Free Redecorating: Flip a Room

The family room (okay, all our rooms) are pretty thrown together – they’re just full of the stuff we still have after multiple moves and everything is where we decided to put it on the hectic move-in day. The couch is from 2006 – it was the very first thing I bought for my apartment when I moved closer to my first job.

Anyway, now that we’ve been here two and a half years, there’s some bandwidth for thinking about the way rooms are arranged and potentially upgrading some of the furniture. I hate to get rid of perfectly useful stuff (I’m also super cheap), so I wanted to see if just moving furniture around would make me feel better about the room. That’s free and easy.

Here’s the original arrangement:


Here’s the new arrangement (+grubs on the mantle):


This is nice, I like it.

I like that the TV and fireplace are more of a set and a centerpiece to the room. I’m sure an interior decorator somewhere is cringing, but it’s hard to argue with a free room refresh via re-arranged furniture.

We also used this as an excuse to further thin out our book collection. Go to your bookshelf and find three things you’ll never read again. Remove them. Feels good, doesn’t it? Do it a few more times, and now you have room for new books!! :D

Other Rooms We’ve Flipped:

Dining room – rotating the table 90 degrees opened up new “traffic” patterns and improved the view for both of us!

Family room (apartment) – flipping the whole room 180 degrees put the TV in front of the fireplace, but improved traffic flow and lighting.

Bedroom (my first apartment) – changing which wall the bed was on improved airflow and made the closet more accessible.

Bacon Candles: Now Life is Complete


Please, someone convince me a bacon candle isn’t worth the $35 or whatever it was before I go back and buy it.

Inspiration: Small Dining Room

In searching for “ideas for small dining room” (because we have a small dining room) I found this awesome bookshelf on – where or where is it from?!  They don’t cite a source, unfortunately.

I love it because:

  • It’s painted white, yay painted wood!
  • It’s got open areas for nice stuff and doors for hiding storage stuff (you can never have enough storage)
  • No glass doors to open/close to get to the nice stuff.
  • Bonus shelf on TOP!


No one ACTUALLY eats in this room.

I also love the rug, but I’m still debating whether we’re too messy for a rug right under our eating table.  I think we might be too messy for it.  We’ve already proven incapable of keeping placemats and tablecloths clean, I doubt a rug is going to fare much better.

Decorating with Small White Picture Frames

Bare walls have a way of driving me nuts after a while, and since this weekend was “finish unfinished projects” weekend the first thing I did was hit up these stacks of picture frames laying about the computer room.  See below for an example of such a pile (of which I had at least three cluttering up good space that could be used for other clutter):

First stop, the guest bed!  Our computer room does double duty as both a guest room and, well, a computer room.  This works out surprisingly well.  We both love flopping down on a bed to read while the other sits at a computer!

I mounted a thin picture shelf we snagged from IKEA a few weekends ago over the bed like so, which became home to several of the recently-homeless frames.  Getting the shelf up was easy – just three screws to drill in.  (I also made the bed and cleared off the last few week’s worth of papers.  It also doubles as a huge desk for papers that ought to be filed.)  The frames sit in the shelf very nicely.

Using a few small nails I hung some slim IKEA frames like so next to the back window.  I just made up the arrangement as I went and it turned out ok!  I left one nail in the center to hang something small from.  The frames are too slim/small to use the usual picture hanging hooks, but nails worked fine for getting them flush with the wall.

And in the corner near my computers I hung two more frames, this time hung with actual picture mounting hardware instead of nails.  Below is my in-home tanning bed… I mean, computer screens!  … with some frames to fill in the empty corner behind them.

And finally, here’s the whole room (because individual pictures don’t really show how everything goes together):

There we go!  Much better on the wall than in piles around the floor.

But in solving my picture-frame-pile problem I created a new one: what to put inside the frames!   For now, the room is decorated with Canopy and IKEA logos but that’ll change soon.   Walgreen’s lets you submit photos online to pick up at any store, printed at any size, so I think I’ll end up picking a few of our favorites and having ’em printed large for the big frames.  That’s how these projects always go when the time for working on ’em is somewhat limited: do a bit, do other stuff, then come back and do a bit more.

On the bright side, at least the room’s walls aren’t stark naked anymore!

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