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Making the Best Use of My Space {Plus a New Project: Goodbye Living Room, Hello Practical Space}

by | May 9, 2012 | Decorating Inspiration, My Home Office, my house, Organization

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Making the Best Use of My Space {Plus a New Project: Goodbye Living Room, Hello Practical Space}

So, I know I’m not supposed to start a new project until I finish the ones I’ve started. Clearly, I’m a rebel and probably a glutton for punishment. But, I am almost done with my office (just have to hang the blinds and the two reading lights and then take some pictures for you!). I’ve got quite a few small projects to finish up as well (the map wall, the fireplace wall, painting the other side of the front door) and I promise to show you those soon as PROOF when I finish them.

Disclaimer: I know I kind of hop around on projects, but it really is the way I work and accomplish things around my house. Fixing up my house is part of real life for me, projects stuck in between family, church and other life obligations. But the reveals will happen, I promise.

I know figuring out how to use my house is not a big deal in the grand scheme of problems in the world, I’m just grateful I have a home. But nevertheless, I’m on a mission to make my home work well for us so we can be more effective in all we do in life.

So, our living room? It didn’t work.

I mentioned in a post like a year ago that while some of our rooms are small, our house itself is not really too small, it just isn’t being used as effectively as it should be. I don’t need to move or add on, I just need to make the best use of the space I have.

I’ve talked quite a bit about small houses and making the most of your space and my need for better organization and space planning for how we really live in this house.

And to remedy my issues, I’ve been taking action.

A lot has happened since this post!

*If you want to see what the living looks like now, check out the UPDATE ON THE LIVING ROOM!

*To see what the office looks like, check out the Home Office Makeover!

*To see our kitchen remodel posts, check out the kitchen remodel category!

Making the Best Use of My Space {Plus a New Project: Goodbye Living Room, Hello Practical Space}

My newly updated office (which will be finished soon, I promise) is really small, but is working out really well for my own organizing and business needs. So putting our family organizational systems into the small hallway right outside my office door is a great solution. It makes that space actually work for us and serve a purpose instead of just being a pass through.

Making the Best Use of My Space {Plus a New Project: Goodbye Living Room, Hello Practical Space}

A wall in process, pardon the nails…

On one side of the hall (under the map wall, which still has some trim work that I need to finish so pardon the nails), is a wire wall organizer from TJ Maxx. It is perfect for sorting out papers that belong to my husband, son or myself and that require our attention. If it is empty, that means we are keeping up on our papers! GO US!

And on the other side of the hall is my command central chalk board. It has proven to be the most awesome use of that wall ever. We use it constantly!

So, I’m kind of working my way around the hub areas of our house, trying to get it set up to be most effective for our needs. And that brings me to our living room, which as I mentioned, was not working for us. The room is open to our entry, on one side of the staircase.

Making the Best Use of My Space {Plus a New Project: Goodbye Living Room, Hello Practical Space}

Why does our living room not work for us?

We had our small living room set up like a regular living room with a sofa, coffee table and chairs. Kind of like our family room. Two rooms for sitting in a small house with only three people living here most of the week. We had way more furniture to sit on than people to sit. We aren’t sitting people most of the time, any way, we are mostly on the go.

Originally I felt like my living room was a good place for me to escape the loud family room. Yet, our living room was way too open to the rest of the house so it was not quiet at all.

So that is what prompted me to create a “girl space” in my office. My office has a door and that door is a miracle worker, people! That door saves my sanity. And now that we have a “girl space” to get away from the crazy boys (husband, son and two male dogs), the living room is pretty much useless to us as a formal sitting room. It was another pass through.

The living room is really small, I’m not sure if you can judge the size from the photos. It ended up feeling crowded and cluttered all the time because my husband would come home from band practices with his guitar, amps and briefcase and my son would come in with his instrument from school and it would all get set in around the furniture. Can you say CLUTTERED? It was WAY too small of a room to function as a living room AND an entry/mud room. So, it was a room that was confused with its identity and it wasn’t being effective at anything.

It has become clear, we need more space for coming and going in day to day life and for special parties, events or craft projects — not a another place to put a room full of furniture we never sit on.

Making the Best Use of My Space {Plus a New Project: Goodbye Living Room, Hello Practical Space}

So, recently I just was fed up with feeling like that room was not working and out the furniture went. Good-bye! I was not in love with my furniture or had other homes for it, so it was liberating to free the space! LIBERATING, I tell you! I decided I’d rather have an empty room than a room pretending to be a living room (that I wasn’t in love with) but acting like a mudroom (but looking nothing like a mudroom) and generally making me feel stressed out.

And then, oh yes, there is the carpet.

The graffiti paint carpet.

Yep. It is still there. It has been hiding under an area rug, which we also removed with our furniture.

Nothing like having graffiti on your living room carpet. And as I’ve mentioned, dogs and carpet are not a good mix for us anyway so carpet is on its way out!

So yeah, I have some things to work on. I’m thinking hickory hardwood floors like we have in the entry and kitchen and hall so the small entry feels like it flows right into this space and actually becomes more like one room.

I’m envisioning things like maybe a built in window seat with storage underneath, a long built in cabinet under the small windows for stashing stuff, maybe a few big hooks for coats, and enough free space in the middle to adapt to our every day and special occasion needs. It could easily be turned into a dining space, a game room, a meeting space, a craft room  — whatever we need …. because without a lot of furniture in my way every day, I’m not limited in how we can use it by what is there.

Inspiration pictures and more plans will follow as I gather up my ideas! I’m still not entirely positive about what I’ll do in there but I’m excited to get my plans in place!

Do you have a less-than-useful living or dining room?


  1. Diliana Imandieva

    I love this statement of yours: because without a lot of furniture in my way every day, I’m not limited in how we can use it by what is there.
    I started to furniture free my living room and now it feels so much spacieouse and tidy – I love it!
    look forward for your update!
    good luck!

    • Melissa

      I know! It seriously is awesome. I could do cartwheels in there! If I didn’t want to injure myself or others.

  2. Cynthia Robertson Shaffer

    I *love* this idea! like you and so many others, we also have an unused living room in addition to our much-used family room. it’s totally pointless, right next to the front door, with a couch we never sit on…sounding familiar? can’t wait to see your progress! I know it will be just beautiful.

    • Melissa

      Yep, it is kind of silly to have a room that isn’t used at all as it was intended!! :-) Thanks :-)

  3. Shasta Farrar

    Don’t think twice about finishing one project before starting another one. I don’t know anyone that does that….I certainly don’t. I love the idea of changing up your living room. I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

    • Melissa

      OK, good. Maybe I’m not crazy then. I’ve always got several projects going on around my house!

  4. D'ANN

    I know EXACTLY what you mean! My home has a fair-sized living room AND a slightly larger ‘den’ space-at opposite ends of the house. The ‘den’ I had set up as a library, and the living room for tv, visiting, etc. with all the usual furniture. But I’m an artist, primarily with jewelry but not exclusively, and I had only one corner of the library to work in. It suddenly came to me that the library shelves would fit nicely around the furniture in the living room and free a WHOLE ROOM for what I DO. I’m still getting it all sorted out and settled, but I’m incredibly happy with the change. I think of using spaces the same way you’re talking about…and it’s nice to read about someone else, doing it, too. I know you’re gonna love the change!

    • Melissa

      Sounds AWESOME! Way to go on making your house work for your needs!

  5. Shannon

    I love this. We are contemplating making an offer an a house (should it stay on the market long enough!) that doesn’t have an office but does have a “formal” living room by the front door. We’ve kicked around using it as a multipurpose room instead but wondered just how strange that might look to others. But at the end of the day its not about others is it? Its about us and how we use the space we pay for each month. Now, to align the universe’s stars on this move…….

    • Melissa

      Good luck!! ;-) Hope it comes together for you!

  6. The Tiny Homestead

    great idea! It’s so cool and brave that you are willing to totally reevaluate the space. Lots of people would just say their house is too small to have spaces that function well for their family.

  7. kelly at Talk of the House

    How you use a room should determine its direction, and you are sooooo very smart to be doing what you are doing (although I still couldn’t handle the craziness of so many projects going at once – but you obviously thrive in that kind of environment!) I am to the point of thinking we need to give up a game room, and turn it into a SECOND office. How many people have two offices in one home? That probably means we are working too much, right?! ):

    • Melissa

      Well, I don’t think I necessarily “thrive” on that environment, but I have learned to deal with a fair amount of things going on all at once in our life! It is also actually a part of my creative process, I definitely like to feel inspired for a project and enjoy the creative experience — and sometimes that means certain projects have to wait! :-) I enjoy home decorating so much I don’t want it to become a task list, rather than something I enjoy as it evolves — at my own pace.

      • Melissa

        PS. I have two offices too! :-) My other one doubles as a guest room.

  8. Diane Y

    I can’t wait to see what you come up with for this room! I too have a living room (connected to by dining room) right next to our front door that is not used properly. We’ve thought about making it an office or a play room, but it’s so visible from our entry that it would drive me nuts to put something so clutter-inspiring there. I did end up taking all the furniture out of it a few years ago and now our grand piano sits smack dab in the middle of the room. Looks cool, but still completely useless and now you have to walk around the piano to get from the front door to the dining room.

  9. jessica

    I am so happy to hear you have tons of projects going at once! I feel better :) I was thinking earlier, man, I have so many unfinished things to do! Well, that’s how I work also. Our dining room is pretty useless so I am in the middle of revamping it to more of a work/eat/craft area . Looks like you have a great space to work with. Looking forward to seeing what you do with it :)

  10. Meaningful Nest

    Rooms that don’t get used and have no purpose I think are a thing of the past! Who wants a room that just gets dusty and cluttered and nobody uses for a good reason? I love that you are changing to something useful and that you love. A big cool table in there that can be a craft table, dining table, or all-purpose table would be cool. Maybe have backless stools that can slide underneath when not in use so it doesn’t take up so much space? I can’t wait to see your inspiration and finished room.

  11. Terri

    We have rented this house for abut 3 1/2 years. Since day one, our formal living room has been my scrapbook workshop & office. The room is connected to our formal dining room, which has my business displays, in addition to our traditional dining room furniture. It is great to have this devoted space for workshops and my own projects. Our family lives in our eat-in kitchen and family room and rarely needs the dining room, except when we have company or the kids have a school project.

    Unfortunately, my space has become a dumping ground and is in serious need of reorganizing. I am reevaluating how I use it and what I need. I know I want a spot for my sewing machine to be available, as well as a better workstation for my scrapbooking. I am currently in the process of tearing it apart, sorting, purging, and organizing. I will reconfigure it, but the task is daunting. I do look forward to having a new space, though. Can’t wait to see yours! Blessings!

  12. C.A.

    Good or you! I think it is brave and awesome to shake things up and figure out how a space is going to work for your family! Bravo! :) And I’m just like you with my projects – I jump from one to another, not because I’m not into task completing, but sometimes you have to let a room come together organically. Case in point, I’m currently working on our master bedroom, sun room, living room and front porch!

  13. Ann

    Yes, useless rooms drive me crazy. My living room is my office, bills/filing,etc
    Dining room for the occassional large gathering, I am buying a dining settee from West Elm instead of a sofa to seat more people when necessary.

  14. Denise

    I live in a 1450 square foot house that has both a living room and a family room. I’ve never been able to figure out why builders create houses that have what essentially amounts to two living rooms! So I turned the unnecessary “family room” into a library/study. Now I have a house that functions perfectly for the way I live, with no “duplicate” rooms and no wasted space!

  15. Linda Stoll

    Don’t you love repurposing rooms?

    Several years ago, our dining room morphed into my office, after we realized that we could no longer seat our family comfortably in that room. And I love my quiet space to write with it’s vintage oak desk and file cabinet, primitive post office box cubby hole cupboard, and comfortable chairs looking out over the back garden and bird feeders.

    And the living room which was rarely if ever used? It’s now a wonderful dining space, with plenty of room for the 12 of us when we’re all together. My husband handcrafted the table with barn wood from Canada. I’ve got an old Hoosier cabinet and huge old primitive cupboard, filled with collectibles that had formerly been strewn all over the place.

    The rooms adjoin each other and have very similar soft blue green paint and matching area rugs so one room melds into the other.

    My only question? What took us so long to make the switch?

  16. katie

    I just love this post. I love when you post inspiration pictures as well, but this one is revolutionary! We live in an apartment so no living room, but I can just envision what you are doing. I can see a round table with books, a flower arrangement, and that would take care of the furniture you need and still make it feel like an inhabited place rather than a box. Bravo! I will be stowing this idea away for any future homes. :) Thank you!

  17. Tara G.

    When we were looking to purchase a home some years ago, I resisted those with both the formal living and dining rooms because it seemed that I’d only have to spend more money to furnish them…which seemed not only impractical, but like a lot of extra money! Excited to see how you make this space work for your family and season of life!!

  18. PamelaS

    Smart move! We also had the unused living room and a family room but our dining room was way tiny…so I made the living room the dining room and the DR my own girlie sitting/reading room. I agree to use our homes to fit our needs.

    I’ve also been pondering other ways to fit my home to me…thinking of moving the washer/dryer to the basement and taking the laundry room for a dream mud room…thinking, thinking.

  19. Lisa

    Your house is so lovely, Melissa. The hardwoods are just so pretty, and all your touches make it homey and functional. After having other homes filled with furniture, we are getting rid of things we don’t love or don’t function for our family and find ourselves with an empty living room too, and it IS so freeing! We are mulling over our options and it’s nice to have a blank canvas to create a room that we’ll actually use!! Look forward to seeing your space come together, as always!

  20. Cynthia

    I am known for starting one project and not being finished and I am on to the next. Don’t feel bad there are many of us out there that are the same.

    I love all the light in that room.


  21. Fairfield House

    I love reading your blog and what you’ve been up to because you do what works for you and your family. I look forward to seeing this “sitting” area transformed into a “living” {in the fullest sense of the word} room! When I moved my mother in with us she was having a hard time going up and down the stairs to her bedroom. Since our formal parlor was only being used by our Siamese cats to sun themselves, we turned it into her bedroom.
    Your Friend,

  22. Angela Bailey

    I actually have the opposite problem. We recently moved into a new home that is not really any bigger than our previous home, but uses the space better and therefore I need more furniture. I actually have a dining room that I need because we entertain a lot, but I have not found the right table for that room yet! My living room is another space I need because I like to sit quietly on my own and plan out my next painting or project around the house. Or, on occasion I even read a book, but with 5 of us it is hard to find a nice cozy space to sit. Don’t want to sit in the family room because my husband is always watching sports or politics (can you say boring?) My kids are just way too noisy in the basement where my little craft room is located. At 6, 7 and 9 years old they just cant help it :) We do have a couch for the living room and a chair that will be delivered at the end of June, but that’s it! I am dreaming of some of the end tables at Pottery barn and the chair that matches my couch as well as a rust colored leather chair that I saw at Bloomingdales. Probably will never buy the leather chair since it was over $5,000.00, but maybe I can find something similar. It is really fun looking for the items, but very frustrating not being able to find the right items, oh well…guess I have to spend all my money on updating the pool right now anyway!

    • joan

      Angela, I just read your post on Melissa’s Inspired Room. I found the best dining table on earth and it was not particularily expensive. see my post on insrpird room. contact me if you want some info about the best tableon earth. joan

  23. Jennifer

    I just love this blog! What is the grey paint color? Love it.

    • Melissa

      Studio taupe behr all in one :-)

  24. Rene

    I am getting married soon and will be turning my BF bachelor pad into a home. He has this strange sunroom/ walkthrough room with weird jutting walls and huge french doors. I still am trying to figure out how to make it look right and still beable to walk through it to get to the downstairs bedroom and laundry area. Reading room?? and possibly line the walls with book shelves?? but yes I know exactly what you mean. A real sunroom would be lovely but definitely not practical or livable.


    LET ME QUOTE YOU: “Two rooms for sitting in a small house with only three people living here most of the week. We had way more furniture to sit on than people to sit. We aren’t sitting people most of the time, any way, we are mostly on the go.”
    I once gave myself the chance to design my dream house (I was pregnant with my first child, in the daydreaming phase, nostalgic of my days in architecture school) and I decided to leave out a space for the formal living room, as you say it is a room that is never used but very well put together-a.k.a. a very impractical use of good furniture…anyway my dream house was never built, my home does have a living room which my husband insisted on completely furnishing, i do hope people (read: in laws) that come over decide to sit in there instead of going directly to the family room, hope this makes the family room a private space now!
    I agree with you, if I had it my way, the living room with its huge window would be my painting studio and a VERY much needed homework/computer/library room-because it is the biggest room in the house and the least used…read you soon and will be looking forward to your updates on the used-to-be-living room

  26. Laura

    Why are you supposed to finish one project before you start another? The person who made that rule probably invented the formal living room, too! We have a LR/DR and a den. The whole family hangs out in the den most of the time. Several years ago, I realized that the DR was way too small for a family of 6, so we schlepped the DR stuff to the LR end. The former DR end now has comfy chairs and a loveseat, and if (I might mean when) we are watching something during a meal (please don’t judge!), the kids migrate to the “lounge” end of the the room after the meal, and we all sit together there. Until we move to the den or put kids to bed! We do have a table in the kitchen, but that is for school time with the 2 youngest kids. All meals are eaten in the dining room. It’s our house, and we use every square inch of it everyday in our family’s own way! And we love it!

  27. Diane

    We moved into a very small home. There’s no family room, so we crammed furniture into a bedroom. It’s warm and cozy and I thought that we would spend a lot of time there. We don’t. We spend all our time in our living room. What a change!! We rarely ever used our living room in our previous house. Though our new living room is small…it’s actually one longish room with the dining room. And it has windows on 3 sides. Big ones. I love all the light and brightness! I think that’s why we’ve taken over that room. There are always books & laptops on the ‘coffee table’ now – I’ll just have to get over it. It works.
    Girl, you are sooo creative. As someone who entertained large groups for sit down dinners and had tables spread out all over the house….I look forward to seeing how you pull it all together.

  28. Linda

    Making the most of your space and make it comfortable and beautiful for family and visitors to enjoy is the “rule” for our home!! We have shoved furinture around to finally get every room downstairs just right. We made the family room the dining room and th dining room the study. The DR is more spacious and easier to use on a more regular basis. It is also a “work” room for homework and husband’s out of office work on hi laptop. Our current home, an old farmhouse has 4 odd sized rooms on the 1st floor..we use them as kitchen, LR, DR and study/ office plus piano for mostly me and dogs to roll around on the only rug we have down here! It takes awhile to figure this out doesn’t it!

  29. Lisbeth

    First, even though I’ve said many times before, your blog is like a piece of dark chocolate-something I save to read with my coffee and SAVOR! Thank you for this daily enjoyment :-) Second, THANK YOU for conforming for me, but more importantly my husband, that many crafty, type A wives like us have multiple projects going! My hubby has been forced to read several of your posts just to show him this is how some women get stuff done! Third, I could not agree more about moving everything out of a room to get a new sense of the space-it forces us to think about the room through new eyes. Thanks again Melissa!

  30. ambangel

    It sounds as if a music room might be a great use of at least part of the space from the way you described what was cluttering it. I’ll be interested to see what your committee of 7 decides! Thanks for your helpful and inspirational ideas, along with your honesty.

  31. ana frazee

    Having moved from a 3 bedroom home with a guest house last year, I lost a lot of my ‘free’ space. My ‘scraproom’ was previously in the guest house, where I had plenty of space for EVERYTHING. When I moved into my 1 bedroom apartment, I was given a very useful suggestion by my son. He said I should make the space what I needed, since I would not be having large parties of guests over often. With that in mind, I made my dining room the room for scrapbooking and crafts in general. In my bedroom I have 6 bookcases instead of dressers, this works well since I have a walk-in closet that holds all my clothes, shoes & linens. I still have a small table in the living room for dining, along with a loveseat & chair. It’s my place, so I’ve made it work for me, not someone who might visit in the future. Good Luck with your new living space.

  32. Karen

    I can hardly wait to see the results! Big thumbs up!!

  33. Linda

    We never used our living room so we transformed it into an office (computer, printer, fax), music room (piano, guitars), and multi-use video game room (computer, seating for up to four video gamers at one time). This room is probably used more than any other (except the kitchen for snack breaks!). Can’t wait to see all your finished rooms. Love your blog! ~Linda

  34. Rosie Klahn

    Crazy coincidence! Today is Bike To Work Day in my homecity and though I can walk for most things I need to do, I really miss using my bike too. I came home after biking to breakfast and thought: It’s time to make this apartment more bike-friendly since garage storage is definitely user-unfriendly. On point, I realized that almost everything I’ve put in this apt. “worked” 10 years ago, but not with life now. Would I keep the same fashion or haircut if they didn’t work with current life goals? Today, we drive less than 5000 miles a year. With improved bike decor–easy access/storage–I’d bet we can cut that by 500 miles!

  35. Garden, Home and Party

    I’m impressed. Better to be proactive on a room that isn’t working than to just complain! Our less than useful living room became our dining room. The original dining room was small and cramped for space, we used it a lot. The living room we large and unused. We flipped the 2 rooms and the old dining room became my “reading room” with a love seat, two chairs and an ottoman.
    I can’t wait to see what you do with your living room space.

  36. Pam

    Love the idea of changing up the rooms purpose! I can see it with your window seat and maybe a small round table in the center for whatever it needs to be library table, crafts all those good things that you mentioned. Can’t wait to see!

  37. Laura

    I’m currently working on clearing out my spare bedroom as it’s been a catch all room for far too long. Ultimately I’ll be able store craft supplies & puzzles, do crafts or puzzles, store & wrap gifts, store pantry items & cleaning supplies including the carpet cleaner & vacuum, store all of my purses, backpacks & other bags & have all of my travel gear including suitcases & carry on bags stored & organized & be able to pack for trips in there. I’m just tired of having a room that doesn’t have any real purpose & is completely unusable.

  38. Kim Moore

    Buy a smaller house. ;<). Less heat, less electicity, fewer lightbulbs, less isolation, less paint, less carpet, less, tile, less countertop….More life, more money at the end of the month, more togetherness, more resources for helping others. When you need a big space, borrow it from a restaurant or church or community center. Just another perspective. You are the best!

    • Melissa

      This is my smaller house :-) We downsized to half the size of our last place. We don’t need less or more space, just need to use what we have more effectively!

  39. Carolina Casual Patio & Deck Furniture

    I do love the changing of rooms purpose. I was thinking of doing that. However, I feel if we’re gonna move in the next month or year. I somewhat don’t see the point in organizing when I’m going to have to pack everything again.

  40. Glenda Childers

    I love it that you are modelling the wonderful idea of using all of your home for the real life that your family lives. I remember when my brother gave away his dining room furniture to create a library/study. Perfect.

  41. Kelly Reber

    Love the idea of making it a multi-purpose room! We also have a really large useless living room smack in the middle of our house. We had not furniture there for years and it was basically a HUGE hallway…. bummer. Then a friend gave us a pool table and that actually gave it a purpose for several years… but now I am sick of seeing a pool table from every room in my house… so now I’ve got to figure out the next life for this room!

  42. Kim

    There are always several projects going on around here. I don’t know how to do it any other way!

    Our kitchen is open to our living room with the dining room off to the side trough double doors (minus the doors that a previous owner removed). Kinda strange set up, but it works. You can see the dining room from the living room, but not from the kitchen.
    We don’t have an eat in kitchen – unless you count stools and a counter – so we eat at our dining room table every meal except breakfast. We have an office and a tv room – both with doors – hooray! – on the main floor as well.

    It’s the office that I need to tackle next so that we use every bit of space. Right now the office gets used by my husband once a week when he works from home and I end up crafting at the dining room table. The room is big enough for the both of us, I just need to make it happen!

  43. jeana

    I am so excited to see how your room turns out! We just moved into and house that has one of “those” rooms. I told my husband..let’s just live here a while and see how we want to use this room before filling it up with stuff that may never get used. I have a bunch of ideas, but not one we are committed to. Can’t wait to see yours!

  44. Kathe C.

    I’m envious. I have always thought having a “formal” living room is just crazy. Why pay to heat and cool square footage that just looks nice? I’m in my 4th house and every we’d go house hunting, I’d hope for “that” house. The one with the gigantic great room/kitchen for “real” living and no formals. I’ve never found it, at least in my price range. In fact, where I live now, having “formals” is a huge selling point.

    I’d love to turn my formal living room into an office for me. Unfortunately, I have a husband who doesn’t agree. He LIKES having the first room of the house be clutter free. I think it’s the idea of it, not the reality because we have 3 kids. So he’s shot down my idea time and again (sigh). I can’t wait to see how yours turns out and I will live vicariously through you.

  45. Angella

    Where did you get the wire file holders? I am being driven crazy by my husbands inability to organize his office which is right off the kitchen and I am going to do some for him. I have been looking for something like them for his papers and mail…

  46. Colleen

    Interesting. I have re purposed most of the rooms in our house. I have turned two empty bedrooms into a studio, cutting open a wall to join the two. I’ve changed our “cross hall” dining room into a small sitting room and our living room into billiards room. Additionally, the 400 sq foot garage space I turned into an actual functioning 8 -5 office with 3 office staff with Monday morning meetings of 7 people! 30 years living in the same house and still re purposing the space. Remember, “there are no rules”. It’s your house. Live in it!

  47. joan

    Melissa, I am just looking at your “goodbye living room” post. I completely agree the rooms in our home must meet our needs and not conform to the rules of specific room “titles”. You mention some of the items that need a home are guitars, amps etc. Maybe you want to consider a small area for music and such? Maybe hooks on the wall for guitar? a stool for practice sessions? a cabinet for sheet music?
    I completely understand about furiture that”doesn’t work”. My dining rm table (from mom) was extremely heavy. I couldn’t extend it without throwing out my back (hello chiropractor) even though my hubby had lubricated it often to no avail, and I had to travel to another room to retreive extremely heavy leaves to add seating. I could not do this alone and it took an act of Congress to get help because no one wanted to tackle it! I have been looking for a replacement for 2 years and finally purchased the best table on earth! It is 38″x60″ but extends to 11 feet!!!! All leaves are stored in the table and it extends effortlessly. I also found color coordinated (almost invisible,no lie) “furniture sliders” that are under the legs permanently so I can slide the table anywhere I want. I also committed a decorating “no-no” by keeping the original oak chairs (which roll for back ease) even though the table is a dark stain. I love the contrast of the two stains!
    I have a combination dining/living rm space that I shift purposes often.. Last week I had 60 people for our granddaughters college graduation open house.. We moved the dining table into the kitchen and everyone mingled throughout the main floor. We were comfortable and had alot of fun. I say “Let the furniture purge begin”.

  48. ME

    we did the same thing. turned our front room into a giant playroom for our kids. No couches or tables. we used the colored matts for flooring and a few bookshelves for books and toys.
    when we have a party the toys and matts go away and its a great room to stand and chat in without making the house feel too small, the rest of the time the kids can play in it and make it a mess without the whole house having a mess.

  49. Gina

    I’m moving to an apa|? **j6rtment and the what iows sippose to be a LR is sectioned in two parts. As
    you know painting isn’t the best thing to do went renting. The landlord doesn’t want that so this 1 1/2 rooms need to flow and right now until new couches are purchased we have 2 futons and coffee table plus endtable(s), but the part of living room is a room that I feel should be a multi space craft room for sewing, quilting? My tHong is I want that but Ihave

  50. Gina

    My comment was accidentally posted incompkete. I need to do something to that second opening it has stairs for use to go up, a pantry plus 1/2 bathroom. I have to decide what to do. I gave a 9 year old and 7yr old. I just hate to bring all my stuff out with many tables and kids start touching it. So I have many DIY to do, but I need to decide what to put where. painting my tables to sell is my goal but time will tell. I can’t paint or remove carpet so I think after a few of planned the pieces I want to refinish and a design I will one ip with something so I can keep or see items the decide what to keep and what to srll. now I have furniture that we may or may not use. I nwe’d to start planning.

  51. Sunshine

    My formal living room is open to the small entry and open to the TV room. Why two living rooms side by side? So dumb. So I made it a mudroom. I also use my formal dining room as an office since we have a large eat in kitchen.


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