Decorating Order of Operations

Thursday, May 28, 2015

I think my family might be sick to death of hearing me say, "I just took an online decorating class and blah blah blah words whatever..." I learned so much though and am finally happy with my family room. 
Here is how it looked before the course.  I'd worked pretty hard to get it to this point, and still couldn't figure out why I didn't love it.

This room has three regular doors plus pocket doors that take up most of one wall and two large windows. There is almost no uninterrupted wall space where I can put large furniture without blocking a door or window. Here is my very hasty drafting of the floor plan so you can really get what I'm talking about.
That little door on the right is the only way to the kitchen, which means my family room is really just a big hallway to the kitchen. That's why I don't have a coffee table or anything; there is a constant stream of traffic through here, because everyone in the entire known world (including me) wants to see what's in my fridge, and having to walk around a table is a pain. I did try it. 

So in the past I've tried fixing this room by moving furniture around, messing with the bookshelves, adding a gallery wall,and whatever else I could think of that would make it pretty. But in this class I finally learned that there is an order to decorating that makes things a lot easier.

The main steps are to quiet your room, deal with the big things, take care of carpet and window treatments, and only then do you get to do the fun work of adding artwork and other decorative things.

So I began with "quieting" my room by getting everything out of there but the really big stuff. It felt so good. I actually left the room like this for a week before doing anything because it felt so peaceful.

Here's my before.
 And here it is with most of the stuff cleared out.
 Once everything was out I could see that some of my big elements weren't working for me anymore and no amount of cute vases or throw pillows were going to fix it. I got rid of the piano that no one played by posting it for free on Craigslist, I painted my walls white, traded out the table under the TV for a larger dresser, and I ordered grey fabric to make slipcovers for my big brown sofas. I thought about buying new sofas, but these fit well along the wall and hold a bunch of teenagers. I decided I want to make them work a few more years and when we are empty nesting I'll replace with one sofa and two chairs. Or something.

I added an area rug that was nearly twice the size of my old one so that it reached under almost all of my furniture and helped tie the pieces together.
Apparently puny area rugs are a problem.

I moved some of the furniture around, although there aren't a lot of options with all those windows and doors in the way. Putting the green chair and bookshelf where the piano used to be is making me really happy though.
styled book shelves
Our teacher was adamant that window treatments be hung before any pictures go up so I got that done and then edited down my gallery wall to my favorite pictures and frames.
 Before I used every frame in my house to make my gallery wall, and some of them weren't in very good shape or had images that I didn't love. Now the gallery is smaller, but I love everything there. Especially this picture of Riley.
 Earthquake putty is your best friend when doing a gallery wall! A little blob on the corner of each frame and you don't have to deal with crooked pictures driving you crazy all the time.

By now you must be dying to know, the class I took was The Cozy Minimalist class from one of my favorite bloggers, The Nester.
She's offering the course as a go at your own pace download for something crazy like $35. I would totally recommend it. I took the live webinar, but with this you get the same materials that cover all kinds of stuff like creating a focal point, furniture scale, window treatments, textures in a room and more. I learned a lot that I can't wait to apply to my next project, the guest room (you can see that finished project here).

Now hold on for a million pictures of that slipcover. It was a ton of work but it looks so much better! And don't you feel so good when you fix something you already have instead of just buying something new? Click HERE for more details on how I did it. When I have insomnia this couch is my best friend, plus, it used to be my sister's couch that she laid on, and I like keeping it for that reason too.

 So that is it. Next time you find yourself trying to fix a room by adding another throw pillow, try using this order of decorating. I think you'll like it.

I applied the same principles to my "use what you have" guest room makeover that I hope you'll check out HERE, and HERE.

4 Responses to “Decorating Order of Operations”

  1. Well Done! Adorable and hopefully more functional for you guys! I love your tips...keep 'em coming.

  2. What a terrific re-do. Your room is very inviting.

  3. Hello. Beautiful slipcovers. Though I have to say I am truly befuddled why your couch is not in an L-shape instead with the TV in the area where the bookcases are now. I never understand when TV's are in a pathway for people to walk in front of it. Oh well. It does look good anyway.


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