The Living Room
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Thread: The Living Room

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    Moderator aka AmyBob AmyBoz's Avatar
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    Default The Living Room

    Living rooms come in all shapes and sizes. Some of us have living rooms that are more like showrooms. It’s where the “nice stuff” is. My husband tells a funny story about how when he and his brothers and sister were kids, they weren’t allowed in the living room, and their grandmother would use a broom to even sweep over the vacuum track marks in the carpet.

    Others of us have living rooms that are just that. “Living” rooms. Mine is a bit of both. It’s where the piano is, so it’s where I teach piano lessons. It’s where the nice, large bookcase is, so it’s where my book collections are. It’s where the nice, framed pictures of family are and where my grandma’s antique washbasin is. It’s where the fireplace is (even though it doesn’t work) and if we were ever to entertain, it’s where we would sit and have thoughtful, intelligent discussions with our guests. The stuff is nice, but we have kids, so it’s also durable and strong.

    And…there are lots of nooks and crannies for storing “stuff.” Our coffee table has both cabinets and drawers. Grandma’s washbasin has three drawers and a cabinet. The end table has a drawer. The mantle, bookcase, and piano all create nice horizontal surfaces for dust and knick-knacks.

    Step One
    So, step one…empty everything out of everywhere the “stuff” and clutter can be hidden. Seriously. Empty EVERYTHING out. Have your three boxes or bags at hand: Keep, Sell/Donate, Rehome. Then, have a trash bag on hand: Toss. Place everything you pull out into one of those three boxes, or into the toss bag. Once you have gone through EVERYTHING, immediately take the toss bag outside to the garbage cans. Then, take the rehome box around your house and put everything back where it belongs. Items that you are selling or donating, put in your central location for those things and make commitment to yourself that they will be out of the house within the next few days. Finally, clean out the inside of the drawers, cabinets, etc., and then put back your keep items.

    Step Two
    This is a tough step for many people. I want you to really look at the stuff you have hanging around on your surfaces. Look at the pictures, first. Are they current? Are they pictures that you love to look at, and do so often? If you need to swap out some old pictures for some new ones, do it. Do you need to have ALL the pictures out that you have? Could you instead just have one of each person you want represented? Think in terms of keeping these frames clean and dust free. Wouldn’t it be nicer if you didn’t have as many out there to stay on top of?

    Now, look at your knick-knacks. Do you love them ALL? Do you look at them everyday? Do they enhance the quality of your life, or does the upkeep of them detract from your life by stealing seconds and minutes away when you have to clean them or move them around to make space for something else? If they are family items, perhaps there is someone else in your family who would enjoy them? If they are things that you don’t really look at anymore, could you perhaps sell or donate them so someone else could get some enjoyment out of them now that you don’t? If you know that you don’t use/enjoy them right now, but are hesitant to get rid of them, box them up and put them somewhere in the house where they aren’t in the way. There are many names for this, but some call it an emotional attachment box. Write the date on the box. Six months from now, think about the box. How often have you thought about it since it’s been put away? A lot? A little? Not at all? If it’s just a little or not at all, then, without opening the box, take it to the consignment shop or the Salvation Army or put it with your garage sale items, etc. You obviously don’t need them in your Once all of you knick-knack items have been dealt with, dust off the horizontal surfaces, clean them well, and then put back only life, so it’s time to say goodbye.

    those items that you love and really will enjoy.

    Step 3
    Is your furniture arranged in the best possible way for you? Is there ease of movement through your room? Is everything where it should be in order to most successfully display those items you’ve decided to keep? Do you have too much furniture?

    Start really taking stock of the setup of your furniture. First of all, if you have too much furniture crowding up the room, then get rid of some. Again, if it’s family furniture, see if someone else in the family wants it. If not, sell it, donate it, do something with it, but get it out of there. Furniture can be clutter just as much as a broken knick-knack is.

    Then, start moving things around. Play around with the set-up of the room. We had our living room set up a certain way for a year. Dh really didn’t like it, but I thought it was great. After we took our Christmas tree down this year, I said that we could set it up the way dh wanted it. I gotta be honest with you…I like it much better his way. We flow better through the room, and the kids and I actually hang out in there when we are waiting for dh to come home from work at night.

    Believe it or not, people…change can be good. Just because your living room has been the same for 20 years, doesn’t mean it has to stay that way forever!!!

    You have 2 weeks for this challenge. Do the steps one at a time. Don’t attempt to tackle all three in one day. It’s a big room. I don’t want anyone rushing through it. Don’t forget to take pictures, and feel free to take before and after pictures if you are going to be rearranging furniture.

    Also, any bits of advice or helpful tips or links you’d like to share…please do so! We’d love to hear what you’ve learned along the way!

    Good luck!!!
    Blog: http://amysreallife.com

    Amy
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    Registered User SHOPGIRL's Avatar
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    My living room serves dual purpose as the family room. I have a small house so this is used on a daily basis. My end tables serve a dual purpose. I store my extra blankets and pillows inside them. How about we post some photos when we're all done?

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    Since we have 2 weeks, I can do this! LOL Our "living room" is actually a combo area with the dining table at one end. It's a small room but it's where we do everything...so organizing it will be vital!

    Thanks for the motivation...any suggestions for kid's toys???

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    Registered User YankeeMom's Avatar
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    Great minds think alike!
    We just totally cleaned our living room. It's dusted, decluttered, rearranged, and vacuumed. Finally all of the Christmas stuff is put away!!

    My living room is a living room. This is where we entertain guests, this is where we watch tv, this is where we gather as a family. I can't stand the thought of the wasted space a "formal" living room uses.

    My MIL has a formal living room. No one is even allowed to walk through it. It's not even used for 'guests'. And that's an idea I can't wrap my brain around either. Let's have a room that's SUPER nice and reserve it for guests. Are guests more important than family

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    I can do this quite easily. My living room has very little in it and very few knick knacks.

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    Registered User Mom23boys's Avatar
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    I need to change out some pictures. I been meaning to get to it this weekend, but still haven't. I will make sure to get it done during this challenge.

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    I'd like to jump in here with a suggestion. I am an interior decorator by trade, and specialize in room redesign (yup...just like on TV) When you have a free day (yeah, right) or even a few extra hours, the best way to redesign a room is to empty it...completely! The problem with just *moving stuff around* is that you're just chasing your things in a circle If you can empty the room completely, then group your like things together in your staging area. Begin by analizing your room and decide how you need it to function. Choose a focal point (fireplace, TV, great view) and have your seating *address* that focal point. Try floating your furniture in a room and follow any natural angles...don't fight them. If you have a sofa and love seat or chair, try to have them squared off from each other. If you have an ottoman, try using that instead of a coffee table (very trendy right now) Now, place your end tables or anything that can work as a lamp surface. Lighting is key. If your furniture placement is good, your lighting should fall naturally into a triangular or diagonal line when you place your lamps. You should have removed all your artwork also.....now look at your space and hang your artwork so it relates to items in the room. Over the fireplace (avoid mirrors over fireplaces!) and filling in spaces over furniture. Do not hang your artwork too high. 6-8 inches above furniture is more natural. With the midpoint of art being about 60" high. Remember, most of this is viewed while sitting in the room Now, go through those grouped accessories. Keep like things together for more impact. A grouping of candle sticks makes more of a statement than a bunch scattered around the room. Try to group things with something in common, either color, texture, or theme...and group in odd numbers. Your room should start coming together now and looking more cohesive. Check your traffic patterns and conversation areas, they should be cozy and easy to manouver through without walking through a conversation area. Try not to have your sofa with the back to your entry...if it can't be avoided, find something to set behind it for interest. A table, trunk, a grouping of plants...etc.
    It's really fun if you can get a friend to help you, then do her house next! You may even find items you can trade or borrow to make your space work better for you each of you. Plus, another opinion/idea can sometimes be helpful after you've looked at your same stuff forever!
    More late...if you'd like. Or you can PM me with specific questions.

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    Registered User YankeeMom's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mermaid59
    (avoid mirrors over fireplaces!)
    Impossible to avoid in my house, we have a 125 yr old 4'x4' pier mirror over our marble fireplace. It's permanently attached.

    I am interested why to avoid mirrors over fireplaces though?

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    Thanks for the tips, Cathy!

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    I guess I should explain...usually the reasoning for the mirror/fireplace no no is that they typically don't reflect anything attractive. If a large mirror is hung and tips outward a bit..usually it's reflecting the ceiling, ceiling fan, etc...especially in a lot of the newer homes. Always acceptions, of course. One being the historical and beautful homes with those amazing features (not alot of those around here) so I'm just talking/working with my experiencees and the *norm*. Obviously, some homes have features that can't be altered. My parents house has a huge mirror attached to one wall that cannot be moved....I've had to help my mom design around that.

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    Moderator aka AmyBob AmyBoz's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input, Cathy! I know there is a website somewhere (I have to find it) that lets you rearrange your furniture online in a virtual room, so that you can see what it will look like before you actually move anything.
    Blog: http://amysreallife.com

    Amy
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    Always remember others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself."

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    We have a living room and a den and use them both. I am starting on the den now.... Thanks, these two definitly need to be done....

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    Registered User momof42003's Avatar
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    I think that great minds really do think alike... I have just begun to totally clean and declutter the livingroom after the holidays... I am so not close to being finished yet though.. So we have two week right?? I know I can do this.. My computer desk is in the livingroom and so I know there will be a lot of decluttering going on.. Thanks Amy and Cathy... Great advice...

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    Registered User Blessed's Avatar
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    Originally posted by AmyBoz
    Thanks for the input, Cathy! I know there is a website somewhere (I have to find it) that lets you rearrange your furniture online in a virtual room, so that you can see what it will look like before you actually move anything.
    Here is the room arranger: http://www.bhg.com/bhg/category.jhtm...data/Tools.xml It's under decorating. That Design-a-Closet sounds pretty useful too!

    I still have to do my closet . I don't think the LR will take long though, since I really don't have anything in there and I just re-homed a lot of things before Christmas. ("This place needs to get CLEANED UP before there's going to be a Christmas tree in here!")

    Thanks Amy! Thanks Cathy!

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    Registered User Scattymum's Avatar
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    2 weeks - I should be able to manage that!, Our living room is also our family room and its a bit cluttered!. thanks for all the tips. We have a mirror over our fireplace but it mirrors a window so I can see green fields even when I am not looking outside
    My SIL is an interior designer - her house is like a showhouse and doesnt look lived in at all - she has some very lovely things though and great taste, She also has a living room that seems to be out of bounds to everybody especially my 2 munchins LOL

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