Living room tour & Tips for staying organized, even with kids. A little while back, I mentioned that I had received requests for me to share more of my home with you, so that you can see how the homemaking methods and techniques I talk about look in action.

I share a bit of this stuff on my Instagram account (say hi on IG if you follow me over there!), but I’m happy to give a more in-depth tour on the blog.

This week, I’m happy to give you my living room tour.

We have a very open floor plan, so you’ll be able to see glimpses of the dining room, kitchen, and office nook too, but I’ll cover those in more detail in later posts.


One quick note though:

This room isn’t as large as the pictures would have you believe. It’s just a cool camera trick. I recently bought an awesome ultra-wide angle lens to help me in situations like this. This post would require like 30 pictures if I didn’t have one, and you still wouldn’t have a very good idea of the flow of the room and our house. In case you don’t believe me, check out the two photos below. I was sitting on the kid table under the window to take both of them. The one on the left is taken with my lens at 35mm (relatively normal, still on the wide end of normal), and the one on the right was taken at 14mm (ultra-wide).

So, please don’t yell at me about my house is gigantic and none of this will work for you. Our rooms are all pretty normal-sized.Indoor photography with an ultra-wide angle lens. Need one of those!

All righty! Time for the living room tour.

Living room tour & Tips for staying organized, even with kids.

1. This is the view of the room from our “office nook.”

The front door is just to the left, and the dining area is to the right. Do you notice anything “missing”? When we moved here, we didn’t set up our big fancy LED flat screen television. After about 6 months of not missing it, we sold it.

We still watch TV though. My husband and I often watch a show on Hulu Plus after the kids go to sleep. We like to watch Bones, America’s Got Talent, and a few other things. Mainly we’ll just use a computer to watch, but for something we’re really excited about (mostly just Bones), we’ll use our movie night set-up. More on that in a sec.

Now and then I’ll put on a show for the kids on my iPad. Mister Rogers is free on Amazon Prime (Get a 30 day free trial of Prime), so I can put that on for the kids with the Amazon streaming app. They also sometimes watch Curious George on the PBS app (free).

Once a week, we have family movie night. We move the kid table from under the window to the middle of the room, and hook up the PS3 to a computer monitor (stored in the coat closet) and our BOSE speaker. It takes like 2 minutes to set up, and another 2 minutes to break down. Honestly, a small price to pay for the peace of a living room that doesn’t have a big television staring at us all day. We LOVE being TV-free.

But we still love TV. It’s just that now, any time we watch a show or a movie, it’s intentional. We don’t find ourselves “accidentally” watching whole seasons of stuff on Netflix anymore.

Funny how that works.

2. Our cubby shelf has a lot of different things in it! Let me break it down:

Top row:

Left – my camera and all camera lenses/small equipment. I wanted to have the camera in a spot where I could grab it if I noticed a great photo opportunity, but I also wanted it out of the way. I wouldn’t want it to get knocked off of a surface, or grabbed by a kid. This has been working great for me all year.

Middle – Right now, this has some of my childhood school yearbooks, for a project I’m in the middle of. It used to have a bunch of magazines in it, but I recently gave them all to my daughter’s teachers so the kids can use them for collages and art projects. It’s nice being able to store in-progress projects in such an accessible place, but still out of view.

Right – My Taproot magazines. I haven’t been able to let go of them yet. Maybe soon.

Middle row:

Left – Two photo storage boxes. One has pictures I’m going to scan/digitize soon. The other has my GrooveBooks (use my referral code CHAPELLE4 at checkout to get your first one free). I order the GrooveBooks mainly for sharing “real” photos with family members, and for letting the kids look through our recent pictures. I view them as relatively disposable, so I don’t mind too much if the kids smear fingerprints all over them and stuff. Plus, they LOVE being able to flip through and relive their recent memories.

Middle – The books I’ve decided to keep to reference and re-read. This is a few craft books, a few parenting books, and a couple on business topics. I mainly read on my iPad now, or listen to audio books with Audible.

Right – Some children’s books, and another photo box of photographs to scan/digitize.

Bottom row:

Left and Right – My husband’s books, and Calvin and Hobbes books.

Center – Our family photo books.

Green basket:

This is our library book basket. Books from the school library and the regular one all go here, so that when it’s time to return them, they’re not mixed in with our other books or in the playroom.

One of the kids’ favorite things to do after dinner is to look at books in the living room. They ask, “May I please be excused?” and then pick out a book to read while my husband and I finish our conversation at the dinner table, before we get the kids ready for bed.

3. Kids’ Table

Our kids’ table is great for crafts or play-doh, or for working on a Montessori lesson that I’ve set up for them. Right now, they’re into coloring, and this is a great place for them both to do that. This table is actually my first dining table from my apartment right after college. We cut the legs down and sanded the bottoms. The little wooden chairs were the kids’ big Christmas presents last year.

I mainly don’t love having picture frames on surfaces (more things to move around when I’m dusting), but I do have a few here on the window sill and in the playroom, for the kids. The two pictures here are ones of my husband and I. One is a wedding picture, and another is from a random event. The kids love to hold the pictures and play with them. I certainly don’t keep them fingerprint-free, and one of the pictures is actually really wrinkled because a kid took it out of the frame and spilled glue on it. No big deal. These are for them to enjoy.

On the wall in this picture, you’ll also see a few little box-shelf thingies which hold some little curios I picked up here and there. Now and then we take them down and I’ll tell the kids the stories behind them, but mainly they just make me feel happy when I look at them.

4. The room from a different view.

You can see how we’ve made a little office nook in the corner over there… I’ll share that part later. The living room is open to the dining room and kitchen. I love that I can watch the kids play all the way in the living room if I’m cooking. Open floor plans are also great motivation to keep things picked up and tidy, since you can’t exactly just close a door to hide messes in the main parts of the house.

Living room tour & Tips for staying organized, even with kids.
5. Our former TV stand

We use this behind our couch as a place to put our drinks, but mostly the kids climb on it and jump off of it. There used to be a lot more games in here, but as the kids played with them and pieces went missing, we slowly decluttered them. Do you even know how frustrating it is for a kid to play Hi-Ho Cherry-O when some cherries are missing? They just can’t even understand why some of the holes in the trees are empty! Oh well.

The PS3 and related cords live here, as do our massive binders of DVDs. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to digitize most of it and declutter a bunch.

There are also a couple of decorative boxes that used to sit on top of this piece of furniture… until it became a jungle gym. So, they’re inside it now, and the kids like to take them out sometimes to play with them.

6. Some things that make me happy, beside the front door.

  • My XOXO before you go embroidery project, to remind us to always say goodbye mindfully.
  • A mixed-media piece of art by my sister, depicting a gazebo at a park we used to play at when we were kids.
  • A horse shoe for good luck, from when I used to ride horses as a kid.
  • A mirror my husband and I picked up at a thrift shop for Anneliese’s baby room before she was born.

7. Our coat closet.

Our coats, baby (toddler) carriers, helmets for the kids’ outside adventures, yoga mats, kettle bells, and the monitor for family movie night. And my boots, but they don’t really belong here.

8. Gallery wall.

I used to be intimidated by gallery walls. I have pinned so many different tutorials and tips, arrangements, and templates. But ultimately, I just had to let go. Starting kind of in the center and working my way out, I mostly-randomly hang stuff, and I love it. So much that makes all of us smile, all in one place.

See you next week for the Q&A session!

I’ve collected tons of questions about our living room and general living room design/organization from readers, and next week’s post will address all of them. I was going to include it all in one post, but it was getting crazy long, even for me. So, if you have any questions you want to be sure I address next time, please comment with them or send me an email!

Do you want to create a living room you love?15 minutes is all it takes to get started decluttering, organizing, and homemaking

  1. First, decide what you want to do in your living room. Is it mainly an area for watching television together, or do you want to do crafts and play games? Would you like it to be mostly an area for quiet activities and reading? Whatever it is you’d like to do in the living room, design with that in mind.
  2. If something isn’t helping you with the list you made in Step 1, remove it. If you decided that you want the living room to be a place for connecting with your family, but you currently have all of your “office” stuff in the area, remove it and find somewhere else it can belong. If you mainly want to play games together, but you have 3 shelves full of magazines you’ll “get to someday,” declutter the magazines. It’s time to focus on what you truly want to do with your time and space.
  3. Once you’ve removed the excess, organize what remains. You might have areas or nooks for different types of activities, or baskets on a shelf like we have. Organize it in a way that makes sense to you and your family, and it will be easier to maintain over time.

Spend 15 minutes on defining your living room goals, and comment to let me know if you had any epiphanies about room design or any more questions about living rooms.

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  1. I wish I could get C to ditch the big tv. I just recently got rid of all our dvd cases and moved them to binders. After watching a documentary on the Tiny House Movement, we have so much I want to purge. On the gallery wall front, I just went with it. I love mine, it is bigger then most and it makes me and the boys happy.

    • Not setting up the TV was definitely a “suspicious” thing for my husband… he wasn’t really sure about it at first. But he agreed that the living room seemed nicer, warmer without it. And he’s commented several times about how “not a big deal” it is to set up the monitor when we want to watch something on a screen bigger than the laptop.

      I wonder if C would be on board with keeping it, but somewhere else, and just setting it up for times when you really want to use it… to focus on the intentionality of it.

      Was the documentary “Tiny”? I loved that!

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