A LITTLE ROOM REARRANGING HAPPENED THIS WEEK.

When you think things are right, chances are they aren’t.  When you know they are, you’re golden.  There’s a difference between thinking something’s right and knowing it is.    Like those pants you bought at Costco.  You convinced yourself they were right because they were cheap.  But deep down you know they aren’t.  You know they’re wrong and not right for you and frankly a little bit weird.

That was the case with my front hall.  I thought it was right. I tried to convince myself it was right but it was a little bit wrong.  See? I thought it was right.  But I didn’t *know* it was.

Empire chandelier with tulip table

This is what it looked like before.  I know.  It looks good.  It’s not that it was awful, it just wasn’t quite right  for me.   So, the day after I took my Halloween decorations down and two weeks before I’m set to drag out my Christmas decorations, I did a little rearranging on my lower floor.  That ridiculously cute little ball of fur is my friend’s dog who I was looking after at the time.  He makes every room look good.

I decided my front room was a bit too heavy on the Mid Century and modern feeling. It felt beautifully clean but weirdly cluttered.  There were just too many things for your eyes to rest on.  Having multiple things on the buffet along with multiple things on the tulip table was bugging me.  And even though there was all that stuff it still didn’t feel cozy.  I like cozy.

Empire chandelier with gallery wall and tulip table.

So I cozied my foyer up but still kept it clean feeling and not cluttered.

I’ve always missed the gallery wall that I used to have in my living room so I went around the house and found my favourite pieces of art and consolidated them on the wall over my buffet.  Now everything was too “old”.  It still wasn’t right. It was missing something. It was almost right but it wasn’t right.   Then I found a colourful, contemporary collage I bought from a friend this summer. I’d tucked it away until I found time to get it framed.

Small gallery wall.

And just like that I’ve guaranteed it’ll never get framed.  I’m O.K. with that.  I like it.

Gallery wall over buffet.

 

I propped the collage on a little brass frame stand and that was it.  This time I knew it was right.  I didn’t think it was right … I knew it.  Just like I knew the sweater I bought last week was right.  The sweater was not from Costco.  I NEVER buy my clothes from Costco. My preferred place of shopping for clothing is my local grocery store where their line Joe Fresh is conveniently located beside the dairy aisle.

Motivated by my great success in the foyer I moved onto the adjoining room; my living room. It was never right either.  And I mean this room hasn’t been right since I moved in.  It still isn’t, even after rearranging it but at least I *know* it isn’t right and I’m not trying to convince myself that I think it is.  It’s close.  There’s the tiny fact that it has no chair.  I need a chair.  But now I’ve waited so long to buy a living room chair – 17 years – that I’m having chair buying paralysis.  After 17 years there’s a bit of pressure to make sure it’s the perfect chair.  Which you know, probably does exist somewhere in the land where the perfect bra and perfect perfect plain white shirt also exists.

Eclectic living room.

I did 3 major things in this room to change it and make it better.

  1.  I moved the sofa table away from the back of the sofa.  It used to butt right up to the back of the sectional which looked fine, but made the room feel smaller than it was.  Moving it back expanded the look of the room.
  2. I got rid of the small end table to the right of the sofa and replaced it with a dark antique buffet that was in my upstairs hallway. (I tucked the end table under the sofa table which works perfectly.  It looks cool, a bit unusual and I still keep all the storage it allowed me)
  3. I got rid of a painted dresser that was crowding the room and darkening a corner.

Sofa table arrangement.

Doing those few things transformed the room and I didn’t have to buy a thing.

antique doll display.

This is the corner the blue, painted dresser darkened. Now it’s light and cozy with a basket full of extra pillows. I don’t think I like it.  I KNOW that I do.

 

Cozy living room.

Ditto for this corner.  Woven baskets immediately create cozy (in case you didn’t know.)  This one and this one are two that are similar mine that I really like.

Decorating with ornate gold mirrors.

As you may have guessed this whole rearranging thing didn’t stop with the foyer and the living room.  My little hall got a tiny change with the addition of my rug hooking wool stand.  I just like how it looks with all those spaghettis of colour hanging down from it.

 

Living room dining room combo.

Yup.  Then came the dining room.

Tell me I’m not the only person this happens to.  I know I’m not.  I even had a friend send me a picture of herself with snot and tears running down her face once when she was in the middle of a room rearranging episode.

living room dining room combo decorating with saddle.

This room didn’t need much because once I built the bookcases last year and painted the brick wall this summer I knew my dining room was finally right.  Except for the light.  Which I still haven’t replaced.

antique life sized portrait against white brick wall.

 

I just added a few new things to the table (new, as in I found them in my basement) and it was done.  Although you’d be surprised at how long it took to arrange and decide on the few new things on the table.  Simplicity is deceptively difficult.

If you think things are right in your room, your closet or even your life it’s time to take a closer look at them.  Because when things are right you don’t think they are, you know it.

This is especially true of ground beef by the way.

 

55 Comments

  1. Julie says:

    I would like to rearrange my house. But that would require a can of gasoline and a match….and I hear spiderwebs don’t burn. Le sigh….but I am gaining inspiration, at least! 🙂 I need to purge, big time!

    • Linda Johnston says:

      This made me laugh out loud!!!! So loud, in fact just saying lol wouldn’t do!! Great original comment! I’ll bet I go around grinning all day….

  2. Diane Ward says:

    Geez, Karen. I wish I had your style. I’ve had “rearrange the living room til it feels right” on my to do list for at least 5 years. Maybe you can have a yearly contest where you offer you services??? Millions would enter but I wanna win!

  3. dana says:

    I thought I didnt care much for mid-century modern but I love so many of your things. Those white chairs are droolworthy. Theyre like sculpture. That chandy is stunning. The simplicity of that tulip table. Love it. Those 3-legged octopus lamps that hold the shade are really cool, too. We moved a yr ago to a house with a rectangular liv room and it stumps me so much. I feel like 10 yrs from now it will still stump me. Most of the wall space is windows which I love but it makes arranging difficult. Can’t wait for your Christmas decor to appear. Did u mention 2 weeks? 😉

    • Karen says:

      How mid century looks really depends on how much you use, which pieces and what you mix them with. 🙂 2 weeks to decorating being done, a tiny bit more before it makes it on the blog. ~ karen!

  4. Therese says:

    Is that a Passier or Stubben dressage saddle? 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hahah! I wish. No, it’s just a black saddle. 🙂 And not even a dressage saddle. It’s more of a multipurpose saddle that I used for everything from jumping to dressage. I did a tiny bit of eventing. ~ karen!

  5. Andrea says:

    IMO One lamp in the entry needs to go. Otherwise. It is better. IMO, the living room needs to be painted a darker neutral warm color. Or at least the back wall. Everything is too much the same color, without being monochrome enough. I know that sounds confusing…. Dining room-fab!

    • whitequeen96 says:

      I would never dream of giving you advice in this area, but since Andrea already did . . . I agree that one lamp in the entry might be better.
      But I love all the new/old paintings and the rug in there! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Andrea! But I’m gonna keep it as is. 😉 ~ karen!

  6. Lisa says:

    Totally in awe. Love the new look – and the pup too. Would love to redo my lounge/entry etc, but it’s L shaped and hard to work. Mind you – we are celebrating here today so rainbow colours all round (Australia voted yes)…after a few champagnes tonight I may just end up doing it.

  7. Paula says:

    Could you please come over to my house and decorate it? I have tons of ‘stuff’ from all different eras and I love everything but I have no idea how to put it together. I know I love something when I see it but I don’t know how to ‘get’ there. My husband would appreciate the basement, garage, and barn back. lol

  8. Marna says:

    Wow, looks great, you are a wonder! 🙂

  9. Wendy says:

    Original art makes everything click…Kathy Renwald collage?

  10. Bonnie Gutierrez says:

    Just like being pregnant…. either you are, or, you aren’t. No in between!!

  11. Kath says:

    I’ve gone to the Joe Fresh store a few times, and it feels wrong not to have a bag of milk or some veggies to go with the clothes.

  12. Heather says:

    The advantages of not having a husband who is completely afraid of any change. I wait until he is out of town to do any re-arranging.

  13. Susan says:

    I like your house (with the exception of the creepy doll). Mine is decorated in early dog, since the old guy gets bent out of shape if I change anything and the other two think that a couch or chair near a window is so that they can see out better.
    My reason for posting is to thank you for not subscribing to the new decorating trend of putting all the books in the bookcase backwards. As an avid reader I find this abhorrent. Shades of buying a library full of books to make you look intelligent! Bah!

  14. Marilyn says:

    I love those mirrors. And your orchid is reblooming!!

    • Karen says:

      I know! Lisa has an orchid that’s been reblooming for years. I think by now she’d actually like it to die. ~ karen!

      • ED says:

        I like to use birch branches for orchid supports – natural is nice and you won’t need ‘barrettes’.

        • Meg says:

          Oooh, what a great idea; I kind of hate the clips. (So I never stake my orchid spikes, which is kind of a shame, cause then they come out a little more ‘natural’ than I’d reallllly like.) Do the branches rot at all though, when they stick into the pots?

  15. Monique says:

    You are great at styling..

    Looks wonderful..

    but..

    I LOVE my Costco clothes:)
    Must be our builds..because although I think Joe Fresh has cute..I find C’s clothes better quality and fit for me..
    I could name at least 20things I wear constantly from Costco.
    They wash well wear well..

    OMgee their leggings..my Rudscak winter coat..my winter boots..have you tried the Nuknuks?The wannabe Lululemons..pjs..undies..Cole Haan raincoat..etc:)the jeans and pants not my fave..but the rest? Winner w/ their tulips too.

  16. Eileen says:

    I love the yarny thing on the floor in the hall…but…don’t you have a C-A-T?

  17. MelissaM says:

    When I come to dinner, I wanna sit on the saddle!

  18. Brenda says:

    If you ever find that perfect chair, bra or white shirt, you’ll have to post where – been looking for all of those for a while too!!

  19. Valerie says:

    Your room reinvention with rearranging is so much more inviting.
    I am a great believer in reupholstering so if you locate a chair (perhaps at your
    Mother’s house ?) you can redo the chair with your choice of fabric. Most of the newer occasional chairs in stores today are poorly constructed but a more traditional style that has been constructed with old fashioned care may be something that appeals to you.
    As for the perfect white shirt I prefer something with darts to create a smooth form fit in a combination cotton/stretchy fabric allowing for the few pound loss or gain we all go through.
    Bras – over the years I have had many that within a few months found their way to the second hand store until I discovered SPANX racer back bras and those are what I now consider the perfect undergarment. Available in Canada at the Bay or on line at a Canadian site in Ontario ( no USA duties etc.) which if I remember correctly is called ‘What Girls Want.’

  20. Kathy says:

    Love looking at before and afters. For me, the bowl under the chandelier was brilliant. They make each other look better. I’ll have to come back to really look at the rest. In my house, it’s the fact that I can’t buy whatever I want that squeezes creativity out of me. Without restrictions or needing to use something I own, I’d falter forever.

  21. Suzanne Bon says:

    Karen,
    I adore your style! And adore your ramblings…..we lived in Mono for a brief blip, I wish I had run into you at Costco or Superstore back then!!!! We are over in Comox now on Vancouver Island and if you can get to Hudson’s Bay, go check out this chair. It is comfortable, high in the back for taller people and I think it is beautiful. I also think it would work with your cool stuff and style. Let me know what you think. Hans Accent Chair – by Dwellstudio – regular price $2399. but right now it is actually on sale for $1199!!! We bought it in the Buff colour, it now comes in a darker not so nice colour…..the ottoman is way too huge, and it was not available when we bought ours last year anyway. I will try adding the link but I am crap at all this techno stuff!

    http://s7d9.scene7.com/is/image/TheBay/400876575402_main?$THUMBSMALL$

    Okay, that looks weird but I cannot figure out how to do it on my new computer! Arrrghhhh!

    http://www.thebay.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/thebay/brands/living-room/hans-accent-chair

    Okay that looks better…..? It comes up on the Anthracite colour, click on the Buff, it is beautiful!
    Have fun!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Suzanne. Love that chair! I actually think my mother sent me a link to it last year! I’ve been searching for a particular mid century recliner for quite some time now but I’m about to give up. I’ll keep this one in mind. ~ karen!

  22. Mary W says:

    Dining room is WONDERFUL – I’m not a fan of your chair style but still think they are perfect in this room AND it looks like a library where dining is welcome. LOVE IT! I’m not a big judge of great rooms since mine are full of grandkids trophies, wall art, sweaters and shoes, and tractors. I even have become the proud new caretaker of a bird and a dog – one of the grands got a kitten for her birthday so ‘queen puss’ has taken over that side of our home while we older models are relegated to the ‘home-ier, granny’ side of the house where homework is done, dolls and little boys get make-overs, and junk is piled everywhere. I love them dearly (kids not junk) so junk stays in piles as I enjoy the rest of my life. Your home is beautiful, inviting, and looks comfortable and so you! I’d say that is successful.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Mary W. 🙂 What’s funny about those white chairs is how comfortable they are. I think it’s because they’re plastic so they have a bit of give to them. Way more comfortable than the boots I’m wearing today for instance. ~ karen!

  23. Jan in Waterdown says:

    So tell us about the rough hewn side table beside the sofa . . . leftovers from your outdoor labours?

  24. Elaine says:

    Isn’t it amazing, Karen, how a few changes here and there totally make your day!! I’m constantly critiquing my rooms to see how I can improve things. Your post is SO timely because for the last week now, I’ve been thinking I need to pare back. I have decor items on the mantel, a vignette and books on the coffee table and my collection of blue & white pieces on the buffet which is also in the living room. I’m a senior (and look it) and starting to think the room looks “senior” as well. (On the plus side, there’s no doilies anywhere! lol.)

    Your bowl on the tulip table made me smile because I have a large Italian white ceramic bowl on my kitchen table and love the look of just the solitary bowl. I’m thinking this is telling me something … but I just don’t know what to remove and due to living in a condo, where to store it all! By the way, I love all your old dolls/Santos, Karen!

  25. Pat says:

    Swap out your ceiling lights; chandy in the dining room, mod in the entrance.

    I call this ‘fluffing’, which usually involves moving large furniture so my husband doesn’t think it’s an appropriate term. My Christmas decor is out, but it’s not in it’s permanent spot. I know something isn’t ‘right’, but sometimes it takes a couple of days of pondering before the ‘aha!’ moment.

  26. Ann Marie Clemmons says:

    Thank you, thank you for the inspiration. Not gonna lie, not looking forward to Christmas decorating. Maybe I’ll just re-arrange and maybe, THAT will get me in the mood.

  27. Linda says:

    IMHO, your place still has WAY too much mid-century modern. That stuff was a refreshing change the first time around– but that was 60 years ago! Let’s just GET OVER IT!

  28. I love your style! I too get in ruts of rearranging, and I still know it’s never right. I suspect I’ll feel this way until my husband and I move out of our apartment and into a house. There’s only so much purging and reorganizing one can do to make a tiny room appear larger. We are busting at the seams.

  29. Cathy Reeves says:

    You need a permanent pup. But probably not a mid-century one.

  30. Kelly says:

    It looks fabulous! I’ll be forever jealous of the book shelves in your dining room. I refuse to buy clothing at Costco…who buys clothes without trying them on first?!

  31. Kathy says:

    Fun inspiration to make me look at my home design. I get too complacent with how it always “works” and therefore it gets pretty boring! Thanks for sharing; your home looks beautiful and reflects YOU!

  32. Sarah says:

    Hi Karen!! I love the dining room, hallway and think that maybe the tables are holding back the living room being perfect. Also, some bright artwork would lift the room and add visual interest. It’s close to being you but since you are so much fun, you need a fun painting to go in there. Maybe the tall table could go by the huge window and the precious wooden table could sit next to a not so small chair with a little foot stool. I think the cats would love the foot stool and if it’s the same wood as the small wooden table, everything would tie in beautifully. Design is about capturing you and your living room is almost there. Good job on your repurposing and I look forward to your next post!!

  33. Melissa Keyser says:

    And the dog? That’s new?

  34. Sarah says:

    Hi Karen! I found a link for you for the chair you asked for in another post. It’s a different color and you’d have to pick it up but it’s really nice! https://m.ebay.com/itm/Rare-Mulhauser-Plycraft-Bent-Wood-Lounge-Chair-Oak/122803783385?
    I hope that will help you and I can’t wait for tomorrow’s post! Alvitazen!

  35. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Since you and I have much similar tastes there is not much you do that I would not like!

    • Karen says:

      Hey Nancy! Thanks. 🙂 I don’t expect or even want everyone to like everything I do. What fun is there in that?? 😉 ~ karen!

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