Dream Living & Dining Room Makeover with West Elm: The Plans

Imagine my excitement levels right now to be working with one of my all time favourite brands. Yes, that's right, I'm doing a living AND dining room makeover with West Elm!

West Elm have been in the UK for four and half years, with the first store opening on Tottenham Court Road in London in December 2013, to MUCH excitement among the interior lovers ranks, who like me, had admired them from afar for much longer. So as you can imagine it didn't take me long to get myself in store for some real life product swooning way back then, and I've continued to do so ever since.

French For Pineapple Blog - West Elm Living & Dining Room Makeover Plans

Anyway, it's not like they actually need an introduction, but do you but do you know that they offer an in-house design service? It's completely free, and comes with no obligation to buy. There's an in-person option, which can be either at a store or if you live close they can even come to you. And if you're not near a store you can have a phone consultation. Fabulous designers that can help you with your room design, the floor plans, mockups, even give you advice on colour and rug size and all the things that are so often tricky to get right. In fact they can advise you on everything from your key pieces of furniture, right down to accessories if you want them to.

French For Pineapple Blog - West Elm Living & Dining Room Makeover Plans

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know that I'm not short on ideas of how I want a room to look, and I'm very specific about what I'll have in my home. So why would I need their help?

Well, there is something exciting about having a fresh set of eyes and a creative mind, brainstorming with you about a space in your home. Someone that isn't your sick-to-death-of-hearing-about-it other half, but instead, someone who is actively interested in your dilemma about which lamps will work best on the sideboard, should you go for a round or rectangular coffee table, and will that sofa work in the space. The best thing about an impartial fresh set of eyes, is that they'll see your room in a way you won't have. It was actually a revelation and such a great experience to sit down with Clara in the  Tottenham Court Road store and thrash out a plan.

French For Pineapple Blog - West Elm Living & Dining Room Makeover Plans

You may or may not know that a new herringbone parquet floor is imminent throughout the ground floor (more about that here) which will completely transform the look of the rooms. From this base I'm planning pale neutral walls, and I want to keep the rooms feeling fresh, modern, warm and welcoming, with a bit of drama and glamour thrown in for good measure.
French For Pineapple Blog - West Elm Living & Dining Room Makeover Plans
After my consultation Clara put together a presentation for me, including a floor plan and mockups with products we discussed and existing pieces that are staying, and it's spot on.

Here's what she came back with...

Luxe & Modern

Strong graphics are complemented by luxurious brass, acacia, and walnut wood pieces.
Black details add some edge, while the leather Sloane sofa finishes off the room with a sleek and elegant presence.

Accessories with a luxe but clean look for both the living room and dining area.

Yes Clara! As I said - spot on...

French For Pineapple Blog - West Elm Living & Dining Room Makeover Plans
Mobile Chandelier - Grand, Silhouette Table - Oval

After ten years of the wrong dining table in this tricky room of doors and openings (see the floor plan), I'm so excited that we firmly agreed on the stunning and rather glamorous oval Silhouette Table, which is a match made in furniture heaven when paired with my recently acquired vintage Arkana chairs. Honestly, they are meant to be together, but when I bought them I had no idea just how perfect they would turn out to be, or that they would be teamed with this dream of a dining table, I just knew I had to have them. Serendipity, I'm sure.

To say I'm excited about the new direction for this room is a massive understatement. I feel like it's finally heading in the right direction after all these years of just never being quite right.

The dining room requires little else other that some new accessories and lamps, and it will be as done as a room in my house ever is.

French For Pineapple Blog - West Elm Living & Dining Room Makeover Plans
Industrial Outline Table Lamps, Metal Framed Oversized Round Mirror

Moving on to the living room, the old sofa, the vintage leather chair and coffee table have all gone to new homes. The pink chair remains at this point, although it desperately needs to be reupholstered, and may go and live in another room. Don't worry, my vintage pieces have gone to live in very good homes - I always did want my Pieff chair to be tan and not black, so it's gone to it's forever home now, where it's loved just the way it is. And maybe a vintage tan one will come into my possession one day. I'm a firm believer in stuff like that (did I mention my Arkana chairs?!)

French For Pineapple Blog - West Elm Living & Dining Room Makeover Plans
Wood + Resin Round Table, Sloane Sofa, Pink Sorbet Woven Silk Cushion, Gold Dust Textured Silk Fringe Cushion, Mid-Century Art Display Round Coffee Table, Valley Ridge Rug
The Sloane sofa is a sleek leather number, which is a real departure for me, but I wanted a different look in here. Apparently cats aren't that interested in leather, so I'm hoping Cleo doesn't destroy it immediately. It's the softest supple leather, and a taupe colour with the loveliest curves. I'm really looking forward to seeing how it fits. And to having the odd Sunday snooze on it too. Surely that's the real test of a good sofa, non?

French For Pineapple Blog - West Elm Living & Dining Room Makeover Plans
Eden Cross Base Standing Planter, Thea Chair (coming in August), Pink Sorbet Woven Silk Cushion, Brass Martini Side Table, Valley Ridge Rug
The round Art Display coffee table is going to be a lovely fit in here, with a lower tier to display favourite things, whilst keeping the top pretty clear for a little boy who loves to use the living room as his playground. And no sharp corners, which is also great for him. It will be nice to have a bit more clear space in the room rather than filling it to the brim which is my usual style. At least that's the plan...

French For Pineapple Blog - West Elm Living & Dining Room Makeover Plans
Image: West Elm Thea Chair
And have I mentioned Thea yet? Well allow me to introduce you to the chair of actual dreams. In fact, I don't think I've been as excited about a piece of furniture ever. I'm also extremely excited about the Crescent Swivel Chair too, and for me, these chairs mark an exciting turn in high street furniture design, and are exactly the kind of pieces I've been wanting to see more of in the UK. Apparently (and unsurprisingly!), Thea was an immediate sell out when she hit the US West Elm stores, and I predict the same will happen here. So keep a keen eye out, because once she hits the UK website and stores, it's game on.

French For Pineapple Blog - West Elm Living & Dining Room Makeover Plans
Image: West Elm Crescent Swivel Chair

I'm undecided about a rug in here. Part of me thinks no rug, so I can see as much of the beautiful new floor as much as possible, and part of me thinks yes to a rug to add some softness and more texture. I think I probably will add one, but wait for everything else to be finished first before choosing one.

I'm pretty sure my beloved vintage lucite trolley which I currently use as my beside table will need to come back downstairs into the living room because we will need at least one side table, though I really love it as my bedside and don't know what I'll replace it with. Actual dilemmas!

So that's it. I hope you like the plans for these rooms. Watch this space, and my Instagram stories for updates and sneak peeks - I'll be painting next week, and of course I'll show you the finished rooms just as soon as I can!

I highly recommend taking advantage of West Elm's in-house design service whether you know exactly what you want, or haven't a clue - they are super helpful, knowledgeable and creative, and if you are in doubt about what will work, you will come away feeling much more confident about your choices.

This post is in collaboration with West Elm.

Bench Seating

Until recently our dining table barely got used for the right reason. In fact, the dining room was nothing but a thoroughfare to the living room.

Occasionally I would decide that I needed my computer downstairs to work (I have a desktop not a laptop - a conscious decision that I made, and one I've pretty much regretted ever since), and then the dining room would start to resemble my studio - an unruly mess, which drove me mad, so I'd take the computer back upstairs again.

At other times it would remain clear for approximately two minutes before it got covered in piles of paperwork, post, clean washing waiting to be put away, random bits and pieces belonging to each member of the family and so on. It became the 'in limbo' table. A table for stuff going places, but rarely a table for eating at.

We have a kitchen table too. It's small but perfectly formed and great for two people to sit at eating breakfast, but a little bit squashed for four. Yet we'd been squeezing around it more often than using the much larger dining table. Total madness!

Over the last few months, I've been making a slow but concerted and determined effort to rid the house of excess clutter. First I'm working on visible clutter which I've nearly achieved with the exception of the studio, and once I've done the studio I want to start working on the dreaded hidden clutter, of which there is LOADS. You know, the stuff shoved into every cupboard including the kitchen cupboards. One of my kitchen cupboards is actually dangerous, and should have a warning on it stating that there is danger of falling organic gluten-free flour. My aim is to at least HALVE the contents of each and every cupboard and wardrobe in the house. Believe me, it's going to be a long and ongoing project. And then there's the cellar.

Anyway, having achieved part of of my de-clutter plan at least downstairs, has meant the dining table is clear pretty much all the time. It still gets a little out of hand sometimes, because you know, I'm human, but it's easier to deal with, and things have a place to go. This makes me deliriously and tragically happy.

As I said in my Dining Room Reveal post on Friday, I moved the bench seats in there to replace the vintage school chairs that I was no longer loving around the table, and here's what it looks like now...

French For Pineapple Blog - Dining Room Bench Seat

I didn't realise that actual magic would happen when I made that move, but it did...

Having the bench seats at the table meant that suddenly the room felt more casual and welcoming - the table beckons to be sat at. And sit we do!

Before I would never have sat at that table alone, but now, I sit there several times a day. We eat all our meals there, and I even sit there to read a magazine with a cup of tea. This never happened before, and it's all due to the magic of the bench seats.

The trick is to go for backless benches, (unless said bench seat will be against a wall, then by all means there are plenty of gorgeous bench seats around with backs too, but I can't promise they'll be magic) which not only removes the physical 'barrier', also making it so much easier for small kids to climb up onto, but psychologically there's a shift. Maybe that's why communal tables at cafes are often flagged by bench seats, I don't know, but I'm sure there's some research somewhere that would prove that bench seats are more enticing to sit on. My research definitely tells me to keep it this way.

I'm not in the market for another one as we already have two, but there are some lovely benches out there if you decide to go that way, and here ten that would work perfectly. Don't forget to add a sheepskin (or five) to them to make them extra cosy and inviting. Real skins also have natural grip so they don't easily slip off. Perfect!

Bench Seats - French For Pineapple Blog

1. Sinnerlig by Ilse Crawford - Ikea
2. Skogsta Bench - Ikea (a great cheap basic - begging to be painted)
3. Kejsarkrona Oak Bench - Ikea
4. Hand Braided Rattan Bench - Out There Interiors
5. Aquila Bench in Acacia - Swoon Editions
6. Ten Ply Tapered Bench - Unto This Last
7. Parker in Solid Oak - Habitat
8. Vintage Teak and Black Metal - Pamono (be quick - this one's a total bargain!)
9. Box Frame Bench - West Elm
10. Tuscan Bench - Heals

Don't forget to sign up over there on the right so you don't miss a post!

I'm now offering a range of interior design services. Get in touch if you need my help, be it choosing paint colours, help choosing art, a whole new room (or house) scheme, and everything in between. I don't bite. Promise.

Dining Room Reveal

Following on from Wednesday's living room reveal, I'm finally happy to show you the adjoining dining room today. Hallelujah!

Dining Room Reveal - French For Pineapple Blog

When I last threatened to show you this room, I realised that there were a few things that I really wasn't happy with, so I posted a bit of a tease instead, focusing on the sideboard, which you can see here if you missed it.

There were two main things I wanted to change before photographing it again for this post - one was that I still hadn't re-painted the floor (now ticked off the list), and I wasn't loving the vintage school chairs we had in here, which with the new wall colour, suddenly seemed very orange (in a bad way!) - a bit of a sticking point as my husband still loves them.

Dining Room Reveal - French For Pineapple Blog

I think I'll love them again too, but in a different room, like in my fantasy kitchen / side return extension, that WILL happen one day! I'd have them at a big table in front of the crittall windows and doors that will run across the back of the house. Oh, sorry, I got a bit carried away in fantasy-land there. Back to reality...

So, I swapped the vintage school chairs with bench seats and Eames chairs that we already had (having a knock on effect on the kitchen, which I'll tell you about soon!), and relegated the school chairs to the studio for now (along with all the other displaced furniture that doesn't currently have a home - is it any wonder I can barely squeeze in that door?!).

Dining Room Reveal - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room Reveal - French For Pineapple Blog

As you can see, the walls are the same colour as the living room, which unites the two rooms and they now have a lovely flow. The dining room was an über bright aqua during the navy living room phase, so it was all quite dramatic and umm, loud. I love the serene feeling of these rooms now!

Here's a shot of the living room from the dining room, so you can get an idea of the layout - the rooms are almost knocked completely through...

Dining Room Reveal - French For Pineapple Blog

Since painting the floors, which has freshened up the room SO much, I've not put the rug back down, and wasn't planning to, but looking back at photos of the rug in here makes me think I might.

I also had a bit of a wobble and decided that the dining table had to go. It hasn't, but I'd still like to replace it one day as I'm not a huge fan of the stainless steel industrial style of it if I'm completely honest, but I like it much better with the bench seats, so it's not on my 'must do immediately' list anymore (panic averted, and husband breathes a huge sigh of relief).

Dining Room Reveal - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room Reveal - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room Reveal - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room Reveal - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room Reveal - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room Reveal - French For Pineapple Blog
I have other plans for the wall where the Juju hat is currently hung so that will probably change, and I want to paint the huge bookcase the same colour as the shelving in the living room. I might add moulding to the cupboards to tie it in more, and perhaps add the same brass handles too. I have a huge can of that paint left over and it's just begging to be used, so it would be rude not to. Besides, I haven't painted anything for at least four days.

I'd also like to add these Holy Wafer handles from Superfront to the sideboard cupboard doors. See? It never ends, but I'm in a happy place with these rooms for now at least, but I would like to up the glam factor a tad.

Alright, I'll stop emptying the contents of my brain onto the screen for now, and I'll see you back here next week!

Don't forget to let me know what you think of the new colour, and sign up over there on the right so that you don't miss a post. Go on, you know you want to...

If you like what you see and want some for yourself, I'm now offering a range of interior design services. Get in touch if you need my help, be it choosing paint colours, help choosing art, a whole new room (or house) scheme, and everything in between. I don't bite. Promise.

The Dining Room (Sideboard)...

As you may know, over the last few months I've been giving my living and dining rooms a brand new look. I was busy photographing the rooms last weekend for this post, which was supposed to be the big Living and Dining Room Reveal. However, when I looked back at them, I realised that although I'm really very happy with the rooms, that I wasn't actually ready to show them off just yet, as there are too many things that still need to be done (like painting the floors for one. Urgh.), and I'm not happy to show the world, well, okay, maybe not the world, but you know what I mean, until everything is looking a bit more finished.

I think it's going to be at least another few weeks before I post the proper reveal, but I took loads of shots of the sideboard in the dining room, which is really long, and I've always struggled with styling it. I finally got it to a point where I'm happy with it, so there's no way I'm not going to show you these photos!

The sideboard is made up of five wall mounted Ikea kitchen cabinets, with a bespoke sprayed to match piece of MDF for the top. Fantastic to house everything from the kids games, to craft supplies, and who know what else. I'd love to replace the top with with marble one day, though even if I had the budget, I'd be worried the weight of it would pull the cabinets off the wall.

So here you go, a detailed look at the dining room sideboard. Of course you can see peeks of the rest of the room and the beautiful Pink Ground walls, which I am completely besotted with. As soon as I can, I will show you the whole dining room and the living room, which has changed SO much from it's navy blue days...

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog
Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog
Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog

Dining Room - French For Pineapple Blog


The minute I finished painting our living room in the most beautiful deep navy blue (which I'll show you one day soon), I started to obsess about what colour to paint the adjoining dining room.  I'd originally wanted to wallpaper it, and perhaps still will one day, but I think my husband and I would be debating which one to use until 2024, and let's face it, it's a much bigger commitment, so paint it was to be, for now at least.  I'd knew I wanted something, well, full-on, and considered an acid yellow, or a lime green, but neither were right, so I took to Pinterest (again) for inspiration.  I was drawn to beautiful sea greens, so off I went to buy another few sample pots from our local paint shop.

The perfect aqua green came in the form of Grecian Spa 3 by Dulux.  It's so bright it glows, and I adore it.  It's a super happy colour, and it's a great backdrop for all my bits and pieces on the sideboard.  Not a colour for the faint hearted, neutral lover, that's for sure...

Speaking of sample pots, I have an obscene amount of them in the cellar. I buy so many that it's become a running joke with all the staff at our local paint shop. I'm not particularly proud of this fact, as they're not cheap, and I often wonder about starting some kind of swap/share scheme. Is it just me??