As an early birthday present, I signed up to take the Nester’s Cozy Minimalism course. It was the name that drew me in. “Cozy” has always been my favorite word. My family uses it a lot, and it’s my ultimate goal for my house. But over the last couple of years, trying to make living in a 2 bedroom condo with two kids work, I’ve really been drawn to minimalism. I loved the idea of being able to marry the two concepts, and during one of the first classes, Myquillan said something to the effect of, “Minimalism doesn’t have to be cold and modern, and cozy doesn’t have to be cluttered.” I loved that!
I decided to makeover our living room for the class. It’s just never felt quite right to me, and I wanted to make small, inexpensive changes.
Our first task was to “quiet” our room, meaning take everything out. When I first heard that, I thought, no, I don’t have time for that, I’ll skip that part and move on to the next assignment. But by the end of the webinar I was convinced it would help, and I’m glad I did. As soon as I took everything out, I felt a physical lightness in the room. Seeing it empty helped me identify the three biggest changes I would make to our room – I finally painted our entertainment center, I moved out our ottoman and made over our old oak coffee table, and I rehung the artwork in a gallery-like cluster.
Here is the entertainment center before. It has always bugged me so much. Like, I would try and watch TV and be distracted by all the clutter.
I painted the laminate using the same Dutch Boy Cabinet and Trim paint we have used throughout the condo to paint our cabinets, trim, doors, and fireplace. It seems like it will hold up decently well (it probably won’t be as durable as on real wood, but we only plan to keep this unit until we move). I also replaced the hardware (the old pulls were plastic), and got baskets for the bottom to hide all the wires. I think that change made a really big impact, because it helped give the unit more presence while also looking less cluttered.
The other two big changes were the artwork and the coffee table. Once the room was quieted, I realized two things – our old coffee table might look really nice in here, but it’s an ugly orangey oak. And two, our artwork is too spaced out and hung too high. Here is the before.
And here’s the after!
I added a couple of paintings to the artwork grouping that we had in other spots, and made one new painting (the small square). The coffee table is my favorite though. I used Polyshades in a darker walnut color (I believe it was called Royal Chestnut) to make over the top. And then I painted the legs turquoise (I used Devine Paints from Target in Pond). The best thing is, the table is so much more functional. The kids can spread out coloring, or snacks, or a board game, and we can hide remotes in the drawer. The ottoman moved to the playroom.
These were all pretty small changes. I’d say I spent about $70 overall for paint, stain, new hardware, and bins. The room feels cozier to us and much more functional for our family. I’m so thrilled with the process that I’m going to try the same method to spruce up our bedroom.
The main takeaway is that you can create more of an impact with larger pieces than lots of small clutter, and to try and remove everything from the room and bring back only what you love. For the bedroom, I’m planning to try and do it for free, since we’re trying to save all our extra money for a house.