The Family Room Inches Along

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  October 10, 2012 — 5 Comments

A year before Jack was born I envisioned the large, sunny room at the front of our house as a casual, kid-friendly place to work and play. A combination family room, play room, and office, the space had potential. But it was hard to picture it back when it was buried under so much clutter and junk.

We had a garage sale, slowly gathered some new and secondhand furniture, and put in some elbow grease. And now the room looks like this:

But do you notice anything strange about the photos above? Perhaps that I have strategically avoided photographing one entire wall of the room? That’s because it looks like this:

I call it the wall of shame. It’s the last bastion of junky cluttered mess that this room just can’t seem to shake. I know that the biggest problem is a lack of appropriate furniture. Those little cube things are just not cutting it. I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for an affordable tall bookcase, armoire, or hutch for that far corner, but for the area directly across from the sofa I really wanted something that could hold a small TV and its various accoutrements, plus baskets of toys and maybe a few pretty decorative things. And when I found out we’d be visiting Ikea this month I started considering the Vittsjo.

I taped it out on the wall and everything.

The size was perfect. I loved it. But there was something about it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, and when Nick and I found ourselves standing in front of it in real life, we both agreed that the glass and metal just didn’t feel very kid-friendly. Which is about the time our gaze started to wander to the Expedit. I knew that the popular 5×5 size wouldn’t accommodate a TV, but the 2×5 laid on it’s side in the showroom seemed perfect. And once we saw that the white was only $70 we were sold! Curiously, “bright white” was more expensive at $90, but I actually thought the regular white felt a little more Pottery Barn and a little less Ikea so we went for the cheaper option. On Monday while Nick was at work I put it together all by myself. All I needed Nick to do when he got home was throw his manly muscles behind an allen-wrench to tighten up some screws.

I’ve obviously still got some work to do before it lives up to it’s full potential, like finding some large baskets to hide my stuff and really take advantage of the generously sized cubes. What pleases me the most about this thing is actually how big it is. Here I’ve brought in a baby for scale.

And look at it here compared to the dinky cube furniture that used to sit in that space.

Sometime before Jack starts pulling up I hope to replace that monstrous, terrifyingly heavy TV with a small flat screen mounted to the wall, and when that happens the top of the Expedit can double as a workspace for projects.

I also need to do some serious organizing over in the far corner of the room. I’d like to get some kind of storage with doors to hide all my shipping materials and whatnot. If only I had a closet to spare, but in a house this old closets are scarce.

I’m so glad we took the time to look around at Ikea instead of just heading straight to the warehouse to get what I’d already picked out online. Also, Ikea on a weekday is 100% more delightful than the Saturday madness I’ve always experienced. I dare say it was even relaxing! As for what else we grabbed while we were there, I replenished my stock of Ribba frames, picked out a wooden ring stack toy for Jack, and got this handy octopus-like hanger for drip-drying cloth diapers inside on rainy days (there’s a spot in my laundry room that’s just perfect for hanging it with a towel underneath). And when a lady who said she’d lived in New Orleans until Katrina spotted Nick’s LSU shirt she came running at us with a coupon for 20% off our most expensive item that she didn’t need! So our grand total for all of that came to just under $100. Can you believe it? Cheapest Ikea run ever. Oh, how I wish we had an Ikea in Louisiana. Such great stuff for so cheap! Maybe someday. A girl can dream.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


5 responses to The Family Room Inches Along

  1. Love the new shelf. And I think I might go pick up an octopus hanger; think it would work well for bras and delicate tank tops?

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap October 10, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      I think it would work great for that! You just gotta have a good place to hang it from. The hook is shaped like the top of a hanger but I wouldn’t want to drip dry stuff in my closet. Maybe hang it from the shower curtain rod? I have a thing in my laundry room that flips out from the wall to hang clothes from so I just use that.

  2. I like the new shelf and agree that the big metal one did not look as friendly. We don’t have and Ikea close that I know about, but I will look sometime when we travel. I desperately need some new furniture but will have to thrift instead of buying new. We are saving to pay our rapidly increasing taxes and hopefully, go back to Canada next summer. Enjoy your less cluttered room.

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