Decorating on a Whim

Decorating on a Whim

I‘ve always found I enjoy decorating my home the most when it happens on a whim. I know it’s possible to plan things out and buy just the most perfect items for each space, but I just don’t tend to work that way as often. I’m a believer in using what you have whenever possible. Yes, even when you move to a new home.

Now, certainly there are times to just let go of stuff and buy something new that is perfectly suited for the new space. I’ve found some new things for this house, mostly because we have different sizes and shapes of rooms than what we had before so not everything works. But I find you can often come up with creative arrangements and ideas for how to use what you have when you aren’t in such a hurry or so quick to start over.

When we moved into this house, our bedroom here was MUCH smaller than our last bedroom. Our previous bedroom was somewhat small compared to many master suites, so I guess this one is super small :). In order to function, we bought a new dresser for our room. I searched high and low for a vintage dresser and tried to use a piece we already had, but nothing spoke to me or worked for the space we had. This one was perfect and I absolutely love the style and vibe of this piece.

Decorating on a Whim

But this is where I don’t feel like I’m a normal person because even when I buy something SPECIFICALLY for a particular space, I never seem to leave it there! Gah! I have issues. You see, I had an idea over the weekend. What if our newish dresser was moved to the living room? My husband cringes when a whim like that strikes because he just knows it will result in something unconventional, like our underwear being stored in the living room for the time being. But that’s beside the point.

When I get these whims, I don’t really worry about logistics like where we’ll store undies. I just go with the creative flow and fortunately (other than the momentary squinty eyes and tilty head to show his confusion over my thought process), my husband knows there’s no talking me out of it. We’ve been married forever so he just knows when I say “I have an idea…” that it will result in moving furniture.

So, we put the sliders under our dresser (if you do not have furniture sliders, these or these, and you are prone to whims, you NEED THEM. Just sayin’ they’ll save your back and maybe your marriage, too) and before I even had my coffee in the morning, our new dresser was no longer a bedroom dresser. It’s a buffet cabinet, or whatever fancy name you want to give a cabinet with drawers located in a living room or dining room.

I realize I had just moved our game table to that very spot, and as much as I liked it there, I REALLY like the feel of this better. In fact, I love it. I think it was just what our living room needed to steer the style in the direction I imagined. And besides, we’re going to be setting up our lower level to be more of the “man-cave” so the game table will fit in well down there.

Yes, putting the dresser here caused me to have to buy two new botanicals to really make the statement I wanted (this and another botanical art that was on sale at a local garden store). But that small investment was worth it. We hung them this week but I still need to get some sticky tack to keep them all straight. I’m so happy now with how our living room is coming along! My whim didn’t fail me this time! Sure, we have unmentionables in our living room. But we’ll solve that slight inconvenience.

All in due time.


Our dresser is from here. Find a brand new roundup on the blog featuring similar dressers and sources here, and you  can find a few similar pieces in our shop here. One of the types of botanicals I have can be found here (the other seems to be out of stock online). Additional sources from our home can be found here


  1. Yes!! I find that my best decorating decisions are whims. Something that happens in your gut and then your head and then your room! (I love this: other than the momentary squinty eyes and tilty head to show his confusion over my thought process… Ha!)

    Love your dresser-in-the-living-room!

  2. Maria Newell says

    Hi Melissa! THAT dresser is so beautiful and perfect for that spot! I love the style and the color! If you can have a daybed (Which so UNIQUE and I think the perfect spot under your window!), why not a DRESSER. Dressers have become more common in the entry way, so why not the Living Room! I think now I may have an idea for my Living Room as well. . .Thanks for the Inspiration!
    Also, I enjoy looking forward to your New posts every morning when I drink my tea and LOVE how your new house in evolving into a Comfortable and Welcoming Home! :)

    • I’m so grateful for your comment, thank you Maria! :) It’s nice to have fellow home-lovers here so I can share the steps (and missteps as the case may be) along the way. And yes, why not? It’s fun to mix things up and throw out the rules.

  3. Love dressers in living rooms! We have a highboynin ours! Great for storage and they really make a statement. I love the style, placement and color of yours, Melissa! Great whim & inspiration for the rest of us. 😀

  4. I love your creativity and easiness in making changes in your home which is why your decorating looks comfortable and easy-going. And adding the humor about the undies in the living room….other than your bedroom is hysterical! Whatever works while you’re trying to figure things out right? Thanks Melissa – a good cup of coffee and your post this morning was perfect! Off…to de-clutter here!

  5. Pamela Craven says

    I love it too!! I also think it add more to the already beautiful space.

  6. Yes! I move things around all the time, and love to use items in unconventional ways!

    The dresser is perfect in the living room and the color is just right for that space!

  7. Looks great there ! Would love to see more pics of the room with more perspective.
    I wish I could have decorating whims or inspiration again. My ‘decider’ is broken.

    • Oh dear, I hate when a decider malfunctions! Ha! I find it helps if I just move a few things around to see what happens. It usually takes DOING for me to actually feel like I can actually DO IT.

      I will definitely share more photos from the rest of the room very soon. It does help to see the perspective to get the full picture and see how it all balances and flows together. I spend a lot of time looking around the room and not just staring at one side for that reason.

  8. Love, love, love this! But also love the prints you put above! Do you have a source for the prints and frames?
    I need a larger selection – at least nine. Was hoping I can source online to print. Thank you!

    • I try to put my sources (any I can find!) at the bottom of the posts if you are ever looking for something. I also have an online “home shops” that I add stuff to regularly to make shopping easier. I divide them up between my “shop my home” items and various collections of things like gifts or organizing items. Start here to see what you can find !

  9. I think dressers are one of the most fun pieces to play with, for this reason, they can be used in so many different places! I’m looking for a cute one right now for our new entry… I love the idea of the big flat surface and all those drawers for outside stuff, mail, etc. I loved the underwear comment… haha I did that to my husband last year. I really wanted our bedroom dresser as storage in the hallway. Thankfully it was close to our bedroom but he still thought it was a little weird ;)

  10. Melissa,

    You just explained what I’ve been trying to explain to my friends and family for years! While I am an avid planner and often sketch out (roughly–I’m no artist) vaguely what I would like a space to look like before I work on it, it ALWAYS changes. I spent over a month switching accent pieces between my bookcases when I staged my condo to sell it. It feels so good to know I’m not alone in my whimsical re-decorating! My boyfriend rolls his eyes a little every time I say I have a new idea, but usually he ends up going with it anyways (barring the price is right! haha). We will be re-doing our living room over the next month, which includes my at-home office nook. I have sketches ready but who knows what it will evolve into. Keep up the whimsy!

    I love the non-traditional use of a dresser. One of the things I love most about decorating is the versatility and creativity that one piece can inspire.

  11. I think your dresser looks great in the living room! I hope you can find a perfect piece for your undies soon. :)

  12. I can see why you moved the dresser into the living room. It look perfect there and the botanical prints are the perfect compliment.

  13. Oh, yeah! Going with the creative flow often yields the most awesome, surprisingly fun ideas!

  14. So…is the hunt still on for a bedroom dresser? I agree this looks great where it is — but personally, I do like to keep my underwear in the bedroom!

    • Forgot to mention, one of my favorite things is my husband’s grandmother’s treadle sewing machine (closed) in my tiny entryway. A friend uses one as a side table.

    • Of course :). And rest assured, I’ve already cleared out the living room dresser and it now holds linens and candle sticks, etc. :) No more undies in the living room.

  15. I have a thing for dressers and love them in unexpected places in a home. I’d love to see photos depicting a wider and more complete view of the room to see the dresser in a larger context. In fact, more photos in general please! It may just be me, but it seems you’ve been showing less this year or showing things super tightly cropped. Let’s see, please!

    • Absolutely! I have shown the full room and updates several times on the blog, but we were hanging blinds on the other side so that was the reason I haven’t shown it recently. And I have been focusing lately on sharing the updates of one corner at a time at this house to honestly show the process (since that’s how I have to work, in bits and pieces) and trying to keep you as updated as possible with each development. I’m so glad to hear that you like to see the wide shots, though, because I don’t believe close up cropped vignettes tell the whole story of a room. Each vignette needs to relate the whole space and needs to feel in balance.

      That’s the real trick of decorating a room, how does the space feel as a whole?

      Obviously the vignette is popular to share online I think because it’s easier to crop out the room and just focus on one nice spot you want to share in a post. :)

      But honestly sometimes if you blog as often as I try to, posts just have to focus on one thing or they get too complicated to write and photograph while you are also working on every corner of your house.

      But, I’m with you! I’m glad to hear you are interested in the full rooms because that’s what I’m interested in, too. No hiding here, I’m happy to share full rooms in our home and as much of the progress as I can, so stay tuned for more wide angles :).

  16. Cindy Franck says

    I can relate! We move furniture often and just leave the sliders under the furniture most of the time! Different seasons and transitions in our lives call for changes in our environment. Our house functions well b/c it is not set up as a furniture store but as our warm and inviting home where we live and invite othersto jpin us.

  17. Diane Cummings says

    I really like the dresser there Melissa :) looks great

  18. I love that you do that because I do too. Move things around. I just recently moved a dresser (this is a guest room) into the tiny closet, so there is more room for an end table next to the bed, with a lamp for guests to be able to read at both sides of the bed. I then had my sons move an end table from the family room to be that end table next to the bed. Looks really good. Fortunately my sons are willing to help me, as I cannot handle moving furniture even with the pads. Made my day knowing you like the move things around. I always use to change my furniture for spring/summer and then fall/winter, otherwise I got bored! I like to change out art work and decorations for each season also.

  19. Hahaha! I love you! My husband also cringes when I have ideas! Clearly, I need firniture sliders!!! 😂

  20. Love it!! We must have the same mother. ;) Glad I’m married to a good-natured guy, too!
    And the botanicals! Pure perfection with the dresser… what a statement they all make together. You’ve got this one girl!!!

  21. Rebecca Turner says

    Sometimes we find, surprisingly, that a piece of furniture works better elsewhere, in another place. I once bought a French chair for my bedroom, but my husband realized that it would look better in our living room, since it has a faux finish (vanilla colored) wood, which looks good with our cream colored sofa…and I had to agree. I love the botanicals you’ve hung above your relocated chest! It’s a great look!

  22. I recently painted a vintage dresser to sell and “temporarily” put it in the living room. Funny thing it looked so perfect there I never did list it! Also, just wanted to let you know that I got your book in the mail today and I love it. Haven’t had time to sit down and do more than just look at the pictuers. But can’t wait to start reading it.

  23. Debbie Klausing says

    Really enjoy your blog and love your living room choices! I have been wanting a leather sofa and noticed your PB leather one. I need a very sturdy, hard wearing one. You and Miss Mustard Seed have the same sofa, so it must be a good one! Any suggestions anyone?

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