Welcome to my 900 square foot home's living room! Just like the eating nook that we toured last week, we love this space and spend a lot of time in it. You will often find my kids curled up on the couch with a book and the fireplace on. This is a happy, comfy space that performs large despite it's itty size. Every item in this space serves double duty (sometimes triple!), is carefully chosen, and has personality.
If you have a small space, rent (yes...we rent this itty home!), or are simply looking for some ideas for your own space, keep reading for some great ways to save space and get lots of function. While looking pretty!
Let's start with the entry. Or, rather, the little space we've carved out and told it to be an entry. This is just a little bench (the pair to the t.v. vanity) and plant that helps define this space. I tucked the dog stuff under the bench (really...there was NOwhere else to put it :)) and the plant sets atop the bin of dog food. Small spaces need to be pretty but they still have to pack a lot of function into them!
Buy a thin bathroom mat for the door. They are inexpensive, washable, and often more decorative than traditional welcome mats.
All you need is a rug, seat, hook, and plant to define an entry.
Talk about a tiny entry, right! It works fine until we have multiple people coming over. Then it is simply not practical to have people stop. Just come on in! I'll deal with the floors later. A little mopping is cheaper than paying for extra square footage, anyways :).
One item on my to-do list is that back wall the door and window are on. I'd love to build a narrow built-in bookcase/entry closet kind of thing. I'm thinking of framing the window with bookshelves, putting a couple hooks next to the door, a built-in bench below the hooks, and more bookcases above the door. A built-in like that seems exactly what a little cottage might have had.
We use a sectional from IKEA that pulls out into a queen bed. This has been a fantastic purchase for us and is used often when the kids have friends over. Sometimes it's pulled out simply for a movie night or football game because all of us fit on this couch with a bit of room for cozy friends :).
Tucked in between the couch and the wall are two old camp stools. They work great to set trays for food, propping up feet, and even for laptops. They function like a coffee table or an ottoman would, without the bulkiness that this room can't handle.
That fireplace wall! I used temporary wallpaper in a brick pattern and wood trim to give the fireplace a bit more drama. I simply command stripped (is that a verb?) the trim to the wall. A GREAT, renter-friendly diy!
Use small stools, stacked suitcases, t.v. trays, or other more portable items as a make-shift coffee table in small spaces.
Try temporary wallpaper (make sure it's REALLY temporary) to add personality to your spaces. Even a great pattern on a single wall will make the space feel more YOU.
This rug isn't really for anyone else than the dog. The in-floor heat warms the rug and the fireplace warms the air making for a happy dog. It's not going to be long before I pull it and go rug-free. But for now I'll keep cleaning it and pushing it back into place. All for that sweet face.
The rug is a $12 DIY from stitching together 4 cheap rag rugs I picked up at the local home improvement store. When I say "stitching" that's a stretch, I simply used thread to combine them together in a "stitch" kind of way :). I have a tutorial for a DIY area rug I did many years ago, if you are wanting more info.
Normally, I don't "do" throw pillows. I find them a bit annoying and never quite know if I should sit on them or move them. However, the IKEA couch is quite deep and we need the extra bit of oomph behind us. If you come to my house and don't know what to do about the pillows...sit on them!
Mix in inexpensive throw pillows from places like Menards, Lowes, or Walmart with your favorite more expensive ones. You'll get a high-end look with a LOT less money.
Don't spend a fortune for a rug. DIY one, use carpet "tiles", outdoor rugs, or watch for sales. In small homes rugs get ALOT of traffic and need to be replaced often so it isn't always smart to throw alot of money into them.
Oh boy, the t.v. wall. This wall was born out of my desire to display my favorite small bits of kid's artwork, collected items, and memento's. Because this is a small home, there aren't enough walls to nicely display my memento's without feeling cluttered or messy.
The answer, to me, was cluttering up a single wall. I know...logic might not be all there. I invested a heck of a lot of money in command strips to hang and display these items around the t.v. in a gallery wall sort-of-way. And I love it. LOVE LOVE LOVE!
The two chairs flanking the side of the t.v. "cabinet" act as additional living room seating while being easy to access, when needed, for additional dining room seating. They look cool and formal but have a nice, small shape, and clean lines. I brought these chairs with me from our country dining room and will probably buy identical ones when they break. I adore them, a.d.o.r.e!
Go vertical. Always look for ways to add additional storage with shelves, hooks, or baskets on the walls. If you rent, like us, command hooks/strips are your best friend!
Try to think about multiple purposes when looking for furniture. Watch the scale and function of chairs, tables, and dressers. These particular pieces of furniture can be multi-purpose most easily when the scale is on the smaller side.
We are using my great grandma's vintage vanity as a t.v. console. There wasn't enough room in the bedrooms for additional furniture and we surely weren't getting rid of this sentimental piece. So, we got creative. Nate put a board across the top that the t.v. was set on. The board also created a great nook for the DVD/Bluetooth player. The vintage vanity drawers hold DVD's, video games, and various electronic gadgets. And underneath the vanity family scrapbooks are stashed.
Another to-do list item... hiding cords! Gah!
Rethink the "traditional" purpose of furniture. A chair can be a nightstand, a dresser turns into a kitchen island with a set of wheels, and a ladder propped against the wall can display books. What do you already have that can be turned into something more useful to you?
Throughout my house, you will often see decorative items on trays (like the terrarium centerpiece) or crates like this. Not only does it keep items corralled and help the house looking clutter-free, it also keeps the items portable. In a small space, portability is a bonus! We have to move the table centerpiece to play games, do homework, even photograph. And this little crate often has to be moved to watch t.v., otherwise that plant is going to block something important. Or so my kids tell me.
We love having a little house. Sure, there are inconveniences that come with having a little space but the trade off is worth every bit!
Our life is filled with so much LESS but somehow MORE than we could have imagined when we began simplifying our lives. Even as I look at the photos of this space and write out this post, I'm emotional. Thankful that we've headed down this journey to reduce the "stuff" in our life and find a simpler lifestyle because it has brought immeasurable moments with the people in our lives. I can't put a price on that.
These photo's show you my favorite things, ever. It's me...in a house. And gosh, I hope you like it!