Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Small Living Room Solution: Shelf behind the Couch

Our house is teeny tiny.  It was built in 1940.  Apparently back then they liked small rooms, no closets and a lot of fireplaces.  Even in our house, when it was just 900 square feet before the addition of the master suite, there were THREE fireplaces.  One has since been removed to renovate the kitchen but there is still evidence of it in the attic.  

There are 4 of us living in our house, two humans and to very playful dogs.   Mabel always wants to play and Goose is more than willing to join her.  Because our house is so small, they tend to do some furniture rearranging while they play....or we do it for them before something (else) gets broken.  

Mabel and Goose involved in a heated tug-of-war battle
You can see above that when they get going tugging or wrestling, there isn't much room.  Can you imagine if we had been sitting on the couch or in the chair on the right?  We needed a solution to this small living room.

Our first step was to remove the tables you see above.  The black Ikea coffee table was perfect for the size of the room, but every time the dogs wanted to play it had to be pushed to the window so the didn't knock things over with their tails.  The wooden table at the top right of the picture had to go, too.  It was holding our stereo system and Internet router.

We couldn't have a living room without somewhere to put our magazines, cups, remotes, so we decided to put up a shelf behind the sofa.  My inspiration came from the blog Young House Love who build a really amazing console table behind their sectional in their living room.  We don't have the tools, DIY skills or time to build something as elaborate as they were able to put together, but Lowes had exactly what we needed.

We found a long shelf with wall brackets for less than $25.  We love solutions to our problems that don't hurt our wallets.  We centered the shelf behind the couch and attached it to the wall with some pretty serious anchors so we know that baby isn't going anywhere.

Top view of the couch with the new shelf behind it
The shelf is 11 inches wide, so while we had to push the couch a little bit off the wall, the space we lost was far less than if we still had a coffee table in the middle of the floor.  

Look at all the new floor space we have now!  Mabel had to check out what was going on, she loves the camera.
All of the extra space has been amazing so far.  The dogs can play without knocking into something and the room feels so much larger.  To hold all of the equipment for the TV, we hung two shelves on the wall under the TV and took everything off the floor.  Looking at the picture, I need to paint that vent brown...

View of the room from the front door.  This time Goose had to get in the shot.
Above you can see how small our house is.  The blue walls are the kitchen and the brown wall to the left are the dining room walls.  It is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house, but the living space can feel cramped at times.  

The room from the corner of the couch
There is still some work to be done in the room, but we're so happy with how this quick addition has really opened up the space.  For the room, I'd like to:

  • change out the accent pillows - those green ones have seen better days
  • lightening up the room with lighter colored curtains.  The ones hanging now are black out curtains and we definitely want to make sure the room stays dark
  • raise the curtains to give the room more height 
  • add a rug 
  • paint the walls
It's a long list, but as Stephen likes to say - we have forever.  

Added bonus - storage space!
An added bonus to the project was new storage space behind the couch!  I didn't take the best pictures, but in this one you can see two of the storage boxes we've been able to add.  Behind that one are SIX more, larger, plastic bins from Ikea.  We've only filled three of them so far, but have plenty of more stuff to organize and store in our new found space.  I'll probably buy one more of those prettier boxes the next time we're at Ikea since there is still some space.  

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