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‘Our wedding was postponed, so we decorated instead’

In Dulux’s My Colour Story, we take a peek inside your freshly decorated homes and reveal the story behind your colour transformations. Today, 25-year-old Leah Dominica shows off her revamped living room, and tells us how when she had to postpone her wedding it gave her the motivation she needed to make a change...

 

Like most of us at the start of 2020, 25-year-old Leah Dominica had big plans – and top of her priority list was planning her wedding to fiancé, Rob, on 3rd October. But everything changed with the arrival of Covid-19: “When things started closing down, I couldn’t do any wedmin, or contact anyone,” Leah explains. “Suddenly, there was nothing for me to do and I did feel a bit sad – not for the wedding, but because I was so excited to marry Rob.”

With the whole world on pause, Leah and Rob did what many of us did: hibernated in their living room. “Whereas we’d normally spend the evenings wedding planning and crafting bits and bobs, now we were watching Netflix to death and doing puzzles,” she says. “The wedding world had slowed and everything else we'd normally do had stopped, so like the rest of the nation, we started looking at the four walls around us and thought, 'there's some improvements we can make here'.”

What began as shock and disappointment slowly shifted towards excitement, as Leah and Rob realised they had an opportunity to finally finish decorating their home. “We moved into our VERY 60s house in 2017 with little idea of what renovation actually costs, both financially and emotionally,” she says. “Three years down the line, the big jobs were done, but all of those final decorating jobs and ‘fiddly bits’ were left at the bottom of our to-do list. What a time to get them done, we thought! We have the opportunity here to enter married life without thinking about the caulking we’ve needed to do in the bathroom for two years.”

With the living room being where Leah and Rob found themselves spending most of their time (and now that Netflix was pretty much completed), it felt like the natural room to start decorating. They’d got as far as painting the 60s-style beige-yellow walls white, laid vinyl flooring and even bought furniture – a huge, luxurious grey sofa with a matching footstool and mustard cushions – but the space was missing that final finesse and a few personal touches. 

“I saw an article on how to create a two-tone split wall and thought, that’s genius! You just don’t think of things like that,” says Leah. “The natural colour for us to go for once we’d seen that was green. We’re not really big fans of modern or sharp lines and bold colours – instead, we’re drawn to warm, earthy shades and greenery. In fact, nearly everything in our house is either grey or green.”

Newly focused on her project, Leah went from wedding scrapbooking to scouring the web for green paint tester pots. “We tried so many different shades of green that just weren’t quite right,” says Leah. “I should stop saying ‘we’ here as Rob was happy with every single one of them! It was all trial and error. After putting 10 testers on the wall and waiting a few weeks, we were finally able to really figure out what we liked.”

With the right green paint in hand, Leah set about creating her two-tone split wall, adding a mustard strip in the middle to tie in with her mustard cushions. “I'd always thought of painting walls as very one-dimensional and didn't even think to stray from that path, but breaking the wall up with different colours has really brought more depth and helped me feel like we were nearing the end of our decorating journey,” she explains. 

With the feature split wall complete, Leah’s next decorating task was adding a few accessories. She discovered a beautiful botanical wall hanging on Instagram, which worked perfectly against her natural green backdrop, and then began to “add plants that we can’t kill everywhere”.  

The final finishing touches came with Leah’s amazing collection of antique and vintage trinkets, which Rob had gathered over the years. “My grandad passed away a few years ago so we also have a picture of him up on the shelf, along with his pocket watches,” says Leah. “We have items that my granny has given us, a lot of family hand-me-downs and things that we’ve picked up as we’ve explored different places. To anyone else, it might look like a load of lovely stuff, but every time I look at it, I see my papa, my granny, my mum. I see Rob, I see my dogs. I just love it! That’s what your home is supposed to be. It’s about making it yours and adding the things that make you feel warm and happy – even if that thing is a really ugly, pink cushion!” 

So how does Leah feel now that her living room is finally finished? “It’s just so lovely to have this warm, relaxing space to come home to every day,” she says. “I come from a family of ‘creatives’ so I know it will never really be finished; as Rob and I grow and change, so will our tastes, interests and colour palette preferences. Naturally, the space around us will evolve over time to reflect who we are but knowing that we’re starting our marriage with a living space that we created together as a team, from scratch, fills me with so much happiness.”

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