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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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Figuring Out Furniture Placement Pre-Move

Many apartments are open in the living room through to the dining room. One long space for both. So I've been online looking for ways to utilize the space I'll have and not waste any square footage. 

That will probably entail having a divider of some sort to divide the space. However, I don't plan, at this point anyway, to have that space before the patio (which is at the end of what is considered the dining area) used as dining space. I plan for it to be my office, since I will only have one bedroom. 

We don't have one IKEA in this whole state, but there is one in the Dallas area. I just love the Expedit shelving. An excellent divider for rooms, with the element of openness so as not to feel claustrophobic.

I tried to scan off the diagram of my square footage to show you, but the printer/scanner and the computer were not syncing. I've done it before, so I know it works. But today it is being stubborn. So I'll just have to explain it best I can for now. 

You come in the front door and obviously you are in the living room. It has a bay window not far from the front door, but facing a different direction. 

(Just thought this BHG room was cute.)

I have given this bay window all variety of thought. But if I have to use furniture in the tiny kitchen to supplement cabinet space, there likely won't be room for a table and chairs in there. 

So I'm entertaining the thought of that an eating space in the bay window in the living room. As I've said many, many times before: Just because an area is called dining space or living space or whatever, does not in any way mean you have to use it for that purpose.

In Texas, I had a setup similar to this, but I had my shelves formed into an L-shape in a corner. A dining space in front of shelves. 

(Remember, it was during that time that I took one big room and basically lived in it for months before the divorce.)

This is yet again another closely related idea. But those chairs are certainly not me. As Shelia from Note Songs would say: "No-no-Nannette."

This looks nice and cozy. The Expedit shelves divides the big area into two cozy little spaces. I would much rather have cozy than big and open and furniture lined up along walls.

Another attraction is that the Expedit shelves have a completely open area in the middle that is very reminiscent of a window! How cute is that idea!

The photo above would closely resemble what I'm thinking of. The divider and then the office area, except it would be switched the other way around. 

Look, red! But I don't think I'd want that. I want the color to kind of blend in to the surroundings, which this would not do. 

I'm thinking white. Or possibly black. Although black always looks dusty. However, I have black furniture that would match it.

This would be great, but instead of the wall behind the Expedit, there would be open space. I like the filing system on the end. Good use of vertical space.

One thing that always drives me crazy in home offices, or anywhere else for that matter, are all the cords dangling down behind a desk. I certainly would not want to be able to see that from the living room. 

If you have ideas of dealing with the massive amounts of cords going to printers and this and that, please let me know. Because no matter what I do, I always have them dangling and that is unsightly.

This gives you an idea (just a diagram I stumbled upon, but the other way around.) And the bay window I believe is more in the center of the wall. 

If you don't want something so high blocking your view, then you could just use this as a room divider behind a couch. 

(This room is SO not me. Can you just imagine me with all the tan and brown and black and virtually NO COLOR WHATSOEVER?

That idea is rather laughable, isn't it?

I just think this configuration is cute as can be. The citrus-y colors make a very bold statement. However I don't think I could go with orange. But the concept is very nice.

Have you figured out any way to break up one long space into two vital areas? What did you use for a room divider?

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  1. we used bookshelves for dividers - I like the one you have shown with the "window" in the middle -- you could also use a "Japanese Screen" type of thing - I'm not sure what they are called. I like two sets of book shelves put together where you can put books or decorations on both sides of the "wall" and then it is wide enough to set something on top of it also if you have it about five feet tall or so. If one side is facing the kitchen it could become extra storage space for kitchen things and cookbooks.

    1. I've thought the same thing. I've actually decoupaged the back of some of my bookshelves for just that purpose before!

  2. Hi Brenda. I guess the only thing I've used for dividers are the olden plantation shutters I took off my front windows when we bought our house and I hinged them together to make an accordion looking divider for my sun porch.! I'm so glad to know I've influenced you a bit with my silly talk! :) I know you'll make your apartment just as cute and charming as always. And like you, give me some color.
    Be a sweetie,

  3. Lots of good ideas - but don't worry - we'll get it all figured out!


  4. I've seen old tall windows (without glass) used, gave division but still light and airy. Eye hooks were put in the ceiling and in the top of the windows and a decorative chain was used to suspend them. They didn't hang all the way to the floor, but it looked really nice. Old shutters could be used if you wanted it to be closed off. One way to at least group some of the cords is in a cord cover like those used for chandeliers. Larger ones can be made by cutting some fabric the width you want, tucking the edges with some hot glue, and then fine strips of velcro along the finished edges so once the cords are encased the velcro holds it closed. Might not work if you have tons of cords but works well for a few. I can't wait to see what you come up with Brenda, I have no doubt it will look amazing!

  5. I actually use a book case behind my couch to separate it from the dining area of our big great room. It works great. Backs up to the couch, but it isn't too high, about 3 1/2 ft, so it's perfect for putting a lamp on for reading on the couch. You may come up with the most unconventional way of dividing the rooms, but it will be fantastic!

  6. I've used a bookcase before. The smooth side I've wallpapered and treated as a wall. I did that in our first house to make an entrance area since you walked right into the living room. You could put it on wheels so if you have to move it if you could. I have an Ikea piece in my kitchen that has wheels and they lock.

    I much prefer an actual piece of furniture to say getting one of those bifold divider screens. I think if the space is small you'd want to have a multifunctional piece that would divide but also serve a purpose.

    Ikea is no longer manufacturing the Expedit. But I've seen units at Target etc that look very similar. Also you can order from Ikea online if there's something you really really want. I did that with a chair once when we first moved to Atlanta and there was no Ikea.

  7. My sister uses a tall wide Expedit to divide the dining from the family/living room. It looks nice, and it has held up well considering, she has had it for about seven years with three children.

  8. cords, Brenda get a piece of pvc pipe paint it according to decor if you have a black deck etc. It will go up and down behind your desk, taming those unsightly cords. thread your cords through it, I put a label on mine so I know what they are to, monitor, printer, etc. I use tiny zip ties for the cords that are along the wall and trim the access once zipped together

  9. Hi Brenda, Sew your own fabric cord covers. Look at examples on etsy. Takes just a few minutes.

    I hope all is going well with your packing. Thinking of you...

  10. I have run cords thru PVC pipe before..and if you need them to bend a bit you can use that flexible tubing stuff- it has kind of an industrial look but it is better than looking at all those cords. I also use duct tape to hold cords to the underside of my desk/table.

    I like the idea of the open dividers to separate the space, Brenda. I like it because it still lets light through. I have had black shelving and while it looks nice it is a devil to keep clean and ALWAYS looks dusty- at least at my house. It will be fun to see what you end up doing, Brenda. I am excited for you- ox Diana

  11. Those Expedit shelves look like a marvellous idea! They can be as "open" or "closed" as you like. I think I am going to steal your idea.

  12. Brenda, if you can't buy an Expedit before they are sold out, IKEA is making a similar bookshelf with rounded corners but the interior measurements are the same so their baskets still fit. I'm not sure of the name.

  13. Hi, I'm back Brenda! I forgot to tell you I like your new little blog header but I'm missing just a little tad of the red and white check! :) I'm finding my little cow creamers in little thrift shops.
    Be a sweetie,

  14. These are very good storage ideas. Cute inspiration photos.

  15. We use wireless printers, mouses and keypads now. Love it eliminates their cords. Of course there is still that darn power cord. You should see if you can order on line for IKEA. I bet you come up with the cutest room and yes to color. Hated that tan and black room photo too.

  16. The name of the new Ikea cube system (replacing the Expedit) is Kallax.

  17. According to the U.S. website, to ship one of the large units to you via truck would be $99.

  18. I like that Ikea room divider idea and sitting at the table in front of a bay window to eat, read, what-have-you sounds wonderful. Black does usually look very dusty..I'd go with white...much fresher / cleaner looking and your colorful accents would pop more against white ?

  19. Hi Brenda, all great ideas and I am sure you will have it all figured out in no time at all. Once you get settled in the inspiration will flow. I hate to see cords too so most of my stuff is wireless now, but I also have paintable cord covers that can be nailed along the base boards and make the cords simply go away. Find these at Lowe's or Home Depot.
    Have a great day and enjoy the process. Make it fun!!

  20. Check out this site. A woman, who lives in Tulsa, picks up items at the Texas IKEA store and delivers them back to Tulsa for a service fee.
    Cheaper than shipping, she states.
    Her site is:

  21. Brenda,
    A young woman, Meredith, writes a blog and she has always lived in very small apartments in New York and California. She has some great storage/furniture arrangement ideas, plus she has a darling Yorkie. Her blog is Go peek, you may find one or two ideas from her.

  22. Brenda,
    A young woman, Meredith, writes a blog and she has always lived in very small apartments in New York and California. She has some great storage/furniture arrangement ideas, plus she has a darling Yorkie. Her blog is Go peek, you may find one or two ideas from her.

  23. You can buy some Expedit shelving online, Brenda.

  24. My first thought before I read the Ikea part was the Expedit shelves. When My daughter was living in a small apartment in New York I bought her some to divide the living room from her tiny kitchen area. Because they were open they did not block out the light from the only window. If you do get them make sure you have someone to help you. We put them together facedown on the floor and thought we would never get them lifted up. xo Laura

  25. Dividing a singular rectangular space can be a challenge, but it is certainly do-able. Depending on the size of the space and the needs of the person, there are many options. I like your idea of placing your table in front of the bay window. With the light the window provides you can enjoy your coffee/meals there, you can sew/craft and work on the computer (if you use a laptop). If a divider is needed there is always the tall bookcase option, which is classic and has many benefits. If you do not want to chop up the space visually you can divide it by using different area rugs to define the spaces. If storage is an issue (& when is it not??) is there a possibility of placing a bookcase on each side of the bay window? That could make that space feel even more special as well as being practical for storage/display.
    There are so many good ideas on the internet that I am sure you will enjoy trying a few of them out. You and the pupsters are headed toward a great new adventure.

  26. I love the idea of a room divider. Awesome for placing your pretties on display. I am with the other Laura, you may want to hire a handyman to put that together. So excited for you, but I know it can be overwhelming downsizing....yet again. Think of it as a cleansing of some sort. I really adore the idea of eating at the bay window. Perfection it will be!

  27. Expedit is being discontinued!!! I wrote a post about this when I went looking for mine. That red one in the 5 over 5 is not available to my knowledge. I think only white, brown/black and birch might be still available. I am told that by April they will be gone. So you'd best get one now if you can. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

    The red ones I got for my kitchen are finished out very nicely on all sides, making them ideal for a room divider.

  28. Our house is not very big, and we have one rectangular room that is both the living and dining rooms. In the living room, we put a small sofa with a sideboard behind it, and that keeps the living room cozy, but it also acts as a room divider, and it's also low enough that you can see the entire space in a glance, which helps keep a more open feel in a small space. I like your office inspiration pictures in this post as well.

  29. By now you have heard that you can order from IKEA online and I don't think you will get a better deal.

    I have heard of people who work from home using their dining table as their desk/work table as well. Would that work?

    I don't think you would want to make the room smaller by adding a tall shelving unit as a divider. I think you would tire of it and it is going to close the space up. Perhaps two of the waist high shelving units back to back and then you might have a sort of peninsula. As a fellow reader, we love our books and we like to display them. Why not stack them up here and there...bohemian style; on tables,chairs, cute stacks on the floor next to a few plants. Top them with cute things like a stack of dishes, a basket or something else that's colorful. Good luck!


  30. I used to work at an upscale retirement community. Each resident had a studio apartment, so kitchen dining area, living area and bedroom were all in an L shaped area. One lady's son-in-law built her a wall that was 6 ft tall and the length of her love seat. It looked like board and batten, and painted white. It had good wide feet that were perpindicular to the wall so it was very stable. He did not fasten it to anything in the room. She placed her love seat on one side and her chest of drawers on the other, using the smaller part of the L as her bedroom. I thought it was very clever and have hoped that at some time I would need one and be able to use the idea.

  31. If your space is small, I think it's best for everything to have a function so I vote for shelving. If something too tall would feel too closed in, just make it a bit smaller. It will come in handy for all your pretty pieces also.

    For cords, you could put small hooks under the desk and hang a small basket from them where you can put the bulk of the wires in. In a pinch, duct tape can work too.

  32. Hi Brenda - I got some 4 inch burlap ribbon to hide dangling cords. Really like how it does the trick and looks really nice :)

  33. Of course, you are ahead of the game and already planning the placement of things! Love the idea of the bookshelves; would go with white, (assuming your walls are), as this would just look more uniform, blending in nicely and making the space feel larger. You are so right about those supposed designated spaces - kinda like having pancakes for dinner!:)) Like you, orange is not a colour I am drawn to in decorating, but if used skillfully and in small doses, it can be a refreshing accent to a warm green or grey (see my sun room, the only place I have little pops of orange). The unsightly cords can be collected into a bunch and taped underneath your table top or desk. If your workspace is in a corner, they can be left in a puddle there without raining on your parade. Your new place is sounding very cool, my friend, and I'm sure it will be just as cozy, too!


  34. I helped a friend years ago who rented someone's furnished apartment for the summer. It was a tiny, one bedroom, and we took the shelves and turned them so that they divided the kitchen from the living area and created a little eat-in space. He wasn't allowed to change anything too much, so we took fabric and put on the back of those shelves. We had tricks for everything that could be slipped back the way it was with ease. He was so depressed beforehand and so happy afterwards. And it was a cute divider. They weren't by tall, and for that space which is smaller than the one you are moving into, it kept you from feeling closed in. He had people over to eat that night. I love bookcases as dividers.

  35. Figuring out where to put furniture is always so difficult - there's only one piece of furniture I own that I know where to put and that's my mirrored furniture - without doubt that's always opposite the window. The soda is always the hardest to place i find.

  36. Love that you are planning to use your space in unconventional ways! And yes, that beige room is dullsville!


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