A fellow sober mama reminded me a while back that outer order creates inner calm. This is most definitely true for me, so when life feels chaotic in our little house full of growing kids, I know it's time for change. Along the way in my teaching career, I learned that when a child is not behaving well, or is having a difficult time, there are things we can change before we try to discipline or change the child. We can redirect them to a more positive activity, change our own parenting or teaching behavior, or we can change the environment the child is in. This is what I am constantly doing in my own home to accommodate the changing needs of my family. I am lucky to have a husband who trusts my teacher, mama, and design intuition, and is happy to tackle projects that involve moving furniture, painting, or moving the cable tv to the opposite side of the room!
A few weeks ago we did just this. The kids were getting squirrelly in our little breakfast nook/dining area, and meal times were becoming more and more hectic. Not to mention, the mess in the kitchen and adjacent living room from all the winter gear, shoes, and backpacks was getting out of control as the main door we use is right in the kitchen. I had wondered for years if it would be completely crazy to move our dining table into the living room, but never did because we valued the large space for playing and relaxing as a family.
Our two sets of twins are nearly 11 years old and 5 years old, so they are more able to play independently in their bedrooms or in our newly remodeled basement living area. Therefore, I figured we could spare some living space in the upstairs living room for a dining area. My husband and kids thought the idea was really strange, but once we did it, we all loved it! I've been waiting to write about our new space because I wanted to settle into it a bit, make sure it was going to work for us. But like I said, I really love it! We have more elbow room at our little table, and the former eating area in the kitchen is now a sort of mud room for coats, bags, and shoes.
We bought a smaller rug, and shifted everything over a few feet to make room for the table and chairs.
I repainted the wall by the table and centered the photos along with the table. We'd like a light over the table at some point, but aren't ready to commit to a hard wired pendant just yet.
Our new mud room area in the kitchen gives everyone space to get ready for work and school, and we are noticing far fewer arguments and struggles in the morning and upon coming home! Yes!!
I never would have imagined liking this so much, but we do! We find ourselves hanging out in this room more, and I love sitting at the table with a cup of coffee, watching the kids play.
My philosophy is that any space can work for your family as long as you are willing to have an open mind and embrace change. For our family this has meant living more minimally and getting rid of items that we don't love or that don't provide a real purpose. Of course, I love home decor, but I try to keep things tidy and practical. I believe a home can look good and function well, all at the same time. I also believe that you can transform your living space for little or no money.
I'm excited to start helping others make their homes more practical and inviting with my home design coaching business You + Me At Home, but first, I need to make sure my own home lives up to my goals as a designer, a stay at home mom, and a minimalist. My dream is to help others do what we have done in our home. So many families struggle, thinking they need a bigger home than the one they have. My hope is to help people stay in their homes, make the space work for them and their needs, and help my clients save money in the long run by living with less. Bigger is not always better. Less is more!!