During a recent sit-down with a friend, I casually vented my frustration about my living room. I’m an architect, for goodness sake; I should be able to make every room in my house magazine-shoot ready, right? Instead, I have a dining room that morphs into a living room, but the space doesn’t function as either. Our home was built in the mid-70s when having formal living spaces was the norm. We, on the other hand, are a casual, creative family that likes to play and relax. It took a very smart piece of advice from my friend to make me see my useless combo space as a great opportunity.
Here’s what she said, “Don’t keep anything in your home that you don’t love.”
She was right. Things change, our family has grown and we can’t expect the furniture we moved in with nine years ago to still work for our needs today. The sofa bed and side chair never get used and take up a huge amount of space. The room really wants to be a play room for our son and I’d love to have the studio/office I’ve always dreamed of (but thought I’d have to wait until our “next house”). Who says we have to follow “the rules”?
After looking more closely at the room I realized my frustration was stemming from a room identity crisis. A flexible, organic, play space was trying to claw its way out from under the oppression of the structured, formal living room.
Life is too short to live in spaces that don’t make us happy. When I realized that I don’t have to live with uninspiring furnishings and I can do something about it, I was pleasantly surprised at what a difference it made in my mood. I bundled up a bunch of things to donate, made a list of furniture that needed to go, and fired off an email to a charity to schedule a pickup date.
The best part was what came next. I was able to freely imagine what our living room Family Creative Studio could be and what we’d need to make it a reality. The room that caused me frustration for years now is a source of excitement and inspiration. I feel a trip to IKEA and a metamorphosis coming on!