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Living Room Makeover with Little Greene (And A Guide to Hanging Wallpaper)

Little Greene Blogger Decorating

I've been busying myself over the last few weeks with our living room renovation - getting the walls prepped, the ceiling pepped, opening up the fireplace, sanding floorboards (post on that coming soon!) and finally - we're at the painting and decorating stage. I think this is probably the quickest makeover I've ever done - talk about girl on a mission!

So, this post is in collaboration with Little Greene, who have recently launched a new range of absolutely gorgeous wallpaper; Archive Trails II. I have been incredibly fortunate and as part of this collaboration, I was able to choose and feature one of those wallpapers in our living room. And I can't tell you how much I love Little Greene wallpapers, so I am thrilled to pieces to be working with them!

First things first though - here's a quick look at the living room pre-decorating. If you'd like to see a full room tour of the 'before' then please do check out this post. But it certainly looks a little different from how it did four weeks ago though, doesn't it?!

Living Room Makeover Before
Victorian Window Panelling in Living Room
Victorian Living Room Renovation
Living Room Renovations

Decorating is my most favourite kind of DIY. I love painting - always have, always will. And it's this stage that totally transforms a room. Like totally. Paint is the best thing since sliced bread and can change the feel of a room in an instant. From giving a room a fun and young feel, to rich and regal - it can literally do it all. I gave this room a really quick white-wash a few weeks back, just to keep my sanity so I didn't have to stare at those horrible green patches for too long - But the actual paint I've decided to go for in this room, is a very light grey; a sophisticated, gentle grey. One that's warm in tone and feels really cosy in the room. It's the colour 'French Grey' by Little Greene in their Absolute Matt finish.

Little Greene Paint Review
Little Greene French Grey

I've never used Little Greene's paint before, but I can now honestly say the coverage of it is exceptional. It's quite thick and a little really does go a long way. I only had a 2.5L tin to do three (large!) walls in this room, which I would usually have bought a 5L tub for. To say I was worried it wouldn't stretch is an understatement - but it did! After two walls, I still had just over half a tin left. And I think that's really good going!

I also really like the fact their paints are eco friendly. They're water based with almost no VOC content which makes them odourless and of course, they don't add to pollution in the atmosphere. They also have 40% more pigment than oridinary paints which provides a greater depth of colour, which you can pick up in different lights. And of course, lots of their paints (and wallpapers!) are based on historic colours and finds, which makes them perfect for period houses like ours.

Decorating with Little Greene Paints
Little Greene French Grey
French Grey by Little Greene
French Grey Living Room

I always do one full coat of paint and then patch up any imperfections in the wall. I know this might seem a little backwards but you can never really see every little minor imperfection on a wall until it's one flat colour - so the paint helps to show these up. I have however already repaired the majority of the bigger imperfections before painting (you can read about patching old walls here) but the imperfections the paint helps to show up are usually are little holes or little scuffs in the plaster. You might not be as fussy as I am, but I quite like to cover these up for a perfect finish.

patching walls when decorating

When it came to the skirting and the cornicing, I decided to keep it simple and white. I used Zinsser BIN primer on both first and then used a white trade matt emulsion on the cornicing (the same as the ceiling). The skirting will have a white eggshell on it eventually, although I've currently left it primed for the time being.

how to paint cornicing

To get a really crisp line between both the skirting and the cornicing, I've used Tesa Tape (which is a kind of masking tape) in their precision sensitive variety. I know lots of people have problems with masking tape pulling paint off the walls - but this one is very gentle and isn't very sticky (if you know what I mean!) and so far, I've had no problems with paint coming away from the wall. Would definitely recommend!

tesa tape review

Once the walls had two coats of paint - I was then onto wallpapering. Luckily I've wallpapered a couple of times in the past, so I have a little bit of experience in doing it. It's definitely DIYable and with a little of patience, you can 100% get a professional finish for a fraction of the price.

The first thing to do when it comes to wallpapering - is to line the walls with lining paper. This is actually something I've never done before - probably because I've just been lazy and tried to cut down on the costings. However, lining paper is super cheap (literally its about £5 a roll) the adhesive is super cheap (we're talking £3 a bag) and there are so many benefits to use it, that you really should. Not only does it prep the walls so that all those imperfections wont show, but it also helps to prevent shrinkage when the wallpaper dries - which can quite often cause that split along the seam. The wallpaper I'm using is absolutely beautiful and I certainly didn't want to take any risks by not doing a proper job, so this time around I used lining paper for sure.

how to use lining paper

Lining paper comes in different grades - from 800 (the thinnest) to 2000 (much thicker!). Generally speaking, 1400 is the middle of the road and recommended for most walls. But if you have a new plaster, you could go for a thinner and if your walls are in bad condition a thicker one would be better. The lining paper I'm using if from Screwfix which you can find here.

Unlike wallpaper, lining paper is supposed to be hung vertically across the wall. However, this requires a lot more skill and despite my best efforts - I don't think it's something you can do single-handedly (Grant was at work!) especially if you're using just a ladder rather than a platform like me. Trying to hold up wallpaper, move a ladder, stop everything from creasing - lets just say it didn't work out. So after a bit of research, the internet told me vertical was OK as long as the finishing wallpaper on the top can overlap those joins. So that's what I did.

lining paper hung vertically

The process of wallpapering is really quite simple - the trickiest bit is achieving a perfect join and cutting the paper to perfection. I waited a couple of days to make sure the lining was fully dry and then began to hang the wallpaper I had chosen from Little Greene, which is called 'Wrest Trail' in the colour Lead. It's absolutely beautiful and I'm sure you'll agree.

Wallpapering with Little Greene

The first thing to master is how to fold the wallpaper to allow the paste to soak in. You don't want to apply too much paste, but you also don't want to apply too little. Make sure it's even with good coverage and then use concertina fold method to fold the paper to allow it to soak. I recommend this video from B&Q for a good tutorial on doing this. But here's some photos to give you an idea of the method..

how to hang wallpaper DIY
how to paste wallpaper
how to DIY wallpaper
wallpaper paste soaking

I left the paste to soak into the wallpaper for around 5 minutes, as the instructions recommended.  Each wallpaper will be different so make sure to check your own first! I then moved the wallpaper to the wall and gently lowered it into position. You want to try not to just drop the wallpaper suddenly as it could cause a tear (a helping hand is always advisable if it's your first time!). If it's the first length of wallpaper you're hanging - you'll want to draw a spirit level line onto the wall and match it to this. Otherwise, you'll want to match it up to the pattern of the wallpaper next to it.

Starting at the top, I used a wallpapering brush initially to press the wallpaper down and then a hard smoothing tool to push out any air bubbles. If the pattern isn't matching perfectly, lift the wallpaper off the back and back down into position.

DIY wallpapering how to
Little Greene Wrest Trail Wallpaper
how to hang wallpaper
DIY wallpaper installation

Working down the wallpaper from the top, continue this method making sure the wallpaper continues to match side by side to the one next to it. There shouldn't be any overlap and there shouldn't be any gap. Try not to overwork the wallpaper by pushing it with your hands too much as you could stretch the wallpaper. You want to just lift off the wall and back down to reposition. If you find any edges don't have enough wallpaper paste on them, lift off and apply a little more paste with a brush behind it.

how to join wallpaper DIY
hanging your own wallpaper DIY

It's really important to keep the front of the wallpaper adhesive free - so you'll need clean water and a sponge on hand to wipe down the edges as you go. If you don't do this, the adhesive will dry - and you'll most definitely be able to see it. I also wipe down the decorating table after each use as well.

cleaning wallpaper

Once the wallpaper has been smoothed out and cleaned off, you can use a roller to press down along the seam. You shouldn't be able to see the join after this - unless you have an incredibly picky eye and get up close and personal with it. But it should be almost invisible.

how to get a seamless join in wallpaper

To cut the paper at the skirting board and ceiling, you'll need a very sharp knife and I actually recommend using a snap-off knife (like these) where you snap off the blade to reveal a fresh one every so often. We've used a metal cutting guide as a straight edge to ensure we don't go off cutting at any funny angles accidentally. Cutting wet wallpaper does take a bit of practise and I can only recommend taking your time to get it right. I actually left this bit to Grant for the most part as I knew it was something he would be better at doing.

how to cut wet wallpaper

When it comes to the corners, I cut the wallpaper roughly to size before applying the wallpaper paste, just so I didn't have to tackle with as much paper excess putting it up onto the wall. I then pushed the wallpaper into the corners with my fingers first and then used the same tools as before to smooth it out.

fitting wallpaper in corners

smoothing wallpaper
DIY wallpapering tips

To cut long-ways, I used the same guide and method as I did with the ceiling and skirting board. The trickiest part is very top corner and bottom corner where you'll need to cut a diagonal line into the corner to be able to push the paper right into it. In my opinion, this is the hardest bit as you don't want to cut too much and you also don't want to cut too little and accidentally cause a tear. It's a bit of trial and error and will require a fair bit of patience and time to get right.

cutting wallpaper in corners
Cutting wallpaper
wrest trail wallpaper by little greene

And that's it! It took us about a half a day to do, although we certainly weren't rushing with the job. Wallpapering is very much a practise makes perfect kind of DIY, so I do recommend allowing yourself plenty of time to do it. An hour before the school run, probably isn't recommended.

I still have some work to do on the chimney side of the room, hence why I haven't decorated there yet - But this side of the room is looking absolutely gorgeous! The wallpaper is truly beautiful, detailed and just stunning. It's based on original remnants discovered by English Heritage, but re-imagined, re-coloured and bought forward into the 21st century. It means the wallpaper has a slightly traditional feel with a modern kind of twist and I love that! It's the perfect for our Victorian house with its period features but at the same time, modernised. I also think it looks great with out sofa (a delight) and our new vintage crate side tables, which were an eBay find of just £2.50 for each one!

Wrest Trail Little Greene
Little Greene Wallpaper in Lead
Little Greene Wallpaper Archive Trails II
Wrest Trails Wallpaper in Lead
Wallpapering with Little Greene
Little Greene Wallpaper DIY installation
Wrest Trail Lead Little Greene Wallpaper

I think it also works really well next to the French Grey paint - they're along a similar kind of tone but it also allows the wallpaper to stand out against it. The wallpaper also appears to have the same kind of rich pigment as the paints - you'll notice it appears slightly different in colour with different lights, which I love. All Little Greene wallpapers are also from certified forests and for each tree used to make wallpaper, four more are planted.

I had actually bought a second sofa which I hoped to feature in this post along the other wall - but to cut a long story short, it's stuck in a courier's broken down van. I know - just my kind of luck!! So whilst it's looking a little bare with furniture, it's still a massive massive (did I massive?!) transformation. It's literally added a whole punch of character into this room; something paint alone just can't do. The wallpaper catches my eye every time I walk past it - and it's beautiful detailing just pulls you in, to look at it further. It's honestly just beautiful.

Victorian Living Room with Traditional Wallpaper in Grey
Grey Floral Pattern Wallpaper Traditional
Traditional Wallpaper with Modern Twist Living Room
Little Greene Wallpaper in Living Room

I'll be sharing more updates over the next few weeks as we build two alcove units, fix up the chimney and hopefully (finger crossed!) that second sofa arrives! But it's looking pretty darn amazing so far, right?!

Let me know what you think. Do you love the wallpaper as much as me?!

*The wallpaper and paint featured in this post were sent to me as part of a collaboration with The Little Green Paint Company. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who support this blog!


  1. I love how you do everything DIY in socks! I always try to and then get told off by the other half, socks are the way forward I say!

    1. Hahaha - you definitely can't beat socks! Although mine now mostly have holes in. I did once stub my toe, which ripped all the skin off and resulted in a trip to A&E... But the I lesson I learnt was just to be more careful - not that I should have been wearing shoes ;)

  2. Wow, the living room looks like it's coming along really well! I have recently bought a beautiful house in Devon and I'm also thinking about making the living room into my own! I want to keep the rustic feel and really embrace country living as it's always been my dream but I also want to put a stamp of my own personality onto the space!