Do you have one of those rooms that can't decide what it wants to be? Or maybe life just keeps changing and you need to use the space differently.
One day while I was standing in front of my crowded closet that I've shared with my husband for our whole married life, I wished for my own closet. Then it dawned on me. I had one! It only needed cleaning out and my clothes moved into it. I also hung up a couple of hook racks so I could enjoy putting outfits together and enjoying the clothes I already had.
My studio has been through several iterations since the kids left home. You can read about the first makeover here. Warning. The before pics are a little frightening. Just kidding, they are terrifying, so gird your loins.
More recently I did a little refresh. Check that one out here. Still so cluttered. I was trying to use the space like I'm an artist when what I really needed was some decent closet space, a calmer place to write, and a place to stretch and do some yoga.
Where to start
If you have a closet or room or even a corner of a room that you need to rethink, here are some tips to get started.
1. Clear the walls. This will help calm your mind and see the room in a new way. For me, this meant removing the maps covering the outside wall. There was an immediate transformation as the visual chaos decreased.
2. Reduce the amount of furniture. What is in your house that you don't really need? In my case, the chest of drawers went to my daughter's new house 3 years ago, I sold the easel this spring (it's in the far corner being used as a desk), and I painted the table to lighten up the space. I also got rid of FOUR chairs that were in this room. I agonized over getting rid of them, but don't miss them at all.
The only remaining map is the giant Russian one of America's natural resources. Nothing cheers up a space like some good old Cold War memorabilia.
3. Rethink how space is being used. If you are an empty nester you know that when the kids move out they take only what they need or want and the rest of it languishes around in unseen areas of your home like their old closets and the attic. In the studio, I had a large perfectly good closet filled with my son's clothes he didn't want, trophies, and guitars. I was too depressed about how bad it looked to take a before picture.
It only took me an afternoon to move some stuff into another closet, shoot him photos of things I thought me might need, and make the trip to Goodwill. Then I moved my clothes into their new home where they can breathe!
A couple of hook racks in the corner next to the closet make it fun to put outfits together and my husband isn't hanging around waiting for me to decide what I'm going to wear so he can get in his side of the closet. 36 year problem SOLVED. I'm a slow learner, okay?
4. Create the space you actually need. Consider how you actually need to use a particular room or corner of a room. I used to do yoga and exercises that needed to be done on the floor in the guest cottage. When I removed the carpet, however, it became uncomfortable to do those things on a concrete floor. I needed a little corner for yoga.
5. Solve nagging problems. Around the house, I love to use my favorite hardbound books for decorating and filling bookshelves. But what to do with all the practical trade style paperbacks that I use constantly?
I spent a hundred bucks on Amazon and solved the problem in a way that makes those books look like a work of modern art.
Maybe you need a cozy reading nook or place to write your own book. If you are wishing you had an extra closet, craft area, or prayer closet, look around your house and see if there is some space that you thought had to be used in a certain way that you can rethink.
And if you are the proud owner of a brand new empty nest, pop the champagne and tell me what you are looking forward to most in the comments. Cheers!