Monday, November 15, 2010

Simplifying Life: The Living Room Media Center Edition

I honestly don't know if it is the phenomenon of "nesting" that has me going crazy with our house, or if it is simply the the realization that our lives are going to become exponentially more complicated once this kiddo joins us in the world outside my womb. Either way, the reality is that I am experiencing an intense urge to clean out our house, set up organization systems, and decorate the areas I have neglected since we moved in over two years ago. An excellent example from this weekend alone I finally set up the curio cabinet that had been sitting empty with the glass shelves disassembled. I also tackled quite a few other projects and have many more on my list, and I plan to share those that I found especially valuable.

Before: Living Room Media Center with our old television, stand, and bookcases.

Like this one. This is unfortunately the best true "before" photo of our living room I have. You can see our old TV and the oak bookcase on the right (not pictured is the matching one on the left). It was not our style and El Hub had been hankering for a new TV for a long time, so for his birthday several weeks ago we bought a new television, stand, and bookcases.

Halfway point with the new television and stand but with the old bookcases.

That first one was a pathetic before picture. Here, have another one, this one from when we were partway through switching out the old furniture for the new. Again, this happened several weeks ago, but it wasn't until recently that I was able to take the time to properly organize everything.

Before: Living Room Media Center with items haphazardly shoved on the shelves.

For the purposes of this project, this is an appropriate "before" photo. We had all of the furniture in place but had not yet taken the time to figure out a long-term solution that would keep everything organized and pleasing to the eye. So I made a quick trip to Target before buckling down for a few hours...

After: Living Room Media Center looking sleek and sex-ay.

...resulting in this. One of the fastest projects I have worked on so far with one of the biggest payoffs. The "after" looks a million times better, and for the amount of time we spend in the living room, it is wonderful to be able to look at something so much more visually appealing. For $28, I snagged four multi-tasking storage cubes that give a pop of color as well as hidden storage. I went with red to make the retro-pop Mickey painting (a giclee edition of a painting by Trevor Carlton and Stephen Reis) stand out more and brighten up all the dark furniture. These storage cubes were the perfect price and they provide the perfect amount of hidden storage. Right now, one holds video game controllers, another holds Nintendo Gameboy and DS equipment, the third holds batteries, and the fourth is empty to give us room to grow.

And speaking of growing, this setup will easily grow to accommodate a curious toddler who wants to grab everything within reach. The top shelves intentionally only hold decorative items that can be shifted to the top of the bookcase, then everything else can move up one shelf. We will snag four more storage cubes that can hide our Gummi Bear's toys and stuffed animals.

Other than that, it was simply a matter of going through all the DVDs and sorting like with like (of course, there's a Disney shelf full of movies!). It looks cleaner and easier on the eyes, so for a couple of hours of my time and $28 for our storage solution, I consider this well worth it.

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