Anyone remember this post from Money Saving Mom? You know, my post that went “viral” about how My Family of 4 Lives in 700 Square Feet? I loved sharing it, though it certainly was a bit strange to have strangers on facebook criticizing the clutter of my home! Luckily I have thick skin and wasn’t too bothered by it. BUT, I’ll be honest: Seeing my home with fresh eyes and an outsider’s perspective did stick with me…and I knew some things needed to change, especially in our small house living room.
It took a few months, and some savings re-allocation (originally set aside for an anniversary party that we decided not to have), however, I’m now quite proud to present today’s BRAND NEW blog post:
A Family of Four, 700 Square Feet, and a Total Living Room Re-Do! [2017 update – now we’re a family of FIVE! Eek! See updated post here!]
As a spatial reference, the square footage of the Living Room/Front Entry/Work Space shown here is about 16′ x 15′ = 240 sq. ft.
(note: I am still not Martha Stewart, and there is still some clutter, but hey, this is just my real house and I’m ok with some mess. 🙂 )
What I Changed in the Front Entry Area:
- I turned the Ikea EXPEDIT/KALLAX (Amazon link) shelving unit sideways out from the wall to help distinguish a separate front entry area. I purchased a KALLAX add-on door and drawer set in birch in order to better hide clutter.
- Cardboard boxes on top of the KALLAX shelves to hide/organize/deter other clutter from accumulating there.
- A small round white table to collects mail and other small items.
- LOTS of hooks for coats, hats, sweaters, and bags behind the door. This was otherwise wasted space and now has a perfect use.
- Kids shoes in clear plastic bins on top of the “shoe garage”.
What I Changed in the Work/Craft Area (& the Ikea Hack Standing Desk):
- The EXPEDIT/KALLAX (Amazon link) shelves from the front entryway get a dual use into an Ikea hack standing desk. I purchased a mount (I forget the name of the mount, but if you ask an Ikea worker for a KALLAX workstation tabletop mount, they can direct you) and mounted one of my LINNMON tabletops to the third shelf up. On the other end, I installed two OLOV adjustable table legs to rest on top of two ASKVOLL drawer units.
- I moved the TROFAST shelving units from the kids’ room out to the living room/desk area. My kids play right next to where I’m standing anyways, so it made sense. I have upgraded from the shorter 37″ shelves (shown in some pictures) to the taller 57″ ones (shown in other pictures) though.
- The ASKVOLL drawer units hold kids’ toys as well as office supplies. (It also provides a perfect height ledge for my kids to climb up on and
annoyhang out right.next.to.me so they see whatever I’m doing at any given time.)
- I didn’t take a picture, but under the desk is a shelf with more office supplies as well as my sewing machine.
- Tutorial on how I hung the fabric underdesk curtains using a piece of ribbon coming soon!
What I Changed in the Living Room:
- I (ok, we hired someone; I didn’t do this part!) mounted the tv to the wall and got rid of the (huge) tv stand.
- I got rid of the darker, drab area rug and replaced it with two new brighter area rugs.
- I turned the couch out so that it better divided off the “living room” area.
- I used three vertical mirrors along the far wall to make the room look bigger (and to add decoration to the wall).
- To help hide the clutter of the bookcases (as many facebook commenters so astutely pointed out and criticized, ha ha), I bought some BILLY doors to go over our BILLY bookcases. The glass half makes the bookscases look nicer, and the wood half no one can see behind and complain about. 🙂
- For probably my favorite thing in the entire new living room, I created a multi-purpose window seat/kids’ desk/toy storage/extra seating/coffee table. Using two STUVA children’s benches and 4 storage stools, I’m able to use this combination in a multitude of ways depending on the need.
- Window Seat: The STUVA benches are strong enough to sit on (I feel comfortable standing on them too) and look out the window or soak up the sun.
- Kids’ Desk: My daughter’s starting to get into art projects and my son into coloring, and now they have a place to do so.
- Toy Storage: The storage stools underneath store kid’s toys. I used gaff tape (expensive, but the best tape ever and I always have around) for the fabric tape labels, but if we’re having company or I don’t want the labels shown, I can just turn the stools to the side to hide.
- Extra Seating: The storage stools double as desk chairs for the kids, or extra adult seating. I got the BOSNAS stools from Ikea because they were a bit cheaper (and let’s face it, because I’m addicted to Ikea), but the lids slide off too easily and make it hard for wiggly kids to stay on. I kind of wish I’d sprung instead for these on Amazon that I was going back-and-forth on…those I think the Amazon ones are a little taller though.
- Coffee Table: For those times where we’d like a coffee table, all I have to do is slide the STUVA bench(es) in front of the couch and volia! I can either just use one desk, or pull them both out and put them back-to-back for a larger square table.
Total improvement, right?? I know. With just these small changes, it feels as though we live in a completely different place and KP and I are so much happier at home. We’ve got plans to re-do other rooms in the house too, but I think this front entry/work space/living area will probably be the most significant change.
Other Notes for those who might be curious:
The learning clock shown in the background hallway is this one: Easy Reader Time Teacher Children’s Wall Clock
The portable dollhouse on top of the TROFAST shelves is this one: KidKraft My Pretty Petal Dollhouse
The pocket schedule chart is this one: Learning Resources Daily Schedule Pocket Chart