Small Shifts Can Make Your Home Feel Better

Mini Home Styling Session: How Daly Made Palmer Not Ashamed of her Den

The other week I invited Daly over to help me prep for a photo session we had scheduled at my house. I've spent a lot of time and energy over the past year and a half decorating our home, but one room I had somewhat neglected was the den.

The den serves many purposes for our family. It's a TV lounge, an office for my husband and a play area for our daughter. In other words, it gets lived in a lot. The den was actually an addition to our 1950s ranch house that was built in the 60s. Luckily, they matched the stone to the main part of the house, so it doesn't look like an extra room tacked on from the outside. However, on the inside, there are a couple of interesting things going on.

//photo by KET Photography//

//photo by KET Photography//

Think lots of wood paneling, carpet, a wet bar, an outdoor stove, an ugly ceiling fan, and built-in shelving. Some of these things I hated (e.g., the fan). Most of these things I felt neutral about. As in, I wouldn't pick these things if I were making a room, but maybe they could be interesting, even charming? Eh? Maybe?

I knew nothing major (like ripping down a fan or dry walling a room) was going to happen before the photo shoot, but I felt something had to happen before I'd let a photographer in the space. Hence, I invited Daly over to my house.

We started with the built-in shelving in the office/play area. I had tried to style it when we first moved in, but abandoned the space long ago. My husband now used the shelves to store his office necessities and nerdy toys, and I didn't know how to move forward.

Before: disorganized office shelves

Before: disorganized office shelves

Before: un-styled shelves, empty book case

Before: un-styled shelves, empty book case

Daly began to half-heartedly shift the items around, telling me it wasn't that bad and suddenly, I realized how much I needed her. I clearly hadn't been motivated or inspired to make it presentable on my own in over a year. I clearly needed an outside force. She couldn't leave my house that morning without me having a game plan. 

"Help! I need you!" I whined dramatically.

Daly heard the weird desperation in my voice because she immediately got down to business, shifting books and styling Star Wars action figures, throwing out nuggets of wisdom like "we can arrange Patrick's legos so that they look funny and cool" and "you need two baskets for these things" and "why don't you put some plants on those shelves Jungalow style?" 

And that was all I needed to get moving. I felt motivated and excited to do small things to make the den more attractive and complete. After she left to go open the shop, I ran around shopping my house and executing the simple game plan we had created.  

Game Plan for Palmer's Den:

-Added some of Caroline's books to the built-in books shelves that had sat empty for months. I had dreamed about ripping these things out because I thought they were useless dust collectors. But now, with my daughter's books on display, it made the space feel cozy and colorful. Plus, she started to pick the books off the shelf to read on the den floor. 

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Next steps for this corner:Β add a chalk board or white board underneath the shelving by the toy basket.

Next steps for this corner: add a chalk board or white board underneath the shelving by the toy basket.

-Collected necessary clutter into clean storage bins instead of having it sit on the the shelf for all to see. This made the shelves look so much cleaner and organized. Plus, my husband likes that he can keep unsightly items (cords, dusters) handy.

Before: empty, disorganized shelves

Before: empty, disorganized shelves

After: displayed children's books, styled shelves

After: displayed children's books, styled shelves

There is still some more styling I could do to these shelves, but gosh they are so much better!

There is still some more styling I could do to these shelves, but gosh they are so much better!

-Displayed funny (nerdy) items in a fun way instead of being annoyed by them. If you love Lego, you should have your Lego sets on display because it makes you happy. Just be thoughtful about how you display them. And just have a handful instead of 8,000. Read about hoarding vs collecting here.

Princess Leia and Tusken Raider figurines

Princess Leia and Tusken Raider figurines

Fallout Anthology atomic bomb case

Fallout Anthology atomic bomb case

BB-8 remote control toy

BB-8 remote control toy

Darth Malthgus representing second shelf up

Darth Malthgus representing second shelf up

-Shopped my house for plants and books and contained Caroline's outdoor toys in a basket. I actually enjoy looking at these shelves when I pass them now. Before they just made me feel depressed because they felt like wasted weird space. They are still functional, but pretty now.

Before: landing place for outside toys

Before: landing place for outside toys

After: toy storage, yet attractive!

After: toy storage, yet attractive!

styledstoneshelves
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booksandplantsshelfie
//photo by KET Photography//

//photo by KET Photography//

And here's the thing. I am someone who thinks about home styling ALL the time. Not only for myself, but for clients. How did I not think of or do some of these simple things on my own before? C'mon Ashley! Put a children's book on the child-sized bookshelf! 

I think I didn't make these simple, yet impactful changes because I was too close to it all. I was stuck. Because I lived in the den day in and day out, I felt annoyed and overwhelmed by its current state and didn't have the way or the will to move forward.

I needed someone objective to come in and jump start my creativity. Someone to give me that nudge to make a room that better reflected my family aesthetically and functionally. I needed someone to tell me that I could make my den an attractive space I liked living in even though big updates weren't happening anytime soon. Someone to tell me that simply organizing my space and decorating with what I already owned really could do wonders. That major changes can come from minor adjustments. That person for me was Daly. Thanks, Daly, for making me not ashamed of my den. 

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Shelfie near TV equipment

Shelfie near TV equipment

I think the ceramic cheetah really completes the space

I think the ceramic cheetah really completes the space