A No-Cost Room Redo!

Those who know me well know I have a real thing for rearranging. It happens at least once a year in almost every room in the house, wherever we’ve lived. One day I wake up and just feel the urge to move things around in a big way. It’s like nesting syndrome–even when I’m not expecting! I just love to try the furniture in different places. If you ever start feeling the redecorating bug hitting when there just aren’t funds to do anything big, then rearrange! It’s every bit as gratifying, and you can get really creative by rotating photos, knick-knacks, wall art, lamps, and more.

frombookcase1My rearranging bug hit the evening of New Year’s day this year. I walked into the living room and said, “I really want to get the couch out of the middle of the room. Who wants to help Mommy?” My oldest son, who has a tendency to think everything should stay exactly where it is, gave me his quizzical raised eyebrow look. “Why do you want to move stuff, Mom? I like everything this way!” My second-born son, who is always ready to dive into anything no matter how crazy or spur-of-the-moment, said, “What do we move first?” My toddlers, who thought this was all fun and games, ran around the front of the couch to help push. And that’s when the real fun began!

Our first discovery was this lovely stash of missing books, socks, toys, and, yes…that’s an old, dried-up apple core next to the sock:


Oh, joy. No matter how good you may think you are at keeping house, you just never know what’s lurking under the couch. Or the big blue chair, for that matter:


Okay, so that one wasn’t quite so bad. But we decided to keep going and pull out the jelly cupboard (which we use for school books) in the dining room to see what might have ended up there. Hmmmm….


So that’s where all the missing fridge art went! But when we swept everything out, still more was hiding beneath the pile of drawings and school papers:


Crayons and pencils and hairbows, oh, my!

This, folks, is real life in my house! Ever notice how the beautiful photographs of inspiring home makeovers and remodels rarely ever show actual human beings in the rooms? That’s because people are messy. People drop things behind furniture and under the table and in that hard-to-reach spot between the fridge and the cabinets. It’s fun to take pictures of everything pretty and neat and nice, but just remember to enjoy the 2.5 seconds it actually looks that way and then go back to living in your house! That’s what makes it home.

So, back to our no-cost makeover! After we pulled the furniture out into the dining room, the children did a big clean-up, putting away the things we found under the couches and chairs and cupboard. We looped up the living room curtains and washed the windows. Then we gave the rug (a gorgeous hand-me-down from my father-in-law) a thorough vacuuming:


Now we were ready to put the couch in its new place in front of the window (where the round table with lamp used to be):


You can see the big, blue chair back in its regular spot on the right-hand wall. It just really fits there very well and would stick out too far moved elsewhere. (It’s a good idea to measure things before moving so you know what can fit where. I’ve done the foolhardy thing in the past and moved something only to find out it wouldn’t go where I thought it would. Oops!) We moved the lamp that used to be next to the blue chair over beside the couch, where it fit perfectly and had an outlet waiting for it. Next we put the rocking chair and the wing chair directly across from where they used to be, meaning they basically traded places with the couch:


At right you can just see the round table and lamp that used to be in front of the window. They fit perfectly beside the big, blue chair. Here’s another view, this one from the front door:


And, finally, here’s the view from the kitchen:


This arrangement makes the room feel so much more open and easy to move around in. The original arrangement was definitely cozy, and I enjoyed it, but we’re really liking this new layout–even my oldest son says he likes it better now, so it must be good!  😉

Rearranging really is a way to get a quick fix when you don’t have the funds to repaint, reupholster, or do other large projects.  It’s also a good idea just to move things periodically to clean (as we found!), even if you don’t want to move furniture permanently. Finally, you can be really inventive and bring in furniture that would typically be used in a different room and repurpose it. A dresser makes a great entry table and can also serve as a storage spot for CDs, books, magazines, table linens, and the like.  A bedside table can serve as an end table. Play “flea market” in your own house and go “shopping” from room to room, seeing what you can move and use more effectively in another spot. It’s a lot of fun and gives your home a completely fresh new look without spending a dime. Have fun, and if you do any rearranging, come post a comment with a link to your own pictures so we can all be inspired!


9 Responses to “A No-Cost Room Redo!”

  1. 1 Marva January 26, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Awesome redo! Many blessings!

  2. 2 Heidi @ GGIP January 27, 2009 at 1:15 am

    I do the same thing all the time. Well, maybe not at a large level like that but I am always moving pictures around and furniture. I don’t know why so many crayons are under our couch!

  3. 4 Rachel January 29, 2009 at 6:44 am

    While the idea of living in a double wide trailer has me just a little bit jealous – I had to chuckle at the things found under the couch and chairs. And here I was upset at the not quite half apple that I had found just before Christmas! Oh yeah, that could be my house … except it’s a lot bigger … and nicer.

    I’ve done the rearrange thing since I was born practically. My mom moved rooms regularly – so I guess it’s in my blood. And a great way to find missing socks, toys, books, apples, juice cups….

    So, hello from a fellow country redneck. I’m pleased to find a blog that “at least to me” feels more at home.

  4. 5 Marcia Wilwerding January 30, 2009 at 4:46 am

    Oh, my! Hidden treasure! That reminds me I need to move some furniture out, too, and clean up.

    You know, though, years ago the “S” card in our phonics flashcards went missing, and we never did find it, even when we moved. There wasn’t anything left in the house to pull out and look under.

    Thanks for the encouragement. We live in a “trailer,” too, and love it.

  5. 6 Deanna January 30, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    I completely agree with you! I have done this since I was a kid! It is nice to change things around and get a fresh look!

    I shop my house too, and have a closet space in the basement here I am able to store seasonal items, so I can go down there and “shop” also.

    You have done a great job fixing up the trailer! It is such a warm cozy home!

    I love checking in to see what you are working on!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  6. 7 Sara January 31, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I’ll never forget the time the girls and I rearranged the living room
    and found a row of apple cores under it that their two year old brother had nonchalantly deposited while watching TV.

    January is such a good month for removing the clutter in the home
    and doing those little things that help prepare the house
    for Spring Cleaning, which, honestly, I’ve never been as successful
    at as my mother who is a direct descent of Mr. Clean. I love your arrangement! A few questions that maybe you could address in a future feature or may be in a past post. Does the lamp work by
    the door; are the red plaids slip covers; and what fabric are the
    curtains – bought or made??? I want to put the same style of rod
    and curtains at the double windows in our small dining area.

  7. 8 Frugal Felicia February 12, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    I am the same way. When the bug hits you HAVE to do something about it. I have a dear friend with nine kids and a huge dining room table. They have the dining room/sitting area in the same room as you walk in. She wanted to move the love seat and build a shelf in the wall behind where it had been sitting, but in order to do that they would have to turn the huge table sideways to make room. Her husband kept on that it wouldn’t work. Well she made it work. It’s so funny a womans determination to redecorate=)

  8. 9 queenofmytrailer February 13, 2009 at 5:09 am

    Hi, Sara!

    The apple core story is so cute. LOL!

    Now to your questions:

    1. Yes, the lamp by the front door works. The switch by the door turns on the outlet it’s plugged into, so I just keep the lamp in the “on” position on the lowest of its three-way-settings. If I need more light at night, I switch it up. But it’s so much easier to just turn it off or on with the wall switch.

    2. The red plaid couch is upholstered. I have plans to make a slipcover for it one of these days so I can change the look when I feel like it. Slipcovers also have the great advantage of being WASHABLE! 😉

    3. The blue curtains are ones I got on clearance at Bed, Bath and Beyond about three years ago. They look like silk dupioni, though I’m not sure it’s real silk. They are also fully lined. They retail for $24.99 a panel, but I got them with a coupon for 30% off. The white sheers are Shabby Chic voile panels I got at Target–also on clearance! Keep your eyes peeled for those clearances, or haunt eBay, and you’ll find them at half price or less!

    Hope this helps!

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About the Queen…

Amanda Livenwell is the pen name of a stay-at-home mom who shares the adventure of living large on one income in, yes, a double-wide trailer! Join our family as we say goodbye to suburbia, trim down, and start saving to build our own home. We're going to talk about doing it yourself, living beautifully on less, making do or doing without, and counting it all joy in the process. We'll cover prep-work and painting, refacing kitchen cabinets, flooring on the cheap, tiling over laminate, upholstering furniture, and just rolling up our sleeves in general. If you love home improvement, this is the place for you. Let's get cracking!

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"She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness." ~ Proverbs 31:13, 17-19, 27

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