Posts Tagged 'Living Room'

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:

undercouch1

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:

underchair

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….

undercupboard

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:

undercupboard2

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:

vacuumrug

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):

couchinfrontofwindow1

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:

newfromdiningroom1

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:

newfromfrontdoor

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

newfromkitchen

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!

newlivingroom1

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Come into my living room!

Just a quick post tonight to share a few pictures of my cozy living room. It is my favorite room in the house and is the best living room arrangement I’ve ever had. I am absolutely tickled pink with how it turned out!

I wish I had a better camera so I could capture the ambience of the room with its warm lighting, but when I tried photographing things with no flash, the pictures were just too dark. So you’ll have to settle for “flashy” pictures and just imagine the warmth and comfort of this cozy room!

First, here is the view from the inside wall when you stand with your back to the dining room and kitchen. The corner cupboard that used to be in the dining room of my old house now has a place in the living room due to the corner fireplace in the trailer dining room. I really love it in here, though, because it adds a lot of cottage character!The rocking chair was a gift from dear friends when we had a new baby, and I never seemed to have a place for it in the old house (in spite of its being a larger home!). It works so nicely in this room.

As you can see, we have  French Country color scheme going here with the reds, blues, yellows, plus black accents. I hung the curtains right at the edge of the ceiling (about a foot above the windows) to give the illusion of greater height. The curtains are a mixture of ones that were in my old dining room (blue) and ones from my old bedroom (the sheers over the windows). I love the soft, flowing look. The overall effect of the room is so homey and cozy that I find myself using this room far more than I ever did a formal living room in the past. The children and I love to cuddle up on the couch and read together.

I pulled the room together with a wonderful oriental rug we received from my father-in-law. This creates a defined area for the rest of the furniture. At first I was afraid it wouldn’t fit without blocking some of the air vents on the floor, but my husband figured out the best placement, and we just love the look. At right is the view when you first come in the front door. You can just see the hallway and the end of the dining room behind the couch. We have lots of artwork from our old home, and we’ve managed to find space for almost all of it. We figured we’d just imitate the British and cover the walls with paintings, prints, and photos! The red couch is probably my favorite piece of furniture in the room. I have plans to slipcover it so I can change its look from season to season. I have about 12 yards of a blue and creamy yellow Waverly stripe that I found on eBay for $41 — that’s 12 yards for less than the retail price of two! Gotta love it. Don’t know when I’ll get around to that project, but I’ll be sure to blog about it. I’d love to have the cover made by next spring, since it will make a nice change in the room and will make things seem cooler when the hot weather rolls around.

Finally, here is the view of the entry wall with the plates over the table that I’ve shown in a previous post. I still have plans to make the table skirt, and now that I’ve found the fabric, I hope to get that done in the next week or so. It will really soften up that wall, which has a lot of hard lines with the long painting, the table, and the bookcase. You can see a hat in the upper right-hand corner of the photo. That’s hanging on a hall tree stand that my husband loves to use for his own hats. Now they are right within reach when he goes out the front door! I put one of my favorite hats there as well. This is just a really wonderful room.

I’m filing away mental notes for our future dream house (the one we hope to build ourselves one of these days!). I’ve learned so many things from the various houses we’ve lived in, and I’ve got a big folder of notes about what has worked and what has not. Some of the things that work so nicely about this house are probably the very things that would make a double-wide unappealing to some folks. Yes, this is a fairly small house, but the smaller size makes housecleaning a real breeze! It takes half the time to clean this house than it did to clean the old one. I also love the fact that the kitchen, dining room, and living room make up a friendly triangle where I can be with my children and easily carry on conversations with family and friends. The walls are thin, yes, but that makes it easy to hear my children and speak to them without having to raise my voice as much as I did in the old house with all its far-flung corners!

Just before bedtime tonight, the children and I sat together in the living room, tired but happy after a long day. I looked around at all the smiling faces and said, “Children, don’t you love living in this cozy cottage of ours?” There was a loud chorus of “YES!” followed by lots of grins and comments about how great it is to live in the country and have plenty of room to explore and play together. Have I mentioned that I love this place? 🙂

Lighten up that living room!

When we started out with beige vinyl wallcoverings and brown wood trim, the living room was rather dark. I knew this large area was going to take a tremendous amount of time to redo, so I yelled for help and brought in a dear friend who has assisted me with countless home dec projects. We’ve painted more rooms together than I can count! The first order of business was to remove all the switch plates and outlet plates and thoroughly wash down the walls with warm, soapy water. That done, we laid our drop cloths carefully to cover the carpet and pulled out the five-gallon container of Zinsser’s Bull’s Eye 1-2-3 primer I’ve written about before. Before it was all over, we’d primed the walls and trim three times to thoroughly cover both (that dark wood trim especially needed all the coats). This process took about three days total, but we did this over a couple of weeks as we had time, allowing each coat to thoroughly dry.

Once the primer was dry, we pulled out the white semi-gloss interior trim paint and put two coats of it on the crown moulding and beadboard. When that had dried, I taped off all the trim so I could paint the buttercream color on the walls without ruining any of my previous work. It took surprisingly little paint to do that, even though I needed two coats for a nice, solid finish. You can see the amazing difference! The room is now light, open, and cheerful. In this photo you can also see the white ceiling fan my husband installed. The only tricky part in painting this room was keeping paint off the carpet at the bottom of the beadboard. Neither of us thought to just tape off the carpet (I figured that out later in the office!), so I used a wallpaper squeegee to help me keep paint off the floor. I’d just push the squeegee up against the wall on top of the carpet and paint the section immediately above it. It worked well, but it sure was labor-intensive! Taping off is far easier. Below are pictures going around the rest of the room so you can enjoy the full effect:

It was so exciting to see this come together so beautifully! I’d already brought over some furniture from our current home, so I decided to set up an entryway table and hang some plates. This is my inspiration photo from Country French Decorating. Obviously, this is in a much more formal, traditional home than a double-wide trailer (!), so I’m toning it down just a tad but keeping the inspiring colors and basic design idea. I found fabric nearly identical to what was used for the tablecloth in this photo, but I don’t have time for sewing right now, so that’s a project that will have to wait. This time around, I simply wanted to get the plates up on the wall with the table beneath. I don’t have wall sconces, and those would be a bit over the top for our living room anyway, so I left those out as well. Below is a picture of the area in the living room where I decided to place my entry table and the plates. I’m using the area between the batten strips, which will nicely frame this arrangement:

Since I don’t have a tablecloth or table skirt now, I went ahead and placed a favorite basket of lavender on the lower shelf and set my silver tea service on top:

Next, I measured between the batten strips so I’d know how much room I had and could make an estimate of how many plates would fit nicely. Then I laid out my plates on the floor, experimenting until I came up with the arrangement I liked:

Now it was time to place hanging hooks for the lower two plates. I wanted to hang them first so that I’d be sure the plate arrangement hit the wall above the tea set. I set the first hook by eye, then measured the distance from it to the nearest batten strip:

Now I knew how far from its batten strip the second plate needed to be, but I wanted to be sure it was even vertically as well, so I measured from the top of the first hook to the chair rail:

The spot properly marked, I tapped in the second hook and hung both plates:

From this point, it was not at all difficult to find the center and eyeball the spots for the remaining platter and plates. I did use my tape measure a couple more times to make sure plates were level (a laser level would have been a wonderful help, but I managed!). In the end, I had a pleasing arrangement of china on the wall over my entry table:

At left you see the edge of the white bookcase I’ve since placed in the room.

When I get around to making the table skirt, I’ll be sure to take more pictures. Oh, and after I snapped this one, I ended up swapping the smaller, dark blue plates with the lighter, larger ones just above them! It’s fun to play around until things look right.

Next time I’ll be sharing the adventures of tiling over laminate countertops in the kitchen. It’s much easier than you’d think, but be prepared for a bit of a mess!


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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