Adjusting a Room

This post chronicles the tale of how one tiny room with two walls got a makeover.  No furniture, budget, or marriage was harmed in the making of this room.

Here’s how our little dining room turned sitting room looked up until last week.  I realized it wasn’t working for us when one of our boys wanted to read to me and I asked him if he wanted to read in this room and the answer was a reluctant “I guess”.   We talked about the fact that this room didn’t feel very cozy and I asked him why he thought it was so uncozy.  He’s eight so he didn’t have some life changing advice but he simply stated that the red sofa room was cozier.  And he was right.

apparently, we live on Mercury

Here are a few things that made this room not work for us

1. Sofa placement

I feel like the natural place for the sofa in this room is on the long wall.  The room is tiny and only has two real walls, the window wall and the long wall.  But, the sofa was never inviting.  It never called out to us, begging us to rest our haunches on it.  I like rooms where the sofas speak to you {speak nice things, not rude things like “help me, somebody please put me out of my misery”}.  Normally, I wouldn’t put a sofa in front of a nice, big window but, I figured it was worth a try, I can always move it back.

2. Clutter

Granted,there’s not a huge amount of clutter, but accessories are my drug of choice.  I have a big problem with covering all surfaces with an abundance of accessories.  At the time this photo was taken, the coffee table had become a holding area for a bunch of loitering accessories.

3. The room has no purpose

I’m not sure I solved this problem.  We are very blessed to live in such a large home that we have rooms without a specific purpose.  It irks me when each room doesn’t have a task it needs to fulfil but, for now, being pretty and inviting are good goals.

First, I cleared out all the little junk.

Then I moved the sofa in front of the window and liked it.  But then I had a huge empty expanse of wall that needed anchoring.   So I pushed the thrift store dresser on the long wall.  Of course I moved the coffee table and rug.  And I clipped on some drapes I found at the thrift store.  They are too short but you can’t tell with the sofa in front of them.  I didn’t even bother to take the old mistreatments off {can you see them behind the blue ones?}  And for the record, the drapery color looks beautiful in real life, not purple or anything like it reads in this photo.

Here’s the feature wall.  When you wall into the front door and look to the right you see this wall first.  The dresser cost $80 and the shutters were $10 I think, you can find the rest of the room’s prices here.  I’ve had the lamp and white frames for years.  And you can look for a few of those accessories on ebay in the next week or so.  And no worries, I’m still trying to figure out what knobs to use.

The sofa works really well on the window wall.  When you sit there it is so cozy and you don’t have that exposed feeling like you did when it was on the other wall. Here’s a little trick I’m not sure we’ve talked about before–I like to use a bed pillow in a pretty sham on my sofas.  I love the texture of this one.

This is the one I use on the toile sofa.  When we watch movies, everyone fights over who gets the big pillow.

Ultimately, the room is a work in progress, just like the rest of the house.  But, now we actually like being in there and I love looking at it.  Plus, the dresser is great storage for books {but I don’t use it for that, it’s packed with…accessories!}.

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  1. I actually love the thrift store dresser in there paired with the shutters. :) I think the pretty white accessories balance everything out, but what do I know b/c my main accessories right now are Barbies on the floor and plastic play food under the coffee table? ;)

  2. I just adjusted my living room last weekend and oh my gosh it is so much better now. It was such a disaster in the process but totally worth it when it was done. It’s not nearly as pretty as yours but that’s a given :) I thought of you as I was doing it – I just rearranged, used what I had, and knew you’d be proud. Next step – get the guts to paint my armoire.

  3. I actually like the dresser and mirror together too. It really draws attention to the blue which is fun.
    And the sofa IS so much more inviting now. Maybe the table was “in the way” before – like it was standing guard or something. I guess it didn’t quite “draw you in” since you had to go around it, I guess. You know, we’re all so lazy…hahaha ;) I have found that to be true with my table in the living room too. Our furniture usage varies depending on where the table is placed. Not that we don’t like to sit where the table is, but if it is “in the way” of sitting down, we don’t choose that one first.
    Interesting anyway… wonder if that is true of most homes?.. So I do try to place it where the natural “line” to sitting down is the least obstructed and still looks good.
    Now with the sofa in between the two walls – so cozy. I would totally sit there to read with my kiddos! I’ll bet your boys will enoy it too. :)

  4. You seriously cracked me up with the “we live on Mercury” thing!

    I love having a sofa in front of a window. I love being able to look out while I’m reading or something and see my birds at the feeders or keep an eye on my Kiddo. And I LOVE that pillow in front of the sham!

  5. Wow, what a transformation! I didn’t think the first room looked bad, but the second is so much more inviting. I’ve been wondering about the furniture placement in our living room for a while. It’s a huge space, so we have a ton of furniture in there and I think it’s just…. wrong. I’d love to see more furniture arrangements here!

  6. Whoot Whoot!

    Love, Love, Love~!

  7. Love it! We have also used bed pillows on our sofas but I never placed it in the centre like that. Great idea!

  8. The first thing I noticed when you moved the sofa to the window wall was that it created a kind of cozy nook area …you no longer walked in the front door and got a full view of the sofa. Made a huge difference to me. You are on the right track ;-)

  9. Am loving the new look. That blue is to die for!

  10. Love the new look! Have you though about fabric pulls on the dresser. Pick your favorite fabic or ribbon and make a pull, so cute!

  11. I never would have imagined what a difference these changes would have made!

    We have a couch (actually a loveseat) in front of a window. It’s my favorite place to read during the day because it’s so bright & cheery. :)

  12. I absolutely love the new look for the room!!!!

  13. It turned out lovely! It can be so hard to let those accessories go. I often have to get to a point where I’m searching for a place to set my wine glass down before I realize there’s an issue. Interestingly, I would never do the same thing to a client, so why do I do it to myself?? I’m always glad when I pare back. Huh. Anywho, enough personal introspection. I love the bed pillow on the sofa. I put sofa pillows on the bed all the time, so why not? I KNOW that will be a hit.

  14. just found your site – so fun!! I can’t wait to spend a bit going through archives and getting some great ideas for our house :) Loving the inspiration!

  15. I’ve read nearly every single post on your blog and even have mistreated my dining room windows!
    I have a question-I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to know the color of paint you used (and what kind) on your candle sticks you had a on the coffee table in the before pictures. I’m sure I have run across it somewhere on your blog but for the life of me I can’t remember!


  16. I love it!!

  17. Well, I’ve had the privilege of sitting my haunches down in that pretty room. I loved it…a perfect room for tea and giggling with girls. But now that I see it all cozied up and Mercury-lit, you’re right–much cozier! I bet you’ll be doing lots more reading in there. My kids definitely have opinions about where we read…and it’s always on my bed.

  18. Simple changes, but a striking difference! I’m tempted to make a few changes…thanks!

  19. Really I thought the first photo was the after at first, they both look beautiful! The real after is very inviting and comfy, I hope your son will be excited to read with you!!

  20. Just found your blog..adore the new look room a fabulous idea with the shutters and dresser
    Thanks for sharing
    Hugs Suz x

  21. That looks like an inviting little nook and I just want to flop down and put my feet up with a book. I am half way through reading the bible in 90 days and I have tried out every chair in our house for extended reading lately!

  22. and another thing…I like the shutters and the dresser being the same color it gives the look of a hutch. new style. you are so hip!

  23. I think it looks great to have a focal point on the wall where the couch was before. I kind of think the coffee table is too large for the small space though or maybe it’s just the way the picture looks and it really is ok in person. But a suggestion for more room and extra “coziness” factor would be to lose the table and find a round upholstered ottoman to use as a table. Put a tray on top of it to hold a few accessories and a cup of coffee etc. Upholstered in a print would be neat!

    • yep it’s too big for that room. but it’s ok for now. I’ve had it up in the play room and I’m on the hunt for a round coffee table.

      I’d love to have an ottoman, I have two I need in another room–want to buy me another one?

  24. Thanks for another inspiring post! I think the sofa in front of the window looks great for reading, lots of natural light. I think your comment about it feeling “less exposed” was really insightful too, I want to think about that concept in my home.
    My weekend plans just got called off so I think I’ll rearrange instead!

  25. Very inspiring to rethink a room – we get so hung up on the stated floor plan name of a room. Your house is your home and you can use it and make it for your family!!!!! Love the term “loitering accessories” great glasses to put on when viewing my rooms. Maybe think oval for a new coffee table though did think the ottoman idea was cozy and more dual purpose but would need to watch size. Happy hunting!!!

  26. My living room is set up almost exactly the same way, just slightly bigger (it’s the only living room, we don’t have a family room or basement) with the same staircase half wall thing and big window. I moved our couch under the window a few months ago and it really opens things up. Now if I could only figure out a way to cut the oversized couch down to normal size and how to fix the two cushion slide-to-the-middle-of-the-couch effect, I’d be good to go. Great idea about using bed pillows on the couch!

  27. Just stumbled across your blog and LOVE it!! Can’t wait to spend some time perusing all of your beautiful ideas. Thank you!

  28. Looks very cozy! I love to sit on a couch in front of the window, turned and looking at the world outside. A basket of books next to the sofa and a stack of vintage children’s books on the coffee table would be inviting too.

  29. Hi Nester, where did you get this fabulous sectional. We are moving into a house where a sectional is a great choice, but I can’t figure out where to go to get a custom fabric on it. Love, love , love yours. Thanks, Kristi

  30. VERY, VERY COZY!! Love the changes!!
    I am pretty new to blogging & have been following you for a bit….LOVE, LOVE your posts. I have a whole lot of shutters in my attic that I could just not pass up at Goodwill a few yrs. ago….they are coming down tomorrow & I am going to paint!! Great color choice. And on the bed pillow on the couch… I have always liked that idea ( I had a house with 4 men : ) & one Christmas I made pillow cases that could be used ( & even looked good ) on the couch, custom for each of my friends & family members. They all loved them & thought it was a great idea. Thanks !! You Inspire!!
    ( I just started my own blog this afternoon… I am still trying to figure it all out)

  31. You gave me a “slap myself on the head” moment. I took that slap on the head and finally made some decisions about a room that was struggling for a purpose. AND I referenced you in the post about my room rearrange ! Thank you for continued inspiration.

  32. You know, the room wasn’t bad to start with (although I would have moved the little rocking chair to the other side of the sofa, so it didn’t close off the room. But I LOVE the changes you’ve made!! You say it’s still a work in progress, but it looks like a beautifully finished room to me. Great job! Yet another post that makes me happy I started reading your blog not too long ago.

    I’d love to hear more ideas you have on refreshing rooms and giving them a nice pick-me-up for Spring…on a very small to non-existent budget. Can’t wait to see what you post next!

  33. I finally found some shutters at the thrift store! I am dreaming of which plate to hang on it. :)

    We also have a sitting area I am not quite sure of its purpose but it is pretty and fills the space…though it is nice when we have large amounts of people over…and I do sit there to read sometimes. So okay, maybe it does have a purpose!

  34. I’m really having a hard time figuring out how to group accessories together. I love how you do it. Maybe the problem is that I don’t have anything cute like yours to shop from. All my things don’t seem to go together.

  35. What a great job you did. Our problem is books and bookshelves. The last time we moved 12 years ago we had over 100 boxes of books. I have no idea how many we would have now. My wife’s an artist so between paintings and bookcases, you get the idea. luckily we have a small basement so some stuff can be put down there. Just discovered your blog. Thanks
    Palm tree Decor

  36. i love your space, it’s very nice, im having a problem with my own living room, i feel stuck, i’m trying to make it lighter but is there a chance i can send you a picture of it and may be you can give me fresh ideas. thank you so much

  37. Nester: My cousin sent me a link to your blog and I have to tell you that I’m obsessed. Your ideas are great and so affordable. In several of your posts you have commented on “trying to make a decision” or being in search of the perfect piece to complete a room. It seems that every room in my house is waiting for a certain piece or for a project to be completed. As a result of feeling this way I refuse to invite anyone over. How do you overcome the “incomplete” feeling and continue to live? Thanks for the help!

  38. I was wondering I have Tobacco Road on all of my main walls. I painted my kitchen Robin’s Egg with Cream Cabinets and now where they meet is horrible. The Tobacco Road just doesn’t blend. Do you think where it touches I could go with your Comfort Gray? Just thinking. I don’t want to change it all, but I have a little hall that it looks horrible against.

  39. Hmmm….I actually prefer the sofa placement they way it was before…I think blocking the window makes the space feel crowded. If it were my space (and of course it’s not, lol) I would replace the round table with a comfy chair, not too big, not too small, maybe place a small, low, bench type side table beside it, throw in a standing lamp. And I’d remove most of the items off the coffee table.

    That said, all of the arrangements you’ve done look polished & pretty, so it’s just what I’d do :)



  1. […] was serving several, but it wasn’t serving any of them really well.  I was reading over at Nesting Place about how she felt every room should have a purpose.  That was it!  Eureka!!!!  That space […]

  2. […] Nester made small adjustments to a room, but they made a big […]

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