Hey friends! I want to give you all a little update on our new bitty house (more info on why we choose to live small HERE). Many of you are curious about the size, how we store things, where on earth I keep my shoes, and more. I'll get into greater detail as time goes on but for today I thought I would give you a peek into the process of taking our living room from empty to charming (well, I think it is !).
There is a ridiculous train of thought that those who decorate for any sort of living can simply place a piece of furniture or art in the right place on the first try. I'm sure there are freaks of nature that exist and can do that. I've never met one.
I'm waving my hands and jumping up and down to get your attention before I own up to the fact that my cute home takes quite a bit of trial and error. And it's only 900 square feet. You poor souls with giant houses... yikes! It must take you forever and a day to get your rooms the way you like them.
We all need to just back up and lose this idea of a perfectly decorated house. A house is perfectly decorated. A home is not. I'll pick a home every time though, cause that's where the love and joy is.
The photos above are from our little house when we first moved in. It's an itty bitty space with the doors to both bedrooms on either end and the walkway through the home on the other end. Initially I started arranging furniture with those doors in mind, trying to create "hallways" for each door. You'll see I eventually realized that was a bad idea and simply made sure you could get in and out of them.
Taking a few moments after you move things around to absorb what you like and don't like is important. When you make a change to your furniture layout always give it a bit of time to soak in prior to moving it again. Maybe you simply don't like change in the first place. Or maybe the new layout is perfect but a lamp at the wrong height is throwing the feel off. Perhaps the rug needs to be shifted to a new location for it to be "perfect".
Always start with the large pieces first. Those are the most difficult to move about and change. From there you can move and adjust the smaller pieces. You can add a rug, take away a pillow, shift a lamp from one table to another, and more.
You can see that I was still trying to make those "hallways" work within the space. I liked the couch where it is (eventually we will be getting a new one. This is our "for now" couch.), and the chairs flanking the couch work okay. But, the whole space was floating a bit too much for me and far too chaotic, even for me. I did lay down rugs to see if that would help ground the room but nope, no siree.
This is how we kept things for quite a few weeks while I sat and looked and absorbed. I replaced the DIY dropcloth rug with a calmer gray one ($30 from IKEA and a bit hidden in this picture) and that helped a bit. I traded out my old rocker for a simple white sling chair and was feeling even better. Finally, I put up my IKEA hack t.v. console against the back wall and pushed the furniture back a bit towards it taking away that "hallway". Ahhhh, there it is.
Don't arrange furniture around a television, unless your space is purely for watching television. In this space I have the furniture easy to move and turn when we do watch a movie or favorite show but when the television is off the focus is not on it. This space is designed for conversation. Frankly, when you have a house as tiny as mine it has to do double duty. Yours may not have to. But, if you find yourself working on your formal living room that happens to have a television... ignore the t.v. and you will have more success. And truly, the world would be better of if our spaces were designed for talking and not for watching.
At this point I had been moving, looking, and rearranging the furniture layout for about three weeks. Not constant, mind you. But a bit of tweaking here and there to finally get to a place that I'm liking. And still didn't like it.
So... we kind of replaced the couch. With the perfect one. This one has storage inside AND turns into a full size bed. I know!?! Can't be more perfect for a small space, can it! We then removed one of the chairs, and a lot of little storage we had put in.
I also removed those rugs. I'm sorry. I do realize rugs do good things like ground the space, add definition, add coziness and warmth, and a host of other things. All good things and I'll probably find the perfect rug to add at some point. For now, we are loving the cleanliness and ease of not having it there. The small one that I left there is simply because Levi asked for it there to sit on when snacking (they aren't allowed on the furniture when eating but ARE allowed on the floor).
It. Is. Perfect. And frankly I can't believe I have a living space with only 3 pieces of furniture in it (and a plant--wish me luck I don't kill it!). That's crazy! And I couldn't be more happy and proud of us. To think we have come to a place in our lives when having so much less feels perfect is mind bogglingly wonderful. (P.S. Have you read about our journey to a minimal lifestyle? You can HERE)
My favorite part of our living room is my wall behind the t.v. console (an IKEA hack, by the way. Did you catch that?) where I added Flamingo Vinyl decals across it. This is a fantastic way to get some personality in a rental home with causing a permanent changes. For me, it's a great way to add a punch of color and fun in an otherwise boring space. I can keep my furnishing neutral and classic (a great idea if you are leading a minimal lifestyle!) while punching in some of "me" into the space.