I have officially been living on my own for just under 2 months now. The time has flown by, and it has been a real learning curve both for learning how to live on your own and discovering how to create a home, not just inhabit a room.
It’s still a work in progress for me, but I decided to document the journey on here because I know I’m not the only person that has ever made this transition. Add the attempt to do everything sustainably into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a bit of a challenge. But a challenge which can be faced if you have time, patience and savvy on your hands.
So today we’re starting with this living room, which has been a real labour of love for me. Because I had been living in house shares previously, I had already collected most of my bedroom furniture before I moved into my own place. I had an idea of how to put a bedroom together and what worked for me. A living space, however, was all new territory. While I’ve always lived in flats that had separate living rooms, I’ve never had any say on how they looked. I also knew I had a small budget, and I really didn’t want to buy anything unsustainable or poor quality. Luckily this room has incredible natural light and is very neutral, meaning I could basically do whatever I wanted with it once I was in, and now it has become my favourite room in my flat.
The real score in this room is this three piece suite. I scoured Facebook marketplace for weeks coming up to the move, but everything I found would be snapped up before I could make an offer, and I didn’t have a van to go pick up anything that I did like, meaning that I was also hoping for the near impossible: someone who would deliver. I felt stuck, until one week before my move date I found a vintage three piece suite on Ebay. In yellow!
I’d had a secret dream to get a yellow sofa, knowing all my walls were white and desiring to make the most of my love for colour while it’s still a space that is just mine, with no compromise necessary. Despite seeing even the cheapest sofas going for £300, I managed to buy this entire three piece suite for £160 plus delivery (and finding people who will deliver large items they’re selling on Ebay is just as rare as Facebook). They were driven down from Bristol a week later, and the rest is history.
The amazing thing about these sofas is that they’re from the 1930s/40s. I’m not entirely sure when, but they’re incredibly solid and durable, from the period when furniture was a lifelong investment. Unlike the flimsy sofas of furnished flats past, these are solid, sturdy wood. It makes them ridiculously heavy, but it also means they’re never going to fall apart. I’ll basically have these for life because there’s no way they’re ever going to break. In the future I can reupholster them or get the springs changed, but they’re a solid base that won’t be going anywhere. They were my first real investment, and it was a mighty fine one.
I also love pairing these sofas with my peshtemals and blanket from Luks Linen. I rarely put the heating on as Falmouth doesn’t get too cold, and it’s been a fairly warm Autumn so far, but it’s great to have something nearby for when it gets nippy towards the end of the day. Of course it’s not exactly easy to find something to go with yellow, but I love these minimal, mainly monochrome patterns and feel like they work here without feeling like too much.
Organic cotton and bamboo yoga leggings and camouflage yoga top from Asquith London
Luks Linen’s products are also wonderful because they’re ethically and sustainably produced by small aterliers and artisans in Turkey, and are made with natural, local materials. They are the true embodiment of slow living; being hand loomed instead of created by a machine, and promoting traditional craftsmanship and techniques that have been threatened by mass production. As opposed to companies that have no idea who makes their items or where, you can find all of Luks Linen’s makers here, adding a real personal touch to these snug pieces. The handwoven nature of their work also makes quality so high that Luks Linen offer a 20 year guarantee where they will repair or replace products that don’t live up to standards, or have had a bit of general wear and tear damage. Plus they’re incredibly warm and cosy!
After sorting out my seating, the other elements of this room came fairly easily. I took a trip to a large Cornwall Hospice Care charity shop, where I found my coffee table for £40 (I absolutely love the pop of red), The side table for £20 (along with two smaller versions that are in my dining room) and my lamps for £20 and £15 respectively.
Beyond this, when talking about creating a conscious living space I also tried to take a more holistic approach, because I work in this space too. It means that, beyond creating a home that is comfortable and thought out, I also treat it like a business space; thinking about not just what fills my surroundings, but also elements like my utilities and my workwear. Not only to ensure they encourage creativity, productivity or relaxation depending on the context at the time, but also that they don’t cause harm to people or the planet simply because they make my life a bit easier. And that is non-negotiable.
When it comes to my workwear, it just so happens that mine looks a little different to most jobs. I exercise every weeknight, meaning that I tend to spend my working-from-home days in activewear, both because it’s comfortable and because I’m then ready to head straight to the gym or studio when I finish up at home. For me the solution to my schedule has been found in Asquith London.
I first encountered Asquith when a group of us headed on an eco conscious yoga retreat earlier this year. Although I already knew of this London-based ethical brand I’d never owned any pieces before this trip, but now I’m a total convert. Their thoughtful designs blend sustainably sourced bamboo and organic cotton, creating chemical-free conscious pieces that are made in a family run factory in Turkey, where employees work in fair conditions from 9-5, and receive paid holiday.
But more than that, they’re the softest, cosiest activewear I’ve ever encountered. Instead of slipping down or cutting into your body, the fit is gentle and snug. They’re incredibly comfortable, soft and breathable, making them my go-to option most days when working from home, before seamlessly transitioning to the street and the studio. They’ve honestly outdone themselves with their new range of camouflage yoga clothes and organic cotton and bamboo pilates clothes, they’re so dang comfortable and versatile.
Camouflage yoga top and organic cotton/bamboo yoga pants from Asquith London
When moving into this flat, I also made sure to switch over my energy and gas supplier as soon as possible. If I was running a business from an office space I would want to ensure my business operations were running as sustainably as possible, which is why my website has been running on renewable energy for the last year. But moving home also gave me the ability, for the first time, to be in charge of who provides my energy, and so I quickly made the switch to People’s Energy.
As well as providing 100% renewable energy to their customers, People’s Energy are incredibly transparent, give profits back to their customers, give back to the community, and are working to change the culture when it comes to our energy landscape in the UK. So far I’ve had a great time being their customer, and am glad that by working to clean up the grid, it cleans up the grid for everyone. You can read more on their policies and how it all works here.
Having more space has also allowed me to join the millennial trend of bringing houseplants into my life and treating them like my babies. Because this room gets so much light I’ve been slowly adding to my collection, so as not to get too overwhelmed with their care, and I’ve been making sure to give them the best chances at a happy plant life. Beyond diligently researching the best way to look after my plants, I’ve been repotting them using Earth Cycle peat free organic compost. Peat appears in most garden centre composts, but it is extracted from bogs in peatlands, which are vital habitats for a vast array of wildlife. Draining these ecosystems releases carbon into the atmosphere and adds to global warming, whereas peat free composts (because eco friendly and organic composts don’t always equal peat free) are just as effective and easy to use, if you make sure to seek them out. They’re predominantly made from sustainable sources of organic matter like green waste or woodfibre, so contain brilliant nutrients for plants without harming the larger environment. My plants are loving it so far, and I’m glad to protect other ecosystems and our air at the same time.
In terms of the future, I know this room still has a few additions to come. I was recently given a tv screen by a generous friend whose family no longer needed it, and my extremely kind godfather gave me an Apple tv that he doesn’t use, meaning that while I don’t really watch live tv, I can watch Netflix on an actual screen quite soon. Having not expected to get a tv, I was then able to find a tv stand on Ebay for £50, which can be easily taken apart and was mailed to me a few weeks ago. All I need to do is find an HDMI cable and I’ll be ready to binge watch The Good Place in style.
In regards to other decor I will continue to build up my houseplant collection, and I have artwork that many talented friends have made over the years that I plan to get properly framed and hung soon, to liven up the walls. The only other (non-urgent) thing missing from this room is probably a rug, both to keep the room warm in a more eco-friendly way, and to add a little something extra. I know exactly what I’d want in this case, I’m very lucky to call the professional weaver Christabel Balfour a friend, so I’m saving up to be able to commission her to weave a rug for me one day. I love being able to support friends and have their art and work in my home; although it may take me a little while to get there money wise I’d rather be able to give it to people who I love and respect.
As these last few additions go up I will make sure to document the updates on social media, but I’m glad to say I’m basically there with this room now. It’s cosy, it’s fun and it’s not too crowded. It’s totally unique to me and my tastes, and I’m really enjoying living here. Hooray for having my own space, it’s a privilege I don’t take for granted!
Sponsored Post Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by multiple brands who I love, already had relationships with and genuinely use and want to support. All editorial direction and opinions my own, thanks for making this post possible!