Monday, March 14, 2016

Re-decorating by re-arranging

A very simple set-up in our family room - I am hoping to recover this thrift store chair soon!
I have always been someone who has a built-in need to re-arrange my furniture every so often. Part of it is probably due to being an Air Force brat and having a different house to live in every few years, but another part is that we can't afford to buy too many new pieces, so instead, it's good to rearrange. A third reason is that with our family and its needs constantly changing, I might try one arrangement and then realize a few months into it that it's not really working for us.

This past weekend, after some discussion and a very generous husband who was willing to move the bookshelves once again, we switched out three different rooms in one day. Just to orient those of you who are newer here, we have a three bedroom 1950's ranch-style home that has an extra family room off of the dining room and kitchen area. Square-footage wise, the upstairs is around 1200 square feet. We aren't really using the basement right now.

Prior to this weekend, we had a semi-weird set-up. Our family room off of the dining room was almost empty except for a black Ikea bookshelf and a beat-up velvet mauve thrift store chair. There is no way around what an eyesore it was, and the vast open space off the kitchen felt like a massive vacancy, especially at night. I hated that we had this big, light-filled space and no way to use it or furnish it. I wanted to buy a new carpet for it, but knew that the ones I liked were at least $125 or more. I was also hoping to perhaps build a larger dining table and use that as the dining area (but this would have required tools and supplies totaling around $550).

In the largest of our bedrooms, we had our daughter's crib, and the rest of the room was used as a homeschool room with bookshelves and a table set up. In the middle (and smallest) room, we had our three boys' beds plus a little dresser crammed in there. I didn't mind them being in a smaller room because they weren't in there except to sleep. But for those of you with boys, you will understand that this room just concentrated the boy smell :).

After awhile, though, I started to realize that my homeschooling wasn't taking place as much as I thought it would in the large bedroom/schoolroom. I didn't like how the purpose of the room felt confused. There is a place for multi-purpose rooms, but this was not one of them. Plus, when my daughter took her nap or slept at night, we couldn't go in there for books or to print things. I realized that what I really needed was just one extra space in the house that my oldest could work in quietly while I homeschooled out somewhere more open, instead of me being shut off in the back room while other children quietly raided the refrigerator and pantry.

So this past weekend, we moved the boys beds to the large room, our daughter to the middle room, and the "homeschool" area out to the dining/family room area. We will have an extra work area in our boys' room for my oldest to do his independent schoolwork. I am still going to work to make the family room not look like a schoolroom while we eat, and post some pictures as I fix things up in the newly arranged rooms.

One good thing about doing all of this was that it eliminated some of the "things" I thought I would need to make it feel more cozy. It saved us some money just to realize that we really didn't need a new large carpet for our family room or a new table and tools, for instance. I like that the kids have dedicated bedrooms now, and that our schoolroom is in a more open area that has better light (and that I can keep an eye on the refrigerator or work in the kitchen while my other two schoolers do some independent work).

Sometimes, when you feel like your perceived wants/needs are greater than your ability to meet them financially, it's good to stop and ask yourself what it is that you really need. Could it be met in a more affordable way? Is it simply a matter of switching rooms or re-arranging rather than buying new tools or furniture?

What about you? Are you a chronic re-arranger?


  1. I was raised by a chronic re-arranger, but I guess I'm just lazier than that. Actually, in our previous house I did rearrange occasionally. Maybe it's because I was a stay-at-home mom then and had more time to think about the possibilities a room held. A friend of mine once rearranged her den (unbeknownst to her husband). When he came home from working a late shift, he didn't turn on lights - rather he tripped over a chair and broke his arm! The lesson I got from that is to have my husband help with the furniture moving:)

  2. Oh my goodness :). I haven't had my husband break his arm, but if he or I re-organize an area and fail to tell the other, it can cause a lot of problems when you go to look for something.

    I do think there's something to being at home all day too. Because we homeschool and we have a small-ish home, I am sensitive to how every single area is used or mis-used.


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