Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Week of (Nearly) Zero Dollar Decorating: Rearranging All The Rooms

I have been very busy in the last week. I've been decorating and rearranging, mainly with things already owned.  This week I hope to show you all the little (and enormous) projects I've been working on.  I'll start with the enormous project of switching the living room and family rooms I did this weekend, along with a story about fish.

For the last few years, we have had a loosely enforced "one hour a day" television viewing rule (usually from 6 to 7 pm).  Although we started with one hour a day, we had gotten lazy and the tv viewing had ramped up to a level that was far too high.  My children also would get up early in the morning and watch tv, and then fight over who got to pick what they were watching, and there was much drama about the tv, and I began to get Really Annoyed about the tv situation. (This is starting to sound like a Berenstain Bears book. Keep reading, it gets even more preachy with a pat ending.)  

 A few weeks ago, one of my children not only snuck off to watch television while it was expressly forbidden, but also ate a snack on the sofa while watching tv, in contravention of the "eat only at the table" rule.  The snack was a can of anchovies.  As far as I can surmise, child dropped the open can of oily anchovies over half the sofa, then covered up the mess by firmly squashing two other sofa cushions on top of it, hid the can behind the drapes, and ran away.  

I came into the playroom and noticed a suspicious brown lump on the floor.  It has (thankfully) been a long time since I have encountered a suspicious brown lump on my floor, and I approached it with trepidation.  I got down on my hands and knees, identified the brown lump (thankfully) as anchovies, and my first thought was immediately, "where the hell is the rest of the can???"  Upon which my gaze encountered the fish-oil-laden sofa.  

As a result of fish being eaten while watching too much tv, we now have a lock on our television.  You cannot sit on our sofa and snack through the contents of the pantry unless you know the passcode to turn on the tv, the passcode to change the channel, and the passcode required when a show ends.  There is WAYYYYY less tv watching in this house these days. (If you want the passcode, you have to do chores!)   

What does this have to with zero budget decorating, you ask?  Well, it is also the story of how we decided to pare back from two televisions to one, and make one room a playroom and the other room an adult space with a tv in it.  

When we moved into our new house, I fixed up the family room into a lovely library/tv room where we all like to congregate.  The living room, which is immediately off the front door, was not as welcoming. Remember how it looked when we first moved in?  The kids had absolutely no interest in playing in it.  They would go in there, pick the toys they wanted to play with, and bring them into the family room.  

Eventually I rearranged the living room a bit, which improved matters slightly.  The kids loved the teepee and the rolling ottoman, but it was hardly a "lets spend all our time in the playroom!" sort of room.  

I could not figure out how to make it a nicer playroom, since the low-set windows meant there was very little room for storing toys.  The fireplace in the middle of the room is an overpowering focal point, and made it difficult to orient furniture where you could comfortably watch television without turning your head.  This room is also right off the front door, so whenever guests come over they walk into a messy playroom full of toys on the floor and furniture oriented all wrong.  I kind of hated the room, but since I don't have the budget to hire a decorator to completely redecorate it, I've been ignoring it.  

Last week, while working unsuccessfully on a moodboard for the living room, I thought "why do we need two tvs?  The kids barely watch it anymore.  I should bring their toys in the family room, where they like to hang out, and make the playroom a tv room."  And voila, an idea was born.  

Now the living room is a room where we watch tv, and where I am not embarrassed to have people walk into my house. 

It is "nearly" zero dollar decorating---the only thing I bought was the small four cube Expedit ($39) that the tv is sitting on. (I have a few other pieces of furniture that I tried in that corner, but none of them fit with all the various cable box accoutrements, or it would have been $0 decorating.)  Every other thing in the room was already owned and living in various other places around the house or garage.  

The teepee still lives in the corner of the living room, but it was folded up for the furniture moving.  

I wanted to switch the sofas as well, but the anchovy sofa is only 76 inches long, whereas the Petrie sofa is 86 inches long and thus too big for the space.  We had the anchovy sofa professionally cleaned, and it looks much better, but a faint aroma remains.

Eventually I would like to switch out the 35 yards of fabric mistake curtains, and get a new sofa that doesn't smell of anchovies, but for now, this space is so much better than what I started with, and I'm pretty happy with the price tag of all the changes.  

Tomorrow, I'll show you the changes in the family room.  


  1. Bwahaha, that was a fantastic attempt at covering up the crime.

  2. Oh, and the room looks really nicece too. Can't wait to see it

  3. I like this. We tried that tv limit, and could not stick with it. Good luck on that. What's with your blog header?

  4. If you think about it, that whole anchovy thing was a gift. I'm guessing there's been little pushback on the need to limit TV, and you got a room arrangement you like better!

  5. You are my Mom Idol. :) Love the TV passcode idea... and the peace you've found with re-assigning the rooms is fantastic.
    I know that I say this every time... but I LOVE THOSE CURTAINS!!! DON'T CHANGE THE CURTAINS!!! ;)
    Also? Love the Butt picture... and the fact that you're ok with a naked rear end in your living room :)

  6. Holy hell, your living room looks so much better! Love the switcheroo. (And I might be willing to pay for the cleanup, to have a child that wants to snack on anchovies.)


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