that had the biggest impact on the makeover was painting the brickwork white.
We just used a matt emulsion to paint it but it did need quite a few coats as initially the bare brick wall sucked in and absorbed a lot of the paint.
I am glad we did not plaster over it because I love this feature in our home.
I’m slowly making over or replacing our mismatched pieces of furniture and adding decor accents to try and bring a little unity to the room.
I like this table but it still needs refinishing and dressing.
The display cabinet and tv cabinet were just cheap pieces of furniture bought from ‘Karwei’.
They fit with the room nicely but a while after having them the colour of the wood knots started to come through the paintwork and it now has ugly brown marks all over it. I have actually painted it with charcoal chalk paint now but I will share that DIY project another time
Unfortunately, when these marks started appearing I had already had it too long so returning it was not an option. At some stage, I will give it a new lick of paint.
I use this tall glass vase a lot on the counter to create a bit of a visual divide between the kitchen and living room.
Every season I like to change what I have on display in it. In the winter I like to use it to force amaryllis bulbs in it so that the big beautiful flowers are in bloom around Christmas time.
The turquoise wave design fruit bowl in the photo above was made during a Raku pottery class.
I love the crackled finish!
Since I did this I have played around a lot at home with air dry clay, this was one of my most popular DIY air-dry clay projects that I shared on the blog.
The coffee table is an area in our home that is constantly changed and updated according to the season.
You can see some styling tips and other decor ideas here.