As is (maybe?) true for many of us, I have a so-called dream job that is very specific, probably not in high demand, and also kind of brilliant.
Essentially, it’s an interior design job with a focus on rearranging furniture and redesigning certain elements. (The most complicated machinery I can operate is a power drill, so we’re not knocking down any walls here.) But the catch is that I only use stuff you already have in your house. I’m not going to insist that you buy a bunch of new crap and throw a table in the dumpster just because it’s slightly out of season. I use what you have, but in a smarter, more elegant way.
This is something I came up with last summer, when I was visiting my mom and helping her organize her apartment. My mom lives alone. She’s got a small studio apartment and a tendency to…accumulate things…and also to not be very tidy with them. So when I visit I try to help her straighten things up and get rid of things she doesn’t need.
So she struggles with having a lot of stuff in a too-small space, and with not having a good place to put her belongings. One of the things she accumulates is pieces of furniture. There are always several small tables and bookcases sitting around.
It’s pretty easy, then, for me to start rearranging. The bookcase with knick-knacks cluttered loosely throughout it? Move those things (we’ll find a place for them later) and use the bookcase for the actual books that have been scattered around the living room. The closet with the clunky, half-broken shutter door? Take that baby off and hang up a nice curtain instead. I know you have one. There’s a whole pile of mismatched curtains just waiting for you in the armoire. Speaking of which, that armoire would work a lot better if you put it against the other wall. There, now it’s out of the way and opens easier, too.
This concept depends on factors that I don’t think come into play very often. You have to have a lot of stuff, obviously–that’s probably the biggest thing. You have to be willing to experiment. But you don’t have to have a ton of money to spend on new shit.
I do a similar version of this around my own house all the time. I get tired of the way a room is laid out, or I just decide that a room is too cramped with furniture, so I spend time pushing and pulling things in and out of rooms to find a new, better arrangement. It doesn’t always work out and sometimes things just end up back where they were. But it’s a soothing and fun practice.
Anyway, I don’t think anyone is ever going to actually hire me to do this. But here are a few tips for a) finding a place to put junk and b) making your home look cozy and cute:
- Put some books you don’t intend to open under a small table lamp. It looks sweet and bookish, provides storage for two or three books you want to keep but not read (I used my childhood journals, lol), and elevates the room light a bit.
- You do not have to use a particular piece of furniture for its exact intended purpose. See Pinterest for probably a hundred billion examples of this. I have used an old shutter as a place to hang scarves, which is practical and also kind of whimsical if you do it right.
- It is OKAY to get rid of books. I am not a purist who insists that you keep all your books forever, no matter how many times you move, no matter how little space you have, no matter if you are certain you will never look at that book about how to make your own candy, no matter how uninteresting or just plain bad some of the books may be. Purge your book collection as much as you like. Keep your books around because you want to, not because it it’s supposed to be a bad thing to sell or donate or even (gasp!) RECYCLE them.
- Pick up some cut flowers next time you’re at the grocery. Put them in a vase and set them on a table. Boom, you’re home.