Wednesday, January 20, 2016

me and my big ideas

My living room is an awkward decorating space. 

~ There's no designated foyer or entryway: When you walk in the front door, you're smack dab in the living room. 
~ The (unfinished) fireplace is on an angled wall. 
~ The only windows in the room are next to the fireplace. 
~ The only way to get to the other rooms in the house is right through the middle of the living room. All the furniture has to be pressed up against the walls to preserve that walkway. 

Every so often I get the urge to rearrange furniture. You would think that I've had enough change with getting new glasses a few days ago and then getting my hair chopped short yesterday. But, nooo. I was so determined today to pull that dang huge sofa from against the wall. I put it on an angle facing the fireplace and then put the console table that used to be on the wall in the "entryway" behind it. I figured the new walking path to the kitchen and hallway could go behind this arrangement.

I thought I could make a nice, cozy seating arrangement by the fireplace. So far, so good. In this photo, you can see the front door and how you walk right into the room. The console table used to be right under that mirror.

 You know how one thing leads to another when you start a project? That was the understatement of the day. I then had to move the huge mahogany buffet that was on the wall next to the fireplace because that space was now too crowded. That left the wall empty, so I "shopped the house" for other furniture. I ended up moving the butler's table from my office against the wall where the buffet used to be.

Of course, when I started moving furniture, I had to take the tchotckes and lamps and plants off all the furniture so I could move it. Which meant everything went into the kitchen. My counters, table and floor were covered with stuff. Zippo seems to be looking around at everything and thinking, "What the heck is going on?"

Then the little "oh crap" moments set in. I realized the canvas flower pictures on the wall to the right (that's where the couch used to be) looked silly just hanging there on a wall with no furniture underneath it. And there wasn't any room to put furniture on that wall because that was the new pathway! Frustration was really setting in.

 Sorry for the bad lighting in this photo, but the sun was setting when I took the photo. You can see the buffet's new spot in the background. Look at the wall art above the buffet. There used to be a tall ladder bookcase there (which I moved into our bedroom) and the wooden HOME piece and the sconces fit perfectly around the top of that bookcase. Now those pieces looked terrible with the buffet there. The scones are screwed into the wall and the HOME piece is actually pretty heavy, so it's hung with some heavy-duty nails. I knew if I had to take those items off the walls, that I'd have a lot of plastering and touch-up painting to do. Ugh.

Another problem? Nowhere to put any lighting. All the electrical outlets are on walls; there are none in the floors. Any lamp beside or behind the couch would mean there'd be a cord stretching out across the floor to reach an outlet.

 The only thing I ended up happy with was moving the secretary desk from our bedroom under the "entryway" mirror. It really opened up the space since the console table that was there took up the entire wall.

After moving furniture and dusting and vacuuming for over four hours (amazing how much dust accumulates behind furniture!), I finally called it quits and went and soaked in a hot bath with lavender essential oil and epsom salts. When hubby got home from work, he helped me move all the furniture - with the exception of the secretary desk since we both like it where it is - back into its original places. I was disappointed and felt I wasted so much time today. Nothing on my to-do list got done. Brian just shrugged his shoulders and said that I would've never known unless I tried. 

Tomorrow I'm sticking to my to-do list.


  1. I'm sorry but I did have to chuckle a bit. Our former house shared the no-entry challenge. It was also a fairly long room which appeared even more so with furniture lined up along the walls. I moved things around several times during our five years there. And then we moved to our current home and everything is basically in the same place we put them when we moved in 18 years ago. I used to love moving things around and sometimes I miss the fresh perspective. But honestly, this is the best arrangement. I have to be content with changing decorative items on tables and such.

    I hope you sleep well and recover from this day. Look at it as a workout. ;)

  2. Oh man! I know exactly how you feel. I can't change too many things around in the living room because of those exact problems. Our front door opens right into our dining/living space which is just a long rectangular room. And moving certain things would leave gaps and weird wall space. Takes me hours and hours with lots of cleaning and I never feel a sense of accomplishment. Lately, I just don't clean or rearrange at all. I just crochet and pretend there are no dust bunnies mocking me. Ha! At least Brian was a good sport about it. My husband would have said "No one asked you to do it." :)

  3. I understand your frustration and what you saw as problems, but I really like that furniture arrangement. It's very inviting and cozy. Weren't you working on a mantel for the fireplace?
    I've been telling Greg for years now that we need an outlet in the floor of the living room, and he looks at me like I have two heads. Outlet placement does limit room arrangement. I like to rearrange furniture with each change of season, but there are only a couple of ways to work it.

  4. :) been there, done that too.

  5. Well, you have to at least try it and you did! Now you know what will and won't work. Don and I did that with the living room, which is small, as you know - also with a door that opens right into the room. We are limited because of the piano - Anyway, we tried it - we moved the loveseat and the chairs, etc.

    It looked wrong. So we moved everything back again. At least we know now!

  6. I am doing the same thing. I still have boxes to unpack. But I keep changing things esp. On the wall. Good luck. Doing something else today.

  7. You have to try it, to see if you like it! But so much work! I feel your pain...our small living room is nothing but short walls, doorways, windows, and a huge open slanted stairway. I haven never been able to set it up, except one way...arrgghh.

  8. Oh gosh, Melanie, I have been here and done that. Those darn electrical outlets -- and the cable outlet -- mess me up every time. I agree with your husband, you don't know until you try. I'm sure that nice soak in the tub felt all the better for how much you earned it after a day like this!

  9. If you don't try you will never know, but it is annoying when it doesn't work isn't it! I hope that you can figure it out one day, it sounds like a very difficult space to decorate with so many different uses and requirements for the room. It is amazing how if you just had a few extra inches you could make so much difference, but we are all always wanting those few extra inches aren't we. I thought your changes looked great, but I appreciate that what looks good in a photo isn't always practical in real life! xx

  10. Your husband's right - you wouldn't have known until you tried it. At least it's well cleaned, & you like the secretary on that wall! I have a 1959 house with few outlets too, so I understand your dilemma...

  11. I like what you did Melanie. My living room is similar and I had to put my couch at an angle. I can't put lamps by the couch because of the same reason so I put them around the outside of the room. It's not a perfect answer, but it works most of the time. At least its fun to move things just to see if there will be a new normal.

  12. You're lucky to have a husband who doesn't get real irritated by furniture moving. I always tell myself when I end up doing what you did: At least things got cleaned! Have you considered getting a kit and plugging in a hanging lamp, hanging it over a little hanger in your ceiling, and then dangling the lampshade part over wherever you need it?

  13. I guess next time you'll make a sketch, am I right? Ha ha!

  14. Been there, done that! I really did like your sofa on an angle, but I ran into the same problem with no outlets in the middle of the room. I don't think you wasted your time and agree with your hubby that you'd never know unless you tried a new arrangement. And something good did come of all that moving...your room is super clean and you found a better piece for behind the front door!

  15. That was quite a workout for you and, although it didn't actually 'work out', it feels good to have done a deep clean I bet. My cottage is small too. The living room furniture is hard to rearrange in a different configuration as it's long and narrow with only one solid wall for the couch - opposite wall is all glass, far end a big brick hearth and fireplace, other end the openings to hallway and kitchen. So, I keep the furniture in the same place, just change, move around, reorganize the things such as pillow, throws, books, ornaments, flowers etc. Sometimes I wish I had more space to play with, but when it comes time to clean house this is more than enough at this stage in life!

    Enjoy your lovely home - like me, be thankful for a roof over our heads and love within the walls.
    Hugs - Mary

  16. I've had days like that when I move things and then have to put everything back. But, had you not tried it, you would have kept thinking about it.

  17. I liked the way it looked! My furniture isn't against the walls either, but I do have area rugs. Isn't there an outlet below the window? What I do is run my under the rug so no one sees it. And I can have lighting in the area. I've done this in my whole living area. Would that help? At least you house is cleaned...

  18. I have the exact same problem with my living-room and I haven't found the best lay out yet either!

  19. Sounds like you have a similar problem to mine! No proper entry, weird living room layout. I have a path behind the two swivel chairs to lead through the house - my other option would have been, like in your house, to have a path go straight through the middle of the room and push the furniture up against the walls. Wow, what a lot of work you did - hey, at least you gave everything a good scrub, right? That always feels good!!

  20. Melanie,
    Why is it that we always end up putting things right back where they began? Always.
    I have worn myself out more than once too.
    Although I agree with Cathy, I liked it too!
    So nice to have the house so clean though and those dust bunnies are everywhere!

  21. I've had some similar experiences with rearranging furniture and it can be very frustrating. I got so tickled looking at your cute Zippo following you around trying to figure out what you were doing. Well, at least you can enjoy knowing everything is vacuumed, dust-free and tidy in that room now!

  22. Oh dear. Sorry it didn't work out after all your work. We had that kind of entry in our last house. Luckily we were able to put the couch in the middle of the room to make it look like we had an entry. I'm terrible at rearranging furniture. Once it's in place, it stays there! When I do have to move big things to paint, wow, there's a lot of dust. At least you got everything nice and clean.

  23. Been there, done that more times than I can count...but I agree with Brian. You would never have known unless you tried! Plus, now you can cross spring cleaning off your list!! :)

  24. I've done it so many times, in so many houses... I feel your pain. I did think it looked nice though :)

    In this house, I was determined to have my couch facing the fireplace, but because of all the other must have furniture and the lamp situation, it needed to be where it is. I suppose before they had electricity, you could have all the odd arrangements, but the need of actual lamps put a damper on it lol

    Anyway, your husband is right. At least you tried and you now know.


  25. Oh I totally understand this frustration and have done this so many times! Just think of the amount of exercise and puzzle-solving you got in today!


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