Today was the best day! I received a call from one of my best friends asking if I could spend the day with her organizing her home. She needed a fresh set of eyes to go through her home room by room and evaluate the furniture layout, flow, and storage solutions in each room.
Just as they do in the TV show, Design on a Dime, our goal was to both re-use and re-arrange the furniture she already had and work within a strict budget to fill the empty spaces with creative storage solutions that she could purchase over time.
You see, my friend (who I love dearly and will remain nameless so as not to incriminate her ), is a family of four with quite a bit of clutter throughout their home. She’s aware of it and that’s why she called me – to help her see her space differently.
We went room to room, starting with the mudroom entryway, moving into the dining room, living room, and kids’ bedrooms. We moved furniture around and from room to room to try new arrangements and show her how different pieces work better in different spaces.
While we were able to make a wish list and a to-do list for each of these rooms, I found that her most immediate need was the dining room that doubled as her home office space. This space needs to serve dual-function, so let’s start there.
As you can see from the dining room floor plan above, the left wall has two open doorways (leading to the kitchen) and currently has a long, low bookcase with storage cubbies. On the right wall, there’s a closet, an exterior door, and a bank of windows. Under these windows, she currently has a small desk as her home office workspace. While the white Ikea desk is a nice work surface with a center drawer, it has no other surrounding storage to store away her work at the end of the day.
The back wall currently has an original, pine built-in base cabinet. As soon as I walked into the room, I knew that this was the space that needed to be transformed into her office workspace. Funny thing is it never even dawned on her to use this cabinet as a desk.
On first look, this cabinet is a mis-match with the rest of the room. It’s a bit worn, but it’s about 7-8 feet long and about 18 inches deep of solid wood! It has banks of drawers flanking the center shutter doors – which swing all the way open and back to reveal a large open area. It’s perfect!
During the day when she’s using the space as a desk, she can open the doors and pull up a chair. She can even store a small rolling storage cart under there which will roll out when the desk is in use. When work is through for the day, she can simply roll the cart back under and close the doors to tuck everything neatly away – instantly transforming the space back into a dining room.
The long length of the cabinet also has ample room for storage on each end, so I suggested to her that she place two bookcases, one on each end and use the vertical space up the wall for additional office storage. You can see in the photo above that we stole a bookcase from one of the bedrooms t
o get a feel of how the proposed bookcases would feel placed on top of the cabinet.
These bookcases would house very neat storage boxes from Ikea that are both practical and pretty.
I also suggested the addition some fresh greenery in the corner. Did you know that in Feng Shui teachings the rubber plant, with it’s large, flat leaves symbolizes money and always having the money you need (as long as you keep it healthy).
Following is a look at the new proposed wall unit. The entire unit would be painted an off-white to coordinate with the adjacent fireplace and surrounding woodwork.
This dining room / workspace is a prime example of how problem areas can be revitalized on a budget. Look around you home and see your furniture and your spaces differently. Re-use what you have. Change it. Paint it. You may be surprised how you can make your home work for you.
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Thank you & Enjoy!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to products I love.