$0 Redecorating — With Photos

Last weekend I redecorated my living room for $0.  It was long in coming, but it had to be done.  I’m wondering why I didn’t try this particular layout before.  And it all started with a smell.

LR4
The new view from my front entry hall. Love the bright and open feel. Aaah.

Every season I fret over the air flow in this house.  And every season I search the Net, YouTube, and my bookmarks for possible miracle discoveries to address the issues I think we have. So when an annoying odor (which apparently only I could detect) developed, I set out to control it.  More on that in another post, but as a part of the flow issue, I realized the setup in my LR/DR wasn’t helpful.

This year I decided to move some big pieces around for better air flow.  Even though everything in the LR has been moved against the walls, it actually looks more inviting and cozy, and I’m happy.  We still have visual space definition, and the room is getting more use.  I usually don’t like all the furniture as wallflowers, but this time it works.

I used two main resources, which are my favorites, for this quickie change-up.  First, I enjoy Lauri Ward’s Use What You Have Decorating .  I got this book years ago after borrowing it from a neighbor.  Her concept is that we acquire what we like, so we should use it; transformations are possible for little or no money.  Sometimes we don’t realize how to pull it together, and Ward outlines 10 guidelines for doing that in our own homes.

The other resource I turned to is Christopher Lowell’s Seven Layers of Design. (Recently I rediscovered Lowell, whose work and lessons I really like, online.)  I  pull out this book for a quick review of the ideas.  I realized that one of his tricks was actually hindering my air flow!  He does a wonderful job separating function zones in rooms using transition pieces such as sofas and benches, a technique and look that works fabulously in most cases.  In my case, that was corralling the air, making it uncomfortable rear-round.  Who knew?

When I figured this out, and realized that one particular design element, no matter how much I love it, wouldn’t work for our house, I set out to use what I have in a creative way to suit us.  You have to “go with the flow.”  I have a LR/DR combination with a sloping ceiling (8′ to 25′ over a 23′ room length).  A beam cuts the space in half, and there is an open stairway overlooking the rooms.  Air registers on one end, air return on the other, ceiling fan (which is highly functional) on the beam.  A loveseat under the beam “divided” the space, and impeded air flow.  So for now, there’s a more open arrangement, and no sofa divider between LR and DR.  Instead, a rug defines the seating area, and the air is flowing nicely.  I relocated my computer armoire to an unused corner of the LR, which also unearthed a second return air duct in the other room.   And this was, after all, all about the air.

I was able to pull accessories from other areas of the house without too much issue.  A small upholstered bench from the front hall, with a wood tray, serves as a coffee table.  The cherry file cabinet so handy to my computer came in as an end table.  A versatile trunk went under the floor lamp for height to hold plants.  Lamps got new locations and bulbs, and were all put on the light switch circuit.  Of course, a good cleaning while doing this took extra time, but was well worth it.

Seriously, I did not spend one penny on this redecorating!

Smells good, feels good, works well.  All for a couple hours’ thought, some rearranging, and $0!

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