Play with Your Home!

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Rachel Stone

Many of us who have an abiding interest in this wonderful world of interior design began by “playing house.” We either played by holding imaginary roles as Mama & Dad with siblings, or friends, or we may’ve taken our imagination to our dollhouse. This was the case for me. I loved the dollhouse my Papal built for me. My Aunt and Grandmother helped decorate and furnish it. It is two and a half stories tall with shag carpet, crocheted rugs, floral curtains, a claw foot tub, and a cast iron stove. Many, many hours were spent arranging and rearranging furniture.

As a young child, I might’ve placed the tub in the kitchen, and the stove in the bathroom. The beds were continually shuffled between the one bedroom and the roomy attic with the cozy slanted ceilings. I remember thinking it would be magical to sleep in an attic with slanted ceilings!

Over time, the arrangements made more sense with the kitchen items staying in the kitchen, etc, but the rearranging continued… Did the table work better in the middle of the kitchen, or against the wall? While this kind of freedom to try things out in unexpected ways made for some “interesting” room arrangements at first, I’m sure there was a setup or two that were creative solutions for the doll family!

Here is the same wingback in two different rooms and styled with different pillows and throw blankets. It’s fun to see how the chair can fit two different vibes! One look is more masculine and English “snug” looking while the second look is more feminine with country Victorian leanings.

Somehow, as we enter adulthood and have our first house that freedom to shuffle things around can be somewhat lost. This can be the voices of others in our head or our own voice saying: “That’s not a dining room”, or “I’ve never seen an arrangement like this…” “The sofa has to face the fireplace…”

The first four years in our current home we were renting. If you’ve been a renter you know the limitations to what you can do to make a place “yours”. Once we bought the house this mentality took a bit to wear off. After all, we’d been renting for 6 years at that point! As this mentality wore off and we took ownership of our home we began trying things. Looking back now I laugh at how timid we could be to try something.

Have you ever felt that hesitation? “I’m not sure where/how to hang the art, so I’ll just hold off”. Then you end up with stacks of art leaning on the wall behind the sofa. But, friend if the nailhole is in the wrong place, spackling dries in three minutes. Just try again! Then there’s paint color. And wallpaper. Don’t be afraid of these things, they are terrific fun!

Now that we’ve owned our home for six years and have tried many DIY projects (both small and large) here’s what I’ve come away with: swap your rooms, play with your furniture, shuffle your decor.

Swap Your Rooms. Whether you are renting, or a homeowner those rooms are where you live every day, use them however suits you and your family best! Think of your home as a laboratory and experiment with its uses. Just because the floor plan has labeled a room as the dining room, doesn’t mean you have to use it that way! It could be a home office, school/craft room, or a fabulous second living area with a library. Also, just because a room has always been one thing doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Use your home in the way that best functions for your family. Those needs will change over time and the best houses change with you.

Play With Your Furniture. This is such fun to me! Versatility is value. The more places/ways you can use your furniture the more valuable they will become. In the time we’ve owned this house one of the bedrooms has been an office, a guest bedroom, an office again, and now back to a bedroom. The buffet Matt’s Mom gave us has been in the entryway serving as a hall tree, the living room serving as board game storage, and the dining room serving as dish storage.

A few months ago I had the idea of trying out our loveseat as a banquet behind the table in the dining room. This sounded so very English country and so cozy. The scale was wrong so it didn’t work out, but it might’ve and was worth trying! Sometimes in trying things out you stumble upon a new use for a piece of furniture, and a ripple effect can happen… This is where the fun begins.

Swapping out a larger dresser for a smaller one from another room may mean you now have room for a small chair to sit in and put your shoes on. You may also need to adjust the lamps or art to fit this new furniture arrangement. You’ll get a “new” room with little effort and no cost! This leads to my next point which is:

Shuffle Your Decor. I do this often. Nothing is easier than moving lamps around to get the best fit and scale in certain spots and to adjust the level of ambiance in a space. The size, shape, and color of the lamp base can look completely different in various spots around the house. Then there’s the lampshade. With the terrific fun of making my own patterned, pleated lampshades the options for mixing things up have multiplied!

The larger scale of the blue & white lamp fits the scale of the room and the size of the buffet much better. I’m currently hunting on Etsy for the perfect fabric to make a lampshade…

Then there’s art… I could go on about art for a long time. It’s the cherry on top of the icing for me. The art sets the tone and defines the room like nothing else. When you rearrange the furniture, and move the lamps around, inevitably you’ll need to adjust the artwork.

The simplest art tip I could give is about scale. Match the size and shape of your art to the wall where it will hang, and don’t let a little nail hole stop you!

I hope this post has inspired you, and even given you permission to play with your home! Let me know what areas of your home you would like to rethink in the comments below!

Happy Homemaking,

Rachel

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Author: Rachel Stone
Rachel is passionate about creating a comfortable and beautiful home for her family. She also loves to share the lessons she is learning with her wonderful audience both on this blog and her YouTube channel.

15 thoughts on “Play with Your Home!”

  1. Rachel! Love your advice. I’m struggling with a gallery wall for my bedroom (2 pieces of which I purchased from you) because I am missing a 3-dimensional decoupage picture that I know I have somewhere. I had 2 and have the one, but can’t find the other. Now I feel stuck til I can find it. I also have a Governor Winthrup desk (not a secretary, just the desk portion) and 3 ideas of where to put it but can’t decide….leave it in the dining room (a bit cramped), use it to replace a nightstand (I’ve seen that done on YouTube) or get rid of my cherry file cabinet in the office (most of the stuff can be shredded) and put it there. This is where I get paralyzed. Either I have no idea, or too many. I think I just have too much stuff!

    Reply
    • Good afternoon, Miss Geri!
      I have some of the same speed bumps! In following my own advice, I’ve recently put up a gallery wall in the hallway to get a stack of art off the floor ~ and I love it! I’m also contemplating swapping out a couple of bedroom dressers (this will take some time & sweat).
      For your desk, just pick one and try it! Live with it for a week (take pictures), then if it doesn’t work, try it somewhere else. If it doesn’t work, you didn’t waste time or effort, you are simply learning what works best in your spaces! If you think you have too much stuff, try removing the extra items to another less used area for a week. Putting things on “trial” for a bit will help you make a decision. If you don’t think of them, you don’t need them!
      Happy Homemaking!

      Reply
  2. Rachie, You do such a good job “playing” with our house. Everything looks so good and is so functional. I enjoy being in our home.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Matt. You’re the one I make home for.
      Seeing you enjoy our home makes me enjoy it more, too!

      Reply
  3. You always inspire me and I have moved some things in my home and am enjoying them, so much better. You and Matt are so creative and love all you do.

    Reply
    • Wonderful, Miss Marlene!
      It’s always rewarding to know when we’ve inspired someone! Happy homemaking.

      Reply
  4. Rachel,
    You are an inspiration!
    I could not make up my mind about paint color for my dining room and front room. Bingo! Universal Kahaki, is the perfect color for both rooms
    I’m now carefully choosing my art for the walls.
    Thank you so much
    Ginger

    Reply
    • Good evening, Miss Ginger!
      I’m so glad you were able to land on a paint color ~ that can be hard! I’ve found that art looks great against the Universal Khaki.
      Happy Homemaking!
      Rachel

      Reply
  5. Hello Mrs. Rachel,
    You always inspire me. I live in a charming 1930 cottage. It is supposed to be a one bedroom with two large rooms with back/back fireplaces (non-working). I had furniture for 2 bedrooms and needed it for sons to visit. Since the rooms were so large I could have a bed and sitting area in each room. This is what I did. It has worked great. I was able to add a small farm table to the kitchen for eating and it is always decorated of course. Recently we painted our wooden floors which were Yuck brown. That was chosen due to it being Neutral. Not this time! My heart went with Aqua Marble!! It is a huge change. Fresh and bright and our rugs pop against it. When putting furniture xand accessories back I changed rearranged things. The second room looks and flows so much better. I realized when the recliner was sitting in front of the window it looked so inviting so I rearranged the whole room around that. I keep thinking why didn’t I try that before.

    Reply
    • This is great fun, Miss Glenda!
      It is rewarding when you discover better uses for the same spaces. It’s also satisfying to see family member using a space in the way you intended without you saying anything about the space. Keep “playing with your house” forever!
      Thank you for sharing and have a lovely day!

      Reply
  6. Hello Rachel,
    I love reading your blog posts and watching your channel. You’ve inspired me to shop my own home to make each room more homey. I’ve even created several gallery walls after seeing yours. Now the only art that isn’t hanging up is the seasonal pieces which a stored in a new to our home walk-in closet my husband added in. It took 13 years to decide that the closet was more needed than a second kitchen area. I knew all along but needed to convince him! 😊

    Thanks for sharing your home and life with us, you & Matt are such a blessing to us.
    Robin

    Reply
  7. Fun, Fun, Fun playing fruit basket turn over.
    It is amazing what a difference moving one or two things make .
    Enjoy your moves
    MiMi

    Reply
  8. Love the “sneak peek” – reflected in the mirror – of the loveseat against the window in your dining room. It does sound like an interesting idea but I do love it on the diagonal in your living room! I always get a kick out of the older photos that you post that include the items I’ve purchased from your store (i.e., the oval framed needlepoint in the gallery lying on the floor)!

    Reply
  9. For a long time I was married to a man who worked in a construction related field. Which meant he was laid off in the winter. So I would get BAD cabin fever come February (and now we know Seasonal Affective Disorder!). So there was NO extra money to redecorate. But I had a mother who sewed and a godmother who worked in a cloth mill! So I changed out homemade curtains and throw covers, rearranged furniture and art. Forty years later I am STILL doing a lot of that! Several weeks ago I thrifted a shower curtain with pink roses and white flowers that I thought I was going to turn into a tablecloth. Instead, I starched and ironed it and hung it in my robins’s egg blue bathroom where it looks like a bit of spring and looks nice with my collection of Monet prints! My “Rogues’ Gallery” contains 4 generations of family on the living room stairwell wall leading to the cellar; it makes me smile.

    Reply

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