Our Living Room

Chris took our girls to town the other day, and I managed to snap some photos of our living room when the toys were not strewn all about.

The view from the loft.

We call it the living room, but it's really more of a multi-purpose room. It's the living room, the play room, and a bedroom at times. We hope to buy a folding table soon that will allow us to eat real meals there as well. (Yes, we have a dining area, but it's more of a nook type space that only fits one or two people at a time, and our beloved IKEA table is too heavy to move into the living room multiple times a day. We eat most of our meals on the couch right now.)

As you can see in the picture, we have most of our toy storage in the EXPEDIT unit to the left. (You can't buy these anymore; they were replaced by the KALLAX line a few years ago.) Sweetheart's baby toys are in a small bin, and the girls' wooden train set is in a matching bin. We have a few larger things, like an abacus and a pretend toaster oven. There is also a toy kitchen, which is not pictured, that faces the couch and holds all of the cooking toys, and we keep small figurines and cars in a bin underneath that. The stuffed animals and dolls live in a crate-style storage stool to the left that is actually meant for the bathroom, but it does an excellent job of keeping the stuffies up off the floor and letting them breathe so mildew doesn't become a problem. Books live in a tub on the floor, and we store extra blankets, dress up clothes, Duplo, and doll clothes in a compartment in the couch. The rest of the toys are tossed together in the bright blue bin in the EXPEDIT unit.

We use the top levels of the EXPEDIT to house books we don't want our kids to touch. It also holds a few days worth of diapers and wipes and underwear for the girls. (We keep the rest of the diaper supplies elsewhere.) Backpacks are hung from hooks on the sides of the shelf. We keep our vacuum tucked between the EXPEDIT and the stuffed animals crate. Some of our DVD collection is stored on shelves above the windows.

The table on the left hides our Rock Band and Guitar Hero equipment, and its smaller, matching counterpart on the right is for the girls to sit at and color or eat. The stool they sit on is not pictured.

We use the filing cabinet to the right for files and art/homeschool supplies and video gaming equipment. It locks, so that keeps grabby hands away.

To the right is our sliding glass door, but we usually enter through our regular entry door near the back of the house so we don't track mud and tree "gunk" all over the living room.

At the bottom right of the the picture is our built-in entertainment center and TV.

We purchased the FRIHETEN sofa bed from IKEA in January, and we absolutely love it. I'm planning to do a more detailed review soon, so stay tuned. It serves as both a couch and a bed as needed in addition to storing various items.

Viewed from the loft in bed mode.

I dream of someday ripping out the carpet and putting in laminate flooring, but I think it's going to have to wait until we replace our couch again unless I can figure out how to do it in stages. The carpet is very worn down in places; years of kids and cats have taken their toll.

Our living room has morphed a lot over the years as we switched out furniture here or there. For a while, our table was where the stuffed animals are now. We've had a chair there, too. A long time ago, we had a regular couch and a small love seat. We used to have a shorter filing cabinet, but Sweetheart kept climbing up on it, so we replaced it with something taller that she can't reach. We're pretty happy with the set up now, so I imagine it will look fairly similar for a while.

It's not certainly not what I would consider lovely to look at like so many tiny houses are. This is a real home, lived in by real people, including two kids who come with a lot of stuff. In a small home, there's just nowhere to hide it all. We've embraced function over design, though someday I would love to update the paint and the blinds and the carpet and the curtains. For now, though, I'm pretty proud of our little home and how well we make it work.